Innovative technology isn’t usually associated with the age-old art of jewellery but there’s one brand set to change this. Using advanced optical simulation and high-precision tools, Swiss fine jewellery maker THE RAYY crafts visionary series of rings and pendants with the unique ability to reflect light into personal messages in the form of words, numbers and symbols. While light has always contributed to jewellery’s allure, be it the sumptuous glow of polished gold or the sparkling reflections of a well-cut diamond, the brand takes the relationship to another level.
With the ability to create your own drawing or text thanks to its made-to-order system, THE RAYY’s sleek, conceptual creations are much more than beautiful accessories or luxury accoutrements. Instead, they are conceived as avant-garde amulets, an affinity further underlined by the brand’s latest pendant collection that incorporates the 12 zodiac signs in collaboration with acclaimed Swiss tattoo artist Maxime Plescia-Büchi.
The product of years of scientific research, THE RAYY’s award-winning technology was developed by the brand’s co-founders Romain Testuz and Yuliy Schwartzburg at EPFL University in Lausanne, Switzerland, in collaboration with technology company Rayform, and combines the application of advanced optical simulation and the use of high-precision tools. The multi-step, high-tech process entails precisely carving the gold surface of each ring or pendant in such a way that when direct light shines on it (be it sunlight, a spotlight or even a smartphone flashlight), the reflected light rays focus onto a drawing or text. The process is rounded up by carefully hand-polishing each piece to perfection, a reminder that technology and craftsmanship are not contrary concepts – in fact, etymologically they are intimately connected, techno coming from the Greek word for craft.
What makes the technology so exceptional however is the fact that it’s indiscernible: the smooth surface gives no indication of any advanced manufacturing process. Being invisible to the naked eye, the message becomes all the more wondrous when it’s revealed at the wearer’s discretion. Since the text or drawing that each piece safeguards is personalized, the wearer’s prerogative of being able to share it with only those you want to makes the message even more meaningful, while the fact that it’s hidden in plain sight makes it more precious – even more precious, we dare say, than the responsibly sourced 18-karat gold and lab-grown diamonds that THE RAYY’s light-shaping jewellery is made of.
Scientific know-how and precision craftsmanship is only half of THE RAYY’s revolutionary approach to jewellery design, the other half being the conceptual approach of the brand’s creative director Noémie Arrigo. Underpinned by a quest for simplicity and timelessness, Arrigo’s creative process is guided by abstraction, modernity and purity. “I love reshaping and reinterpreting the ‘Classics’, giving them a twist and thinking differently about their construction”, she says. Eschewing decorative flourishes, Arrigo’s designs espouse instead an abstract, minimalist language of clean lines and elemental forms that don’t overshadow the hidden message they contain.
Following the brand’s four inaugural ring collections in 2019, DOT, TWO DOTS, BAR and SOLITAIRE – the names concisely summing up their distinguishing design feature – 2020 saw the release of four pendant collections that take the form of either a disk or bar. For the DISK pendants, the brand partnered with Sang Bleu, the Zurich, London, and Los Angeles-based creative agency and tattoo studio of acclaimed Swiss tattoo Maxime Plescia-Büchi, to complement the personalized texts and drawings that customers can order with the 12 zodiac signs. Although THE RAYY’s hidden messages seem the antithesis of tattoo art, the former being light-drawn and fleeting, while the latter is ink-based and permanent, semiologically they are both aspirational symbols of self-identity. In fact, it could be said that the Swiss jewellery brand is for want of a better description, a purveyor of light tattoos, which make the collaboration with Sand Blue such a perfect match.
Whether it’s a zodiac sign, a loved one’s name, an anniversary date, an adage or a symbol of personal significance, THE RAYY’s light-shaping jewellery is both an innovative and sophisticated way of self-expression. During the current pandemic, at a time when we’re all looking for signs that the worst is behind us and that the New Year will usher in a return to normalcy, carrying a sign of hope and resilience close to your heart is also pretty cool.