Hello faithful readers, I would like to open by wishing you all a safe and meaningful festive season.
So here we are, it’s December and the end of 2015! What a challenging and amazing year this has been.
I hope you have all had a good year and will continue to enjoy living in this amazing country. Considering all the awful things that are happening globally, it is important to take care of yourself, your families and loved ones, and wherever possible assist those in need.
From my family’s point of view, we are so thrilled to be able to say that the new PIKE Jewellers has flourished with the support of so many new and established clients. The range of work we have completed for you, our valued clients, is vast and with Matthew’s workshop leadership, the designs I have created have come to life in his hands. Of course, these things couldn’t happen without the support of Helen, Clare and Lou. The pieces crafted have not only met the briefs, but have meant so much emotionally to the recipients. As part of our work, we continue to use previously owned gems, most of them handed down by loved ones and I feel so fortunate that I have the skill to see them recreated and then translated by Matthew to allow them a new life in an exciting new setting (click here to read about our latest commission in this month’s newsletter). We are so grateful to be in such a joyful practice dealing with delightful people and producing beautiful things. How could I ask for more?
Generally, there should be more beauty in the world. In the words of one of my favourite authors Tim Winton, from his latest book Island Home, ‘I think people everywhere yearn for connection, to be overwhelmed by beauty’. I love his statement. In fact, his book is very uplifting and so rewarding – a good Christmas or New Year read. And the jacket cover of the hard back is the most stunning aerial photography from Gerson/Getty Images, and it just feels like a glorious holiday.
One of my most interesting commissions this year has been a step away from jewellery design but still involves jewellery. I mentioned in a previous blog that I had been asked by a long-standing client to create a jewellery journal. She wanted to document the history and source of her lifetime collection of jewellery. The book is now being printed, and I am so proud of the 100 page single edition. It has been made possible by a chance meeting with Christian Taorimina from Copycat Printing, who has assisted me with the technical details, so once I had completed the photography and Clare had photoshopped them, I then researched the history of the international companies and the Australian designers included in the collection. There are eight chapters in total and the common thread throughout is the predominance of one-off custom-made pieces incorporating an array of precious gems and precious metals. Many of the designs are pavé set with diamonds and the use of yellow gold often in contrast to small areas of white gold is repeated throughout. The designs are timeless and will no doubt be around for generations to come.
This journal has been a very special way of recording the history and provenance of a jewellery collection and allows the stories, often forgotten by family, to be remembered. Above all, it is a beautiful way to portray and celebrate a lifetime’s collection. Also, a great help for insurance purposes. A lot of the information is confidential, but I hope these two images show the concept in such a way that will allow those of you who are interested to possibly consider one for yourself. I will include some more visuals in my January blog. In the meantime feel free to give me a call, and I can describe the book in more detail. I will also have an original draft at the studio which the client is happy for me to show you.
For those of you who celebrate Christmas my little bit of research tells me that over 160 countries around the globe celebrate Christmas on the 25th December. There are over 34 countries where the 25th passes the same as any other day. Some of them celebrate on January 7th instead. Christmas is also celebrated in many forms – for instance, in Serbia mum is tied up by her children on the Sunday preceding the 25th, and she pays the ransom by giving gifts. The same happens to Dad the Sunday after the 25th. I wonder how many parents in Australia feel a similar form of pressure!!
In Germany, St Nikolaus (Santa Claus) is accompanied by a scary devil-like character warning the children not to be bad. In France, a similar figure is called La Pere Fouettard. In Italy, a good witch called La Befana delivers children’s presents on January 6th using a broomstick rather than a sleigh. If you’ve been bad, expect lumps of coal!
Santa Claus in the Netherlands is called Sinterklaas, and he doesn’t live at the North Pole but in sunny Spain and arrives by steamboat and has a helper called Black Peter. In Greece, basil is used to wrap around crosses and to sprinkle Holy Water to ward off the ‘Killantzaroi’, the mischief making goblins. It is also a tradition to burn your old shoes giving you good luck for the following year. Speaking of shoes, in Brazil children expect their presents in their shoes rather than stockings – their gifts must be very small! In Iceland, there are 13 Santas who are troll-like and come down from the mountains during the day and leave presents or rotting potatoes depending on the child’s behaviour. They have names like Door Sniffer and Meat Hook! Delightful.
So whether you’re in Ukraine with spider webs bringing you luck, or Greenland enjoying your rotting bird which has been sealed in sealskin and stored under a rock for a few weeks, or even witnessing a nativity scene in Catalonia, Spain where the characters are accompanied by ‘Cagner’ who appears to sit and have a poo on stage, it’s all about presents, being good or else you get ‘coal’ and apparently parents not having such a good time. How interesting the world is.
I wish you all the very best for 2016 and hope that some of your dreams come true, and if not just enjoy every day with your loved ones and friends and as they say ‘treasure every moment’.
Lots of love
Nicholas (St Nik!!)