It is one thing to be inspired but another to make use of the said inspiration – inspirations that only creative minds can weave into works of art in various abstract ways. One such example is the collaboration between award-winning jewellery designer Simone Ng and renowned architect Jason Pomeroy, which acted as a visual journal of six iconic architectural styles in Great Britain; turning each of them into a beautifully crafted jewellery piece. And it was just recently that I was privileged enough to be a part of the unveiling of the six rings that encapsulated both Jason and Simone’s love for history, art and design.
“I’ve known Jason for a couple of years and I think we started talking about the possibility of a collaboration on a collection last year. We both love fashion and jewellery. And we thought it would be fun to work together. So that was how we started,” shares Simone, adding that every year, Simone Jewels’ collection is based on a theme which is surrounded by a story, whether it’s history, architecture or culture. “And this year, Great Britain is our muse.”
While Simone’s expertise is on gemstones and microscopic attention to detail, Jason, on the other hand, comes from a totally different background and type of expressions. And it is this very reason that prompted my interest to know what happens when the two different worlds collide? “I deal with concrete, steel and glass on a daily basis. I design cities, whole buildings. Thus, I find what Simone does intriguing,” Jason expresses. An architect by profession and a professor of architecture, Jason notes that history has always been part and parcel of what he does, which curiously enough is also what Simone does. “Her work is heritage based. Some of the best ideas have been cast in history and each has a story to tell. And in the history of architecture, that is the starting point for this capsule collection,” Jason explains. So in terms of the process, I ask, how did they try to narrow down that scope? “If it were to be the complete history of British architecture, we would be here talking until the wee hours. To simplify the whole situation, we decided to narrow down the frame by focusing it on, almost like, part of my life story.”
Thus, the six historical sites chosen by the TV host of City Time Traveller included Berry Pomeroy Castle, King’s College Cambridge, Queen’s House, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and The Gherkin. “Obviously, the Pomeroy Castle is on the list as it was my family’s castle back in the mediaeval ages. The King’s College Chapel, which I had the privilege to study in, is one of the most remarkable gothic architectures, while the Queen’s House is a Renaissance building that was created by Inigo Jones. The St Paul’s Cathedral by Christopher Wren plays a more personal role here as it sealed my fate to becoming an architect back when I visited it at the age of eight,” Jason recites. He also informs that the Houses of Parliament, which was built in the 19th century, was a series of buildings that he would run past every day on the way to work, whereas The Gherkin in London, which is a wonderful example of the 20th century modern, hi-tech architecture, is a building Jason sees from his bedroom window every day.
With each building touching a certain point of Jason’s life, Simone then translated them into delicately crafted rings. “Not only do these rings talk about British innovation and architecture, each unique and revolutionary during its own period of history, it also talks a bit about my brand; its response to innovation and technology. Each ring is true to Simone Jewels’ tagline: yesterday’s tale, today’s creation, and tomorrow’s delight,” Simone narrates, carefully explaining that each ring was conceived as a miniature architectural exercise, with different techniques, craftsmen, rare high-quality sugarloaf gemstones and an array of fine materials. What’s more, constructed in every ring is also a mystery compartment that artistically reflects deeper into the interiors of the buildings.
“For instance, the ‘Queen’s House’ is set with an 8.91ct blue tanzanite sugarloaf. I was inspired by the building’s Renaissance-style stairs, which have gorgeous tulip details on the railings. So I decided to reinterpret the silhouette of the stairs onto the ring shank, with tulip details carved out of mothers-of-pearls adorning both sides. Furthermore, the entire ring, which was given the multiple twisting motifs, is encrusted with diamonds,” Simone exclaims with pride, adding that the stairs in miniature form can be seen once the gemstone is flipped open.
Of course, for someone who carries the Pomeroy surname, Jason’s favourite piece is the ‘Pomeroy Castle’, which is made of a 9.56ct unheated sugarloaf peridot. “The romantic ruin is now surrounded by lush greenery, including apple trees. And Simone managed to translate its beauty into the design – the ring shank is adorned with the English rose, leaves, apples and bees. Every detail on the ring has been finely set with diamonds and coloured gemstones. To top everything off, the ring opens up to reveal a secret stairway inside the castle,” Jason replies, noting that the sense of nature intertwining with man is the core of this piece of jewellery.
I am also told that the whole collaboration was a diligent yearlong exercise. Nevertheless, the whole experience led to an interesting conversation. “Sometimes I’d have to ground Simone in terms of practicalities of making decisions in order to move on to the next step,” Jason notes, further elaborating that on the reverse side of that, Simone’s got the ability to free him from the shackles of his usual thinking process; for him to actually think about other options, which he would often ask himself why he would need to do it if he had gone through a scientific approach. “So you’ve got these two different responses to design, which actually is kind of encouraging because if you’ve got two designers with a similar outlook, you often find that it’s very bland. What we have is something that is quite interesting,” Jason ends with a smile.
This article was first published in Prestige Malaysia April 2017 issue. For more information about the Jewels of Architecture collection, please visit the official website of simone jewels