[PHOTO- Teodora Alonzo]

MANILA, JULY 12, 2012 (STANDARD) By Ed Biado - Born in 1861, Philippine national hero Jose Rizal would’ve celebrated his 150th birthday last year.

This hallmark event was commemorated by various institutions throughout the country, particularly the National Historical Institute.

The celebrations haven’t ended, though, as many organizations still have “Rizal@150” activities this year, aimed to impress more widespread awareness about the life and times of the national hero and encourage discussions on history and nationalism.

Since the launch of “Rizal@150,” Rizal-inspired merchandise has also been popular among the buying public.

SM Kultura, the country’s premier retailer of all things Filipiniana, recently unveiled the latest designs from silver accessories brand Yzabelle.

In 2011, when it was first launched, the Women of Rizal collection by Yzabelle boasted of pieces inspired by the many loves of Rizal—Leonor Rivera, O Sei San, Nellie Boustead, Suzanne Jacoby and his mother, Teodora Alonso. Earlier this year, the collection expanded to include creations paying homage to sister Olympia and niece Emiliana Rizal and “sweet foreigner” Josephine Bracken.

[PHOTO- Saturnina Rizal]

Yzabelle is the brainchild of two of Rizal’s descendants, great-grandnieces Barbara Gonzales and Mia Faustmann, who are also the brand’s designers.

They were mainly inspired by the unforgettable line, “Only love will work wonders,” from their ancestor’s novel, El Filibusterismo, when designing the pieces in the Women of Rizal line.

The current collection is composed of jewelry sets (rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets) named after Teodora Alonso, Saturnina Rizal, Nellie Boustead and Leonor Valenzuela.

The Teodora range revolves around the black onyx stone, a strong statement. It is surrounded by feather-like details to soften its appearance and provide a sense of femininity.

The combination speaks of Alonso’s impressive educational background, profound influence in shaping the mind of the young Rizal and strength as a mother, teacher and role model.

Leonor Valenzuela

Delicate curve designs dictate the Saturnina range. Looking both like a flower and a heart, this set is inspired by Rizal’s eldest sister are a reflection of her love for family.

The cubic zirconia stone at the heart of every piece symbolizes the diamond ring she sent to younger brother Jose to help in his financial troubles.

[PHOTO- Nellie Boustead]

The updated Nellie Boustead range, on the other hand, is a collection of crosses that serve as an affirmation of faith and spirituality.

Pendants for black silk cord necklaces come in three variations: a simple cross, a prayer book and a combination of the two.

This design mirrors the fact that religion played a role in why Rizal and Boustead didn’t end up together—he was a Catholic while she was a Protestant.

The last range is Leonor Valenzuela.

Everyone knows about Leonor Rivera, but Valenzuela is often forgotten.

Yzabelle is now reminding us of the other Leonor, the lady whom Rizal wrote love letters to using invisible ink, which can only be read when heated over a candle.

This tidbit is expressed through flame-shaped mother-of-pearl set in silver.


[PHOTO- Leonor Valenzuela]






Yzabelle is exclusively available at SM Kultura.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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