Art nouveau: The man with the golden touch

At 75, Rudolf Heltzel is firmly established as a living legend of Irish jewellery design

20th December, 2015
Rudolf Heltzel at the Kilkenny Design Workshop Pic: Dylan Vaughan

Four pieces of jewellery by master goldsmith Rudolf Heltzel are laid out carefully before me. The sparkle of white gold, blue topaz, tourmaline, smokey quartz and sapphire catches plenty of covetous eyes.

Heltzel’s pieces – abstract, Art Nouveau, often architectural in design – are described as wearable art, or “sculpture plus one”. Their maker has been described as a living Renaissance master, a craftsman who continues to use ancient techniques to create iconic pieces. His...

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