Many of us respond to small symbols of good luck that affirm that we are loved and cherished, especially in the current climate. Jewellery can be all about providing exactly this.
The heart symbol is a frequent and familiar icon of love in our western culture, and is used often in jewellery. Often a gift from a lover, friend or family member: The shape epitomises love and affection.
The heart motif features in a familiar piece of jewellery – the Claddagh ring, which is of Celtic Irish origin, and has a heart held by two hands, with a crown at the top. The heart represents love, the hands, friendship and the crown loyalty. A few years ago, I was commissioned a ‘hands’ ring with a similar sentiment, but from a very different starting point. The brief was to create two rings, one for a grandfather and one for a granddaughter, on the occasion of the granddaughter’s special birthday.
The original design was taken from a drawing that the granddaughter had made when very young, of her own hand in her granddad’s hand. Her grandparents had cherished the drawing for many years, and the idea was to create a more lasting and wearable version in precious metal to symbolise the love and bond of the two.
I worked from the original drawing and carved a miniature version of the two hands in wax. This is painstaking work and the longer you carve, the more catastrophic a small slip can be. From the carved wax, a mould can be made and using the lost wax casting process, as many precious metal replicas as needed can be created. In this instance, I just did one in silver and one in white gold to make the two rings. Once cast, I added the bands and careful finishing was then required.
There are many other symbols that we find in jewellery that represent good luck or positive charms, such as horse shoes, a four-leafed clover, the tree of life, a cross, and St. Christopher. All are given, received and worn as cherished reminders and a source of comfort and confidence.