Madrid:  From figurines crowding grandma's shelves to spectacular necklaces and bracelets... porcelain is evolving dramatically thanks to the emergence of young designers.

The super-ceramic was invented in China 4,000 years ago, and historically has been considered a luxury that the best tables cannot possibly do without.

Porcelain is still a luxury product, but has taken another turn and is making its name in the world of jewellery because of its outstanding properties - it is strong, light, hard and translucent.

Properties that have allowed many figurines to survive through the years as if on an eventual mission to be transformed into stunning necklaces, cameos, earrings and bracelets.

"We've always collected pretty figurines, rare and curious, and that gave us the idea of breaking up the figurines and making compositions out of the pieces. It gave us the feeling that each figurine had a history and that by breaking it and combining it with others we wrote a new chapter in its story," Andres Gallardo, founder of the eponymous firm, said.

Jewels by Gallardo and Marina Casal have found their way beyond Spanish borders and now artists - songstress Lana del Rey for one - are wearing their designs.

Jewellery designer Maria de Frutos has also made porcelain one of her signature materials.

"My great-grandfather was the owner of a porcelain factory in Madrid that my grandmother continued until the (1936-1939 Spanish Civil) war destroyed everything, and then it was looted," De Frutos recalled.

Her grandmother passed along to her some 150 porcelain cameos and, under her brand Oh La La Jewelry, has taken them and made them into items of finery that mix delicacy with history.


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