I was introduced to Viktor Moiseikin at his stand at the Dubai International Jewellery Exhibition. I firstly met his Director International Development, Teruko Okamoto, a charming and expert Japanese lady, whom I asked where Moiseikin was from – Ekaterinburg – ‘Yekaterinburg!’ I expressed surprise: ‘In the middle of Russia!’ (actually less than quarter of the way from Moscow to Vladivostok) and my thoughts created an image of a Tsarist Russian and Soviet style industrial city, interestingly named in 1723 after Yekaterina, wife of Peter the Great. As I mused, Teruko smiled and spoke of the company of Moiseikin. While we waited for Viktor to return I admired the magnificent objets d’art and the extraordinary asymmetrical fine jewellery on display.
A man, not yet middle-aged with twinkling eyes approached, carrying a dark brown not perfectly-tended beard and wearing a natural grin. The image was from a fairy tale. We exchanged a few words as he explained one of his ‘amorphous’ rings to a potential client, though she did not seem to understand its potential beauty as a four dimensional work of art. Fine precious metal filaments in an asymmetrical snail shape held gems, blue, green and red. From wherever you viewed the ring it gave a different perspective, colour, refractions, reflections, changing in each form of light. The ring had its own life – its own 4th dimension.
I realised that I needed to learn more from this master jeweller and arranged to return the following day.
Viktor Moiseikin was born in Yekaterinburg. At home his family comprises his wife and two children – sources of inspiration. Not surprisingly, his great passions at school were mathematics and physics, not classical symmetrical physics but fractal geometry – Mandelbrot, and mathematics of string theory. Viktor is what he does – he loves what he does and does what he loves. It seemed obvious to Viktor that the love he held for the sciences should be melded with creative artisanship, the joy of creation of multidimensional works of art. On several occasions, he mentioned his ‘hero’, Leonardo – a great scientist, artist and artisan, and compared him favourably to the ‘developers’ such as Michelangelo and Brunelleschi.
For today we concentrate on the linkage between Viktor’s life and his jewellery. At 19, Viktor commenced goldsmithing, working with precious metals and stones, and for the next ten years, from his workshop and nascent business he produced objets d’arte that found great appeal in his hometown and Moscow.
In that time he studied jewellery and the beauty of women. When he felt he understood women, he began to create jewellery for women. He abhors flat jewellery. His thesis is simple and wonderful: “Women try to find in jewellery what men try to find in women”. Jewellery has the same elements as do beautiful women. Each must draw attention, give emotions (through colour and personal story), and keep secrets (as in the hidden designs features and optical illusions of a jewel). Viktor’s reward is when he sees a woman’s eyes shine as she is putting on one of his pieces of jewelry.
He emulates his premise that beauty is 90% from the eyes. His jewellery has a message for those who can see and read. He explains the difference between earrings and a ring for a finger. He showed earrings that are stereo-isomers – they have mirror image shapes but different coloured stones. These effects are not seen by the wearer, their purpose is to attract the admirer who must decipher the message. The finger ring is different. He says – it is the woman telling the world who she is, she is sensitive to the colours and selects a ring that exposes her nature, but not her intellect. The colours she innately selects reflect and even change her moods. For Moiseikin it is not enough to use a gem of a single colour but the challenge to combine gems of different colours to create complexity and to generate and emanate confidence in the ‘decorated’ woman.
We hear in his voice and see in his jewellery, Viktor’s passion with light and colour. He describes his admiration for Van Gogh and demonstrates this with a ring worn by Teruko the shape of an almond blossom, inspired by the 1890 Van Gogh painting. Viktor proudly expostulates the mathematics of the parabolic shaped petals that reflect the light to the centre diamond. Yet as in the painting, each petal differs, sameness is abandoned. Another example of his art is a butterfly ring, also worn by Teruko, that has only conceptual symmetry, but the details of each filigree wing differ. Yet this is beauty. In these works we learn that symmetry is not beauty, that a beautiful woman gives a different vista when admired from varying perspectives – each visage is alive and in motion.
Viktor creates jewellery for women of all ages. He says that jewellery is fast food for a woman. Jewellers find it easy to satisfy the basic food need, but also true women need slow food, the creations of the masters.
We return to discuss colour and Viktor explains his 5 year project to emulate the colours of Kandinsky, the meaning of the ‘forward’ yellows and ‘background’ blues. We share a comparison with Leonardo’s use of colours in a similar vein. But Kandinsky is, for Viktor, the first truly abstract painter, following his metamorphosis around 1910, and Viktor’s desire is to reproduce those brave creations of colour in his work.
This desire for truly amorphous jewellery does not cause him to decline to use the most modern techniques and tools in his 200 person atelier; yet those tools provide solely the baseline on which the artists and artisans can create their images. Viktor has three rules for life (and work): Be attentive, be open, and love failure – and through these you can learn and eventually create masterpieces.
A client approaches and demands his attentions, so we shake hands and agree to meet again this lifetime. A short sojourn in Yekaterinburg seems highly desirable.
The jewellery of Moiseikin must be sought, it cannot be found alongside ordinary luxury. You may meet Viktor and Teruko at the best jewellery shows, and you may find Moiseikin through one of their boutiques in Moscow, Tokyo, Hong Kong or Dubai, or you can meet Moiseikin Jewellery through those of us who have had the opportunity to admire Viktor’s work.
When you contact Teruko Okamoto ([email protected]) to listen to the story of each unique piece of jewellery, make sure you tell her that Energitismo sent you, and possibly she will grant you something truly special.