Friday, 31 December 2010

2010 Favourites

2010 has been a good jewellery acquisition year for me - I've bought, made and been given some pieces I really adore - including my beautiful jewellery storage case;

So, reading clockwise from the left, here are my favourite pieces I'd added to my collection, and why. I've bought a lot of jewellery this year, including some chunky vintage and statement pieces, but it's very clear from this selection that my true favourites are light, delicate pieces that I can throw on everyday and plan to have and love forever.

1&2: Links of London - 18ct Gold Sweetie Chain & Silver Flutter and Wow Earrings

The tiny gold Sweetie chain is the perfect layering piece, worn on it's shortest length up against my collar bone. The Flutter and Wow studs are earrings for the laziest of days - they effortlessly go with everything but are sculptural enough to be just a little edgy.

3: Megan Thorne - 18ct White Gold Signature Band

My wedding ring - slim, textured and just that little bit different to a plain band. I actually love wearing it without my engagement ring, as it looks just so elegant on my ring finger.

4: 24ct Gold Vermeil Pendant.

One of my own pieces, I've made it just how I like my necklaces - collarbone length, motif-based and curvily tactile with a puffy 3d form.

5: Silver Bow Earrings

My honeymoon souvenir from Florence, another easy to wear addition to the 'classic' side of my jewellery wardrobe.

6: Guess - Gold-plated Watch

I bought this to celebrate my new design job, and have worn it everyday since. Gold, loose and just masculine enough to toughen up my outfits a treat - certainly an investment buy.

7: Shaun Leane - Cherry Blossom Ring

I mentioned this ring only a few days ago, but suffice to stay I hope it is the start of a collection - I plan to own far more Shaun Leane by this time next year...

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Jewellery Envy: Nefretiri

There's jewellery inspiration to be found anywhere, including post-Christmas television.

With my historian husband currently gripped by biblical Eygpt in 'The Ten Commandments', I've only got eyes for Nefretiri's jewellery. It's not just the pieces themselves but the noise she makes when she moves, dripping as she is with swinging, jangling chains. The look in it's entirety is probably a little much for everyday, but I'd wear that cuff straight from the screen.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

'Wise Buys' - My Sale Picks

It's incredibly easy to get carried away when the sales are on... A piece by a designer you've been reading about all year pops up at 50% off, and before you know it you've got over-excited and purchased a big spangly piece of designer costume jewellery when really you're a fine-gold-chain sort of girl.

I knew what I was looking for in the sales this year, and haven't been able to quite find the perfect pieces, so I'm keeping my money to spend on items I love later on. With one exception; I have treated myself to this tiny little Giles & Brother gold suitcase necklace. It's just lovely - the chain is so fine in real life and the clasp is a pretty horseshoe, I haven't taken it off.

If I wasn't being quite so strict with myself (or my budget allowed!), I would certainly be indulging more this year. Amongst some very trend led jewels which are lovely but not necessarily wise choices, there are some fantastic pieces by great designers which I think would be real investment purchases. I've selected my top 'picks' based on their use of lovely materials, unique-yet-lasting designs and exciting designers to own a piece by...

Fine Jewellery.

Vicent Agor Riad Earrings, now £395, Pippa Small bracelet, now £1220 - both Astley Clarke. Stephen Webster ring, now £4550 – EcOne.

Silver Jewellery:
Zoe & Morgan Ring now £51 - Asos. Bottega Veneta Beetle Ring, now £161, Alex Monroe Earrings now £153 - both Net-a-porter. Zoe & Morgan Bracelet now £218 - Matches.

Fashion Jewellery:

Dannijo Stingray Bracelet, now £140 - Net-a-porter. Bijoux Heart Earrings, now £144 - Net-a-porter. YSL Ring, now £126 - Matches.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Lucky Me!

Christmas has been very, very good to me this year. Not only did I get the two books I wanted...

...but I also got this Shaun Leane Cherry Blossom ring:

I've been lusting after this ring for a good couple of years now, and it really has been worth the wait. Beautifully designed and constructed, it's weighty and delicate at the same time, just exquisite with its bumpy, thorny band and curling petals.

I love it!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Chanel Paris-Byzance

This look from the Chanel Paris-Byzance show is just utterly stunning. A look so heavily adorned could easily look vulgar or old fashioned, but every detail of the ensemble - from the up-do to the buttons - is incredibly elegant. The slight slouch in the dress and the t-shirt length sleeves add a sweetness and casualness that offsets the piled-on gold jewellery; the richly textured pieces just glowing against the black canvas.

