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Sunday, 31 October 2010

Honeymoon Jewels

I have now returned from an exhausting but wonderful few days of wedding and honeymoon - but jewellery has not, of course, been far from my mind...


Our honeymoon took us to Florence, where I was excited to hunt out some Italian jewellery. The Ponte Vecchio in particular is a jewellery magpie's dream - lined with shops housed in lovely little units that reminded me of giant desk-bureaus, window after window crammed full of every style and type of jewellery, from diamond encrusted chains to brushed gold cuffs;


Amongst some fairly standard pieces there were some quirky little finds to be had, mainly among the antiques. Apologies for the unavoidable reflection in the following picture, but I just love this big costume piece far to much not to share it - chains, cameos, cabachons and filigree all in one piece...


I was determined to find some jewellery to buy for myself as a lasting souvenir of the trip, and ended up finding a tiny (seriously, two customers was too much of a squeeze!) shop near our hotel selling vintage and vintage-inspired pieces. I could have bought the lot, but I decided to choose something I could wear everyday and will hopefully never tire of. I think these marcasite bow studs will make a pretty, everyday accompaniment to my usual uniform of vintage lace and denim;
I also picked up this little pearl and garnet clasp, which I have plans for - its far too sweet to wear at the back of the neck...


Finally, a jewellery related note from my wedding... Ready to leave from my parent's house on the morning of the wedding, I went to grab the finishing touch to my outfit - my beautiful vintage drop earrings - only to find they'd been 'helpfully' tidied away somewhere safe. With no time to search, I ended up accessorising my vintage rhinestone necklace with modern CZ studs pinched hurriedly from my sister's room. Of all the things it could have been - it shouldn't happen to a jeweller!


All photos - mine, for once...

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Fantasy Payday - Laura Gravestock

If this month's pay wasn't all heading straight towards my wedding, these would be heading straight to my ears... The Moroccan-feel piercing, the dangling chain, the warm gold to liven up my winter greys and navys - pretty much everything I could ask for in an earring right now.


I'm keeping my eye out to see how Laura does in the Ec One Unsigned competition, as I think she'd do well on the their shelves this Christmas - her work would make excellent presents. I saw her pieces at IJL this year and loved them as much in real life as I hoped I would; the detail and finish are just perfect.

Pictures copyright lauragravestock.com

Friday, 15 October 2010

Leather and Jet

In the interests of embracing variety, I'm going to contrast completely to my last post - the ultimate in precious materials - by today featuring pieces that aren't made of metal at all.


It feels like the use of fabric or plastics in jewellery has never been more popular - you're probably already lusting after a pretty Lanvin ribbon choker, a Dannijo stingray cuff, or a stack of Alexis Bittar lucite bangles in glowing multicolours. So to add to the lust list, here's two designers I've stumbled across who have crafted natural materials into some seriously covertable pieces;

Natalia Brilli:

Leather clothing swings in and out of fashion, but if I had just one of these Natalia Brilli necklaces*, crafted of the softest leather with trimmings of feathers, I can't imagine every taking it off - I'd become a neckwear Jim Morrison...


*also at the top of the page

Jacqueline Cullen:

Jet is generally considered a bit of an old fashioned material, almost automatically followed by 'Victorian mourning jewellery'. But Jacqueline Cullen's one-off carved jet rings, accented with gold or swarovski crystals, are nothing if not totally modern - rough, raw and beautiful. And they would go with everything...

I saw this amazing jet collar 'in the flesh' at Goldsmiths' Fair. It's imposing and gorgeous, studded with glittering crystals;

Pictures copyright jacquelinecullen.com and Natalia Brilli at chariotsonfire.com

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Opals for October, Antiques for Now

October is my birthday month, and if anyone was planning on buying me a birthstone-related gift they could do a lot worse than this Bogh-Art cocktail ring, coming up for auction in Christies' Dubai Sale. The custom cut opals have a fairytale fire which are the perfect foil to the wonderfully included cabochon emerald - a cut which gives much more impact than adding facets into the already glittering mix.


With the New York and Dubai sales later this month, there's some really amazing pieces on Christies at the moment, both contemporary and antique. Even if high-end bling isn't your bag, you can't help but appreciate the no-holds-barred design at this end of the market.

Plus, given jewellery's current penchant for vintage, there's design inspiration aplenty among the antique jewels - from quirky curiousities to stunning examples of period style. Can't you just imagine this remarkable Art Deco collar reworked into modern costume by Ca and Lou or Mawi?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Fantasy Bridal...

