Sassy Finds – Jewellery Designer Number Two
According to Archeology we have been adorning ourselves for over 100,000 years with nature’s gifts. Excavations have found shell beads which are the earliest signs that woman wanted to be more than a pretty face with jewellery as fashion.
Since then gem-stones have always been a part of our self-decoration. We all think of precious stones such as diamonds, rubies and sapphires – but in the realm of semi-precious there is a range of colour and shape which means that beauty is more than a sparkle. Instead it comes from differing hues and shades to be found in a single stone. It is little wonder that different gems have developed different meaning and many believe that their colour brings a different effect on the body. Rose Quartz for love; Amethyst for intuition; Aventurine for vitality – the list is as long as the number of precious stones. But even if you do not believe in their power, we can all see the impact when they are crafted into something more than a stone.
The Sassistas have been on the hunt for independent Jewellery designers who make things which are out of the ordinary. Number two is Rosemary Millar from REM Jewellery who makes stones into something sassily splendid.
This is what she has to say about her work. You can find out more about Rosemary by visiting the Sassy Directory.
How would you describe your jewellery?
Beautiful hand crafted jewellery made in the UK incorporating semi-precious stones that are as unique as I can possible find both in the shape, colour and type. There are always new stones being identified and I make it my role to find them where ever I can.
Where do you get your inspiration and what started you on jewellery design?
I started making jewellery because I love stones. I started collecting them a long time ago whenever I saw stones I loved. I looked for them on beaches, often finding carnelian, but then reached a point when I needed to do something with them. I decided to make jewellery but with no initial intention of selling them. However, over a short time a number of people saw them and either offered to buy them or sell them. It is like a hobby that has got out of control and I love it. I feel the stones themselves dictate how they want to be set and if I get it wrong they soon tell me and I have to reset them.
What materials do you use?
I design and make jewellery in silver and rolled gold (14ct filled gold) incorporating semiprecious hand-picked stones. I would love to make them in solid gold but that would make the price too high for my customer base. I have tried all different jewellery making techniques but now mainly use wire working as this provides the most flexible medium and I can set any stones regardless of shape and size down to 10 x 8 mm. However, I have also developed my own techniques not using wire but working just with fine and sterling silver. All items that include silver are hallmarked at the Birmingham Assay office.
Are you trained or self-taught?
My jewellery making is a combination of training, learning from other people and experimentation. I initially attended a Silver Smith course where I learnt many of the basics but then went on further courses including enamelling and using precious metal clay. I tried other techniques and finally found that wire work gave me more flexibility, although I have developed it further into my own techniques by experimenting with different materials.
Where do you work?
I work mainly in my small studio / work room at my home but do have a set of tools that I can carry with me to work elsewhere when necessary. I make everything and no one else is involved in the design or making.
Do you commission bespoke work?
I do make commissions, normally based on my current designs, although perhaps a different size or stone is specifically required. The most unusual request was to make four pieces of jewellery incorporating children’s teeth. I made one set of earrings, a pair of cufflinks and two pendants incorporating a tooth in each and also their birthstone for colour. I do wonder whether each of the recipients were a little bemused on receiving them. I have also reset stones and pearls from old pieces into a more modern setting for their owners.
Where can we see your work?
I have a web site www.remjewellery.com where there are examples of what I make, but there is information on the site as to where I am exhibiting my jewellery and there is also a current link to Etsy where I do sell some pendants. However, I can always be contacted via the web site and I can send pictures of any applicable jewellery pieces I have in stock and the sell can easily be handled from a distance.