It’s been a crazy few weeks but what a rush! I’m fresh back from COUTURE Las Vegas where Silvia Furmanovich showcased Botanica, her new marquetry collection of fine jewellery at the jewellery showroom of MUSE, NYC – one of the most-talked-about talents at COUTURE.

It’s such a thrill being in such talented company and a great honour to be the face for the new Botanica collection. We shot the campaign in Brazil just a few weeks ago, so we didn’t have a lot of time to get it all ready for the big unveiling at COUTURE Las Vegas. But with the help of an amazing team of talented artists and designers, we pulled it off and I can’t wait for you to see the end result!


I’ve been a long-time admirer of Silvia Furmanovich and I’m delighted to see how she’s evolved as a designer. For almost seven years now, I’ve admired her creativity and how her designs have blossomed into pure masterpieces. Every time my husband and I are in Brazil, we make sure we pay a visit to her boutique and office to see what new delights she’s imagined.

The latest collection Botanica is inspired by the illustrations of the German-born naturalist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian and the British botanical artist English Margaret Mee. It captures the spiritual essence of the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest in all its beauty and splendour. The incredible detail and skilled marquetry with its rich tones and textures of indigenous salvaged wood, paired with rare and precious gems, gold and diamonds make you dizzy with desire!

Until this collection Silvia focused on clutches and two-dimensional jewels. But Botanica possess a voluminous, lifelike beauty. Unique creations available in limited collections only increases the value of these breathtaking jewels.


I love each and every one of them and it’s impossible to choose a favourite. Just when you decide, your eye lights on another extraordinary gem and you fall in love all over again!

So let me tell you how this collaboration with Silvia Furmanovich came about and how I became the face of the new Botanica collection. Silvia and I first talked about this venture during my trip to Bahrain for Jewellery Arabia. Silvia Furmanovich was showing her collection at AZZA Fine Jewellery.

Being an entrepreneur myself, I deeply admire Silvia Furmanovich for overcoming the challenges of succeeding in a highly competitive industry. She’s such an inspiring woman to be around and I’m always astonished by her strength of mind and spirit. The woman behind the brand is a loving, tender mother of three sons who share her passion for jewellery and craftsmanship. To a certain extent, I think Silvia was born to be a mother and her creative spirit and focus is admirable. She stands out from the crowd because she doesn’t succumb to the pressures of producing commercial jewellery, but instead celebrates her art and craft and incredible eye for beauty. She creates wearable art and continues to innovate year after year.

It all began in 1997 when Silvia Furmanovich set up her first personal atelier in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She fell in love with the transmutable nature of gold as a child watching her goldsmith father Salvador Longobardi working in his atelier at home. Gold became a strong and inspiring source for many of her first creations. But her inventive spirit urged her to search for other more novel materials and her heart set on indigenous salvaged wood from the Rainforests of Brazil. Marquetry became a trademark of the brand and evolved into distinct and precious wearable works of art. Now her jewellery is available at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC, as well as two stunning boutiques in Brazil and of course, across the Middle East. You can also find Silvia Furmanovich at PAD London in October this year.

For the campaign, the talented team from GEM Kreatives, which is a boutique creative agency, and the amazingly talented jewellery photographer Julia Flit, came together at the Jardim Botanico in Brazil. It’s a breathtaking park rich with the exotic and beautiful botanicals of Brazil. I have never seen such opulence anywhere else I’ve travelled. Mother Nature truly is the most talented designer and an inspiration to us all and the driving force behind the new Botanica collection from Silvia Furmanovich. We all learn from her riches and Jardim Botanico did not let us down. It was the perfect location for this shoot.

I was not only modeling but also art directing the shoot and I’m happy to say it was a hit! We’ll be featured in Vogue Brazil online and print, Bergdorf Goodman magazine and hopefully Vogue Arabia. A few other jewellery brands had approached me about representing their brands, but Silvia Furmanovich has a special place in my heart and is in perfect harmony with my beliefs and what I stand for as a jewellery aficionado. I was truly happy to be working on this project; it’s a dream come true!