For More: The Show Video, Chanel News, beautiful Blogger report at The Cherry Blossom Girl (where the above picture is via).

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Fantasy Christmas Party

For my work Christmas party on Friday I added a little colour to my black lace dress with a festive dripping of gold; a long necklace of fine chains, a bracelet and a star-burst brooch, finished with a scarlet vintage clutch and plenty of red nail polish and lipstick.

I would have been easily persuaded from my very seasonal palette, however, by this blue enamelled snake necklace currently on Kentshire. Vibrant and sensual at the same time, I can picture it looking so perfect with any neckline - sitting at the very base of the neck, the snake's head curving between the collar bones.

On my wrist, I'd continue the focus on beautiful textures with this diamond set cuff in corrugated, scalloped gold. The design makes it simultaneously delicate and statement - both architectural and textile.

I'd top my outfit off with a gold and lapis ring, and have a colour scheme that's arguably more transferable through the rest of the year....

Pictures and pieces from

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Lustings from Manchester

Today I visited Manchester for some market research and inspiration, exploring every jewellery shop I could find - from the commercial high end to designer-makers at Dazzle. Mid way through the day I headed to the two Wave Jewellery shops, a needed interlude from engagement rings - after taking in the near-identical offerings of three shopping centres I was starting to be a little diamond dazzled...

I first went into W Collection, having already spotted Daisy Knights and Joanna Cave in the window. Inside, I was delighted to spot blog favourites Yuki Mitsuyasu and Laura Gravestock, plus Imogen Belfield (below). These newer, more fashionable designers were sprinkled among some more established makers, and to me they were the highlight.

Next door, Wave Contemporary Jewellers offered a lust-inducing case of beautiful Shaun Leane pieces, plus Stephen Webster – although sadly (fortunately??) not the Rapture ring that I’m longing to see in the flesh. The buyers for both stores have got it so right – the stock is like a ‘best of’ of IJL and graduate shows, with plenty of different styles and price points.

I’m reluctant to admit it, given that Manchester already have designs on our claim to second city, but the residents of Manchester really do have far better access to incredible new and established designers than we do here in Birmingham.

And the result of this? Well, my lust list now has two definite additions. Shaun Leane’s Blackthorn earrings are currently Adorn’s item of the week, so my attention was immediately drawn to them in Wave’s window. In real life, they’re bigger than I’d anticipated and oh, so gorgeous - they would fit so well with my usual black-lace uniform. Finally, in the Trafford Centre Selfridges I fell, hard, for the tiniest diamond Annoushka necklace – the Hand of Fatima pendant is absolutely miniscule and would be the most incredible layer-with-everything piece.

Pieces and Pictures copyright,,,

Also see and

Monday, 13 December 2010

Christmas Part V - Earrings

Part Five? Certainly getting closer!

Parts I - IV

Earrings make wonderful presents, but they can be tricky to get right - when your recipient has firm ideas about just how large a hoop constitutes tacky, non-returnable mistakes are best avoided. In fact, I've already had to reallocate one vintage pair after their intended new owner revealed a hitherto unknown hatred of clip-ons on our latest shopping trip together. So, I've picked designers who offer pieces I think are safe bets while being so far from boring...

Over £200 - Shaun Leane
Shaun Leane's pieces actually start from £125, but if you can stretch your budget you'll be able to indulge in a stunning, icy diamond pair (top). Gorgeous, classic design with a hint of a dark side, all made in the most beautiful of materials - buying a piece of Shaun Leane jewellery is without doubt an investment in all uses of the word. Drops might be riskier than studs, but these pieces are just so wonderful I'd be amazed if you get anything less than a rapturous response...

Featured Pieces £285 - £965, from

£100 - £200 - Laura Gravestock
It's no secret which earrings I want to find under the tree, but Laura Gravestock genuinely has made a pair to suit everyone. Drops, studs, hoops in two sizes, silver, gold, stone set, plain, minimalist, ornate... wow... And yet, her collection is still so cohesive, despite the near dazzling array of choices.

Featured Pieces around £155,

Under £100 - Beth Gilmour

These pretty Beth Gilmour 'Wreath' studs even have a festive name, and in gold or blackened silver they'd make a stylish gift. The wreath foliage is fern-like rather than floral, so I think they'll suit everyone from ditsy-print wearers to those with a harder-edged look - just imagine the gold studs topping off a leather leggings outfit...

