Eternally Yours – the Wedding Ring

The exchange of wedding rings as a sign of the marriage union has been practised for thousands of years. Among the earliest indications of the custom can be found in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs that depict the wearing of wedding rings, but it is impossible to be certain when or where the practice really originated.

The ring is highly symbolic. Today it represents eternal love and commitment but in ancient cultures the meaning was much deeper. The ring was a symbol of eternity and reflected the constancy of the motion of the heavens and the never-ending cycle of the seasons. The ring also represented the passage of the sun and moon (as seen in the numerous stone circles made by the ancients and in their art). The sun and moon represent the male and female aspects of the cosmos, and this was represented in the preference of giving one spouse a gold band (associated with the sun) and the other a silver one (associated with the moon).

Even today, there is some paranormal significance attached to the wedding ring. In many religious marriage ceremonies, the ring is blessed to protect the wearer and to signify that the marriage is sanctified in the eyes of God. And, the customary wearing of the ring on the third finger of the left hand also has mystical connotations.

The Romans, and possibly even the Egyptians, believed that the ring finger, as it has become known, contained a vein – the vena amoris – that ran directly from the finger to the heart. Even though there is no evidence that such a vein exists the practice of wearing the wedding ring on that finger is still almost universal in the Western world.

But there are other schools of thought. One is that each finger is astrologically linked to a heavenly body and the ring finger of the left hand is associated with the sun; hence the wearing of gold – the traditional metal of the sun – on that finger. The finger is also associated with the Greek god Apollo who, among other attributes, was said to be the god of light and the sun.

Traditional wedding rings take the form of a simple gold band and these are still enormously popular. They have an enduring beauty and elegance that is hard to resist. Some modern couples, however, prefer to move away from the traditional and often like to incorporate gemstones like diamonds in their rings. Also becoming more popular are rings of Celtic design. These stunning rings have an open geometric pattern that is a stylised depiction of vines and other flora so often found in traditional Celtic art.

Whatever the ancient or traditional meanings of the wedding ring, it is today a token of love, given freely as a symbol of the eternal bonding of two people in marriage. It is a public statement of commitment to another and a personal reminder of that commitment. It should be worn with love and pride.

Why not start browsing online for your ideal ring – Goldsmiths have a great collection.

Jian of London Stardust Collection – one word – WOW!

September will see the launch of  Jian of London’s eagerly awaited Stardust Collection. This is an amazing array of beautiful luxury gem set jewellery that is so innovative in its design, it has already been awarded with an International Jewellery London special editors award for technical excellence, even before its official launch.

So what is so special and different about the Stardust collection? Well. Stardust applies to the  free-floating jewels that continually sparkle and dance within a clear liquid filled sapphire dome, giving a range of rings, pendants and earrings an effect similar to a shimmering snowglobe. Stardust designs use an interesting  range of natural gemstones in a multitude of colours, settings, shapes and sizes that enable you to create the perfect piece of jewellery for yourself, or a loved one.  What I really love about this collection is the choice of settings, you can have the fabulous ‘floating’ gemstones that you can move and shake just like fairy dust, or you have more traditional pave set and faceted static stones.

This collection is so beautiful, totally eye-catching, but retaining the simplicity and clean lines that signify the Jian of London Look. Like all innovative designs,  this was not a simple collection to produce, taking five years to come to fruition, but it is totally worth the wait. This is the sort of jewellery that everyone will comment on, it would add a touch of sophisticated glamour to even the simplest of outfits.

Chief Designer, Jane Massie said “We are thrilled to finally be launching the Stardust Collection after years of innovation and development. The new collection recently won the International Jewellery London Show Editors Choice Award for Technical Excellence which is a credit to the hard work and perseverance of our incredible design team and suppliers. As a company we can’t wait to see the consumer reaction to Stardust when the collection goes on sale in September, we are already taking pre-orders and have started a waiting list.”

For more information about Jian of London visit the website http://uk.jiandesigns.com/

 

Helen Dobson- Future Jewellery Star!

Last week, I  attended the ‘Brilliantly Birmingham’ ethical jewellery talk that was chaired by Kate Carter, the Lifestyle editor of ‘The Guardian’. While I was there, I was lucky enough to meet Helen Dobson. Helen is a jewellery student, currently in her final year at The University of Birmingham. BUt what makes Helen so unusual and interesting is that she is currently the ONLY ethical Jewellery student in BCU!

 

Helen Dobson, talented and principled.

 

Helen first became interested in making jewellery in an ethical fashion whilst travelling around the world.  Although she was able to experience all manner of beauty, she also came face to face with the grim realities of mining for the precious gold and diamonds used to create beautiful items of  Jewellery. She made a decision that the jewellery she created which be made ethically, using a range of both recycled metals and stones, fair trade gold, and alternative materials, such as vegetable ivory.

Since then, Helen has proved she is talented as well as principled, creating beautiful pieces of jewellery using recycled materials. Her first fully ethical range was ‘The Sakura Range’, made using 100% recycled UK silver. This range is based on Cherry Blossom.

The Sakura range by Helen Dobson

 

Another inspired piece is the Nepenthes pendant. This stunning piece has been made from 100% recycled UK silver and Peridot. It is based on Pitcher plants, carnivorous plants found in tropical regions.

Nepenthes Pendant by Helen Dobson

 

Helen ultimately wants to see ethically sourced and produced jewellery being sold on the British High Street. She believes that design is the key to this, that people need to love the design and beauty of the item, rather than just its background. Producing stylish, covetable pieces is the key to this, and Helen hopes to follow the likes of Fifi Bijoux’s Vivien Johnstone and Sara Preisler in attracting new customers into buying ethical jewellery, by making it more available and visible to the masses.

Helen has clearly principled intentions, and with talent in abundance to back this up, hers is a name you will be hearing from in the future. Her website http://opulentethics.blogspot.com is well worth a look to find out more about the wonderful world of ethical jewellery, and the amazing, sometimes strange things that can be used to create it.

To find out more about Helen, visit her web page http://opulentethic.blogspot.com