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Five minutes with Frances Wadsworth Jones

This exciting, and surprising, contemporary jewellery designer is flouting tradition by transforming pearls into people and letting ants steal her gems

Thursday August 1, 2019 By Rachael Taylor

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Frances Wadsworth Jones set up her own jewellery label in 2008 after graduating from the Royal College of Art in London. She has since made a name for herself with playfully conceptual and quietly provocative jewels. Her distinct approach blurs the boundaries between design, fashion, craft and luxury to create pieces that defy expectations.

 

To date, Wadsworth Jones’ quirky view of the world has led to the creation tiny gold ants scurrying across rings and pendants as they try to carry diamonds and coloured gemstones with them in the Thieves collection. New offering Who? is a truly modern take on pearls, with the gems transformed into emoji-like characters through the addition of tiny gold accessories.

 

We grabbed five minutes with this exciting contemporary jeweller to find out what makes Frances Wadsworth Jones tick.

 

 

Tell us a little about your brand.

“It’s playfully conceptual, quietly provocative and beautifully crafted. I believe that fine jewellery need not play it safe to be timeless.”

 

What inspires your designs?

“My collections might seem unpredictable, but as a designer my process almost always starts with tradition. The first spark of an idea comes from classical techniques or forms, and trying to look at something instantly recognisable in a new way. As much as I respect the rules, I always seem to want to break them.”

 

What made you want to become a jeweller and how did you get into the business?

“Like most things, by accident. I always thought that I would be a fine artist but very quickly realised that I need a brief to anchor me. To me, creating jewellery is like sculpting in miniature, but I definitely call myself a designer.”

 

Tell us about the craftsmanship behind your jewels – how are they made?

“That depends on the collection, but usually there is an element of digital technology combined with traditional bench skills.”

 

Tell us about your latest collection. 

“My latest collection is ‘Who?’ which takes classical pearl necklaces and earrings and turns them into playful portraits. Look closely and you will spot pearls wearing 18ct gold miniature sunglasses and crowns. I don’t work seasonally, so no collection is ever finished. I am constantly adding to each so they all feel new to me.”

 

Have you been involved in any exciting projects this year?

“A collaboration with the artist Pio Abad. Together we created a series of 3D-printed sculptures for the Honolulu Biennial, replicating Imelda Marcos’ jewellery collection.”

 

 

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