Votive Jewellery

The new mood in contemporary jewellery is deeply personal.  From phials of sweat and blood to tear-catchers and diamonds made from ashes, jewellery is moving away from bling to exclusive singularity.

The word jewellery itself is derived from the word jewel, which was anglicised from the Old French “jouel” and beyond that, to the Latin word “jocale“, meaning plaything. 

But Humans have used jewellery for many different reasons:

·      functional, generally to fix clothing or hair in place, or to tell the time

·      as a marker of  and personal status, as with a wedding ring

·      as a signifier of some form of affiliation, whether ethnic, religious or social

·      to provide talismanic protection (in the form of amulets)

·      as an artistic display

·      as a carrier or symbol of personal meaning – such as love, mourning, or even luck

·       Wearing of amulets and devotional medals to provide protection or ward off evil is common in some cultures. These may take the form of symbols (such as the ankh), stones, plants, animals, body parts (such as the Khamsa), or glyphs.


I am currently exploring how jewellery can capture memories, residues, personal objects and beliefs, together with individual life histories. Using pewter casts of particular objects such as Lego, stones, bark, even teeth, these together make up a necklace of votive charms.  Each charm symbolises a memory, an emotion a fragment of a person’s life.

Working with Pewter Jeweller Bernice Le Cornu Cantrill I have constructed a votive necklace for myself that is made up of personal charms that include bark from a tree in Kyoto, a vial containing my cat’s whiskers, a cast of a pulled tooth, even a disprin tablet. 

My life around my neck.