Ruby Taglight began her jewellery journey whilst studying Painting and Printmaking at the Glasgow School of Art. Fascinated by the concept of the value society places on objects, Ruby takes inspiration from all types of art, creating one-of-a-kind, luxurious pieces.
Once opting for jewellery as her medium, Ruby went on to study at the Gemmological Institute of America before returning to London where she has her own workshop where she now creates jewellery that celebrates the over the top, and revels in opulence. Describing her work as miniature sculptures, she creates larger-than-life jewels that draw on themes including myths, history and religion.
Having found working through lockdown to be a blessing in disguise, Ruby has spent most of the past year creating pieces heavily influenced by Medieval Romanticism. We speak to Ruby about her new work and showcasing it at The Jewellery Cut Live for the first time this year.
Jewellery designer Ruby Taglight
How did you find your way into the jewellery industry?
“I began my journey at the Glasgow School of Art, where I studied Painting and Printmaking. I spent my time there creating life-sized, over-embellished sculptures. I explored the relationships between function vs. form, beauty vs. abjection and the value we place on objects. This led me to consider jewellery as a medium to expand my research, and I subsequently moved to New York to study at the Gemmological Institute of America. When I returned to London as a qualified gemmologist, I began working within the jewellery industry and took short courses in jewellery making to further my craft. Four years on, I have my own workshop in West London where I handcraft my pieces.“
How would you describe the Ruby Taglight brand?
“I celebrate the importance of adornment by creating one-of-a-kind luxury pieces. Throughout history, over-embellishment has been criticised as distracting from the function of an object. All of my pieces are designed to add extravagance to the every day. They are wearable sculptures made to adorn the body and applaud the over-the-top, over-feminine and kitsch.”
Where do you find inspiration for your collections?
“My designs are influenced by the parallels that exist between the modern role of humans, and the historical role of the ornament. I’m interested in how the technology we’re creating is overtaking us in 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.“
Ruby Taglight 9ct gold, opal and ruby Impaled ring, £1,900, shop at The Jewellery Cut Shop
What processes do you use to make your jewellery?
“My main process of making is lost wax casting. Coming into jewellery making from a background in sculpture, I found wax a really accessible material. The original wax form is melted away in this process, and the metal cast becomes a permanent version. Since most of my pieces are one of a kind, this process really lends itself to the design. Texturally, the maker’s hand is seen in every detail, giving each piece an extra uniqueness. The contrast between the malleability of wax, and the permanence of the metal is, for me, a lovely way to think about how we as ephemeral beings relate to the permanent architecture of the world around us.“
Do you use ethical and sustainable materials in your pieces?
“Yes, I work with ethically sourced materials as a standard within my practice. Metal and gemstone mining has a dark history and I believe it’s a duty when entering any industry to aim for ethical means of production. Jewellery lasts forever, and so creating pieces in a fast or non-sustainable fashion is not an option for me. All of my pieces are cast in recycled metal, and the stones I use are either recycled, traceable, or lab-grown.”
Tell us about your new medieval-inspired collection
“Most of the pieces I create are one of a kind, based on my continually evolving research. I recently read an article stating that in 2020, man-made mass exceeded the mass of all living things on the planet. While not surprising, I see this as an obviously shocking marker in our progress towards trans-humanism. My latest work has been built around this idea of new Romanticism. Looking at medieval illustrations, and considering the awe medieval humans must have felt towards the unknown natural world, I have been creating almost shrines to this wonder.”
Ruby Taglight gold vermeil and pink cubic zirconia Last Supper necklace, £800, shop at The Jewellery Cut Shop
What will you be bringing to The Jewellery Cut Live?
“At TJC Live, I’ll be showing a selection of pieces I have been creating throughout lockdown. Being able to work through this turbulent time has been a blessing, and really gave me a focus; I have been non-stop making. There will be a combination of fine jewellery, with some more art-jewellery pieces.”
Why should people come and find you at the event?
“This will be my first show, so I am looking forward to meeting everyone face to face after such a long time and seeing what the other designers have been working on. I believe that all jewellery should be worn and enjoyed daily, even those special pieces, so come along and try on everything. I aim to create pieces that come alive when worn.“
Ruby Taglight gold and lab-grown ruby Clutching Ruby necklace, £700, shop at The Jewellery Cut Shop
Do you have any fond memories from attending The Jewellery Cut Live as a visitor?
“I have visited TJC Live before, and my favourite moment was hearing Carol Woolton speak about her book, Vogue: The Jewellery. Hearing her talk about the history of Vogue and jewellery was inspiring – I swiftly bought the book and immersed myself in her world.“
[Carol Woolton will be returning to The Jewellery Cut Live in association with Fuli Gemstones 2021 on October 15th at 12.30pm to talk about her latest book, The New Stone Age. Book your ticket here]
What is your favourite personal piece of jewellery?
“I have a large personal collection of jewellery; it’s how I express myself daily. Taking off all my jewellery at the end of the day and choosing which pieces I wear each morning is a small daily ritual for me. The only piece that I never take off is my amulet made by Pippa Small. The 22ct gold vessel is filled with pressed flowers and plants from special places and people in my life, and wearing it is a constant reminder of love and happy memories.“
Ruby Taglight will be exhibiting at The Jewellery Cut Live in association with Fuli Gemstones. The show will take place on the 15th & 16th of October, 2021, at The Royal Institution in London’s Mayfair. Book your ticket here