Fine silver, vitreous enamel, almandine garnet, 22 karat green gold
Nohoanu, the Hawaiian red cranesbill geranium, is a critically endangered flower that is endemic to Maui and only grows on the slopes of Haleakalā—there are thought to be fewer than 30 plants surviving in the wild as of this writing. It is only appropriate that something so rare and threatened be rendered in something as delicate as glass.
Nohoanu is recreated here in plique-à-jour, a vitreous enameling process that is most easily described as stained glass for jewelry—it is similar to the techniques of champlevé or cloisonné except that there is no backing to the enamel, thus allowing light to pass through it. I embedded opaque red glass filaments between layers of transparent enamel to indicate the veins on the petals of the flower, and the anthers of the flower are made of 22 karat green gold foil that has been fused to the glass and metal. Finally, the piece is ringed with 40 almandine garnets.
Plique-à-jour pieces are notoriously difficult to photograph as one naturally wants to exhibit the translucency of the glass but also show the piece from the front, and it is sometimes a one-or-the-other scenario. To wit, in order to photograph this piece I cut a hole the size of the flower into my wooden background and lit it from the back, while the rest of the piece is lit from all sides with diffuse light.