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  • Amethyst, diamond and lacquer dragonfly brooch
  • Blue opal and aquamarine earrings
  • Diamond embedded Tahitian pearl earrings
  • Hand carved crystal flower, moonstone and pearl earrings
  • petal-shaped pearl earrings
  • Fuji mum petal-shaped pearl brooch and pendant
  • tulip aquamarine and diamond earrings
  • Plique-à-jour enamel orchid earrings
  • Hand carved chalcedony flower earrings

Green fingers for jewellery

Anesthesiology and jewellery may sound as unrelated as a cup of mocha and a glass of Moscato to you, but not to Russell Trusso, who was once the chief of anaesthesiology at The Cleveland Clinic, then a couture designer and now an award winning fine jewellery designer.

The third career

Russell Trusso grew up hand-reared with fashion by his model-mother and lace-making-machine-designer-father in Ohio, the United States. He fashion-styled dolls with fabric scraps his father brought home. At the age of nine, he even crafted a brooch for a dance competition his mother about to attend. No different from many other teenage boys, he was fascinated with sciences when young. Passion for fashion and jewellery was put out of sight until the first day he was hired as an anaesthesiology specialist; he bought a sewing machine to make clothes off work as a form of therapy to offset years of intense medical study. Two year later, he launched his second career as a couturier while keeping the anesthesiologist job for more than a decade before he handed over his anaesthetic mask. During his exploration of the fashion world, he found the robust demand for jaw-dropping jewellery to jazz up glamorous gowns. He often created jewellery with rhinestones for his socialites-clients to match with their formal wears. Inspired by his leading light that encouraged him to throw himself into jewellery design, he served as a goldsmith’s apprentice for almost three years and mastered age-old skills such as stretching gold into wires while exploring the potentials of diamonds, gemstones and pearls. In 1997, he sold his first piece of fine jewellery to an illustrious radio personality in Cleveland and officially started his career as the jewellery designer for his brand Russell Trusso Fine Jewelry.

A garden of inspiration

The designer’s glass greenhouse housing over 70 botanical varieties is his fountain of inspiration. He turns living beings under his roof, from orchids to camellia and lily of the valley as well as dropping-by inserts such as dragonflies and butterflies into exquisite jewellery pieces. 

Other than the gifts from Mother Nature, he finds ideas from his customers. In early April 2019, he put two kinds of gemstones that his customers frequent request, opal and aquamarine, together as a symphony of blue. The piece features 20.24-carat of blue opals as a centerpiece accented by 26.95 carats of seawater aquamarines, 1.45 carats of sapphires and finished by 2.44 carats of sky-blue morganite drops.

Among an array of gemstones, pearl is his favourite to work with, especially akoya and baroque pearls. He also loves working with anything with luminous and texture materials such as ruby, opal, emerald and sapphire. His craftsmanship puts up his rigorous attention to details and profound knowledge in anatomy and physiology. Referring to his iconic diamond-embedded pearls that took a steady hand to master, Russell told Hong Kong Jewellery: “My previous career in the surgical auditorium prepared me for that. I used my knowledge and understanding of chemistry to perfect the technique.” 

He added that a sturdy skeleton is the key to success of every structure. Beauty without a firm foundation always fails; therefore, no adhesives have ever applied on his famed floral pieces. Drilled 18-karat gold thread is applied as the ‘backbone’ for supporting his signature botanical-inspired brooches of petal-shaped rock crystals, enamels or baroque pearls with details upon the petals fine-tuned with his fastidious painting and engraving know-hows among anthers and stigma recreated by diamond and gemstone grains. For him, the gleam and charm of his jewellery matters as much as the firm framework. Thanks to the employment of Plique-à-jour, a sophisticated French technique to achieve shine-through effect on enamel, the enamel petals and insect wings are identical to the living ones beneath daylight. “I know that I’ve done well when a customer sees a pair of earrings and she wants to touch them and admire their artistry before she tries it on,” he shared.

A genuine gemstone  

Russell is a gemstone himself. Talking about mind-engraved event of his jewellery designer career, he told Hong Kong Jewellery that he was on cloud nine when Madeline Albright, the first female United States Secretary of State, telephoned him to bring news about two of his pieces would be featured in her book Read My Pins. His big-named fans also include JK Rowling, Harry Potter’s author. Ina bid to expand his markets, he shares newest collections together with his life and inspiration on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach both local and international potential customers while some of the pieces are off-the-shelf at Bergdorf Goodman in New York and Gumps in San Francisco. 

Russell Trusso Fine Jewelry has come up roses counting on a passion to design jewellery for confident women. He hopes his jewellery will be passed on to the next generation as heirlooms besides being gentlemen’s gift for their significant others. 

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