I’ve always loved Imogen Belfield’s work. Amidst a dominant aesthetic of polish and perfection, Belfield’s work bear a rough hewn quality that calls to mind the very things that inspire it. From the celestial to the earth-born, Bellfield’s work, designed and handcrafted in the UK from gilded bronze, silver, steel and gold, recalls nature at its most impressive. Belfield graduated from the Sir John Cass School of Art, Media & Design at The London Metropolitan University and has since received much acclaim, winning awards from the British Jewellery Association, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and South Square Trust as well as ‘Best in Gold’ at the Couture Design Awards 2016, for her Gold and Diamond ‘Goddess’ showpiece necklace from the ‘Amazonian’ Collection. For my Object# series, I invited Belfield to talk about her work and inspiration and the seminal Plasma Ring.
‘[I became a jeweller] because of an inherent love for fashion, art and sculpture, propelled by the introduction to silver-smithing and metalwork from an early age. I was entranced by the McQueen shows and the theatre and spectacle they exuded.
As a trained sculptor, building and evolving the designs in 3D is a huge part [of what I do]. When creating the prototypes, I work with plaster, wax and alginate, to form the masters and the moulds. This goes right back to my roots in sculpting. I often think this stage of design is the best, as it allows scope for experimentation. I love creating bespoke pieces for clients, and working with stunning gemstones. I also love 22 karat gold; it has a beautifully rich and warm colour and is most effective when used for detailed embellishments due to its maleability.
The Plasma Ring combines the raw, organic aesthetic that has become synonymous with my brand with smooth illuminating surfaces to create a contrast in textures.
I love the chunkiness of the Ring. The piece has a lovely weight to it, which is why it works so well in gold-plated silver. When commissioned to create these pieces in solid gold, the problem of course is always the weight! So we have to adapt the design, carve out quite a lot of material from inside, so the casting in gold doesn’t break the bank!
The ring was made in-house at my studios at The Goldsmiths’ Centre and is originally from my 2010 ‘Equilibrium’ Collection which was inspired by the solar system. Who would I like to see wearing it? Michelle Obama!
There is an inherent preciousness to jewellery. The origins of a piece of jewellery are often dug straight from the earth. It’s this fusion of nature’s raw minerals and craftsmanship which gives jewellery a timelessness and an indestructibility. A piece of jewellery can literally live forever.’
Plasma ring, £375. www.imogenbelfield.co.uk