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 Showcasing The Best Of British Jewellery Designers

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  1. History of the Engagement Ring

     

    Ancient Rome

    The Engagement ring can reliably be traced back to ancient Rome, however some historians say early man tied plaited circlets around the bride's wrists and ankles to keep her spirit from running away.

    Ancient Rome had a few traditions such as in the second century BC the bride to be was given two engagement rings, a gold one she wore in public and an iron one she wore at home while doing the housework. Another tradition that symbolised ownership by the groom was to give their prospective wife a ring attached to small keys that belonged to him. We found these pictures of early Roman 'Key Rings' there is no mention that these were engagement rings but they are extraordinary beautiful and at the time very useful as the Romans did not have many pockets for their keys! History of the Engagement Ring Iron Key Rings 

    In Rome and many countries the engagement ring was worn on the 3rd finger on the left hand because they believed that it contained a vein that led to the heart therefore the ring would be connected to the heart to symbolise love and a long healthy marriage.

     

    A Roman iron engagement ring

    History of the Engagement Ring Iron Rings

      Diamond Engagement Ring History

     

    The ornate and sentimental Victorians popularized engagement rings with mixed precious metals, enamels gemstones and diamonds. They would often be made into intricate patterns and flowers you can see a great collection of this type of jewellery at the Cheapside Hoard exhibition in London.

    http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/london-wall/whats-on/exhibitions-displays/cheapside-hoard-londons-lost-jewels/

    Diamond rings crafted during the Edwardian era continued the tradition of pairing diamonds with other jewels, commonly mounted in filigree settings. Diamonds were too rare and expensive for the less wealthy citizens until the discovery of diamonds in south Africa in 1870, where the De Beers company became the sole owner of these mines.

    Diamond engagement rings however are quite a recent innovation first becoming popular in 1930's, by 1965, 80 percent of all new brides in the united states owned one.

      The Eureka Diamond

    We found this great story of how the first diamond was discovered in South Africa which is now the diamond capital of the world.

    It began with a 15 year old boy named Erasmus Jacobs whose father owned a farm on the orange river near Hopetown.

    Erasmus had helped his dad unclog a water pipe by finding a long stick, after he had found the perfect stick he sat under a tree to rest and spotted something shining in the heated afternoon sun.

    He went over and saw it was a stone and picked it up and placed it in his pocket. After helping his father he started to play “5 stones” with the diamond, his mother noticed the shine and mentioned it to their neighbour, Shalk Van Niekerk. He was intrigued by the stone and offered to buy it from Erasmus who instead of selling it gave it to him saying “you can keep the stone if you want it,” little did he know this was now to be known as the whopping 21.25 carat Eureka Diamond.

    History of the Engagement Ring Rough Diamond Image

     

     

     

  2. Oxidised silver ikuria necklace close

    Our Featured Designer during March is iKuria

    We are proud to be launching iKuria's new designer jewellery collection:

    Alchemist's Notebook

     Ikuria gold and silver ring

    What inspired you to become a jewellery designer?

    Journalism inspired me to become a jewellery designer. I was always interested in design and I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The first job I got from university was an interpreter and translator position, subsequently I became a journalist which was also a dream of mine since I was a teenage girl. I really enjoy working as a journalist writing about markets and this led me onto jewellery designing.


    My job included talking to business people, bankers, traders etc, I settled into wearing grey or black business suits like themselves. Jewellery was the only thing which made me look feminine and added some personality to my corporate uniform without breaking the dress code. I figured out fine jewellery was very durable and could withstand hectic public life of a female journalist. My colleagues had the same attitude towards their outfits and jewellery and very interestingly, the colleagues male and female alike all had life stories behind the jewels they wore every day. The jewels could be an engagement ring, earrings from a husband, cufflinks as a birthday present from a daughter etc.  After ten years of my journalistic career I thought jewellery for business women could be my market, Thus why my jewellery is fine, colourful and elegant. If you study individual pieces closely they are edgy, playful with lots elements of fashion.

     

    What is your favourite piece of jewellery? (either made or purchased)

    The latest Chronicle rings that I am launching with Nude, also the flying heart pendant I designed with a diamond my boyfriend gave me photographed above. He had forgotten about the diamond for 7 months after the purchase before giving it to me.

     

    Which celebrity would you love to wear your jewellery and why?

    I have been greedy Thandie Newton and Rachel Weisz. I admire their look, intelligence and how elegantly and confidently they age and they take great care in how they present themselves. I feel they are style icons for the typical clients of mine, well-educated 40 something's with a good amount of disposable income.
    If I can be even greedier I would love to see my jewels on Royal Ballet First Soloist Melissa Hamilton. I regard well-
    trained dancer’s body as a great piece of art and I have been following her dancing career for a while.

     

    Out-with jewellery is there any other career that you would love to try?

    Given that three of my dreams have become true journalist, entrepreneur and jewellery designer the only career which has not come true is a classical ballet dancer!
    I have been dancing since I was six. Royal Ballet has not offered me a role yet. (LOL)

     

    What can we expect to see from you in the future?

    Surprise and bling. Lots of surprise and bling!
    I am delighted to launch the “Chronicle: alchemist’s notebook” collection with much loved jewellery boutique Nude. The gold range of the collection will be revealed later this year.

    And I have already started doing some sketches and looking for materials for Medora next year. It is inspired by my favorite classical ballet piece, La Corsaire.
    Watch this space!

    Ikuko Kurahone
    Jewellery Designer - iKuria

     Click to view the collection