Chapter 1: The Protector
Our new spring/summer collection for 2020 is called Desert Rose. It tells a story of blooming through hardship, of the softness and openness that represents its own unique kind of strength.
The collection of jewels will be released in various chapters, allowing us to tell a story of all the unique elements that make up Desert Rose in its entirety.
Chapter 1 is a story of the Protector.
Jewellery throughout the ages and across cultures has always featured some form of protective amulets. From the medusa's face of Mediterranean lands, to the Hand of Fatima worn in Buddhist nations such as Thailand, to the Afro-Surinamese Winti amulet. Cleopatra's Bling has drawn inspiration in particular from the cultures where our founder, Olivia, learned her craft - Paris, Naples, Istanbul.
Finding an externalised object which carries historical meaning, in which to place your fears and to find some source of comfort, is a meaningful way of processing the uncertainty and unpredictability of what, at many times, feels like a harsh and unforgiving world.
As a child, I was given the gift of some Guatemalan worry dolls by my mother. The dolls relate to a legend about the Mayan princess Ixmucane, who is said to have been granted a gift by the Sun God of being able to solve any problem about which a human could worry.
I would pour my heart out to the dolls, and place them under my pillow, sleep on my troubles, and in the morning, the dolls were to have taken all of them away. Nowadays, the technique of giving a child something like a worry doll is used by doctors to help children in therapy, as an allayer of fears, and an agent between the child and the adults.
I believe that having such an externalised source of protection, a vessel for our fears that, once they are poured in, transfigures them from worry into power and protection, is a valuable way of processing feelings that feel too large for our heads.
An interesting feature of many protective amulets is that they make concrete the very thing that we are afraid of, and reverse it, to make it an object of protective power. The Gorgoneion head is a perfect example of this - something that was frightening, becomes the frightener, chasing away your fears with its own fearsome visage.
This collection contains a number of pieces with "evil eye" iconography, including the Nazar Necklace. To learn more about the story behind this fascinating design, read on here.
There is also great comfort in understanding our place in history, allowing us to zoom out from the present moment, and to see that civilisations before us have both tackled great challenges similar to those we experience now, and have still managed to produce enduring elements of culture and beauty. I feel protected by ancestors and by shared human spirit, when I see an ancient coin and can imagine the shared worries, and also the shared desire to produce and recreate beauty that we have in common with peoples who have walked this path hundreds or thousands of years before.
We need peace and security to be able to appreciate the beauty, softness, and vulnerability that goes hand in hand with protection. We can offer this to others and ourselves through being the protector that is needed - sheltering ourselves from harm, while being strong and open enough to look after the ones in our lives that we love, and rising for those in our broader community who most need looking after.
Coming soon, is Chapter 2. Read on, to find out more.