FIELD NOTES blog » Jewels tell stories

Jewels tell stories

When I was about 10, I wrote my first novel, an epic adventure about a warrior princess. Painstakingly hand written in book format, I drew the cover design (on her chariot leading the troops – I think I’d just heard about Boadicea), stapled it together and presented it to my parents for their reading pleasure.

Needless to say I didn’t get the rave reviews that help one to top the New York Times bestseller list. But, for a while there I was quite convinced that I was going to be a novelist (this was after I was going to be an actress, and before I was going to be an architect).

And then I ended up being a jeweller, and I could never work out why cos it was never on the list.
Except I always enjoy telling the tale that I saw ‘gold & silversmithing’ in the art college prospectus and had visions of lost ancient worlds (at some point archaeologist was on the list too).

AmberClaw

Now I realise that jewellery is storytelling.
Making jewellery involves stories, not just the ideas, but the materials – gems, metals, feathers, etc, all have tales to tell. Then there’s their life once they leave the maker’s bench, and begin to inhabit bodies and jewellery boxes and shoeboxes under the bed. They get lost, or stolen, they end up in the middle of someone else’s story.

I was fascinated to learn that gold never breaks down, and the vast majority of gold in circulation, even in new pieces of jewellery, has been out of the ground for many centuries.

Molecules of time, crossing centuries and passing through many lives.
A ring made from antelope horn found in a market in Marrakech, my grandmother’s engagement ring, a pair of sparkly crystal earrings my mother wore dancing at Cloudland (it’s a Brisbane thang…).

One of the things that I love about having made jewellery for more than 20 years is now so many pieces have stories to tell about all that time they’ve spent with their peeps.
Some are still being worn daily, others wait quietly for their moment in the spotlight again.

Not so long ago I got an email from someone who’d felt the urge to bring one of her SKjewels (circa 1991) out of the closet again.
“I gave my piece an outing last week” she said “and the old magic was definitely there with many compliments.”
How fantastic that the necklace had a chance to work its glamour again, that jewel and wearer could work it together!

A while back I thought about compiling all the stories that people have told me about their pieces of jewellery. But I never did, and now I can’t remember most of the tales.

Do you have a piece of SKJ ancient history? Or perhaps it’s more recent history? Or do you have a fantastic story about a piece of jewellery you inherited, you found somewhere, or that you lost and is out there still travelling? If you do have a tale to tell please tell me by leaving a comment below…

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