In the studio, 'Desirs et Volupte' inspiring new jewellery


One of the major inspirations for me at the minute when working away on new pieces is an wondrous painting from the 'Desirs et Volupte' Exhibition which ran in the Musee Jacquemart -Andre this winter. I could stare at it all day, Les Roses d'Heliogabalus, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1888

What to do with an antique 1920s metal applique trim... when I saw it I was immediately drawn to the gorgeous art deco design, the handsewn gold and silver metal work, silk thread, and black jet glass beads. I've been looking at it pinned to my inspiration board for a few months, dreaming of ways to use it. So I have embellished it just a little with antique French metal sequins, swarovski crystals, metal beads and vintage czech glass beads. It is as the French say, "dans son jus" but I didn't want to overly-tinker with the beautiful craftsmanship

Detail from The Roses of Heliogabalus, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1888

I'm not generally into religious medals or symbolism but it seems that Dolce & Gabbana are determined to get us all wearing oversized, ornate religious-inspired jewellery. So I suppose I was subconsciously tapping into this when I found two beautiful antique 'Vierge' 1930s medals which are surrounded in tiny marcassite chatons, and there is an image engraved on the back with the apparition of the Virgin to Sainte Bernadette in the Lourdes cave .  I created one necklace which I have not taken off and have worn with everything for the last few weeks, and I just finished a second which I will soon put up in my etsy store. I have combined the medal with heavy antiqued metal beads,  and swarovski crystals in pewter, gunmetal and grey, the heavy gold chain ties with a black grosgrain ribbon.

For this piece, I incorporated an incredible antique crystal and silver belt buckle with an antique silk tassle (from the family archives), some vintage nailheads, swarovski crystals and the pendant hangs from a piece of antique silver cord thread. I don't know if I'll be able to part with this beauty....


This is another major personal favourite, I salvaged an antique mother of pearl belt buckle from early 1900s and created a pendant with an antique gold tassle, vintage czech glass beads, crystals , gold metal sequins and it might not make the etsy shop either .... I realise I am making these necklaces entirely to my taste (and thankfully others love them too!), but unfortunetly once they come together I dread the idea of selling them.... So perhaps I need to adopt some new tactics? How does one create something they don't personally love? Any advice?