Jewellery School & Gallery Vilnensis is located in Vilnius Old Town near the Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit. The School is run by its’ founder – jewellery designer and Associate professor at Vilnius Academy of Arts, Darijus Gerlikas.
An interesting fact: in this very house on Dominican street, there was goldsmiths’ Jacob Gierke’s workshop in the XVIIth century. He was one of the most famous Lithuanian Grand Duchy’s watchmakers and he signed all his pieces as was the custom at the time adding to his name a toponym – Vilnensis (Lat. a person from Vilnius).
Darijus Gerlikas reconstructed several historical rings: XVIth century Renaissance rings of Queens of Poland and Grand Duchesses of Lithuania Elžbieta Habsburgaitė (Elizabeth of Austria, 1436–1505) and Barbora Radvilaitė (Barbara Radziwiłł, 1520/23–1551).
Both rings were discovered under the Vilnius Cathedral after severe floods uncovered the royal crypts in 1931. After WWII both rings were lost and reconstructions were made based on drawings by artist Jurgis Hopenas and very detailed descriptions.
Barbora Radvilaitė was buried with regal symbols and jewellery, one of the rings, probably gifted to her by her husband King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Žygimantas Augustas (Sigismund II Augustus, 1520–1572) was adorned with black vitreous enamel and had three gems – diamond, ruby, and emerald. Ruby symbolised power, wealth, and protection, assisted in the accumulation of wealth; emerald – could confer riches, power, and eloquence; diamond – immortality and spiritual awakening and was said to have healing properties.
The rings are on display at the Treasury of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
Darijus Gerlikas studied jewellery design in Florence, Italy for eight years and learned traditional Florentine buccellati technique dating back to the Renaissance. Its very precise, handmade openwork cutting requires a great deal of professional craftsmanship. Darijus now specialises in creating and teaching his students how to create this very distinctive look – rich textural quality, engraved surfaces, openwork, lace-like-cutting, adorned with diamonds or colourful gemstones.
Fine Crafts Association of Vilnius and Vilnius Old Town Renewal Agency presents Jewellery School & Gallery Vilnensis video (with English subtitles)
Interview with Darijus Gerlikas, magazine Naujoji Romuva (in Lithuanian), pdf. file, p. 37–39.