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Piece of the Week: A ‘Strong & Precious’ Brooch

CollectionsDec 08, 2023

Piece of the Week: A ‘Strong & Precious’ Brooch

Centered on a sunny heliodor, the “Links” pin was designed by Ukrainian jewelry artist Inesa Kovalova.

Inesa Kovalova’s Links pin
There was so much jewelry worth covering during New York City Jewelry Week 2023, it’s hard to know where to start.

But one of the pieces from the Strong & Precious Art Foundation seems like a good jumping-off point.

Founded in April 2022, just a few months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Strong & Precious is the brainchild of Ukraine native Olga Oleksenko.

Oleksenko is a jewelry connoisseur who was the director of the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique in Kyiv for a decade and, later, became the brand’s ambassador in Ukraine.

Strong & Precious is Oleksenko’s way of bringing Ukrainian jewelry designers and their talents to the fore in a time of conflict and difficulty for the country.

During Jewelry Week, Strong & Precious showcased pieces from five designers at Mriya, a Ukrainian art gallery in New York’s TriBeCa neighborhood.

Inesa Kovalova’s “Links” brooch
Another shot of Inesa Kovalova’s “Links” brooch, this one taken at the Mriya gallery by the author


The one-of-a-kind creations tell stories of blackouts, freedom, hope, the country’s heritage, and its natural resources.

Among the pieces was designer Inesa Kovalova’s incredible “Links” brooch.

Crafted in titanium and 18-karat gold, the centerpiece of the pin is an eye-catching 38.53-carat heliodor from Ukraine’s Volodarsk-Volynskii Mine, which is known for producing top-quality heliodors as well as fine specimens of another beryl, aquamarine.

Resembling a deconstructed paperclip, Kovalova found inspiration for the piece in the industrial landscapes of the Donbas region, an area of eastern Ukraine ravaged by war.

It symbolizes the unbreakable bond between eastern and western Ukraine, as well as between the country’s cities—expressed through the sleek, gray titanium—and its natural beauty, brought to life by this sunny heliodor.

Learn more about Kovalova and her work on her website.

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