Innovative raw materials and new technologies are increasingly giving luxury jewellers the edge in crafting distinctive and bold statement pieces. Leading the pack is de Grisogono, the Geneva-based brand created by Fawaz Gruosi in 1993, which has built a reputation for transforming existing conventions, and pairing cutting-edge materials with luxury gemstones to create bold elegant pieces that feature contrasting textures and colours. For example, the company launched a collection pairing galuchat, an exotic leather made from shark or stingray skin, with precious gemstones. The range, comprising bracelets and earrings, features the use of leather in a contemporary setting alongside diamonds, emeralds and other precious stones. It has also drawn on a variety of fossilised wood found on ocean beds and brown coloured jet to enrich its other collections. In 2005, the company invented its own new gold colour - a brown-gold shade conceived to perfectly match diamond jewellery. Though producing gold in different hues is a well-established technique, the invention was no easy task as it is extremely hard to achieve the right colour, the company says. These innovative techniques and materials have contributed to the brand's reputation for creating genuine works of art that combine classic craftsmanship with precious stones. 'Mr Gruosi does not set any limit on creativity and conceives his work as a perpetual quest for beauty,' explains Kannus Cheng, brand manager for de Grisogono in Hong Kong. 'Materials, stones or volume are imagined without any constraint and then it is our jewellers' raison d'etre to make the dream come true. 'Each creation by de Grisogono, whether interpreted in collections or in one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces, is made using stone-setting techniques that seek perfection in details.' This design philosophy underscores all its collections, translating into innovative and special pieces such as tumbling briolette-cut diamonds that cascade like silk veils, and imposing multicoloured necklaces accentuated both by the warm light of the cabochon and by the sparkling precious stones. Another pioneer in the field of new and unusual materials is American jewellery designer David Yurman. The design director of David Yurman Men's Jewellery and Timepieces, Evan Yurman, is featuring black titanium in the brand's collection, and is exploring further opportunities to use the material in its timepieces. His designs featuring black titanium include a bracelet with a sterling silver cable inset, and a pair of similarly designed titanium cufflinks. 'Incorporating these materials into our jewellery and timepieces is a delicate process as it is adding very new materials into a very old industry, and the production capabilities are still limited,' he notes.