Friday, April 30, 2010

SOPHIE HARLEY

Built in the 11th century, England's Arundel Castle has undergone many renovations that reflect the stealthy goings-on during the residency of 18 different earls. England is also the home of featured jewelry designer Sophie Harley.

The use of symbols in jewelry is something I have touched on in other posts.

There is no denying their popularity even though in my opinion, due to a high saturation level, I sometimes find them rather cutesy.

As I have learned more about the history of symbols in jewelry how they span every culture from China (Qeelin) to the U.S.A. (Alex and Ani) it is an intriguing implementation. Designers use the timelessness of symbols to convey goodwill, and as tokens of comfort.

Harley conveys messages of strength, freedom, love, and continuity through subtle images of nature. Butterflies, snails, seahorses, and hearts with wings (the designer's signature emblem) are a sampling of the iconography featured in her vast collections.

Her design style is simple, and feminine with a touch of whimsical exuberance reminiscent of Irish designer Alan Ardiff. In many instances, such as the items from her Papillion Rose Collection, she does not incorporate a single emblem but cross-fertilizes them.

For instance, an 18-karat gold plated butterfly is paired with a sterling silver heart, or a heart combined with dragonflies, doves or a skull and cross bones; these are nice variations from the norm.

To maintain visual interest, she includes details like dangling a layered, multi-chain drop at the base of a single, butterfly pendant.

Each chain suspends a small gemstone like green peridot, indigo iolite, pink sapphire, ruby, or amethyst. This inclusion provides a simple yet stunning effect; like tiny raindrops of luminous color.

The alumna of London's Royal College of Art is a 20-year veteran whose designs have been used in magazine editorials as worn by actor Kate Beckinsale, and prominently featured in the London fashion show New Generation as worn by models Naomi Campbell and Saffron Aldridge.

Harley's gift for romantic forms landed her a design request for one of the most iconic feature film franchises, the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale.

Actor Eva Green, as foreign liaison agent Vesper Lynd, wore Harley's lovely 22-karat gold plated and sterling silver Algerian Love Knot necklace.


Jewelry is incorporated readily in film in order to punctuate a characterization, or underscore a key plot point.

Harley's lovely creation served as a continual yet subtle reminder to the audience of Vesper's ultimately treacherous romantic entanglement with Yusef Kabira, a duplicitous fellow agent.
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Photo 1 (top right): 22-Karat Gold Plating and Sterling Silver Algerian Love Knot Necklace
Photo 2 (bottom left) 22-Karat Gold Plating and Sterling Silver Fine Hoop Earrings with Rhodolite Briolettes and Dragonflies from Winter Jewels Collection
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