„The symbol of our region’s wealth is granite“
When asked why she makes jewelry of natural stone, Aleksandra Skolak writes in no uncertain terms: „The symbol of our region’s wealth is granite.“ We must add that her entire family has roots firmly anchored in the material for generations in Poland’s former Prussian Province of Lower Silesia in close proximity to the city of Strzegom where the family quarried granite for generations: her father was a quarry specialist, her father-in-law made a name for himself as a stone producer and together with her husband she manages Granex Company.
She came to stone as a material for jewelry design via the craft of stonemasonry and to her efforts regarding jewelry design in her quest to produce products typical of the region and to expand the palate of goods offered in her enterprise.
It’s all about making good on chances and modernization since the end of communism 1989.
The inspiration for jewelry comes from stone trade fairs which the couple collects from around the globe. And her company’s shop supplies the second most important element: silver. „Other elements such as brightly colored bands, minerals or other natural stone are mere add-ons“, she emphasizes.
But what about the mass of such jewelry? She counters with the similar specific gravity of granite compared to that of other minerals used in the manufacturing of jewelry. She takes care to keep the size of her stone elements to on a small scale: „The smallest stone bead with perforation has a diameter of a mere 4 mm. The larger pieces, e.g. are beads of 18 mm diameter and cubes with a volume of 15x15x15 mm according to the mail.
A close partner to the commercial enterprise is the Fundacja Bazalt (Basalt Foundation) which she brought to life together with her husband in 2011. The purpose of the foundation is the renaturation of quarries of that type of stone.
The foundation’s original concept was to upgrade quarries and make them accessible to citizens and tourists.
Granite itself was added to the Foundation’s program. Initiatives extend from jewelry design and sculpting symposia in the basalt quarry to mosaic workshop and even a regularly held summer school for architects. The main idea was that „there is no such thing as bad stone, only stone implemented for unsuitable purposes”.
The foundation is financed by the original property, through the sale of jewelry and through support by the local government.
There is great love of the region in the enterprise so it is no surprise that Strzegom’s sculptor Jerzy Zysk designed granite hearts as a public relations initiative of the Foundation for the region: they are distributed as decorative elements for guests and visitors to Lower Silesia.
Photos: Aleksandra Skolak
(21.02.2016, USA: 02.21.2016)