One established, eponymous label; one recent CSM graduate: two refreshing updates to the classic engagement ring and the notion of ‘timeless’and ‘forever’.
Imogen Burch 'Broken Love' mood board
For her final presentation, Imogen Burch takes an unorthodox approach to tradition, challenging and deconstructing the more conventional meaning of ‘forever’ articulated through jewellery: “I have explored the idea that eternity doesn’t always mean forever. After many years of being together, people fall in and out of love. A change in commitment and the idea that ‘forever’ isn’t always for ever is jarring and uncomfortable. The ‘Broken Love’ eternity bands have breaks and steps to embody this out-of-place feeling. Not fully broken but obvious cracks and faults”.
Annoushka Bridal Collection
In the same week, Annoushka chose to unveil her first bridal collection, 'Love and Commitment', to coincide with her 30th wedding anniversary with a tag line “forever, everyday”. The collection is perfectly imperfect. I find the organic and slightly irregular settings an authentic and true representation of enduring love. There is also something captivatingly nostalgic about the metal being 100% recycled – a thoughtful re-inforcement of the design story rooted in the concept of past, present and future and the notion of ‘forever’ in love.
Imogen Burch 'Broken Love' engagement ring
Just as Annoushka has sprinkled her own signature flourish across her new bridal collection, Imogen’s first collection is cohesive and provocative. “My jewels are reinterpretations of traditional designs – setting aside weighty tradition and instead becoming fun, playful and kinetic. I wanted to create a new narrative that collectively illustrates a more developed picture of the intimate and revealing picture of the ring/wearer relationship”.
Jewellery has always been immersed in storytelling and emotion. It offers up a timeless representation of feelings and sentiment that are sometimes messy, jarring, broken. I love the concept of imperfection associated with ‘forever’ addressed by both these women. My feelings eloquently articulated by one of my favourite authors, Haruki Murakami, in his book ‘Kafka on the Shore’: “a certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect”.
Both Annoushka and Imogen re-contextualise tradition for the modern consumer by placing a realistic impression of love at the centre of the design story.
Imogen is currently working for a bespoke fine jeweller focusing on bridal jewellery, working and liaising with craftsmen in Hatton Garden. Alongside developing her own work she has been involved in an exciting collaboration with an established brand, creating a collection of affordable fine jewellery scheduled for release in September 2022, using her graduate collection as a springboard for ideas.
Words: Juliet Hutton-Squire
Images: Imogen Burch & Annoushka