Monday, September 6, 2010


The Coast of Cornwall, which runs along England’s coastline, is like something out of a dream. Populated with coves, cliffs, and beaches such terrain begs for long walks, hiking, and fishing. England is also home to featured jewelry designer Georgina Ettridge.

As I referenced in a prior post, nature is a powerful muse to many jewelry designers.

It is a virtual playground filled with seemingly endless assortments of form, color and texture that encompass the air, the waters, and the earth.

Over the centuries, animals like butterflies, elephants, and birds have come to symbolize good fortune; and such is the case with leaves.

The popularity of charm jewelry is ongoing and countless designers look to the ubiquitous form of the leaf not only as a source of inspiration but also as a blueprint.

Leaf necklaces, whether gold-dipped or hand-fabricated, are integral to many a jewelry collection including the maple leaf renderings of Russian-born and Canada-based designer Natalia Khon; Ruth Baird’s (New Zealand) titanium jewelry inspired by varied indigenous flora; as well as Los Angeles-based brands Melinda Maria, and Jennifer Meyer Jewelry.

The attraction of leaf charm jewelry, to both designer and jewelry wearer seems to lay in its rich symbolism that runs the gamut of faith, renewal, healing and peace.

It is no surprise that Ettridge shares an affinity for this timeless emblem. The designer is so enamored with the leaf she nearly devotes her entire brand to it. Interestingly enough, initially the former woodcarver/furniture maker, and University of Portsmouth alumna did not see a future as a jewelry maker.

“At the time I trained at Portsmouth, I was creating large scale, sculptural outdoor furniture, and although I learned metalworking, and made jewelry since my teenage years, I had no intention of becoming a jewelry maker,” she recalls.
While employed with the Beatrice Royal Art Gallery, however, fate gently nudged Ettridge towards her destiny. “While I was working at the gallery the craft director asked me about the jewelry I was wearing.

When I said that I made it, I was asked if I would like to show my jewelry at the next exhibition. The exhibition went well, and it was becoming clear that jewelry making was the direction I wanted to concentrate my efforts.”

With the help of a business loan, Ettridge began establishing her lyrical designs of oak, ivy and nonspecific leaves. Working with sterling silver, and 9- and 18-karat yellow, white and rose gold, Ettridge handcrafts leaf necklaces, bangle bracelets, and wedding and engagement rings that possess a striking romanticism as if they were imbued with magic.

Her keen attention to form brings an effortless naturalism to her pieces. Engraved veins and twisting tendrils add organic movement and flow. She also does great, subtle work with fluid, open heart gold pendants.

Understated yet wonderfully detailed, the handmade jewelry designs are a fine testament to Ettridge’s artistry and craftsmanship. “I am known for my leaf and custom jewelry. Attention to detail and quality artisanship is paramount throughout the design and creation process.

The designs are individually handcrafted with forging, engraving and soldering. Creating sensitive representations of organic forms, as well as developing a unique style, is important to me.

I like to think of my jewelry as small scale, wearable sculptures. Every piece is subtly different from the next.”
Photo 1 (top right): 9-Karat Yellow Gold Calla Lily Necklace
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Gold Oak Leaf and Curled Tendrils Wedding Ring
Photo 3 (bottom left): 9-Karat Gold Mini Ivy Leaf Necklace
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