The Crown Jewels
Creative crowns have been an element in a few of our larger social arts projects and we have spoken at length about the rich history of metalsmithing and gem knowledge that inspires our work. Rachel Rose was recently asked for her thoughts about the Crown Jewels from Reporter Julie Watson for Vintage Magazine. Here are some excerpts from the interview that bring our views about royalty and history together.
JULIE WATSON: Have you ever been to the Tower of London/seen the crown jewels? If not, would you like to, and why?
RACHEL ROSE: I have not been to London, or seen the jewels, but I would love to. As a jeweler, the crown jewels are representations of goldsmithing techniques and gemstones that I have been studying for over a decade. Witnessing those pieces in person would be incredible. I have a deep appreciation for the masterful techniques utilized in the creation of the crowned jewels as well as the history of what the pieces and gemstones have been through.
The Crown Jewels are powerful symbols of a tradition which is larger than individuals; they represent the way a physical object can take on larger than life significance. These tokens of royalty have been used for centuries to communicate that the crown is not about an individual, but rather a tradition of responsibility, representing values deemed important to the monarchy.
JW: Clearly the crown jewels have cultural and historical significance, but in general, jewelry is often symbolic or significant (as adornment, expression of style, or as a signifier of wealth, commitment etc.) - any thoughts on why this is? The role it plays in the everyday lives of "regular" people? What do you see in your own work?
RR: Jewelry communicates our eternal desires. It is often used as a symbol to remind us of who we aspire to be - loving, faithful, committed, and inspired as individuals. The shine and brilliance of jewelry reminds us to take delight in life, while the deeper meaning forged into pieces represents desires of belonging, connection and aspiration.
The intention of putting on a piece of jewelry in the morning or before you go out for the evening is an action which reminds you who you want to be, and ultimately connects you with who you are. We wear jewelry externally, meaning it is on display for the world to see, but it is also small and sculptural enough in form that hidden meanings can be woven throughout, making jewelry an incredibly personal way to display personality and values.
JW: Anything else you'd like to add regarding the collection?
RR: My favorite piece in the royal collection is the Ampulla, an eagle shaped vessel, cast in solid gold, with outspread wings. The head of the eagle screws off, and there is an aperture in the beak for pouring oil. The Ampulla is used to hold consecrated oil which a sovereign is anointed with during the coronation ceremony.