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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Precious encounter: Ruth Tomlinson

What is your fist jewellery memory?
Rooting through my grandma’s jewellery box, being fascinated by the treasures within that my grandad had bought for her over the years to mark special occasions or memorable holidays together.

What is the first piece you designed?
I started designing and making jewellery as a child, so my first piece would have been a Fimo (modelling clay that you bake in the oven) creation – probably a brooch. I was an industrious child and started selling my creations at local craft fairs, and amazingly they sold!

What is your favourite stone? Why?
A diamond! Whether a natural raw diamond, or a hand cut stone considered ‘imperfect’ by today’s commercial standards, I love what they have come to symbolise and how they hold and reflect light – each different to the next. They are incredibly beautiful and inspiring.

Do you have a piece that you wear all year around?
Yes I have a favourite diamond ring. I fell in love with a particular raw diamond that had a beautiful shape, and had it hand cut into a Dutch rose-cut but still keeping it’s original shape. I then added some round antique-cut champagne diamonds to emphasize the unique shape of the rose cut, and set them all in 14-kt yellow gold.

Who are your favourite jewellery designers?
That’s a difficult one as there are so many wonderful designers that I respect for different reasons. Historically, I’d say the unnamed craftsmen of the Middle Ages who created such beautifully intricate jewels using the most basic of tools and their imagination. And then in contemporary jewellery, Karl Fritsch for his freedom with materials, creativity and inventive techniques.

What are your greatest influences?
My aunt and uncle – they taught me how to really look, see and absorb the world through a unique gaze.

What do you listen to in your studio?
Usually BBC 6 Music.

If you weren’t a jewellery designer, what would you do?
Something else creative as it’s in my bones – another craft, possibly a ceramicist or a printmaker.

Which famous people (living or dead) inspire you the most?
From a visual perspective Queen Elizabeth I in all her opulent finery. I could spend hours studying the details of her portraits!

What is your dream destination?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit what I consider my dream destination – the Andaman Islands of India. I indulged in the most incredible underwater sea life that I’ve ever seen diving and snorkelling there. I carry those visual memories and treasured experience with me through life. These are the things that feed my imagination and translate into my work, so I hope I can bring a little bit of that wonder and beauty into our jewels for others to enjoy.

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