Making Jewellery from Stories – by Lunella Florence

At this time of year I’m either busy making jewellery in the workshop or at events in the lead up to Christmas.

I’m currently working on a commission for a woman who has been married for 40 years. Her original wedding ring had worn through and rather than buy a new one she has asked me to reuse the gold in the original band, along with some other sentimental, but unworn, inherited items.

I hear many similar stories when I am at events; much of my work is inspired by haberdashery and it often evokes memories of parents and grandparents who darned, knitted or sewed. Some created clothes out of necessity, others for pleasure and many for both. These are cultural memories, shared pleasures of making things with our hands to be appreciated by others.

When I am asked to take on a new commission it is a privilege, being invited into a person’s home where I’m told stories and where memories are handed over to me.   As I take the objects to repurpose into a new piece of jewellery I know that I am taking more than trinkets, I hold a part of the original wearers history. As I work I am literally melting the precious metals and pouring the memories into a new future.

The new wedding band is shiny, it looks brand new but contains a myriad of stories; the essence of the people whose jewellery has contributed to it; the places that they have travelled and the opportunities that they have experienced. I hope this ring continues to be passed down in the family, recreated and added to over time for future generations to wear in new and exciting forms.

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Lunella Florence is a jewellery designer and maker. Images: Mark Dean




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