But it wasn’t without its challenges. Prior to the trip I had a yellow fever injection, which compromised my immune system, so I was on antibiotics during the shoot. I completely lost my sense of smell and taste and wasn’t feeling my best. I’m not a professional model, so the struggle is real. It’s natural to feel vulnerable when you’re surrounded by a crew of people, while you pose in the dazzling heat of the sun and there’s photos being snapped and videos being shot. Don’t forget we were in the middle of the forest amongst giant cacti with mosquitoes buzzing around our heads! I know some of my dear readers cringe at being photographed, so you’ll understand how I was feeling. But my stylist and his two assistants made me feel so special and loved throughout the shoot, it all worked out in the end. I thought of my dear father and how he loved to take pictures of his family and I began to relax in the natural splendour of this majestic garden, all the while dreaming of a comfy photography studio where you can control the light and there are no bugs!

Thank goodness for Julia. Her language skills saved us so many times and she was such a great comfort to have by my side. After an 11-hour flight and getting stuck in traffic for three hours, we arrived at Silvia’s office at 10 a.m., ready to delve into the jewellery box and see the clothes our stylist had chosen for the shoot.

I was astonished by the beauty of the jewels that kept arriving from the craftsmen all day long, and I had a hard time choosing. But I selected my favourites and paired them with some stunning fashions from Brazilian designer Paula Raia. I love her clothes and her signature refined-yet-rustic aesthetic. She has a cult following in Brazil and we stopped by her boutique to see what other creations we could use in the shoot. Paula also draws upon Mother Nature to fuel her creativity and it was a great pleasure working with her. You can see all 12 looks in the lookbook.

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Bright and early the next morning, before my 7 a.m. wake-up call for hair and makeup (and the best facial massage ever!), I had some fun out on the balcony of our 20th floor hotel room shooting nudes of Julia! It was the highlight of the morning and a little bit of fun to ease us into the big day ahead.

We had 12 looks to shoot in 2 days with makeup and hair changes. Everything was shot outside in different locations, so you can imagine the huge amount of prep work prior to the shoot. First of all there’s concept and mood board development, which are my favourite parts, and then putting together a team of talented people. Once you decide on a location, you have to get permission to shoot and then work out all the logistics for the jewellery and equipment, as well as travel and hotels for the team. The day of the shoot, you just hope and pray everything will go smoothly and that the weather and lighting will be on your side. And no fingerprints on those jewels!

The weather was perfect and we were lucky to finish all looks on time, despite our running a little behind on the first day.

So which pieces did I choose for the campaign? All of them, if I could! Some of my favourite pieces are the bracelets – Marquetry Flower Bracelet and Sculptural Botanical Marquetry Leaf Bracelet that I wore with my favourite Paula Raia look. The jewellery that I and Silvia most love is, of course, earrings! The thing I love about earrings is how they attract the eye right away. I love each and every piece in the Botanica collection. Who wouldn’t! Each one is a fascinating piece of sculptural beauty. You’ll have to decide for yourselves which ones you’d wear!

Silvia’s workshop is based in Brazil. The new Botanica collection was created by skilled craftsmen from Sao Paulo using an innovative technique of marquetry and an unique seven-step process creating the wood elements and finishing touches of diamonds and precious stones. Silvia follows each step with love and care and accompanies the entire process from start to finish. She is a true visionary and a woman to be admired.

My visit to Brazil wasn’t over, however. The cherry on the cake was attending the jewellery launch of the new Botanica collection and co-hosting with Silvia Furmanovich. You can watch the video on GEMOLOGUE YouTube channel. The whole experience took me on a journey I’ll never forget and I’m so proud to be the face for the Botanica fine jewellery collection. I will treasure this memory like the most precious jewel in my jewellery journey.


I am extremely happy to announce that my new jewelry book – GEMOLOGUE: Street Jewellery Styles & Styling Tips – is now on Amazon. I’m so excited. It’s the first book of its kind solely dedicated to jewellery. 

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GEMOLOGUE jewelry blog by Liza Urla is a celebration of fine, fashion and vintage jewellery featuring talented jewellery designers, trendy urban street style, exclusive interviews and rare jewellery reviews. This jewellery blog’s goal is to encourage and educate about jewellery online in a fresh and original fashion to inspire women and men across the globe in a fashion and travelling context.

Jewellery blogger, writer Liza Urla, the founder of GEMOLOGUE, is a London-based and NYC-educated gemologist, who has travelled to and lived in many countries. She is now one of the most influential digital jewellery tastemakers. Her jewellery influence has been acknowledged by Financial Times, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

*Photographed by Julia Flit. Styling and Art Direction by Liza Urla. All photos belong to GEM Kreatives for GEMOLOGUE.

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