It's safe to say that I'm pretty immersed in bridal jewellery at the moment - I'm currently designing for our engagement ring range at work and my own wedding is less than two weeks away... The pieces catching my eye, however, are certainly not the insipid pearl/diamante creations that seem to dominate the back pages of wedding magazines.

There are so many beautifully, creatively designed pieces at the moment that are perfect for the big day; real investment pieces that would be wonderful for a wedding but become key pieces of your jewellery wardrobe afterwards, whatever your look:


Vintage Bride

Pearls, bows and crystal - so far, so very bridal. But Lauren Adriana's gorgeous drops are so clean and modern that there's no chance of looking ordinary. To complement a vintage-inspired look, a rose quartz ring by the inimitable Sho Fine Jewellery adds a soft blush of colour - gorgeous. Post wedding, a high necked lace blouse paired with cigarette leg jeans would be all you'd need to add to these jewels for a modern, ladylike look.


Edgy Bride

Could there be a better partner for a Vivienne Westwood dress than a thorny interlocking wedding/engagement ring set by catwalk jewellery daring Shaun Leane? Not only stunning, but very, very clever too - a really wonderful reworking of the many stacking-type rings on the market. To top off, a pair of diamond and pearl earrings by Phil Park - spiky, dripping, elegantly gothic.

Daring Bride


These incredible Ana De Costa earrings would be show-stopping with this strapless Lanvin mini, and your 'something blue' would be covered in a glorious pop of colour. Simultaneously sculptural and delicate, the Solange Azagury-Partridge ring will be a fabulous conversation piece when your guests do a double take at the trompe l'oeil rock... After the wedding, swap the bridal dress for a black one and you'll have a frankly stunning cocktail look.

And as for my own wedding jewellery? Well, as my dress is a 1940s number made from antique lace, I just had to have vintage - and when better to break out super-sparkly rhinestones than your wedding?


Necklace, earrings and engagement ring - vintage. Wedding ring - Megan Thorne at Kabiri. Vintage travel case - an early birthday present from my very-nearly-husband!

Photos copyright net-a-porter.com, philparkjewellery.com, astleyclarke.com, platformjewellery.com, laurenadriana.com, wolfandbadger.com

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Spiky and Beautiful

This week I visited The Goldsmith's Fair, as well taking as a trip down Bond Street to press my nose up against windows glittering with diamond studded after diamond studded confection...


I've got a good few designers I want to cover from Goldsmiths, but while I recover from my carat-induced snow blindness I'll leave you with a piece from the fair that grabbed my attention for being totally original and utterly striking.


This incredible David Webdale cuff (actually inspired by cathedral arcitecture) makes me think of evil snowflakes - beautiful and spiky. The saturated, glossy amethysts really lift the design and add a regal central focus, but in spite of this I think I'd actually be tempted to choose it without the stones so I could wear it with everything, all the time. How brilliant would an all black outfit look with this topping it off?



This pendant, however, I'd wear just as it is.... gorgeous.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Francis Mertens

I was lucky enough to attend the award party for the Lonmin Design Innovation Awards at the Serpentine gallery this year, and found the evening notable not only for the on-cue torrential rain, but for the ingenuity of the entrants in harnessing the properties of platinum in their pieces. The most effective entries were those that were not just beautiful designs, but that would not have worked in any other metal; whether exploiting strength, flexibility or colour.


I thought of this when looking at the remarkable titanium pieces by Frances Mertens, who has just launched a diffusion line with Astley Clarke. When it comes to a material like titanium, creating work that showcases the unique properties of the metal is not only a matter of good design, but a feat of skill and technology as well - titanium is very hard to work with.



Because of this, titanium in jewellery is usually used in industrial-feeling engineered men’s pieces, or set within more traditional materials such as gold or silver. But here, titanium is elevated to the seriously high end with glorious design and diamonds...

These beautifully considered earrings (each side is slightly different - such a modern touch) are huge in real life, but the use of feather-light titanium means they are both wearable and breathtaking.

Additionally, the colours chosen for the Astley Clarke diffusion line are absolutely on trend for Spring/Summer 2011 – warm bronze, dusky lavender and soft grey - again beautifully utilising one of the metal's most gorgeous qualities.

Images copyright www.idhtitanium.com and www.astleyclarke.com

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