Her most famous proclamation was probably "A woman should mix fake and real. I love fakes because I find such jewellery provocative..." and in this piece, I've mixed real pearls with fake, rather as she did herself. The very large (18mm) pearls on the chains above are "shell pearls", made by implanting balls of shell into molluscs and allowing them to lay down a layer of nacre over them; the smaller pearls are natural cultivated, though the dark blue ones are dyed.
Many people don't realise that her statement continued, "...I find it disgraceful to walk around with millions around your neck just because you are rich. The point of jewellery isn't to make a woman look rich but to adorn her; not the same thing."
This statement really made me think about my own work, about how I use found materials in the context of traditional "fine jewellery", mixing high and low, real with fake, precious with worthless. She also said - sniping at Cartier - "A jewel should not be meagre". It is no surprise that I find myself drawn to her work. It also makes the following review of my work especially flattering:
I was brought up in an environment where jewellery for men were limited to either a watch or a wedding ring. This simple view on the genders separation towards bling bling was shattered, when running into this man.
The Justified Sinner's attempt to revolutionise and change the way we view men's jewellery is no different to the way Coco Chanel accelerated women's trousers as a fashion piece. What fun would it be if everyone did the same thing? If Coco Chanel can give women a chance to make a fashion statement then why should men not take the same opportunity, when being given it by The Justified Sinner.
There is a main chain with connecting elements, featuring a steel cog set with a dark turquoise tourmaline; a pendant made from a discarded CO2 cylinder, set with rubies and garnets and hung with used sewing-machine needles from a derelict factory in Clydebank; a pair of earclips (in keeping with the 1930s feel) set with bright, pale aquamarines, pearls and pink quartz; three silver, pearl, chrysoprase, dumortierite and pink quartz chains and; a brooch made from two steel cog elements found in Pittsburgh, used sewing-machine needles, sterling silver and set with a pale bluish amethyst and four natural raspberry-pink spinels.
Here the piece is entirely assembled as a sautoir with the rear pendant shown. The brooch can be pinned on to stop the piece from moving or it can be worn loose as an element on the chain.
The brooch can also be worn alone or with other elements attached:
And the chains can be endlessly reconfigured:
Note the use of the earclip as a decoration on the left upper section of the chain.
Both the earclips become a pendant.
The three chains worn separately.
I am really pleased with this piece, another one ticked off on my list of unfinished pieces to finish.
Oddly enough, I have just received an email asking me to make a pair of Chanel-inspired, Verdura-style Maltese Cross bangles. Can't wait!
Christmas orders are coming in now. I've also been making a pair of iron and amber cufflinks:
In keeping with my nomination as a man of some style, I've just taken possession of my latest commissioned piece of clothing, a "Hollyhood" by the wonderful Silvia Pellegrino at Chouchou:
I first saw these at the photoshoot for SupBrooch, blogged a few weeks back. Stew was wearing one and when he first pulled it out of the bag, I wasn't really sure about it but after we did the shots and he showed me it being worn, I decided I had to have one, so contacted Silvia. This is the one she made me, using black Harris Tweed and grey Italian herringbone denim. Although she makes them primarily for women, I absolutely love the academic-monastic feel of them and I am going to have to get her to make me another one in earth colours!