Charms, Cameos & Pearls by Rose & Rook•
Posted on May 14 2021
On the very precious occasions that my daughter and I have visited Paris in the past we have always had a special tradition of visiting the Musée des Arts Décoratifs together. And today as we are separated by distance, like so many others are from their loved ones because of what has been happening around the world, I hold these memories very dear to my heart.
Whilst we are there we always inevitably linger together in one exhibit in particular. The Galerie des Bijoux displays rings, necklaces, bracelets and brooches dating all the way back to the the Middle Ages. And we love to read all the details about how each and every piece has been carefully hand-made through the different eras.
And so, it is unsurprising that today on the Shop The Château Blog I am delighted to share with you the story and jewelry of one of our lovely sellers, Elizabeth from Rose & Rook.
Elizabeth creates her vintage inspired jewelry from real pieces of the past. Working away in her studio with authentic vintage charms, cameos, crystals and pearls to create new yet timeless pieces.
I hope that you enjoy reading her story!
"Like many people I have always been fascinated by history. I remember as a child visiting the giant redwoods in California and standing completely still, staring up into their impossibly tall branches, feeling in awe. Like I could almost feel the passage of time. It was swirling around me, a quiet whispering, the weight of history pressing down on me. I couldn’t put my feelings into words then, but I have felt this same way many times since. I look at historic places or works of art and I can imagine the people of those times, living their lives much as we do now, but in a seemingly different world… And this love of the past is what inspired me to design vintage jewelry.
I am an antiques and ephemera collector and have spent many years hunting all over the world for rare and antique stones, gems, metals, keys, and beads which I use to create my jewelry designs. Vintage jewelry is so special because most of it was handcrafted by artisans who took loving pride in their work. The attention to detail and meticulous process of producing just one cabochon or jewel means that every piece is unique.
Vintage finds can be a challenge to work with, as they aren’t perfect like machine-made items of today. But their quality and astonishing workmanship are worth the effort. Each creation becomes a piece of history that are is extraordinary and memorable as the person who is wearing it. I like to say that these pieces have a soul. They have a story and a human connection that you rarely find today.
I use only New Old Stock, which means that these vintage elements are old but have never been used or set before. Sometimes they are still wrapped in their original thin and crumbling papers from a hundred years ago! It’s very much like treasure hunting, and I get such a thrill from finding something that is exceptional and rare. Many of my designs are one of a kind, using these rare pieces that will be impossible to find again.
The new hardware in my jewelry is of heirloom quality. The dark brass is made in small, family- owned heritage workshops in the US, and hand-finished with a custom patina. The rhinestones are all hand-set, the ear wires are hand-made, and the chains are hand-beaded.
Charm bracelets are one of my most favourite pieces to make, as they are so personal and, well…charming. I make sure to leave room so more charms can be added, and eventually the finished bracelet can passed down to the next generation. A treasured piece of priceless history.
But I have a special place in my heart for old rusty keys. They hold such allure and mystery! Who knows what secrets they kept locked away over a century ago! Perhaps it was a key to a little old trunk, travelling across the ocean in the early 1900’s. Or a key to. Beautiful boudoir, a place for hiding a secret rendezvous! They are cleaned up and hand-finished with a dark patina, and then crafted into a bracelet or necklace, making a perfect gift for a world traveller or sweetheart (or yourself)!
I think perhaps the quality and craftsmanship of antiques is derived from the fact they were made so lovingly with such thoughtful attention to detail, and with painstaking patience. I try to recreate this process in my tiny studio, working slowly and taking my time, until it is exactly right. It can take days to craft one piece of jewelry, but it is time well spent. As Neil Gaiman, one of my favourite authors, once said, “The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” I feel honoured and humbled to be able to express my passion in a way that other’s might love as much as I do."
With love and thanks for taking the time to read my story,
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