I feel it appropriate to divulge a little about myself and my background before simply diving head first into a barrage of information about mourning jewellery and customs. What follows can be considered a concise history of me.
I have always adored jewellery. A plain and simple statement that needs little explanation. Call it magpie instinct but for as long as I can remember the sparkle of a diamond has always captured my attention so at the age of 16, CV in hand, I wandered up and down my local high street in search of a “proper” job. As luck would have it a kindly manager in a jewellery shop took pity on me and the very next day I was in the employment of a national jewellers. Here I was given a great level of basic training and over the following years I built on my knowledge working for independent jewellers, I sat trade exams hosted by the National Association of Goldsmiths and thoroughly enjoyed the modules of study.
On a slightly mad whim I decided to take my education further and enrolled on a gemmology course at the School of Jewellery in Birmingham. I learnt in depth the science behind gemstones; how they are formed, what gives them their colour and what makes them unique. I also developed jewellery making skills and studied the history of fine arts. This gave me a new appreciation for various artistic movements and how the world around us has a profound effect on jewellery creations.
Following my stint at university I came upon a position with an independent jewellers who deal with antique jewellery. For me this was the ideal placement, here I could combine my love of jewellery with my fascination with history. Each day I am lucky enough to deal with pieces of jewellery that are hundreds of years old. These pieces offer a glimpse into a world lost to time. They reveal not only the fashions and styles of bygone eras but also the social history in which these items were born. Mourning jewellery in particular is charged with passion, often the piece include a dedication or engraving that hint at how their owners would have lived. These pieces draw you in, they almost demand to be decoded. They are physical proof that memory and life can continue long after death.
Please join me soon for my next post; “A brief history of mourning jewellery”