During the 18th century, Great Britain revolutionised the process of manufacturing goods.
If Britain was the ‘workshop of the world’, then the Jewellery Quarter was the goldsmith’s creative flair.
Once referred to as the ‘toy shop’ of Europe, the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter is now rich with 250 years of art, history and community spirit.
Since graduating university in 1995, Collette has worked amidst the hustle of bustle in a traditional goldsmith workshop.
Quite a few of the techniques she uses are centuries old and in Collette's words, 'this makes it quite a special craft'. Not much has changed over the years of jewellery design and creation, but your imagination is your only limit.
Working as a community, Collette’s suppliers and stockists are also small, independent and often family businesses. Not only does this cultivate long-lasting relationships, but it keeps the neighbourhood strong and prosperous.
Surrounded by creatives with years of expertise, the support and advise, without a doubt, enriches the quality of Collette’s work.
Described by English Heritage as ‘a national treasure’, it comes as no surprise that Collette simply loves the history and generations of jewellers which are ‘somehow soaked up into the buildings’.
'I feel lucky being a part of the history of jewellery...'
And we’ll leave you with a few of our favourite facts about The Jewellery Quarter:
Over a THIRD of British jewellery comes from the jewellery quarter.
Around 500 businesses currently operate here, including many fantastic bars and restaurants.
A 2 minute walk from the station will get you straight into the heart of the jewellery quarter.
In the 18th century, craftsmen were known as ‘small masters’, meaning they ran small, family businesses that produced large quantities of jewellery using hand-powered machinery (not much has changed!)
Valentine’s day has become an event of plastic hearts, tacky teddy bears and expensive dinners. Quite a few of us don’t even celebrate the occasion anymore because of its shallow reputation.
Well, it’s about time that we start seeing Valentines in a different light!
Here are our top 3 reasons to celebrate Valentine’s this year.
1. Love comes in many forms.
Quite often we’re led to believe that Valentine’s Day is only for passion, lust and romance, but the various meanings of love could not be more contrary. Like the different flavours of ice-cream, we have different formations of love that the Ancient Greeks so insightfully identified.
Eros is the love of passion, most regularly associated with valentines, youth and lust.
Meanwhile Philia is the love between great friends, symbolic of loyalty and sacrifice. This also extends to the unconditional love between parents and children.
Pragma represents the love between life partners, which requires patience and understanding, a love that is not nearly praised or admired enough to this day. Collette created an entire collection of jewellery in honour of her marriage to Kane, focused on the unique and elegant shape of the Calla lilies from her wedding bouquet.
And then we have Philautia; the love of yourself, a sense of acceptance and security in your own skin. According to philosophers, this kind is essential, as how can we love others if we cannot love ourselves?
So, for anyone feeling ‘loveless’ on Valentine’s, you couldn’t be further from the truth. From our friends and relatives, to our children and life partners we are surrounded by the purest and most sacred kinds of love. So, why not consider exchanging cards or gifts between friends and family as a little reminder of how much they mean to you.
And, commanded by the poet Bukowski ‘if you have the ability to love, love yourself first’, so don’t forget to treat yourself this Valentine’s!
2. Valentine’s gifts do not have to be tacky and cliché.
We all know that the best way to avoid buying into a cliché is to design or buy a gift that actually means something to your loved one. This could be a good old DIY project or a customised piece that shows you really put thought and time into it.
Since all of Collette’s jewellery is handmade by either herself, Kane or Helen, customisation is easier then you may think. You could alter an existing design in her collection or create something entirely new, perhaps using a favourite stone or metal – your imagination is the only limit!
Another option for a sentimental gift would be to resurrect pre-loved jewellery. An example of this would be when Collette melted together her Mother and Grandmother’s wedding rings to create a new one. This blending of the two generations to create something truly original and sentimental would make a perfect gift!
And finally, for the couples planning on renewing their vows or just fusing a new lease of life into their marriage, you have the opportunity to create completely new wedding rings with Collette to guide you every step of the way.
Check out this video featuring the lovely couple Erin and Tim making personalised wedding rings to replace their old, budget rings.
3. Love Local
And, last but not least, Valentines is an opportunity to truly love your community by supporting local businesses instead of huge, corporate entities. Buying from sole traders and small businesses based near you, will not only enhance your Valentines experience but provide support for their families too.
What are your reasons for celebrating Valentines? Let us know in the comments below.
All our Love,
The Waudby Team
Thinking of the mood I wanted for my images, a favourite Burne-Jones quote came immediately to mind:
''I mean by a picture a beautiful romantic dream of something that never was, never will be - in a light better than any light that ever shone - in a land no one can define, or remember, only desire''
I am a bit of a romantic and I adore the work of the Pre-Raphaelites. This Image of John William Waterhouse's 'Ophelia' offered something of a starting point.
The importance of good photography is so so crucial . I chose to work with the very talented Sam at Rose and Rainbow Photography. I had seen her style and felt that her style was so perfect I didn't want to butt in with my arty quotes and images and that I would allow her creative feedom to interpret my work. If you do look at her other stuff, you will see, she has just 'got it'.
We used two wonderful models, Hannah and Alarna, whose patience was unbelievable. The look was created by Make-up and Hair by Gemma. WOW! it was amazing to see just how the right make-up creates the perfect look!
Location was a no-brainer. I adore visiting the local woods. Warley Woods is dear to my heart for many reasons. To visit is to escape for a moment and be surrounded by the beauty of nature among tree's much older than I and that will stand long after I am gone. Kane & I love to bring the children here too. In fact they were around during the shoot and we convinced them the models were fairies. Look at them! It wasn't hard.
I learnt so much about how natural light can be the most amazing studio you could ask for. We started at 10am and worked until almost 6pm. Having done nothing apart from move around the woods to the different location, I was exhausted! Sam still had so much energy and never compromised when getting the right shot. Hannah and Alarna still looked serenely beautiful! I love the images so much I want to share them with you.
As a default all our pendants are hung on 18 inch chains. We have found this is the most popular length. We can supply our pendants on 16'' 18'' 20'' 22'' 24''.
To decide what is the best length for you, measure an existing chain that is a comfortable length and make a note to help when choosing.
Alternatively, use a piece of string or ribbon to determine the perfect length for you.
Click the image below to see our guide.
Bracelets are very straightforward. The universally accepted length is 7 to 71/2 inches. Ours all have a short extender chain to allow for a little variation.
Bangles can be a bit trickier. We have a great tool you can download to help with this. You can place your own bangle over the template or cut it out and carefully put your hand through the hole. We find the medium is by far our most popular size.
Click the image below to see our guide.
This to can be tricky, especially if it is for a surprise gift!
We have spent some time developing two tools on one page for you to help determine your size. There are clear instructions on the PDF tool that make it super easy to use and has proven to given accurate measurements.
Click the image below to see our guide.