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 the most famous Lithuanian Grand Duchy’s watchmaker 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 of the rulers: 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 the 1930s. 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) 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. It’s very precise, handmade openwork cutting that 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 by engraving surfaces, openwork, lace-like-cutting, adorned with diamonds or colourful gemstones.
For more information and Jewellery courses, please visit the Vilnensis School & Gallery website www.vilnensis.eu
Interview with Darijus Gerlikas, magazine Naujoji Romuva (in Lithuanian), pdf. file, p. 37–39.