Featured pieces £80 and £50, from

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

In the Interests of Balance - Vice v. Virtue

So, Stephen Webster may be all about the sins (and who can blame him?)... but when Solange Azagury-Partridge and Jessica McCormack took on the theme, they balanced the karma by exploring the oposing virtues, too...

Solange Azagury-Partridge - 'Seven' - Kinetic Vices and Virtues Ring;

Jessica McCormack - 'XIV' - Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Contrary Virtues;

L-R: Anger, Lust, Patience, Virtue,

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

My Deadly Sin of Choice...

About two weeks ago I saw some CAD pictures of an incredible ring - made of an impressive number of interlocking arms and legs that fitted perfectly together to hug a central stone. Only a couple of days later I saw some launch pictures for Stephen Webster's new Seven Deadly Sins, and recognised the Lust ring immediately, all the more glorious for it's stunning central tanzanite.

Knowing how complicated the ring's construction is only makes me like it more, but I'm sure it would be my favourite anyway. The tangled limbs make me think of the Lovers in Dante's Inferno, eternally punished for their sins by being swept en masse on the winds of hell. In my final year of jewellery school I designed a set of rings based on the Inferno - which, despite being described in one magazine as 'hot stuff', was actually inspired more by passionate love than sexual lust.

Webster's piece, however, is definitely the embodiment of lust - to me, it seems to be a heady cross between Dante and the Karma Sutra. There's poetry in the cool colours and smooth forms, but an underlying sense of decadence and orgy in the groping hands and confusion of limbs.

To see the whole range, check out the blog post at Adorn London, and the ensuing debate for favourite!


Sunday, 5 December 2010


My little sister's training to be a doctor, and I've been spent the last couple of nights searching for anatomical or skeletal jewellery as a possible Christmas present. Unfortunately, human body part jewellery has proved generally less than inspiring, so I've been quickly distracted by animal skeleton pieces that seem to be having their moment in jewellery.

Literal casts of bird and rodent skulls are everywhere - and very Harry Potter - but here's some jewellers who interpret this inspiration in far more interesting ways...

Pamela Love

It may be easy to find far cheaper alternatives to her pieces (Etsy is awash with skull pendants and talon cuffs), but her styling and personality make me want a Pamela Love original. Plus, her human heart actually looks like a heart, unlike the legions of copy-cat castings.

Keeping one step ahead of the copies, her latest range steers away from the skeletal and embraces tribal and rough crystal, a direction I think I prefer.

Dominic Jones

Talons, claws and teeth have been classic jewellery motifs and materials since adornment began, but Dominic elevates potentially tired inspiration by using them in sleek and unusual ways. A jaw bone along the flap of a clutch, perhaps, or claws flaring out into a knuckle-duster look, but always with a polished finish and fashionable plating. A bat skull looks almost sophisticated when it's in glossy rose gold...

Gisele Ganne

My favourite use of the theme has to be the beautiful and melancholy divorce jewellery by Gisele Ganne. The polished gold and coloured flowers belay the heartache behind the inspiration, mourning and joy seemingly intertwined in skulls and flora.


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Albion Trinketry

Whilst in Florence, I took a number of photos of sunburst-detail adorning religious articles, with the intention of using the beautiful, folded textures as inspiration for some jewellery designs.

Having had these images floating around my head for the last few weeks, I was immediately drawn to this gold pendant when I spied it - surprising myself somewhat as the piece actually transpired to be from Pete Doherty's new jewellery range...

I'd be lying if I claimed to have been anticipating this launch with much excitement, as I'm far from a Doherty fan. Given that the range was produced with Hannah Martin, however, I really should have known better. Combining her penchant for the boys of rock 'n' roll with incredible design skill, she seems to have steered this collection to a really rather impressive outcome.

I'd be interested to know if Doherty's role was anything more than muse in the development of this collection. The overall feel to the range is arguably Doherty - there's a firm nod to his vintage style, and the very literal historical elements are more detailed than usually seen in Hannah Martin's own lines.

It is in the real design details that Hannah's skill and influence is evident. The pieces are true to her 'jewellery for boys that girls want to steal' aesthetic, glossy gold and silver contrast with oxidised black, and the jewellery has a weighty, quality look.

It's not very saintly of me, but I can never help but be both sceptical and (secretly) slightly annoyed when celebrity 'designers' seem to be able to add my hard-won profession to their CV with little more than their fame as experience. However, I'm more than happy to admit when the results are good - particularly when they've been openly created in 'conjunction' with a genuine and respected jeweller.

Photos: my own (taken in Florence),,
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