Obsessed with history, philosophy and the existential questions that chase us through life, Ruby Taglight is not just creating jewels but transportable treasures that are a commentary on the human condition.
During lockdown, Taglight – a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, whose passion for jewels took her to New York to study gemmology – has been using this time for introspection to its fullest. Creatively, it has been a productive moment, and she plans to showcase the fruits of this time at The Jewellery Cut Live in association with Fuli Gemstones in 2021, which will be the first time her brand Ruby Taglight LDN will participate in a jewellery exhibition.
Here, the London-based designer tell us more about the Ruby Taglight LDN world of miniature sculptures and treasures to go.
Tell us about your brand.
“Ruby Taglight LDN celebrates the importance of adornment through creating one-of-a-kind luxury pieces. Throughout history, over embellishment has been criticised as distracting from the function of an object, and denounced in architectural design as overly feminine. I create wearable sculptures to adorn the body, and applaud the extravagant.”
What inspires your designs?
“My designs are influenced by the parallels that exist between the modern role of humans, and the historical role of the ornament. In a heavily technological society, we place value on scientific progress. I find it interesting that the technology we are creating is overtaking us in this definition of productivity, and humanity is increasingly fulfilling the role of the ornament. I explore myths, religion and history to create pieces that exist with such contrasts. I enjoy combining precious metals with synthetic stones, kitsch colours and figurines to explore the beauty of humanity’s multifaceted experience in this world.”
What made you want to become a jewellery designer?
“I’ve always known I wanted to work with my hands in a studio environment. My interest in adornment developed during my time at The Glasgow School of Art, where I studied Fine Art and created life-sized sculptures depicting heavily adorned creatures. I went on to study gemmology at the Gemological Institute of America, deepening my understanding of gemstones and their historical importance. It felt a natural progression to go into the world of creating jewellery.”
How are your jewels are made?
“Each of my pieces start with an initial idea, for example a Rococo building or a Medieval myth, which I develop through multiple drawings and paintings, where I try to capture the emotion of the piece I wish to create. I then begin to transfer my designs into wax, working very intuitively and playfully, which is when the piece starts to take shape. I allow the material to take some control of the form, through a combination of melting and building the piece up, until I feel the piece has gained some sort of autonomy. The final outcome is often completely different from my original plan.”
Tell us about your latest collection.
“Each piece I create is one of a kind, as a reaction to my constantly evolving research. My most recent areas of interest include reliquaries. I have been exploring the contrast between the idea that we are all equal after death, with the action of creating a hugely ornamented casket to hold a relic of a saint. A lot of my most recent pieces are created with this in mind; carving incredibly detailed forms to decorate a large cubic zirconia, a synthetic stone sometimes used as a diamond substitute. I am experimenting with elevating a gemstone which may not be held to the traditional values – monetary, rareness – that one would place on a naturally formed gemstone. Another theme I have been inspired by is impermanent architecture. In an exhibition at the V&A, The Fabrics of India, I saw a tent that belonged to Tipu Sultan of Mysore, the ruler of Mysore between 1782 and 1799. The beautiful tent was brought to war with the Sultan as a temporary palace, an idea I find wonderful. I strive for my pieces to take on a similar role, as a small luxury one can move around with.”
What are you working on now?
“I am currently working towards creating larger-scale pieces, hoping to expand my collections into homewares, such as candleholders. I look forward to seeing how my ideas develop when creating bigger work that is more tactile.”
What can visitors to The Jewellery Cut Live in association with Fuli Gemstones they expect to see at your stand?
“At my stand there will be a selection of pieces I have created through gaining a strong sense of self in my work. As a self-taught jeweller, I have spent the past two years learning how to create the pieces that I have been dreaming up, and I am looking forward to showing them to a wider audience at my first jewellery show.”
To be the first to know about dates for The Jewellery Cut Live in association with Fuli Gemstones in 2021, as well as other events and news, sign up to our weekly newsletter