On Saturday 24th September we're launching a brand new silver jewellery collection – Tales from the Earth. Designed by Jo Culf and John DeCosta, their passion was to create silver jewellery, keepsakes and charms that told stories.
Inspired by travels, a kaleidoscope of cultures and surrounding landscapes each piece has its own special tale to tell. We caught up with John to find out a little more about the collection…
What makes your jewellery unique and special?
At Tales from the Earth we design around what I call 'universal themes of everyday life': love, luck, friendship, health, protection etc. I promise it's not as abstract as it sounds – these are themes that run through every culture! From the pulsing heart of a metropolis like London to the ancient African savannah, we're all the same.
A heart necklace will always signify love; a silver angel will remind you that you're never alone; a travel token will always carry with it the wish of protection from the person that gave it to you. This is what I mean by 'universal themes of everyday life', and we're happy to design a piece to suit every occasion.
When did you and Jo first meet?
We met in 1989 at the Edinburgh Festival. She had just completed a three and a half year trip around the world, while I was a penniless artist who was illustrating children's books, bartending and shepherding for beer money!
Your jewellery is influenced by your travels. Where is the most inspirational place you've visited?
Surprisingly, this is a difficult question to answer, as inspiration often comes through random events or acquaintances, rather than specifically from geography. For instance, I love Havana and visit every year. The wonderfully spontaneous way of living there tugs at my structured mind, but offers little inspiration to my creative one.
Then suddenly, over a cigar and a glass of rum, you strike up a conversation with a complete stranger – because that's what happens in Havana – which leads to a discussion about old Cuban coins, which leads to an idea for a new design.
Where would you like to travel to next?
Italy please! We go truffle-hunting in Piedmont every October, but for some reason I don't think about jewellery at all for those few days. Italy always has something to offer – all you need to do is open a book on Italian art to be inspired.
There's a story about the great Italian painter Giotto who, when asked by an emissary of the Pope for a sample of his work to confirm his great talent, took a brush with red paint, drew a perfect circle on a piece of paper and handed it to the messenger.
I love that story – never be bound by other people's expectations – and Giotto's circle became the basis for the Circle of Life necklace that I designed.
Tune in for Tales from the Earth Jewellery at 3pm on Saturday 24th September