Enchanted ornaments

Dina Sta. Maria (The Philippine Star) - July 7, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - And then, once in a rare while, there are the truly exceptional pieces, designed with an artists’s eye and crafted with an artisan’s touch, using materials that are as unique as they are exquisite. Such pieces are rare, valuable beyond the fact that they are one of a kind, because they are art pieces that can be worn as jewelry, masterpieces that double as adornment.

As one of the Philippines’ most celebrated jewelry designers, Celia Molano’s  custom-made pieces each tell a tale of their own. Handcrafted bottles from Phoenicia, Syrian glass beads, semi precious stones from Brazil, Pacific corals, Philippine excavated gold and silver ornaments are put together so extravagantly they become nothing less than wearable art.

While embodying the elements of Filipino style and tradition, the influences of Molano’s jewelry are global. With various cultural influences making an impact on her work, one can see traditional salakot designs interspersed with European earthenware decorated with opaque colored glazes, Indian baroque embellishments and African tribal motifs. This deft handling of hybrid forms and her long-time and continuing love affair with jewelry have allowed her to create pieces that are both innovative in construction and design, and timeless in their beauty.

By uniting art and antiquity, Molano provides her collectors with a refreshing take on the old and the new, the East and the West, a marriage of only the best and the most beautiful in a singular work of art.

The knowledge and understanding that Molano has for her work, her art, and the artistic influences of her country are apparent in every single piece she creates, a task that many artists have yet to undertake. Her capacity to continuously create spellbinding work over the decades underscores her renown, and reinforces her standing as one of the most sought after jewelry designers in Asia.

A seasoned artist, Molano has spent a great part of her life traveling the world together with her husband Jose. She has lived in India and Indonesia, and has visited Brazil, Argentina, Syria and Lebanon. In these lands, she explored and searched out beads of myriad materials – onyx, quartz, jasper, ruby, amethyst, emerald, garnet, opal, sapphire, turquoise, agate – and as well studied the crafts and how jewelry was woven into the culture and life of the people.

She has had 28 major solo exhibitions, the first of which was under the auspices of National Artist, Arturo Luz who, meeting her for the first time after one of her overseas sojourns, was bedazzled by one of her own pieces that she was wearing and immediately offered her a show. Since that time, she has exhibited to collectors, museums, and galleries around the world, including the prestigious Bowers Museum in California and the Museum Kampa in Prague. She was also part of the Filipina Fusions festival held in Sydney, a project of then Philippine Ambassador to Australia Delia Domingo-Albert as the country’s way of honoring the country on its Centenary of Federation.

Salcedo Auctions, the country’s only auction house, has had a proud tradition of recognizing the very best in fine and decorative arts and collectibles, including jewelry by local and international artists and artisans from around the world since it opened in 2010. Bulgari, Chopard, and Boucheron are some of the world-renowned jewelry houses whose signature pieces have graced Salcedo’s sale catalogues.


Celia Molano: Enchanted Ornaments will open to the public on July 19 and run through July 31. An online catalogue is also available at salcedoauctions.com

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