Monday, November 16, 2009


Once used as a regal backdrop for director John Ford's 1951 film The Quiet Man, Ireland's Ashford Castle is a 13th-century fortress with a long, rich history. Ireland is also the home of featured jewelry designer Shimara Carlow.

Fall is such a great time of year, and it is in full swing in my neck of the woods. The transitioning leaves of yellow gold, rust orange and burgundy never cease to captivate.

Regardless of the season, nature is a never-ending array of beauty and stirs the imagination of countless jewelry designers.

The varied and eclectic plant-life forms are Carlow's prime source of inspiration for her ethereal jewelry.

Raised in one of Ireland's coastal regions, Carlow spent many of her childhood years walking along the shoreline collecting seed pods, feathers, shells, and stones.

The organic shapes she collected fascinated her, and when she later studied silversmithing at Scotland's Glasgow School of Art memories of the beauty of those items gathered in childhood remained with her.

"My jewelry has been inspired by natural forms, primarily seed pods and I have created a body of work based on pod-like structures."

Carlow's gorgeous pieces, fashioned from silk paper, 18-karat gold, and sterling and oxidized silver, capture the fragile beauty of acorn cups and gum nuts. With the delicate curves of the metallic stems and the life-like droop of the pods, the jewelry is worthy of Mother Nature herself.

These superlative interpretations suggest a spiritual connection between Carlow and her earthly surroundings.  Seemingly absorbing its energy and in turn creating vivid reproductions from materials also of the earth.

Carlow's jewelry has been exhibited in the United States, Scotland, Holland, and London.

Her collection has also been featured in such publications as Homes and Interiors, Elle Decoration, and Homes and Antiques.

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