African shields

This is a collection of fairly modern pieces with clean, elegant lines. Some may incorporate various other media but all have exquisite leather, be that ostrich, crocodile or lizard, in the design. Since the jewelry is small, the leather pieces that are used are true off-cuts and in a sense "recycled" materials. The quality of the leather is superb, tanned in Italy and the lovely colors show off the structure of the leather, which in turn stands out against the stark silver metal.

It took me a long time and a certain amount of luck to source the leather, which is of truly outstanding quality.

Although I call this collection "African Shields", they do not truly copy the designs of shields, some are not even in the true shape of a shield. They merely gave me the initial inspiration and my first sketches were of shield-like shapes. I thought the incorporation of leather, which is the material most often used in traditional African shields, further suggested this name for them.

Some of the color schemes are more out of the African nature in mute tones of ocher, yellows and browns like much of the African landscape, burgundy like dried blood, various greens reflecting the lush vegetation along rivers and marshes but also the more unusual colors of purple and pink seen in our beautiful sunsets. Other color schemes will lean towards the vibrant colors of tribal African traditions in bright yellows, reds, blues, greens accented with white and black.


Above is a pendant with purple crocodile (left) and burgundy lizard leather (right) on slightly raised sections of the pendant.

The center portion is lower and has a gold accent in the Kum Boo technique, in which 22 Karat gold foil is heat fused to the silver.


This is a striking, very modern pendant in a more traditional shield shape again made of pure silver. The bright green ostrich leather is dramatically set off by black enamel. This pendant has a beautiful 3 dimensional shape and lies snugly against the skin. A channel type finding is worked across the entire top of the pendant for a chain or wire to fit through.

Precious Gems Among the Rocks

These pieces all contain one or more exquisite precious or semi-precious cut stones. They are surrounded by rough, 3 dimensional silver, which reminds me of the reefs off the coast of East Africa where I grew up. These reefs would be submerged during the high tide, but be exposed during low tide. we would walk on them looking at the diverse marine life in the small tidal pools and puddles. The coral was sharp and had intricate holes and channels, much like these pieces. Unlike the coral, the silver is not sharp, instead the edges have been polished off to a pleasant smoothness, which is strangely at odds with its burly structure..

Like many things in art, this was a lucky coincidence, as I was trying to get a completely different look. However, I really like the contrast between the smooth, highly polished stones and the roughness of the silver.

Here I used a lovely, flawless Brazilian Citrine as the focus stone. Prior to making this, I would not have considered using a yellow stone with silver. However, I feel it works really well and shows the stone off beautifully. The pendant has a simple bail at the top and I use a fairly ornate silver chain.


You can see my fascination with the sea and all things marine.

In this pendant I used a piece of semi opaque green glass and tried a different way to secure it on the pendant. The turned back rim reminded me of waves and the rest of the decoration followed with  the wavy design painted onto the glass to make it more interesting and "crashing waves" made with metal clay syringe work holding the bottom of the glass in place. The  finding too has a ripple of small waves. Round silver "pebbles" simulate the beach at the top and some more interesting textured stripes on the side show a bit of tiny patina specks, like the sand swirling in the waves of a rough sea along a sandy beach. 


 Rocks and Boulders

This is one of my favorites. It was completely unplanned and just "happened". I wanted to use some natural texture plates and found these cute cypress tips which, after some pruning, made a lovely pattern, both in the front and at the back of the pendant. It reminded me of archeological imprints of ancient plants and I thought gem stones really go well with archeology. I wanted to fire the stone in place and find that garnets can at times be very dull when in a traditional setting. By only securing the tips of this stone it allows the light to come into the stone from the sides and it really has a lovely color when seen in real life. I am afraid my photography does not do it justice at all. I like the setting of the stone - I think it is very innovative. Clearly the stone in this setting is fairly fragile and should be worn on a short chain to void it bumping against hard surfaces while around your neck.

Silver and garnet pendant

Mechanical Engineering 

I always awanted to try something that can "move" (like a hinge or similar), and I came up with this revolving little pendant. The pendant is 3 dimensional, with red, orange and yellow natural saphires all around. Since it can turn around it's own axis, it never shows the same face while you wear it.

The pendant itself is a piece of a seedpod from the "bottle brush" tree. When I saw the pod I immediately thought what perfect little gem stone containers they were. Unfortuntaely the pendant lost some of the original shape due to the thickness of the silver, but it still looks interesting.




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