Alexis Bittar is described as "one of the greatest jewelry designers of the 21st century." Alexis started selling his hand-carved Lucite and gemstone creations on the streets of New York before quickly being discovered by the fashion world.
The Golden Scarab collection references renewal – both in symbology and in design. The scarab was revered in Ancient Egypt as the god Khepri, responsible for the rising sun and thus, creation and rebirth. The west has been fascinated with Egyptian art since the Napoleonic campaigns of 1798, but true Egyptomania exploded with the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. Egyptian motifs deeply influenced the Art Deco period of fashion, jewelry, and architecture.
Even before Egyptomania, there was a passion in Europe for all things Chinese. New trade routes that opened up in the 17th century brought incredible art and goods to the west. Europe’s infatuation with China’s elaborate design far exceeded the available supply so Chinoiserie was born; a hybrid design of Asian and European motifs. Chinoiserie influenced everything from Rococo to English tea canisters; from Chippendale furniture to Dutch blue and white delftware. Modern Chinoiserie design complimented the elaborate creations of 1920s Egyptian Revival and inspired Cartier’s iconic 1970s bamboo jewelry and 1990s hip hop street style.
Lucite, or polymethyl methacrylate, is a transparent thermoplastic that dates back to the early thirties when it was developed as acrylic safety glass. Lucite is light and shatter-resistant and lends itself well to molding, cutting and carving.
Costume jewelry design and production exploded during the Depression where modern manufacturing methods and affordable materials provided an alternative to fine jewelry. Costume jewelry became an independent art form as designers discovered new uses for plastics like Lucite, glass crystals, and metal plating.