Original jewellery designs and if you read in the caption on Youtube the designs are not purchased by ‘mainstream trendy’ but by a niche within ‘mainstream grey’ which are in fact the trendsetting women with a heart for quality and originality.
(Ode to my wife Yvonne de Wit who designs and create original jewellery from treasures of the South African Earth)
“The moon is bland in colour. I call it shades of grey … And to find orange soil on the moon was a surprise.” Gene Cernan, astronaut, Apollo 10, Apollo 17
When artist Yvonne de Wit came to South Africa from her native Netherlands, it was with an open mind and with what became a growing fascination in the different types of rock and soils that the southern part of this great and diverse continent had to offer.
Through experimentation, she discovered that grinding diverse stones and pieces of rock found in different locations, offered up extraordinary colours, unusual ‘dusts’ that, when framed in silver, produced jewelry that reflected the land in a very different way.
Ideally, one needs to handle each piece of her collections to see, understand and appreciate the skill with which she works. Consider her chandelier earrings, for example. The artist explains that she picked up stones, ground them finely and then felt they would work as three ‘pendants’ from the ear. But they needed to balance. If one looks at the final pieces, one will see how delicately, intricately and exquisitely each hangs, individually, from a tiny common point. They are not soldered together; each of the three pendants somehow hangs perfectly in place. And in harmony with its opposite piece on the other ear.
For the artist, this says something about nature, and our place in it. How, ideally, our relationship with soil, air and water should be in perfect balance. How delicate that relationship is. And what surprises the dust of the earth harbours for us, despite our many preconceptions. Like the astronaut who expected shades of grey on the moon — and found orange. While Yvonne has an innate connection to the soil beneath her feet, she recognises that water has an inevitable and appealing connection. During whale- watching in Hermanus one year, she was fascinated not just by the creatures themselves, but also by their habits. The result? Her finely crafted ‘whale’ pendant. No, it is not the animal itself she has re-created (although many might think so). The artist was entranced by the very fine combination of water and air, expelled from the blow-hole as the whale rises to the surface and exhales. Yvonne has captured a moment essential to life on earth — exhalation before inhalation.
The Private Gallery in Napier, South Africa, opens soon.
Me and my wife have decided to open a Private Gallery. As soon as her studio is ready (yes we are building) the present studio will be converted in a small gallery which is only open on appointment. If all goes well we should be ready at the end of February. We live along the main touristic route between Cape Town and the Southernmost Tip of the African Continent in Cape Agulhas. Daily tour buses are passing by and for the right people who value originality the Private Gallery is an ideal stop over to buy a gift (either jewellery reflecting the treasures of the South African earth or landscape pictures of this region). In the meantime some tourist organisations and South African based tour guides have expressed their interests; some of them already visited with groups Yvonne’s present studio last year.
“Sometimes a symbol holds more power than the thing it represents. Like the symbol for Thing, the one I created that is confusing and abstract and makes people ask, What is that thing? And I always reply, “If you already knew, why did you ask?” ―Jarod Kintz
Photos: ‘Two sides of an Angel Heart’ (Yvonne de Wit Jewellery Design & Art)
Doing something different with #jewellery. Yvonne de Wit (she is just setting up her own blog; the ‘about’ page is more or less finalised), co-incidentally my wife and love of a life-time ( 😀 ), creates jewellery of sterling silver and South African Earth (such a diversity). Pictured is a pendant in the shape of a Zulu shield with a Nguni hide of soil particles. This is one of the pieces of a new collection that will be marketed in the course of 2014. All jewellery is, piece after piece, purely handcrafted and every piece is unique with different patterns. Every #design is own.