Wendy Brandes Jewelry
I stumbled upon the delightful Wendy Brandes when googling Anne Boleyn Necklace, because I have (from time to time) become obsessed with the idea of getting a B (for Boleyn or Burke) necklace of my very own.
Every so often, I go to her website, bring up this image, and make puppy-dog eyes at the screen.
Most of the time however, I hang out on her blaaaaag because she is a wickedly funny lady who looks amazing in redredred lipstick and wears whatever the fuck she likes (she also swears alot. I like that about her).
One of my favourite things about her jewellery is that she has a god damn sense of humour. Unscrew the little acorn on a necklace, and you free a little squirrel!
A low profile ring snaps open to reveal a little depression. Is it to store a love note or treasure?
No! The Borgia ring is to store poison.
I'm going to include some of my favourite pieces here but I am not going to post their prices. Some may call them prohibitive (she also produces silver versions at very reasonable-for-high-quality prices) but never forget, her language may be blue but her jewellery is at the luxury end of the market.
She recently wrote on her blog about this very issue and explains that each and every stone is set by hand, meticulously, and that attention to detail does actually cost money (shock horror gasp)
This astounding swan ring (named after Anne of Cleves! I'll come back to that) has 140 individual diamonds that are (in her own inimitable words) are set by a guy who uses a magnifying glass to see what he's doing, while he handles one-millimeter-wide stones with tweezers. Don't get me wrong. If you want to order 500 Cleves Rings, I will happily -- and by necessity -- use inexpensive overseas labor. Just let me know when you're ready to place that order. In the meantime, you'll have to live with spectacular, handmade jewelry that is limited edition, locally made and personally approved by me. So seriously? a piece by Wendy Brandes is a Piece By Wendy Brandes. And a lovely little old man.
The collection that makes my cold black heart race is called Vivat Regina (Long Live the Queen) and is inspired by Royal ladies. Wendy says that Lockets and poison rings are an important part of this collection, because naughty royal ladies are the most interesting. and lord, how I agree. She references everyone from Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, Lucrezia Borgia, Marie Antoinette, Bathsheba, Hatshepsut, to Queen Min (last Empress of Korea!), Edburga (an Anglo-Saxon Queen who accidentally poisoned her husband and insulted a future, royal suitor, silly lady), and Juana (daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, she was said to have had her husband’s coffin opened for a few last looks before burial). Amazing.
Beautiful jewellery, and a quirky little history lesson! Jewellery of Little Known Facts? My kind of thing!
(the Juana necklace)