6 November 2020
Wearable art and asymmetry: Q&A with Margery Hirschey
Award-winning fine jewellery designer Margery Hirschey has created a stunning pair of Zambian emerald, gold and diamond earrings.
They were designed especially for Walk for Giants, but call upon wider influences, specifically the modernist Bauhaus movement, which began in Germany early last century, and the mythical poet Orpheus, who was famed for being able to bring order from chaos. The earrings are an extension of an existent collection of Hirschey’s, and have her trademark asymmetry, but with a design all their own. Crafted entirely by hand, they bring together 18k gold, 3.64 carats of responsibly sourced Gemfields emeralds and 1.5 carats of natural brilliant-cut diamonds in a stunningly intricate, geometric pattern. The result is “a work of wearable art”, says Hirschey, who has training in fine art and couture and considers herself “an artist who creates jewellery”, rather than a mass-producing jewellery label. She launched her business in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength. She takes her inspiration from the ancient goldsmiths, but all of her pieces have a modern touch. What is your favourite piece of coloured-gemstone jewellery? I would say that my favourite coloured gemstone piece is my Double Arch Gemfields Emerald Earrings. They were the design that marked the beginning of my journey into a new aesthetic, something more modern, more artistic and definitely different than what I had done before. It’s interesting to note that, for me, emeralds were an acquired taste. At first, I was not particularly drawn to their intense blue-green colour, but I have become enamoured of the colour and inner glow of these beautiful gems. One fact you’ve learned about Gemfields/Space for Giants through doing this project? Most people know about the dangers of poaching for the elephant population, but I did not realise there were such serious conflicts between farmers and elephants, who can consume over 500 pounds of food in a single day. Obviously, if elephants are going to survive in the 21st century, there needs to be a way for humans to coexist with these magnificent beasts. Why get involved with a conservation project? I think we all have to do whatever we can to preserve not only the environment, but also the animals that are at risk of extinction. We know that everything is inter-connected. When a species becomes extinct, it affects the whole ecosystem in ways we can’t always predict. It behoves all of us to be aware of our planet and do what we can to protect it and all of its creatures. What do emeralds/rubies mean to you? I am not a gemmologist. I came to the world of jewellery as an artist first, and then as a mostly self-taught jeweller. I chose gems because they spoke to me. I am less interested in what makes a particular gemstone valuable and more interested in its character and inherent beauty. I have come to really appreciate the beauty of gemstones, and I love that they have lots of legends and myths surrounding them. Wearing these gems connects us to history. I love emeralds because of their inclusions and their glow and, of course, their colour. I love rubies partly because of what they symbolise: love and life. Sometimes I choose a tiny pear-shaped ruby to hang from a piece, because it reminds me of a drop of blood, not in a gruesome way, but as a symbol of life. If you could wear one of the pieces from the collaboration, not from your own collection, which would it be? I think I would choose the Valani Atelier Orion Emerald Ring, because sometimes a girl just needs some serious bling. Click here to view this exciting capsule collection.