The long summer days have made me nostalgic about the adventures I have embarked on over the years. For the next few weeks I want to take you back to some of my favourite pieces from previous collections.
Cleopatra is said to have covered the floors of her palace with fresh rose petals and drenched the sails of the Royal barge in rose water before meeting Anthony. The summer smell of roses and the over blown flowers whose petals create delicate carpets in the garden allow me to savour an English garden at its best. I too would have liked to have been Anthony.
The rose ring painted in diamonds, leaves a lingering sparkle...
Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wore her diamond rose earrings often.
''I have always found the freshly made, soft nests of whirling ribbons of pasta, yellow like the sun, dusty with flour and lying in an Italin delicatessen: simply irresistible. So one day, I made them golden in the workshop. I laid out rows of thin pastry ribbons of gold, some twirled and others twisted on the bench, and wove them into a nest.''
Inspired by the flower of the same name with its delicate long stamens reaching out from the flower petals.
''My Brinjal pendant is inspired by the sacred Thali (charms) on an Indian marriage necklace I first saw at the Victoria & Albert Museum. These necklaces traditionally feature an array of seed pods, spices and fruits and are part of a marriage dowry.
My pendant is rich in detail and features a citrine or blue topaz.''
''The opulence of the Maharajas palaces was endless. I found myself one afternoon brushing past some silk curtains held back by heavy woven cords from which a collection of delicate tassels hung below. The elongated passementerie tassels had been threaded with minute pearls separated by a panel of ornate silk.
I re-imagined them as a pendant earring hanging from a diamond set hoop: diamonds replacing the four ornate silk panels and with pearls seemingly floating in the space between. The earrings really are like miniature tassels with all the magic and delicateness you would imagine, and at the tip a small cabochon sapphire seals it together.''
Constantinople, the ancient city of Christendom, inspired a collection of unusual designs after Cassandra's visit there in 2000. The Topkapi Palace was a short walk from Sogukcesme Sokak street, where Cassandra stayed in the Sultanahmet. There, in one of the rooms of the palace, Cassandra found complete 'diamond encrusted tea services' and bowls full of the 'hubbly bubbly' pipe ends. It was the detail on one of these pipe ends that inspired the Topkapi design, with its intricate diamond settings.
For me, the whirls of colour in one of Beatriz Milhazes paintings took me straight back to my garden: to the dahlias growing in every colour, clashing orange with pink, yellows, reds and purples. I love these flowers and here was my chance to create a jewel inspired by them. I made petal outlines in marquises of gold, set diamonds into the circles, and hung circles off the circles with a movement that only the influence of Brazil could suggest.
My Cavolfiore design is inspired by my journey to Sicily where the markets are full of the most beautifully ripe vegetables and fruit that overflows copiously out of their baskets. Great white blossoming cauli-flowers sat like brides of the garden amongst the oranges and lemons with all their simplicity and elegance.
As I sketched later that afternoon in the sunny courtyard, the white florets became a cluster of white pearls on golden stems with diamonds - set just where dew might have fallen earlier that morning.
I loved the long, ovoid, striped shape and the gnarled surface of the cocoa pod when I first saw them growing in Chuao, Venezuela sometime around 1983. Although arguably the Chuao cocoa is the best in the world, it was Mayans in Mexico who prized it, and the Spanish who brought it to Europe. I love chocolate, so I made a golden cocoa pod, and filled one half with my jewelled beans and the other, I left empty.