A modern-day merchant-adventurer, with an artist’s sensibility and a Russian soul, Alexander Tenzo is a gem-hunter, jeweller and impassioned renovator of Russia’s rich heritage of the jewelled arts. Ever since a chance visit to Sri Lanka’s famous gem mines, aged just 20, he has travelled the world in search of rare and intriguing gemstones, on expeditions to mines in some of the most remote and inhospitable corners of the earth. He has built a storehouse of extraordinary gemstones, spinels, alexandrites, chrysoberyls, spessartite garnets, colour-change garnets, rainbow moonstones, aquamarines, ametrines, tourmalines of all hues, and many more: a gem palette from which he conjures jewels and objects of quiet soulful beauty, and awe-inspiring craftsmanship.
From the early days of his gem-hunting travels, with his treasure-trove of rough crystals, he began to search for the finest stone-cutters, and to think seriously about jewellery, about new techniques for setting his beloved gems. This was the start of his mission to find the most gifted artisans in the world, to revive and reinvigorate age-old, virtuoso skills of lapidaries, goldsmiths, gem-setters, engravers, enamellers. Artisans who could help him bring his visions to life, to create and craft jewels that distilled the adventures of gems and minerals with the romance, and poignant splendour of Imperial Russia.
Today, from his base in St Petersburg, where he was born and bred, Alexander Tenzo nurtures and shapes the skills of his world-class team of craftsmen, in Russia and across the world. Together they explore ultra-refined techniques, engraved and patinated gold settings, fluid articulations, miraculous micro-pave settings, all adding finesse and intricate details to his jewels and objects. He mixes his own warm, rich, soft burnished tone of gold. He breathes new life into the traditional Russian art of stone-carving, cameos, intaglios and thrillingly life-like carved stone figures, animals and flowers, in the style of Peter Carl Faberge. Working hand-in-hand with his artisans, he selects gemstones from his extensive collection, blending and contrasting colours, shades and hues, distilling their majesty and magnetism into the exquisite jewels and objects that take shape in his imagination. Each jewel, each carved stone sculpture or object, is the result of a personal passion for gems, and the extraordinary Tenzo community of artist-craftsmen, orchestrated by Alexander Tenzo, maestro, mentor and patron of the jewelled arts.
Written by Vivienne Becker.