Last January, I was very excited to have found a new British designer, Polly Wales, for the store. Her work has finally arrived and the long wait was well worth it. Miss Wales is working with lost wax casting in an amazing way. She is taking the wax models of her original pieces and then manipulating them by pushing gemstones into the wax and then casting the wax into sterling silver or gold. The metal replaces the wax and sets the stones in place.
My interpretation is that she draws inspiration from both ancient Greek and Roman as well as Victorian styles, creating classic shapes and forms with a modern twist. The result is a sort of structured deconstruction, a rough handled classicism, a precious sloppiness. This marriage of style and technique are like nothing I have ever seen in my fairly long spell of jewelry making and selling. (It is so exciting!!)
Sometimes in the process of casting, things go wrong. Stones are lost, metal shifts around, finger prints are left behind. These mistakes add to the exciting process and product. Neither the jeweler nor the caster know when something will succeed or fail. She calls the ring above The Decay Ring. Black diamonds are set in sterling, some are lost and some sink down into the 'remains' of the ring.
Black sapphires are set in oxidized sterling silver in the large pendant above. A bit of Miss Wales' fingerprint was left as an impression in the wax. The holes were left behind when other stones blew out during the casting. A perfect example of the exciting unpredictability in her jewelry.
She often works more wax on the top of the model. The resulting piece has gemstones trapped in layers of metal. A few seem to be sliding out from their frame in the gold ring above. Below, light passes through pink sapphires and a single ruby in a sterling ring.
The raw surface of the cast metal below will mellow and shine with wear so that these sterling and crystal rings grow even more special over time.
If you are interested in metal working and of course, beautiful jewelry, I encourage you to stop by and visit Polly Wales' Amazing Jewelry in the shop. She has managed to mix incredible designs with fairly affordable materials in a way that fits our favorite store credo: "Jewelry for the People!"