Cassandra The Alchemist

From my earliest days, the creative alchemist spirit has been there. And whilst I have yet to actually turn base metal into gold, I do regularly create magic in the workshop.

I have heard that the bees, the alchemists of the garden turning nectar into golden honey, have a weakness for flowers that offer them a shot of caffeine in their pollen... the caffeine also makes them remember and return to these same flowers. If I were a doctor I would call it seduction, as a scientists I see it as drug addicition, no diffrerent to our penchant for a cup of espresso in the morning to get the day off to a spirited start in the workshop.

If in my weekday job I strive to be an alchemist, so am I also at the weekends. Almost every garden aficionado, like me, believes they are an alchemist: mixing up heady concoctions of sunlight, water, compost and seeds to magically sprout flowers of unimagined beauty, colour and scient. I marvel at nature's ingenuity (that constantly feeds my design sketch book) whose recipe sometimes creates delicate, stiff and spiralling fircones and sometimes creates seductive pink perfumed roses with silken petals so light they bruise on touch.

Throughout the year my hydrangeas take advantage of the heavy rains and their green-white flowers blossom like the freshest spring snow in the Alps. Eerily erect aliums tower over the now fluffy and yellowing alchemilla mollis, while jasmines - evergreen and deciduous - trail like sinous snakes along the walls and over the doorways. And I long for the ox-eye daisies to open their big white petals revealing their golden yolks.

Meanwhile this week in the workshop I am working on making gold mounts for some new Zambian emeralds and Aquamarines from Mozambique. I have swept up, melted and recycled almost half a kilo of gold from old mounts, brooch pins and pieces of worn out chains. I have taken an unworn diamond ring, and reimagined it as a pendant and a new ring.

Unlike in the fashion world, rental does not really happen in the world of fine jewellery. However, the guardianship of jewels over generations, does. And with raw materials as valuable as these, it has been recycling not rental that has been the modus vivendi of the jewellery world.

While the bees busily create hexagonal honeycombs, my craftsmen continue in their perfection of jewels of outstanding beauty. The key to it all, of course, is knowing your alchemist in the world of fine jewellery.

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