Protected species play exotic muses for jeweller Jordan Askill's first collection in two years
Natural motifs have always figured strongly in the evocative, sculptural creations of Jordan Askill. The young Australian jewellery designer, who worked at Alexander McQueen and Dior Homme before making a go of it on his own in 2010, recently revealed a new collection entitled Take me Home, which utilises protected species such as the Florida panther and the endangered Viola Canadensis, a white violet, as its focal points.
'I've worked with a lot of what I kind of see as majestic creatures, like swallows and horses - [things] I've always felt that have strong forces. From there, I've been able to create jewellery to encapsulate something that's precious and meaningful,' Askill explains of his literal approach. 'We had the Viola Canadensis sculpted really realistically on CAD and then I animated it so that it was like emotion captured in time. From there, I made little pieces of jewellery.'
For this latest offering, which happens to be Askill's first main collection in two years due to his relocation from London to New York, the designer has incorporated fine materials like diamonds, 18 carat gold and chunks of amethyst, agate and rock crystal to bestow his creations with an even more precious quality. Oversized cocktail rings comprised of large stones surrounded by delicate violet blossoms in gold sit easily alongside dramatic pendant necklaces and earrings formed by life-like diamond encrusted panthers paired with large pieces of rock crystal.
'I haven't used very many geometric shapes before,' Askill says, 'but I was very inspired by 1930s, which was a experimental time in jewellery, as well. I wanted to incorporate that very geometric cut and incorporate into more organic shapes to give a hyperreal, future forward feel.'
One particular necklace features a hand carved milky white panther set on top of crystal, a technique that Askill puts down to being influenced by René Lalique and Fabergé. 'The technique is something I just wanted to play around with,' the designer adds. 'The panther is carved out of white cacholong and the crystal has a lot of inclusions in it, so there's the feeling of the panther slowly melting into the crystal behind it. I found that this piece was my way of being quite experimental with fine jewellery.'