Robb Design Portfolio: Metamorphosis
In ancient Egypt, scarab beetles symbolized resurrection; in the hands of the Parisian jeweler Lorenz Bäumer (www.lorenzbaumer.com), the sacred insects have been reborn as luminous brooches with an alluring secret: Press on a gemstone near each beetle’s head, and the jeweled wings spring open to emit a subtle fragrance. Bäumer spent months experimenting with a porous metal that can hold a few drops of perfume, and he eventually used the material to form the bodies of his exotic designs. The brooches—only three have been created (prices are available upon request)—display brilliant gemstones and bright enamel details, which mimic the insect’s metallic sheen. The modern scarabs (clockwise from left) feature diamonds, sapphires, and tsavorites; fire opals, amethysts, diamonds, and sapphires; and black and white diamonds. Bäumer drew inspiration from ancient designs, particularly scarab jewelry he saw in a Cairo museum a few years ago. But for the designer, the actual insects hold their own allure: "They are so beautiful that you think someone designed and painted them," he says. "It’s hard to believe they are natural."