Wouldn’t you though?
Kapow! Take that convention. Don’t you just love it when a long-standing (and quite frankly rubbish) style rule gets broken? I was almost this excited when it became officially uncool to *EVER* pair your handbag with your heels (happy redemption for those of us who are naturally disorganised, *takes a bow*)… And now another stuffy old style rule has got kicked to the curb.
Jewellery etiquette once dictated that silver only be worn with silver and gold with gold and never the two shall meet. Well, pah! Not any more. For word has reached my shell-like that the next big thing in jewellery is mixing up your metals – and it’s something that contemporary jewellery designer Catherine Hills from The Pantilles, Tunbridge Wells, has been doing for years. Just look at this – hear the rule book riiiiiip!
Pretty damn cool, eh? And, if you’re like me you’ll also think it’s great because, oh my stars and garters, we can all get out those old favourites we’ve had to hide away for years! When I was in my twenties and even thirties is was all about silver (or, if you were lucky, platinum). Gold was for Grannies.
But then of course I learnt that as the years passed my *ahem* lived-a-little skin might benefit from the added warmth that gold brings. So away went all that silver I’d invested in over the last two decades and on piled (well not exactly Jay Z style but you know what I mean) the gold stuff. Now apparently I don’t need to worry – I can dig out the old favourites, work them in with the new and relax in the knowledge that I am bang on trend. Or I could simply treat myself to one of Catherine’s pieces, where different elements are mixed within the same piece – like pairing pale rose gold with oxidised silver with striking yet subtle results. As an investment I think her range is actually very affordable when you consider everything is entirely handmade as well as being fabulously original. I have my sights on the Nine Pod Cluster Pendant Necklace above, (£380).
Oxidized silver darkens the metal and Catherine was one of the first jewellers to use this technique and also one of the first to use a combination of gold and silver together. Love a trail blazer! Oxidizing the silver is done to give the pieces a vintage, cool effect – so far removed from those cheap inexpensive alloys that can seem a bit over-bright and shiny (although of course I have one or two of those myself).
The character and edginess of Catherine’s work caught the eye of the Harry Potter production team and she was commissioned to make several pieces for the films series. I touched the actual Slytherin ring when I visited her studio (and yes it did make me feel strangely powerful with a sudden affinity to snakes).
In fact the whole feel of the shop is rather quirky, complete with stuffed Magpie and jewellery displayed on what could easily pass as spell books. You could almost imagine you’ve stepped out of The Pantiles and into Diagon Alley. See for yourself – Catherine is very happy for you to pop in either on Thurs or Fri (see times below) or by appointment and she’ll show you around.
Catherine Hills Jewellery, 21 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 5TD. Tel: 01892 540888. catherinehillsjewellery.com. Open Thurs 11am – 5pm, Fri 10am – 5pm, Sat 10am – 5pm or other times by appointment.