All that glisters
Modernists prefer the simplicity of silver. Photographs by Julia Cody
Saturday 11 May 1996
Top row Wide ring with edging, pounds 50.50, by Kate Hodgson at Janet Fitch; square beaten ring, pounds 143, by Jacqueline Rabun; melted beaten chunky ring, pounds 70, by Paul Magen at Janet Fitch; chunky indent ring about pounds 95 to order from Space NK Middle row Wire cigar cube ring, pounds 117, by Jacqueline Rabun; thin mottled band, pounds 48, silver band, pounds 56, and unfinished edge ring, pounds 56 all by Paul Magen Bottom row 'H' ring, pounds 130, by Jacqueline Rabun; hammered ring, pounds 56, and thin band, pounds 48, both by Paul Magen
Ally Cappellino, 95 Wardour Street, W1. Janet Fitch, 188a Kings Road, SW3; 25 Old Compton Street, W1, and 37 Neal Street, WC2. Liberty, Regent Street, W1. Jacqueline Rabun from Jess James, Newburgh Street, London W1; Liberty, as before; Harrods Knightsbridge, SW1; Sheila Miller, Glasgow; Walter Black, Nottingham. Oasis, branches nationwide. Space NK, Thomas Neal's Centre, WC2
There are several schools of thought when it comes to wearing jewellery. There's the discreet approach: small loops or studs in the ear, one or two rings on the fingers, and perhaps a fine chain around the neck. The conspicuous consumption approach is gold, gold, and more gold. Then there's kitsch and camp (love-heart rings and sweetie bracelets), costume (faux pearls and glittering baubles), ethnic (beads and carvings) and subversive (tongue-, nose-, navel- and eyebrow-piercing). And then there's the modernist tack: no gold, lots of silver.
Jacqueline Rabun, who works with silver and endeavours to give her work an "organic", textural feeling, remarks, "Newness doesn't work with the body." She injects a rough, unfinished edge to her work, hammering rings, beating pendants and "distressing" the silver wire she uses to make her cubist arm-cuffs.
Mary Campbell is the jewellery buyer for Liberty. She has been buying Rabun's work and that of fellow designers Wright & Teague for several seasons. "Silver is not obvious and garish," she says. "It is complimentary and versatile." Silver can be polished to a dull matt or a bright shine, oxidised and blackened to make it look aged, or beaten to give an "ancient sunken treasure effect". And you can wear a chunky silver ring, or 14 bangles, without breaking the bank.
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