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Artist and jeweller Christopher Thompson Royds’ designs take the humble wildflower, and elevate it into a precious piece of adornment. “These are the overlooked plants that are becoming increasingly rare,” says Christopher. “By recreating them in gold…you’re celebrating them.”
Christopher, who studied jewellery and metalwork at London’s prestigious Royal College of Art, crafts necklaces, earrings, and brooches inspired by wildflowers’ strength and beauty. His Natura Morta collection takes its cues from the pressed flowers that he discovered within marble-paper folios at London’s Natural History Museum’s Herbarium, which collector Sir Hans Sloane had sent back from the Caribbean in the late 1600s.
To create his designs, Christopher traces around real pressed flowers and cuts them from paper-thin, 18k yellow gold, which he then hand-paints and adorns with a smattering of diamonds, to resemble dew drops. Among the standout pieces from the Natura Morta collection is the Buttercup Necklace, which resembles sprigs of buttercups tied to encircle the neck.
Christopher says his designs play on the contrast between jewellery’s permanence and nature’s inherent impermanence. “Part of the beauty of a flower is its ephemeral nature – the moment you pick it it’s dying, it doesn’t last forever,” says Christopher. “And yet there you are in jewellery making it in a material that lasts for eons. I’m trying to make a link between these opposing sides.”
And the designer’s Against Nature collection is composed of pieces that fuse sculpture and jewellery. Again, inspired by wildflowers, Christopher works in 18k gold to create finely-crafted sculptures of daisies, poppies, and cornflowers, that can be displayed on a stand on a dressing table or mantelpiece. But alongside this, parts of the sculpture can be detached to be worn as earrings or a pendant, as if the wearer is plucking a flower’s head or stem from the original creation. “It’s like picking the flower and you put the flower behind your ear, or on a chain,” says Christopher.