“Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of paradise… ” Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885)
Celeste, like its stellar epithet, is both timeless and universal in nature and design; its textured surfaces and incandescent qualities reflect myriad colours and emotions. Created as a tangible symbol of love and remembrance, she has been lost at sea; waiting for the stars to align to emerge from the depths and into the hands she was destined to be with.
Last year I was commissioned by Gill Wing Jewellery gallery to design a ring for their new ethical heirloom collection. I myself was already navigating my way through a tumultuous time in my life, and then thrust into the pandemic, it felt to me that the whole world was going through this unified journey of the unknown. We had all been thrown off course, and whilst we could have abandoned this project amongst the chaos, instead it became our focus to create a ring that would explore jewellery as the most symbolic talisman. A precious ring's physical presence can be anchoring in times of uncertainty, and provide us with a symbol of hope.
Drawing on influences in literature which crucially impact my design practice, I was constantly brought back to the sea. Themes of longing, love and destiny underpin the inspiration for Celeste; the main being Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Beginning with a destructive shipwreck, the story talks of passions of lovers or bonds of sibling-hood, separated by the fatalistic, cruel indifference of raging oceanic tempests, but who are fated to be reunited in the end. Drawing on the decadence of jewellery from this historical era in a loose rather than literal way imbues Celeste with a wealth of artistic interpretation to be determined by the limitless and individual imagination of the wearer.
The Celeste ring has been meticulously crafted using the ancient technique of lost wax casting, using Fair-trade 18ct gold in which gemstones are set into the sculpted wax. There is an element of mystery in the act of casting this way; the stones may change in colour, the texture may appear different when realised in metal. The central sapphire, thought by ancient cultures to imbue mythical properties of wisdom, harmony, truth and balance also mirrors the watery depths of the sea. There are 12 diamonds circling the outer halo of the ring, much like the numbers on a sundial tracing the passing of time. Each of these are antique or reclaimed from old broken down jewellery. Delicate paths of pave set blue and green diamonds add another layer of detail.