Tag Archive | pendants

Moroccan Jewels

Ok so I’m a bit batty about all things Moroccan, in particular I love the creative culture and looking at the work of the highly skilled artisans. I have some modern Moroccan jewellery which still has a traditional feel and look to them but where did these motifs and themes come from, I wanted to look to the past and to the Berber people who were a great influence on the aesthetic culture of the country and who’s influence can still be seen today.

The Berbers are believed to be the original inhabitants of North Africa, they converted to Islam at an early date, but kept their language, customs and identity. As they were typically farmers and county people, their dress was more rustic than that of Arabs, they used draped fabric, held together with brooches.

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Traditional Berber robes and brooches

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Jewellery was a symbol of wealth and an investment, women would sell pieces to buy something else or to raise money when needed, even buying animals and land. Women would therefore often act as the family banker. Jewellery was not usually of sentimental value and was often melted down for new pieces to be created.

Berber jewellery was made almost entirely of silver, enriched with niello work, enamel, engraving, repousse and semi-precious stones, the colours used have a symbolic meaning. Necklaces of huge amber beads were often worn which were believed to have protective properties.

Enamel and engraving work can be seen here, along with heavy amber beads

Enamel and engraving work can be seen here, along with heavy amber beads

 

The main pieces of Berber jewellery – best seen at weddings and at harvest time – include head ornaments, which may be crown like or made from silver coins. Earrings were usually so large that they had to be supported on a chain running across the head or hooked into the hair, and pendants which hung over the temples. Various necklaces where worn, along with rings, pairs of bracelets including star-shaped and heavy Ait Atta ones, (a Berber tribe) the points of which could be used for self- defence. Anklets would be worn typically horseshoe in shape. Finished off with pairs of large silver brooches for holding the draped robes in place.

Heavy brooches and various necklaces seen with coins in the head-dress

Heavy brooches and various necklaces seen with coins in the head-dress

 

A crown like head ornament

A crown like head ornament

 

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Pointed rings used for self-defence

 

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Pointed bracelets used for self-defence

These traditional materials and shapes are still seen in some form in jewellery today, so it is inspiring for me to think of the rich heritage that has influenced the jewellery I have brought home from my travels there!

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My traditionally inspired modern Moroccan finds

 

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My traditionally inspired modern Moroccan finds

 

Through the Loupe with…Genna Delaney

Regular readers will know that we like to take the opportunity every so often to get to know someone connected with the jewellery industry a little better!  This month we have the enormous pleasure of going “through the Loupe” with Genna Delaney of Genna Designs.  Genna has been super busy this year (including exhibiting every day at the Edinburgh Festival!) so we’re really pleased that this award winning designer had some time for us:

Have you found it difficult to start your own business, where did you go for help?

Setting up in business is hard work, to be a jeweller like me you need a lot of equipment so I had to write a very strong business plan so that I could get funding. I was lucky enough to get a studio space at WASPS, Meadow Mill, shortly after I graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee. The cultural enterprise office were a great help with the start up of my business, as was Business Gateway. I got a loan and mentor for 3 years from PSYBT. They were also a massive help in my business.
 
[Feeling confident in the business side of the industry of one of the harder sides of being a jeweller, it’s really great to know that you got some great support from this great organisation.  You can hear Genna talking about starting up her business here]
 
Do you make your own jewellery?
 I design and make jewellery for all occasions including wedding and engagement rings, kiltpins, cufflinks. I enjoy taking on bespoke commissions and design something unique for each client. Everything is individually handmade.
 
Though I am currently experimenting with new technologies in my work using lasers and etching with my perspex collection and working with Cloud 9 to create a new 3d collection. I work from my studio at WASPS, Meadow Mill, Dundee. I love my studio.
[this is officially the first mention of kiltpins on our blog…we hope it’s not the last!]

 

Examples of Genna Designs beautiful perspex jewellery

Examples of Genna Designs beautiful perspex jewellery

You use some great stones and materials, but Perspex isn’t something we’re used to seeing in jewellery – what is it like to work with and what made you decide to try this out?
 
Perspex is a durable, lightweight and colourful material. It’s easy to file and sand and is much cheaper to use than precious metals and stones. I incorporated it into my work to add colour and to cut costs.

 

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Perspex cuff and pendant

 What are your influences?
 
Architecture, the Scottish landscape, the countryside, nature, the sea and natural rock formations.
 textured-collection-bracelets
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What’s your favourite gemstone?
 I love aquamarine and different types of quartz. I love using stones that are unusual shapes and have unique inclusions in each stone, such as dendritic quartz, rutile quartz, each piece is like a little picture, then I design around the stone and create unusual settings.
  GennaDesign-rutile quartz square ring angle
[This amazing rutile quartz ring is such a beautiful example of the raw natural beauty of the gem contrasted with the really unique setting of the ring – this piece is so beautiful and unusual it has to be one of our favourite items from Genna’s collection]
 
What are your aspirations for the future?
 
Would love to have my work in international galleries abroad, would love to gain high profile press coverage and would love a celebrity to wear my jewellery. One day I would like to have my own gallery and workshop.

Thank you so much to Genna for giving us an insight into your work – if there is anyone out there who can offer Genna some high profile press coverage we think you should jump at the opportunity before someone else gets there first!

Genna makes such a great mix of beautiful jewellery that we really hope you have enjoyed the post and will look out for her in the future, can we take the opportunity to highly recommend following up with visiting her YouTube page it’s really exciting to get a close up view of the creative process.  You can also find Genna on Pinterest, Twitter (@gennadesign) and Facebook.

 

If you are a designer, jewellery or work in any aspect of the jewellery or gemstone industry and fancy coming Through the Loupe with us please do get in touch at adventuresthroughtheloupe@outlook.com.