Wild Nature in Jewels

I am not easily moved by jewelry as I am by other forms of design, but it has recently happened to me, when attending a talk by British jewelry artist Christopher Thompson Royds (b, 1978), at the Mahnaz Collection, in celebration of the New York Jewelry Week. A graduate from the Masters program of Silversmithing, Metalwork, and Jewelry at the royal College of Art, Thompson Royds turns wild flowers into art jewelry; Nature informs an aesthetic sensibility and conceptual contents which I found intriguing and appealing. When introduced to his work and its theoretical outlet, I was thinking of William Morris, the Father of Modern Design and the ambassador of British nature in art, who believed that living with nature was the foundation of good life, and who turned wild flowers into art.

Christopher Thompson Royds’ artistic world is also rooted in nature, and particularly in the everyday nature of the English countryside. His collection ‘Against Nature,’ which he presented at Mahnaz Collection, was initially inspired by pressed flowers of the type he discovered at the Natural History Museum in London. The collection is composed of pieces which have dual identities as they are objects and jewelry, painting and jewels at the same time. 

​His flowers are crafted of 18k gold sheet, and placed either on gold stems attached to laurel leaves or on mats in fame-like paintings which is used as works of art when not worn. His jewelry is refined, fragile, elegant, and personal, making you think differently about flower-driven art because there is nothing decorative about them, and because it draws your attention to the simple sculptural qualities of those flowers, which are so often overlooked. In the most unexpected way, these pieces are standing on the line between the natural and the unnatural, between art and nature, between the simplicity and the refined. All you have to do is to pick up a flower from its stem and place it in your ear; pick it up from the painting on the wall and place is on your collar; detach a gold flower from a bouquet in a vase, and use it as earrings. What an exciting ritual. And I fell in love with the poppy (below).

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