For her final presentation, Central Saint Martins’ graduate Imogen Burch took an unorthodox approach when designing an eternity ring. By challenging and deconstructing the more conventional meaning of ‘forever’ articulated through jewellery, she offered up a fresh idea on commitment.
“I have explored the idea that eternity doesn’t always mean forever,” says Imogen, who is currently working for a bespoke fine jeweller focusing on bridal jewellery, working and liaising with craftsmen in Hatton Garden. “After many years of being together, people fall in and out of love. A change in commitment and the idea that ‘forever’ isn’t always for ever is jarring and uncomfortable. The Broken Love eternity bands have breaks and steps to embody this out-of-place feeling. Not fully broken but obvious cracks and faults.”
In the same week, established British jewellery brand Annoushka chose to unveil its first bridal collection, Love and Commitment, to coincide with designer Annoushka Ducas’s 30th wedding anniversary. The collection had the tag line: forever, everyday.
Designs from Imogen Burch‘s graduate collection, The Broken Love
Annoushka’s Love and Commitment collection is perfectly imperfect, with organic and slightly irregular settings that are an authentic and true representation of enduring love. There is also something captivatingly nostalgic about the metal being 100% recycled – a thoughtful reinforcement of the design story rooted in the concept of past, present and future and the notion of ‘forever’ in love.
Just as Annoushka sprinkled her own signature flourish across her brand’s new bridal collection, Imogen’s first collection is cohesive and provocative. “My jewels are reinterpretations of traditional designs – setting aside weighty tradition and instead becoming fun, playful and kinetic,” says Imogen. “I wanted to create a new narrative that collectively illustrates a more developed picture of the intimate and revealing picture of the ring-wearer relationship.”
Jewellery has always been immersed in storytelling and emotion. It offers up a timeless representation of feelings and sentiment that are sometimes messy, jarring, broken. I love the concept of imperfection associated with ‘forever’ addressed by both these women. My feelings on this subject are eloquently articulated by one of my favourite authors, Haruki Murakami, in his book Kafka on the Shore in which he writes: “A certain type of perfection can only be realised through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect.”
Both Annoushka and Imogen recontextualise tradition for modern relationships by placing a realistic impression of love at the centre of the design story.
Engagement rings from the Annoushka Love & Commitment collection, from £2,500, shop at Annoushka
This article was originally written for Insight, the editorial division of leading jewellery consultancy Adorn. The author Juliet Hutton-Squire is the co-founder of Adorn.