As a student studying art history at the British School in Rome many years ago, one of my favourite places to visit was Santa Maria in Trastevere. This beautiful basilica was begun in the 340s, and is one of the oldest churches in Rome. The mosaics are later,dating from the C13th, and are a glorious explosion of colour and light at the end of the dimly lit nave. Once seen, never forgotten. At least, not by me!
Tucked at the back of my mind all these years has been the image of the Virgin with her elaborate headdress. When I was looking for a new direction with my jewellery, that image popped into my mind. Obviously, you’re not going to wear the complete crown and jewel encrusted robe combo to go to the supermarket, but the inspiration remained: the arches of Byzantine architecture, the use of of multiple dangles and looped chains.
This version of my Byzantine inspiration is made from silver and sodalite. Sodalite is a stone similar to lapis lazuli but often has a milky marbling running through it, a bit like a pair of washed Levi’s, that I think makes it prettier than the flat blue of lapis.