Monday, July 12, 2010

DIANA PORTER

Wiltshire, England is the location today as we visit the mysterious circular stone enclosure known as Stonehenge. The enigmatic monuments once served as a burial location, and a gathering place for neo-druids. England is also home to featured jewelry designer Diana Porter.

Since 1993, Porter has specialized in bespoke or custom-made jewelry; however, within the clean, subtle proportions of her personal jewelry collections is the designer's captivation with the feminine mystique.

"I studied jewelry and silversmithing at the University of Central England in 1990, and I loved the History of Art part of the course and became passionate about investigating the history of women's involvement in the arts and crafts," Porter recalls.

"I was inspired by ancient images of powerful women, so my work is about women and assertiveness, wisdom, change, togetherness, and the spirit in all of us."

Eighteen - and 24-karat gold, sterling silver, platinum, and palladium provide Porter's canvas, while small diamonds, cubic zirconia, aquamarines, and Thai rubies are among the palette of colors that offset the metals.

However, it is Porter's signature acid etching of words like calm, clarity, fulfilled, joyful, play, secure, and unafraid that bring the theme of womanhood to life. "Ultimately my jewelry is about the design suiting the form, and tiny precious moments.


Although the meanings of the etched words on my pieces are clear, I am also interested in the ambiguity of words. When you wear one of my rings etched with 'on and on. . .' is it about 'eternity' or 'interminability?"

Porter's passionate design approach contrasts the designs' ultra streamlined renderings. Nonetheless, the jewelry is not cookie-cutter perfect; there is a naturalistic, organic flow to her creations.

Her "plain" ring bands are plump and voluptuous like a bagel or donut while also highlighting sandblasted, frosted, and polished finishes.

One of Porter's creations, a multi-chain brooch, makes me think of the pins used with a Scottish kilt. A limited edition charm necklace is, in my opinion, a great display of the stunning ethereal quality of sterling silver.

The designer's deft ability at etching, central to most all of her collections, is without a doubt eye-catching. She etches words on the widest band to the thinnest bangle.
Her "partnership bands" consist of two or more rings or bangles that, when worn together, form a complete word.

The designer, who once dreamed of becoming an actor, savors her journey into the jewelry industry.
"My collections are in about 60 galleries and shops all over England, and in the United States of America," she beams.

"I have the shop of dreams. I meet lovely people who come from miles around to consult about commissions, and in 1999, I was awarded UK Jewelry Designer of the Year. I cannot believe how lucky I have been."
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Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Partnership Band Etched with I Who Is YouPhoto 2 (center): Limited Edition 24-Karat and Sterling Silver Charm Necklace from Elements Collection
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Cuff from Bits of Wisdom Collection
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