Thames Lion Necklace (silver) *Exclusive to The Shop Floor Project
Material: solid sterling silver lion head (modelled by hand), clasping a Thames Garnet in its mouth, on a silver chain.
'Lion' 2 cm (3/4")
Chain (total length): 72cm (28")
*The Thames garnets are a mystery. They only appear in a fairly small area on the River's foreshore and, on a sunny day, the mud literally glows with them. They are thought to have found their way into the mud in 1810 when an East India Company ship came into port at Rotherhide and somehow lost a bale of garnets overboard...
These Thames garnets, blasted by countless tides, are as dark and mysterious as the river itself. It's amazing to look at one of these tiny stones and imagine its journey from India or the east coast of Africa, all the way to the muddy banks of the bustling Thames in the early 1800's.
About the Maker
New Zealand born, London-based jeweller Hannah Upritchard creates work with an archaeologist's aesthetic. You could be forgiven for thinking her pieces have been unearthed in some exciting treasure hoard; with their uneven, ancient textures, mediaeval form and strange talismans. Whilst these are contemporary designs, Hannah uses ancient methods such as wax sculpting and casting and combines these with finds from the River Thames foreshore.
"Mudlarking is dictated by the tides. Every tide exposes new treasures and I go down myself a few times a year to search for treasures for my collection. To find the Thames garnets I patiently and slowly scrape back the top layer of grit to expose each garnet and collect them one by one."
Upritchard enjoys the teaching process, regularly holding workshops in her studio. She has also been lucky enough to have been taught by jeweller from Brazil to New Zealand. "I have a kind of MacGyver approach to design, inventing techniques that give my work a personality all of its own".
Where possible, she uses fair-trade or recycled materials, including metals, stones and packaging.