A symbol of duality, the mask is the wall, the shield that guards the self against the surrounding reality. In sacred universes, it signifies temporary hospitality to the Gods. Thus, it grants the human being a direct line to the beyond, a connection with the spirits.
The mask, as an object, holds a particular fascination: it is turned both inward and outward at the same time; It allows a constant oscillation between the within and the without; yet something always seems to escape. It hides, veils, covers, deceives, manipulates – just as it protects and transforms.


The idea of this collection was born from observation, from a fascination with unique and exceptional objects. In 2020, Pierre Salanitro approaches the ECAL, the internationally renowned art and design school located in Lausanne, and proposes a collaboration: 14 student-designers are mobilized around a creative project with only one constraint – anything but watchmaking! The theme: originality with stones. The concept, the potential and the originality of the theme of the mask immediately capture Pierre's attention: each mask is envisaged as a work of art. Each mask has a name, an identity and a history. While the collection draws its inspiration from the masks of ancient civilizations, it is, from the outset, envisaged as resolutely contemporary; a modern reinterpretation of an ancestral object.



Connecting with the forces of the beyond in African lore… This S by Salanitro creation offers a contemporary reinterpretation of a mask from the Ngil secret society in Gabon, symbolizing authority, power, and the purifying force of fire. Recognizable by its heart-shaped face, exaggeratedly elongated with a bulging forehead and long, slender nose, the Fang society wore such a mask of justice as part of the ritual of identifying those guilty of witchcraft, among other things. Forming a militia, commissioned and funded by patrons, the society would move from village to village in response to unexplained deaths or suspicions of bewitchment.

The ritual primarily aimed to intimidate villagers with bad intentions or those who secretly kept forbidden ‘fetishes’, notably by having members wearing the mask surging out of the darkness at nightfall. Marked by its heart-shaped face, dramatically elongated with a pronounced forehead and a slender, elongated nose, the Ngil mask was worn by the Fang society in a ritual to identify those ‘guilty’ of witchcraft, among other accusations. Operating as a militia, under the commission and financial support of patrons, they went from village to village, especially in cases of unexplained deaths or allegations of sorcery. The ritual’s intent was to instill fear in those harboring malevolent intentions or secretly possessing prohibited ‘fetishes‘. This was achieved most strikingly by members donningthe mask, emerging from the shadows at dusk.



That masks have a magical dimension is a trait observed in cultures around the world and across the ages. This is still true today, as seen with the famous mask from Barong theater, a cornerstone of Balinese culture. Barong, a creature born in Balinese mythology, is the lord of the forest and the leader of the Forces of Good. With immense spiritual power to ward off evil, Barong is a benevolent deity whom the Balinese invoke in times of trouble. The mask that represents this spirit is considered the most sacred in the island’s traditions.

'Barong' also refers to one of Bali’s four iconic dances, which dramatizes the eternal battle between Barong and his nemesis, Rangda. While Barong symbolizes good, Rangda embodies evil, depicted as a demon queen and the incarnation of Calon Arang, a legendary witch who brought drought and epidemics to ancient Java during King Airlangga’s reign in the tenth century. When villagers attempted to confront her, she turned their attacks back upon them. It was at this critical juncture that Barong intervened, being the sole force capable of temporarily repelling her.


In Japan, the sacred fox wields mysterious magical powers. Tales and legends speak of its ability to take human form. Its polymorphic abilities are so profound that it can even transform itself into objects or other living beings. Its powers grow with age and wisdom.

An inseparable symbol of Japanese popular culture, the kitsune mask (狐) symbolizes the fox god. A supernatural spirit, its origins trace back to the era of samurai warriors, geishas and ninjas. Enveloped in fantasy and mythology, and intertwined with numerous urban legends, the fox, alongside the torii gates, cherry blossoms, and the katana sword, stands as a quintessential symbol of Japanese culture. Given Japan's incredibly rich history of masks, the existence of the kitsune mask as a tangible artifact holds a significance far beyond being merely a legendary object.



The first creation of S by Salanitro is inspired by the emblematic mask of Malinaltepec discovered in 1921 in southwest Mexico. In addition to the tesserae of turquoise, amazonite, obsidian and mother-of-pearl that cover the face, there is also a necklace of 55 pearls.

According to ancient beliefs, the addition of divine features to a funeral mask, in essence giving the deceased the face of a deity, ensured safe passage into the celestial world.



For the Warrior, the first piece in the mask collection, the technique chosen was that of a channel setting coupled with engraving. The stones are held by claws shaped with the finest chisel. The edges, cut back to visually free up the stone, are raised or lowered towards the base, a technique Salanitro’s teams master to perfection.

Engraving holds a particular charm. It consists in bringing a scene, a pattern to life by cutting into the material to obtain a play of reliefs and untouched areas, and emphasize aspects of the artistic creation. Here, the engraver reinterprets the history and the theme of war with the help of their chisels, attentive to the constraints of geometry and symmetry that leave no room for error. A millimeter too far, too deep or not enough, and the work is no longer in balance.



Each mask has its name, its own identity, and a story. The collection draws inspiration from masks of ancient civilizations, but it is, from the outset, conceived as decidedly contemporary; a modern reinterpretation of an ancestral object.



The sacrifice was an important part for the Mesoamerican cultures. Throuought Central and South America many civilizations practised rituals that envolved some kind of sacrifice. Xipe Totec repesented for the Mayas this very concept. The story of this character talks about giving his own life in order for people to have food and for crops to grow each year. The open mouth and the closed eyes represent the lifeless body of this divine being.



Each mask comes in a black presentation case created by the best sheath makers in Geneva. A mount is included, allowing the mask to be displayed on a wall. The mask can also be presented in its open box, as in a bespoke showcase, adding a tasteful decorative touch to the owner’s interior.


The masks in the collection evoke infinite diversity. Aztec, African, Japanese... all civilizations become a source of inspiration.

S By Salanitro offer personalized creations as part of a truly bespoke experience. The choice of materials, gemstones, setting techniques (pavé, seed or pearl), the number of stones…everything is possible when savoir-faire enhances creativity.

In making your dreams come true, the Swiss brand proposes to personalize every detail of what you hold in your mind’s eye. Let’s talk and see how we can best go about concretizing the objects that best define you, and define the contours of your project as a faithful reflection of your desires. Don’t hesitate to get in touch, we’re good listeners.