‘CELEBRATING JEWELLERY’ BY RACHAEL TAYLOR
Next up in our exciting series of features written by ‘movers and shakers’ in the fashion and jewellery industry, Rachael Taylor, editor of Professional Jeweller, talks about what the title ‘Celebrating Jewellery’ means to her…
"To truly celebrate jewellery, I believe, you have to really get to know the person who has most closely scrutinised, agonised over and lovingly crafted that accessory that you throw on moments before leaving the house: the designer. For jewellery enthusiasts, there is perhaps a little more thought to the process than this callous description of dressing rituals, but what is probably little thought about is how many man (or woman) hours go into each trinket we own; not just the time spent actually hammering and casting and setting and plating, but the time spent imagining the possibilities that a piece of bullion, or a rough-cut slice of agate or a bird feather can divine.
In the modern world, communication flows freely. If I want to find out where a jewellery designer went to school and what their favourite colour is I can probably do it within a few minutes of making the decision to buy their earrings, thanks to some quick Googling, and while it might seem to many like inconsequential information when compared with an appraisal of the piece of jewellery itself or the price, I think it is entirely essential. I don’t buy jewellery unless I know who has made it, because to celebrate jewellery is to celebrate the talent and skill that has gone into its creation and that is to celebrate the designer.
I recently commissioned a piece of jewellery that I think epitomises the theme of this post of celebrating jewellery. I had wanted to buy a gift, something special, to celebrate my best friend’s 30th birthday L, but rather than buy off the shelf I decided to go bespoke. Very bespoke, in fact. I approached London-based designer Laura Gravestock about the project, who is a fantastically talented and flexible jeweller, and asked her to create a bracelet for me that featured a skull in the style of quirky illustrator David Shrigley.
The reason I chose this theme was because my friend had been banging on about getting a tattoo of this skull on her wrist for years but to date has not had the, ahem, balls. By creating a bracelet that fitted snugly round the wrist (complete with a bone-shaped clasp etched with her name) she could replicate the tattoo in silver without the need for needles. This one-off, completely unique piece of jewellery celebrates my friendship with this person, her love of David Shrigley, Laura’s talents as a jeweller (this task had really pushed her as she had to design freehand and usually works with computer-aided design tools) and it was a celebration for me to see a little idea that had nestled in the back of my mind for some time spring to life within a matter of weeks.
Jewellery is all about stories – you just have to tune into the Antiques Roadshow for a couple of minutes to realise this – and when you can tell the tale of how your piece of jewellery came to life and just who made it, it becomes all the more precious, particularly when it goes on to become a part of your life story. So if you truly want to celebrate jewellery, don’t treat it as a commodity or a throwaway accessory but value it, understand it, treasure it and pay a little bit of homage to the person who no doubt suffered a broken nail or two to bring it into life".