goldsmiths

Memorial Jewellery: pour your story in to your jewellery

Jewellery is often bought or commissioned to mark life’s happy milestones; a wedding, a birthday or an anniversary, but what about those moments that are not so happy, the difficult times in our lives which define who we are?

I’ve said it before, but I am an incredibly empathic person. (I’ve been known to cry at adverts! Do you remember the Yellow Pages one, J. R.Hartley, or am I just giving away my age…?) I have always loved to help people and often a design consultation ends up being more of a counselling session, as I listen to the stories that have led a person to our door. I find it hard to stay detached when someone lets me in to their most private moments, and always feel privileged that someone would trust me enough to share their stories.

You may not want to share your story and that’s fine, what is important is that you feel that the space we have created is safe enough for you to share if you want to.

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So what is memorial jewellery? Usually it is jewellery that commemorates a person who has died, but it can stand for whatever you want it to; the end of a relationship, overcoming an illness, or the start of a new chapter in your life.  Sometimes you just need something physical as a reminder. We have also been told by more than one person that the process of having something made or redesigned has a sort of healing effect. By encapsulating your thoughts and feelings in to a physical thing means that they no longer have to fill your head space as much.

But, what if you don’t know what you want to have made? Firstly, don’t worry, that is what we’re here for. The biggest step is starting the conversation, to see if you like the way we work and if you trust us to make this precious commission. It can be anything you want it to be; a ring made out of your Dad’s bracelet, earrings set with stones from your grandmother’s brooch, a pendant made to hold some ashes/a lock of hair, or even just a simple band ring. You know what it stands for and that’s all that matters. What is definite is that it will be unique to you, just like your experiences.

“You are unique, your jewellery should be too!”

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If you would like to read more about having something made at Varoshe then you can read our blog posts ‘How can I have something bespoke made?’, ‘Why should I have something bespoke made?’ or ‘A Case Study: Rob & Valeries engagement ring’

Still unsure? Feel free to get in touch, we are only too happy to answer any questions you might have.

I hope to see you in West Malling soon.

 Clare X

The Goldsmiths’ Craftsmanship & Design Awards

Every February a special event is held at the Goldsmiths’ Hall in London, which is noted in the diary of every jeweller and metalsmith: The Goldsmiths’ Craftsmanship & Design Awards. These prestigious awards are also called “The Jewellery Oscars” within the trade and are a celebration of all things metal; from the design to the finish piece, and all the processes in between.

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This year’s award has been especially close to our hearts because it was the year that Paul was invited to be a judge. It was a great honour, and I for one was very proud that Paul was asked.

In January Paul travelled up to London, to the Goldsmiths’ Centre, to look through this year’s entries along with his fellow judges. It was so interesting to see the awards from the inside because up until then we had only ever experienced them from the outside as entrants. I have always wondered how the awards were chosen so it was fascinating to hear about Paul’s experience…

Paul was judging the 3D Finished Pieces: Silversmiths, which included some impressive work. Each piece was laid out in one room for the judges to study and determine which, if any, were worthy of the award. All of the pieces were anonymous and the judges had to ask questions if they wanted to confirm any of the manufacturing details. The entries showed a variety of skills, including chasing, raising and box making. After a few hours of deliberation, the pieces that were to be given the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards were chosen. All that was left to do was to wait for the ceremony (which took place on Monday).

The awards are testament to the hours of hard work that go in to every design, every piece of jewellery or objet d’art, every stone that is set and every panel that is enamelled. The incredible skill that is evident within our trade always amazes me and the fact that I am a part of it makes me very proud. Every year I think about entering the competition again (it has been quite a few years), to see if I can win another award for one of my designs, and I know that Paul feels the same after his monumental win of the prestigious Jacques Cartier Memorial Award in 2009. (You can read more about Paul’s impressive, award winning model by clicking here.)

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Along with the usual award categories there are also special presentations which are given at the discretion of the Goldsmiths’ Council for their high standard of design or craftsmanship. The Jacques Cartier Award is one of these, another is the Goldsmiths’ Company Award, which this year was presented to the very talented John Moore (one of our lovely jewellers on display here at Varoshe). John’s incredible ‘Lacewing Verto Necklace’, is typical of his beautifully fluid and engineered style. His designs are stunning and I couldn’t be more proud to show his work in our little gallery!

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With Paul judging and John winning his very well deserved award, it has relit a spark in me, so much so that maybe 2020 will be the year that I enter the competition again…

If you want to read more about this year’s winners, then take a look at the 2019 brochure of the awards by clicking here

As always if you have any jewellery related questions please do get in touch, we are only too happy to try and help. You can find out how to contact us here.

Looking forward to seeing you in West Malling soon.

Clare X