Here Comes The Bride
When I got married 15 years ago, I totally knew the look I wanted … a classic 70s vibe. White suit, 70s hair and make-up and spectacularly unusual Statement Jewellery!
I managed the suit, hair and make-up, but no matter how hard I looked in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Geneva, I could not find the style of jewellery I knew I wanted! I found jewellery, but it was pretty much the usual styles, with traditional cut and faceted stones and pearls, which is what I ended up wearing. The positive was, that it planted the seed in my mind that I would one day soon need to start designing and creating jewellery which I wanted to wear
Fast forward 8 years to 2012 … I was living in London and finally started commercially designing my daydreams! And, I now have a growing sisterhood of lovely ladies, with similar tastes, who collect my pieces and keep me busy commissioning bespoke pieces for them! Bespoke Commissions pretty much occupy more than 50% of my time now, as clients value that their piece of jewellery is like traditional Couture, truly individual and One-of-a-Kind. Due to the free flow nature of my weaving technique, I cannot reproduce a piece, even if I try! I had a client commission me to produce two identical rings for her twins - the result was similar, but definitely not identical nor the same. Firstly, the gemstones and minerals I use are usually individual unmatchable chunks and then it is impossible to really replicate the weaving from one piece to another. Talk about turning a negative into a positive!!! This 'problem' is part of Sheila Westera London's USP ... no two pieces of jewellery will ever be alike!
One of my most interesting commissions was for a client in New York, Brooke. She asked me to design a unique Wedding Tiara which she could somehow make use of again after her special day. I decided to create a tiara which she could convert into a necklace; my first foray into making such a piece, so I had to extensively research Victorian and Georgian jewellers who were renowned for making such jewels. I created a spectacular suite (even if I say so myself) which consisted of a Tiara and two heavily embellished Statement Cuffs, to enhance her sleeveless gown, but which would not detract or clash with her engagement and wedding rings or her simple family heirloom diamond earrings. I studded her pieces with Amethyst, Garnet, Pyrite, and Rose and Rock Quartz - gems, minerals and stones which were significant to her and her groom, their cultures and homelands. A truly personal and emotive family heirloom, which she plans to share with, and pass on to, her children, and even her grandchildren
A few weeks ago I was daydreaming in my Swiss studio. Admiring the sun dappling the fresh snow outside the window, and glistening through the icicles hanging off the rooftop. I pondered how similar the icicles were to a collection of Rock Crystal wands I acquired last summer from a climber I met hiking up a mountain one afternoon. It inspired me to lay them out and consider what I could design with them. While I was musing over them, in pinged an email from Brooke in New York! She wanted to commission a pair of Earrings and not one, but two different Statement Rings for her suite, using the same 14 karat Gold Wire and stones, to add to her set. She wants to wear, an as yet undecided combination of some, but not all the pieces, to her mother-in-law’s 50th birthday in Palm Beach in May! Brooke sent her original suite back to me, to ensure that my new designs complement what she already has. Her additions are coming to life in my studio as I write, and will be winging their way to her by the end of the month
It was remembering Brooke’s tiara/necklace which made me decide to create a similar piece with my Swiss Rock Crystals, knowing that we’re coming into the Spring and Summer wedding season. My restless mind and creative process require me to work on more than one creation at a time, so right now I actually have 5 on the go! One of them is ‘Tatiana’ which I unveiled on Instagram last week … named after Tatiana, Queen of the Fairies in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Apt, since the world’s best-known, and most used, Wedding March comes from Mendelssohn’s incidental music written for a mid-19th-century production of that specific play!
'Tatiana' is quite a delicate but still intricate and elaborate design. I am weaving the 14 karat Gold Wire in all three of my patented weaving styles to make her solid enough to hold securely in a bridal hairstyle, but keeping it fine and light enough for when it's worn as a Collier. I have also fashioned ‘Puck’, an impudent matching Statement Ring to wear with her, and I’m currently considering to create a Cuff for the suite as well, as I’m aware the bride will probably not wish to wear the ring till the reception