Nelson Mandela once said "It always seems impossible until it is done". And such was the case with the development of our lock, a highly complex, precise undertaking that took 914 days from the first drawing to the production of of a working sample I was happy with. So long that when I announced their completion on social media, I forgot about a whole year.
There were definitely times I thought we would never get here, but we did and we are so proud of the result. The locks made their debut at Melee Tucson, to praise such as genius, the Swiss are coming for you, they kept me up all night. You and me both!
But enough about the struggles, let's talk about the why.
I had wanted to add something new and fresh to my Love Stories collection for some time, and it was imperative that it made sense in the context of that collection—the enchanting antique love tokens with the customizable bezels and the rejuvenated castings and signet rings. It took a while to imagine something that connected thematically. Serendipitously, I came across a Victorian era padlock and something clicked! Since much of the jewelry of the 19th century was a communication vehicle in an era when open expression of feelings was not allowed, I wanted to expand on that idea by creating another collection based on secret messages and meanings. And the invention aspect harkened back to all of the innovation of the 19th Century.
I borrowed the idea and created a modern take on creating my own language of symbols in the new Lock Stories Collection. My favorite part is that the locks don’t simple fasten they create messages that reflect all aspects of life. Then I added in what I have named Modern Cartouches, Medals of Meaning and Charming Miniatures which are all contemporary sentimental jewels.
It all started with the locks, which replaces a clasp with a fully functional combination lock with some of the most recognizable talismans and motifs from the Victorian era. I have reinterpreted them with modern detail and the nuance of artfully combining the past and present.
Four free rotating rondels comprise the combination part of the lock and the result is a three-sided combination lock with each side representing the same sentiment in a different language - the Roman alphabet, Victorian symbols, and Braille (which was also created during the Victorian era).
When locked, the rondels are scrambled, and only when they are lined up to spell the word will the key release. In this respect, they are in keeping with the practice of embedding secret messages in jewelry, flowers and other gifts bestowed on loved ones. The five locks all are imbued with different meanings. Flor, Spanish for Flower, is a nod to the Victorian Language of Flowers and is romantic by nature. Luck, features classic symbols which bring good fortune. Mama includes signifiers of strength and endearment. Love portrays imagery of everlasting passion and commitment. Sûre, French for safe is inspired by talismans and represents protection and guidance.
I designed the locks to become a jewelry collection staple. It’s a statement and conversation piece, that while always garners attention, it knows how to play well with a variety of looks.
I then decided to add pieces that could be layered in and worn with the locks with the same motifs and themes or by mixing up themes. I chose to offer a range of different shaped medallions and different sized pendants and dainty charms, creating pieces you could collect over time and offering different price ranges.
Modern Cartouches which feature different pendants with the five words on one side and the motifs for each word in relief on the other side that can be worn either way. The Medals of meaning are smaller with just one of the symbols in relief and the Charming Miniatures are ultra-delicate versions for those who find it more accessible to start their collection with one of the smaller pieces. Many have diamonds or other gemstone accents or can be customized with them. And there is more to come.
All pieces in the collection can be mixed and matched to create your own Language of Symbols, those that most apply to what you dream about, wish for, need guidance on or anything else that draws you to the collection. They can be worn with other jewelry, symbolic or otherwise and, they also mix and combine easily with antique and vintage jewelry.
As for the decision to use Braille as the third side, it was invented in the Victorian era, and I loved the idea of creating pieces blind people could connect with, as jewelry is traditionally a visual medium and this is so tactile and fun. No one should be deprived of the joy of jewelry!
Creating this collection has had it challenges and has proven to be a labor of love and passion over the last three years.
Designing a mechanical jewel that required such precision to work was a real challenge - requiring countless rounds of revisions from early sketches to making infinitesimal adjustments. If I was going to do this, I wanted to do it right and I could not be happier to share the final creation. For me, it was definitely worth the wait and I hope you feel that way too!