Frequently asked questions

Throughout Degree Show, there were a few questions that we asked repeatedly. So I thought I’d put together a quick FAQ. It kind of sums up what I do and why I do it anyway, so it might actually be a good thing now that I’ve got something to point people to. Anyhoo, here goes.

What’s the inspiration for the collection?

The collection is inspired by the story of 2 women. Have you heard of the story of Ruth and Naomi? It’s their story through the desert. So you can see some imagery taken directly from the text (Lineage of Grace, by Francine Rivers), and materials from the location. The sand is from the actual desert that the story took place in! Well, that general area anyway.

Why stories?

2 reasons.

ONE - 
I tell stories because we have a waste problem, and it makes me angry to see us destroying our planet through consumption. As I was researching for the collection, I looked at heirlooms and realised stories are what makes things valuable, and that’s what makes a piece more likely to be kept and passed on, which means fewer things in landfill.

TWO - 
I want to tell your stories because in telling your stories, in seeing a piece and wearing a physical object about that story, in telling someone your story to someone who asks about your jewellery, you remember. You remember what you’ve been through, and that you’re here now. You got through that, and you can go through anything. Because if you think about, your survival rate through all those tough times has been 100%.

So hopefully, that inspires you, and that person you’re telling that life is big, and it’s meant to be lived. (:

Why the pearl?

I like the pearl. Have always been drawn to it, but I think that has something to do with its rich associations in cultures around the world, in history and in nature. It’s a lot so that’s a story for another time. But for now, I just want to bring your attention to the fact that the pearl is the only gem on earth that’s ready made. It’s useable from its point of extraction, no need for faceting and all that fancy jazz.

Are the pearls real?

Yes, the pearls are real. By real, I mean they came from an animal, and isn’t made of glass. The pearls I use are freshwater cultured pearls, which means they are farmed. Culturing pearls require the environment to be pristine, and animals to be kept alive, which isn’t easy because mussels are sensitive creatures. So, that’s good for the oceans because pearl farmers make a huge, conscious effort to protect the surroundings.

Love your business card, what do you mean by it?

If you haven’t seen the card, the job description says patient storyteller and honest jewellery maker. It just means I will sit and listen and we will chat until we figure out how to tell your story. And the honest bit, that’s because I do whatever I can to make sure my processes and materials are as earth friendly as possible, and that people weren’t hurt in the process. It ties in with my material choices (the pearl, and ecosilver, etc), and why I tell stories.

What’s next for you?

I’m going to be studying gemmology (yes, I actually really enjoy studying, but I’m mostly excited to be more in awe at how incredibly made this planet is) part time. And I’m looking into telling more personal stories (your stories, not mine!). So if you have a story you want to tell / remember, and you want a piece of jewellery made, let’s chat (appointments entail no obligations).

Also, I’m considering taking on a bench job to learn from the pros. Specifically in jewellery repair because I think there’s something so sacred in fixing something used and meaningful. So if you, or anyone you know, is looking for a studio assistant, please get in touch!

Abigail ChuiComment