Thursday, January 7, 2010


It is winter in England right now, but a great place to visit during the warmer seasons is Capel Manor Gardens, a 30-acre stretch of gardens amidst a Georgian Manor House and Victorian Stables. England is also home to featured jewelry designer Monica Boxley.

As is the case with all jewelry artists, the diverse range of Boxley's pieces is a testament to her training, innate skills, and personality.

At age six, the precocious Boxley loved dressing up in her mother's stylish hats, scarves, shoes, handbags and jewelry.

Her mother's strong sense of style would influence Boxley's design aesthetic, particularly her handbag collection. However, Boxley's love for unpolished textures, vibrant and muted colors, and simplistic structures is central to her jewelry designs.

"How wonderful it is to be able to conjure up jewels hand-crafted from silver, semi-precious stones, glass beads, fabric, Perspex, or even rubber," she says. "The combining of eclectic and unexpected materials is what excites me."

Some of her collections blend several of the varied materials, while other collections, like her semi-precious collection, centers primarily on gorgeous gemstones.

The items of her semi-precious collection are linked beads and gemstones of different sizes and shapes, like agate, amethyst, or carnelian, in understated designs alternating between subdued and eye popping color.

Her beautiful work with sterling silver highlights unusual textures like perforation, hammering, etching, and dots offset by clean forms, multi-chains and intricate wirework. The jewelry has a wonderful rustic, bohemian somewhat edgy style.

In my opinion, a few of the designers I have featured from Britain, like Theo Fennell and Stephen Webster, share this double-sided aesthetic; elegant and classic on the one hand, with alternately gritty accents or pieces on the other.

Overall, Boxley's approach is more streamlined but her clear love for variety--different cultures, unique materials-uncovers an underlying sense of non-conformity, and I don't think she would want it any other way.

Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Hole Etched Ring
Photo 2 (center): Antique African Bead Necklace
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Charm Bracelet with Handmade Charms
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