By Diane Small
Although Arabel Lebrusan’s signature design element is the use of traditional Spanish filigree, there can be no doubt that the roots of this lie in old Andalucia and the Arab culture that Spain absorbed.
Given the complexity of the handmade, lace-like designs, it’s little wonder that there are only a few few artisans remaining who are able to master the expertise needed to produce these complex pieces, but Arabel Lebrusan is one of them.
A holder of a prestigious Masters in Jewellery Design from the acclaimed Central St. Martins School of Art and Design, and a Bachelors degree in Fine Art from the University of Madrid, the designer is, of course, also a trained gemologist.
But despite these impressive qualifications, the jewellery designer doesn’t work alone: in fact, she employs a small artisan’s workshop run by a unique third-generation artisan who has been making filigree for the museums and the Spanish Royal Family since he was 14, applying the techniques passed down through the generations.
The result is a mix of delicate metal latticework with solid ethics at its core. These light, feminine pieces are classically elegant and timeless, as Lebrusan’s clients, which include Sienna and Savannah Miller and Princess Letizia of Spain, would doubtless agree.
Lebrusan’s work has won her the Tanzanite Celebration of Life Jewellery Design Award 2007; made her runner up for Student of the Year Award at the UK Jewellery Awards 2007 and shortlisted her as Best New Designer in both 2010 and 2011 at the same event.
The kudos are well deserved: not only has this designer revitalised ancient traditions that are quickly disappearing, but she has made a very conscious decision to work with ethical and Fairtrade metals and stones to make her work beautiful and sustainable. In short, Lebrusan keeps one eye on the illustrious designs of the past, and one eye on the future by using ethical materials, making her work something very special in the here and now indeed.