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Meaningful jewellery design: In the eye of the beholder

When designing much of my jewellery, I have more than just the appearance of the piece in mind. I like also to put some meaning into the piece. It might be the as simple as the knowing the history of the plant from which a leaf comes - its culinary, medicinal uses or any associated folklore or history. Sometimes it's more than that - the emotional attachment I have to a plant or texture due the memories it sparks in me. With that in mind, I thought I'd write about a particular piece that is currently on the website.

I started the basic design of this piece, I thinking mainly about how it might look and also about how it might hint at survival, endurance and love. Since completing it, I have come to discover that this is a piece which carries a lot of additional meaning for many people.

The silver pendant was made using a real buddleia leaf to create the leaf texture on the front on the pendant.  In the centre is a shimmering blue dichroic glass cabochon.  On the reverse of the pendant is a holly leaf design and a small heart behind the glass.  The bail, which was inspired by vines and the tendrils of climbers, forms two arms almost cradling the stone. 

There is meaning designed into this piece. Firstly, the choice of plant itself - although sometimes viewed as a nuisance, the buddleia is a fabulous plant for pollinators and is known as the Butterfly Bush. It can grow pretty much anywhere -- bringing colour and fragrance into the most barren areas. Thus the buddleia can be seen as a sign of triumph and hope in adversity. The holly is a very traditional plant in the UK and has a long history as a symbol of protection for both property and individuals. The heart in the design symbolises love. In addition, the fact that this piece was hand made and textured with a single real leaf, makes it unique - even if I were to make another, the pattern would be different, from a different leaf. The piece itself is a good size and weight, adding to the sense of protection and endurance. It is made in fine silver and hallmarked.

A number of people have seen additional meaning in this piece. In particular, some have seen the way the vine of the bail sit close to the glass as a symbol of motherhood. One suggested it was the perfect gift for an expectant mother - the endurance, protect and love represented by the design and the arms protecting the precious central flower, combined with the unique individuality of the leaf.

I might make some similar silver jewellery with different colour cabochons - buddleia come in different shades after all - and each one will be unique.

You can see the piece on the website here --I wonder what meaning you might see in it.

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