Friday, 29 July 2011

Love... by Zoe & Morgan

Gorgeous jewellery, gorgeous promotional images. Business as usual over at Zoe and Morgan, then!

Gypsy Love earrings can be found here - they'd be just about perfect with anything...

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Jewellery from my Travels

This weekend I have finally got round to mending a string of enamelled metal and painted wooden beads I picked up in the Souks of Marrakesh about four years ago (and which have been broken for nearly two...)

Procrastination issues aside, I thought this would be a good opportunity to show off two of my most prized pieces in my jewellery box, bought on my travels to Marrakesh and Istanbul respectively.

Not only are they a reminder of wonderful trips (and furious haggling), but each encapsulates the jewellery style I found in each city. The intricate beads on my black and gold necklace evoke the detailed lattice work of Moroccan architecture and metal work, while the faux-lapis of the collar is typical of the jewellery that filled the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

I'm a big fan of dressing simply and letting my jewellery add interest, and today my Elizabeth and James silk blouse (probably the most hardworking item in my wardrobe) is providing a perfectly simple backdrop to my newly restored necklace.

I'm seriously planning my next holiday around where the best markets for picking up jewellery may be, as there's nothing more special than wonderful, statement pieces that also tell the story of your travels.
Photos my own, via Instagram.

Monday, 11 July 2011

New Designers - Best Of

Last week I visited New Designers, which hosted a range of graduating students from courses and universities all over the country. Jewellery, textiles, print, sculpture and fashion were all represented, making it a wonderful show for discovering new talent, trends and inspiration - and there was some seriously impressive work this year. Many of the students had developed quirky ideas and visitor-interaction to make their stands more memorable, such as Alex Laurie's spinning pieces, rigged up to a foot-operated air pump which added a bit of fun to his display;

I've come home with a sizable stack of business cards from the exhibition, but not all of the students have a web presence - making it harder to get images - and featuring them all would be a bit much in one post. So, I've picked two exhibitors' whose work really impressed me to feature - not only for their design, but for the thought both had put into the whole package of their brands...

I loved MA student Madeline Moxham's pieces immediately - made from gorgeous leather in black and blush-pink, they have the graphic aesthetic I adore. As an accessories designer, as opposed to strictly jewellery, her comprehensive and cohesive range encompasses jewellery, bags and belts, all totally covetable and beautifully made.

On visiting her website I was even more impressed to find out that the Moxham brand was well underway - with a logo, blog, the beginnings of an online shop, model photography and professional packaging. This is exactly the kind of work a student seriously wishing to build a brand after university needs to have put in - she is ready to launch a extensive range to buyers and consumers, backed up with slick branding.

Given that most of the jewellery students I spoke to at New Designers did plan to launch their own lines, it seemed it was a surprising minority who had started to think about these 'extras'. When sorting through the pile of business cards I picked up, a couple don't even have pictures of the student's work on them - and so, website-less, I have no reminded of what the student's work was and why I picked up the card in the first place.

I'm going to end with a student who not only has a well developed and thought out brand, but was also one of very few exhibitors who were tackling the ethical market. I was surprised not to see as much of this, given how important ethical issues are and that students are often at the forefront of such movements. However, having heard how much time, effort and money Helen Dobson has put into researching and sourcing her materials and suppliers, I can understand why for many students it is a step too much - making Helen's success in producing 100% ethical jewellery all the more impressive.

Helen has struck a balance between commercial and concept, such as in her 'Precious' range of pomanders. Designed to begin a discussion about what constitutes 'precious', they are beautiful, wearable pendants. She has also embraced technology in her work, in a completely original use of vegetable ivory. Intricately laser cut and set with ethical coloured gemstones, they are a unique offering for customers that want more gallery-style work.

In addition to jewellery, New Designers also showcased an array of print and textile work which I found beautiful and inspiring. I'm going to feature these students in the 'Moodboard' section of the blog, so please see there for more gorgeous inspiration!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Jewellery Wardrobe Project: Vintage Bling

I thought I'd start of the JWP series with something a little more exciting than the usual 'studs/pendant/bangle' - although these jewellery wardrobe staples are certainly soon to follow...

Over the past few months, photos featuring vintage rhinestone costume jewellery has popped up all over street and personal style blogs. But forget after-dark glamour - these pieces look modern and unexpected teamed with simple basics such as a classic white shirt or a t-shirt and blazer.

My own version of this staple is a vintage rhinestone necklace I bought for my wedding last year, which suited my antique lace dress perfectly. But it also works just as well with a basic sleeveless shirt and skinny jeans outfit, adding a bit of personality and sparkle to what would otherwise be a really simple look;

I found my necklace by trawling Etsy, where there are plenty to be found.  To find the best pieces (as opposed to risking cheap modern second hand passed off as vintage) I'd start your search at £40 and upwards, where there are excellent examples of both clear and stunning coloured versions;

Top photos from Honestly...WTF, The Coveteur and The Glitter Guide. Final necklace can be purchased here.

Basics do not have to be boring - you'll get so much use from a unique piece in your jewellery wardrobe that you can pull out, throw on and immediately liven up the simplest of outfits.
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