Monday, 9 February 2009

Theme: Let the words do the talking...

I have to admit something - I have a bit of a love for personalised jewellery. Some think it's a little tacky if not a bit tongue in cheek, whilst others - like me - love the fact that you're wearing something unique; yours and nobody else's.

But whilst personalised goodies are great, just as irresistible are those less personal, but just as wordy pieces, as seen in past and present collections by Ginette NY, Solange Azagury-Partridge, Jeanine Payer and Allumer.

I was reminded that all need not be 'Kathryn'd' when rummaging through my jewellery box I discovered my much loved, but recently neglected silver 'Believe' necklace by Dogeared. This was one of my first pieces of 'real' jewellery, which I still adore for the simplicity of the smooth word pebble. It also means a great deal to me because, if I remember back that far, I must have been about 16 and approaching the dreaded G.C.S.Es... So back then 'Believe' was very apt - and the exam results were OK in the end!
So I've scoured some of my favourite jewellery designers to see what they have been up to when it come to words. And my! there are some pretty - and often affordable - results.

One of my favourite London-based designers, Becca, adds endearing and loving phrases to her charm necklaces and bracelets. The 18ct gold 'sweetness' scroll necklace (below), with little ruby and rabbit, is the perfect present for any loved one. Becca makes in both silver and gold, and is a dab hand at enamelling, too. Keep an eye on her website for new examples and bespoke pieces.

So I know they're probably meant to be name necklaces, but Lady Luck Rules OK have an ever-changing range of playful, wordy wooden necklaces, all hand-made in their Brick Lane studio. Featuring designs such as a Russian doll (below) anchors, swallows (below) and - just in time for Valentine's Day - a pair of lovebirds, they're cute, affordable and unique. I have the nautical heart with - I know - my name on it, but anything is possible within the word limit. They also make brooches, which are great for those discerning males who prefer to wear their words elsewhere!

Laura Lee is one of those jewellery designers who creates the kind of jewellery I dream about: traditionally styled, super detailed but ultimately feminine. When I first moved to London I made it my mission to track down her Covent Garden boutique - and I was not disappointed! It's worth going just to see her fabulous window displays, most recently with an Alice in Wonderland theme, all chintzy teacups and sparkles. Her recent collection - timed well with the relaunch of her website - features pretty, Edwardian inspired rings and lockets, delicately engraved with divine phrases such as 'You make my heart sing' (locket, below) and 'Wish upon a star'... I'm saving up already!

Last but not least, we come to surely the name in wordy jewellery - Jeanine Payer. To me, she wins the crown, perhaps not so much for the design but the time and effort she puts into her jewellery. Each piece is hand engraved, by her, with some featuring quotes or poems several lines long. The boyfriend is especially fond of Jeanine's 'Palmer' cuff, for its quote from Rainer Maria Rilke (below, right), and though I'm a sucker for her rings I also love the slimline bangle with the quote by Appolinaire (below, left).

So there it is! Although personalised jewellery is just as popular as ever, these few designers demonstrate just how diverse word jewellery can be. And with many designers open to bespoke ideas, all you have to do now is think up the perfect array of words!

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