Brass tools and silk apparel for mining
the world's most abundant mineral


London and Montreal designer Emilie F. Grenier has created set of brass tools and a silk outfit for mining feldspar - the most plentiful mineral on Earth.

Disquiet Luxurians brass tools for mining feldspar by Emilie F Grenier

Emilie F. Grenier's Disquiet Luxurians project considers redefining luxury so the process of creating products such as jewellery becomes the expensive factor rather than the material.

She proposes that if craft was to be valued higher than materials, gems for jewellery could be sourced and fashioned from the group of minerals called feldspar instead of rare stones.

Disquiet Luxurians brass tools for mining feldspar by Emilie F Grenier

Feldspars are formed from crystallised magma and make up around 60% of the earth's crust.

Grenier's collection of opulent tools becomes the luxury element of the process as opposed to the mined minerals, as one set of utensils can be used to eventually create many pieces of jewellery.

Disquiet Luxurians brass tools for mining feldspar by Emilie F Grenier

Her set comprises three chisels with square, hexagonal and oval cutting heads, plus a hexagonal block used to hammer the ends of each tool.

Grenier made the implements from brass, a much more malleable metal than those traditionally used to made chisels such as steel. "Brass is a softer alloy, hence rarely used to craft stone-carving chisels or hammer heads," she told Dezeen.

Disquiet Luxurians feldspar gems by Emilie F Grenier

She designed a green silk boiler suit to be worn when mining the mineral, which was purposefully made to be difficult to move in.

"Silk chiffon is an incredibly delicate textile with barely any give - potentially one of the worst materials to use for utility clothing," said Grenier. "In doing so, the post-luxurian mining experience became a geological choreography, and the act of collecting less mechanical, and more unique. This was one of the strategies in this project to add value to the most plentiful mineral on Earth."

Disquiet Luxurians feldspar ring by Emilie F Grenier

Grenier also produced range of feldspar gems, cut into simple shapes with the help of lapidaries at Holt Gems in London.

"The set of gems was designed with über minimalist shapes to expose the fragility of the stone," she explained. "Cutting them according to traditional gemmology standards would have rendered them too common, too commercial."

Disquiet Luxurians feldspar gems by Emilie F Grenier

A chunky ring she made is presented on a rough section of the material beneath a glass bell jar.

"The ring was inspired by art deco jewellery, from a time when women only wore the fanciest pieces at the fanciest soirées, but the jewels actually spent their lives in beautiful vanity cases and became instant heirlooms," Grenier said. "This was why it was important for me to design a vanity case as well, using a rougher cut of the stone to highlight its provenance, and the lapidary's craft."

Disquiet Luxurians brass tools for mining feldspar by Emilie F Grenier

Grenier completed the project when studying on the Textile Futures course at London's Central Saint Martins art and design college.

Photography is by Tristan Thomson.

  • lozza

    My brain wants to explode, and my belly regurgitate.
    Get a life people.

  • pizzaface

    hipster project △

  • Nick


  • Kalum

    I find this work oddly disconnected, if not tasteless, with the grim reality of mine workers around the world.

    But hey… design and luxury right? Why would jewellers care about that?

  • Alchemist

    Am I missing something?

  • George

    This is a joke, right?

  • Henry

    It’s an academic exersize, people. While the shapes of the tools themselves may be (at this point) played out, the thought process behind them is clearly provoking. Saw this in Milan as the Textile Futures booth was right near mine. Glad to see it getting more exposure!

    • Matt

      It’s depressing what an anti-intellectual forum Dezeen has become (although I agree with Kalum’s comment).

      • Calen

        Amen to that! I disagree with Kalum, thats over sensitivity to me. This is not a real proposal to have miners mine in silk suits and archaic tools. It’s about the idea of valuing the craft over the material. Material value is relative. The fineness of a craft defines its worth, not an arbitrary value assignment.

      • ereh

        Some call it intellectual, some call it desperate.

        • calen

          Yup, and some people call it the Library and some people call it “that building I stand in front of and ask for change”

          • erom

            Don’t be so harsh on the project. It is not that bad.

          • calen

            I’m for the project, I was making fun of ereh.

    • neez

      If you go down this route with a project you need an absolutely waterproof concept. Because that is all there is. But sadly a lot of conceptual work falls apart to nothing if you start questioning it a bit.

  • raphael

    Brass + tool = nonsense

  • amsam

    Dezeen’s coverage of the experimental/ whimsical/ conceptual side of the design world is worth it just to watch the peanut gallery splutter with their outrage. Pity we can’t have the actual conversation, but you can’t have everything, eh?

  • liaf uoy

    Didn’t really work then, did it?

  • thetruth

    You know you can have the actual conversation? just switch off the internet for once and go out. There is something out there that is called life. Many people seem to have forgotten this over commenting too much online.

    • amsam

      It’s a fine point, but why are you online making it, instead of living that something out there that’s called life?

  • Forgotten

    Maybe try to stay a bit more open minded?

  • LOW

    I think that was the point.