For once, a truly inspiring inspiration story

The certificate that fired the imagination of Jessica De Lotz and led to a whole collection about Edith Mary Baldwin.

Jessica De Lotz wows with a mystery dead woman, writes Rachael Taylor.

Never have I met a jewellery designer so dedicated to the back story to their designs as Jessica De Lotz.

Marching the aisles at a trade show means that you have to listen to a lot of stories about the inspiration behind jewellery collections. Inevitably this means a good five minutes of your life – per collection, per stand – is washed down the drain as you listen to a variety of people trotting out near-identical explanations about how their wavy jewellery is inspired by the serenity of the sea, their circular pendants are a homage to eternity and their floral pieces are at one with nature.

Of course, I smile and look interested, and in most cases I genuinely am. But when a collection of jewellery comes along that has a genuine story behind it, like the one Jessica told me today at IJL, then the spirits lift.

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Jessica has built a whole collection around a dead woman she doesn’t know. Edith Mary Baldwin was the name on a certificate of baptism that Jessica found (she bases a lot of her work on found objects). And this woman, who took her first communion on Easter Day in 1915 and has no idea that she has inspired a range of jewellery, has been the basis for a new collection by Jessica.

The idea of using the certificate is good. It’s quirky, vintage and cute. In fact, she could have stopped there. I would have enjoyed the link. Instead she got a friend to look through records for Edith Mary Baldwin using the details they had for her on the certificate, and eventually up she popped in the census. Oh, the rich history! I love it.

Jessica has then taken elements from the life of this genuine person who actually existed, but who she never knew, and has weaved them into her jewellery. Some pieces feature a golden wax stamp seal with the initial B for Baldwin, but most clever of all are her clock pendants. Here, Jessica has very subtlety weaved in the tale of Edith Mary Baldwin. The clock is set to five minutes to 12 because in the census records it stated that there were five people in the house at 12 o’clock.

After listening to the historical (and factual) inspiration behind this wonderful collection, I’m going to struggle with waves and nature for the remainder of IJL.

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