Inspired by talismans found in the tombs of Tutenkhamun and traditional Roman and Greek jewellery, Disa Allsopp’s work could be described as a love letter to the past.
“I love the ancient feel of historic jewellery,” says the London-based maker, who grew up in Barbados; she first became enamoured with jewellery on a trip across South America as a teen. “They have a lovely handmade quality about them. It’s quite different from modern jewellery, which is very polished.”
It’s perhaps no surprise that Disa’s jewellery conjures images of vintage trinkets discovered on far-flung travels — organic in form, crafted from unpolished gold and silver to stop each piece from looking pristine.
Hand forged in her London studio, the metals are melted on the furnace to make the gold a richer hue, before being bathed in a liquid bath to create a matte finish and hammered with a coarse block to create what she describes as a “crunchy texture”. Some rings are oxidised to create a blackened patina, which makes each unique when worn by the individual wearer. “No two will ever be alike.”
Pieces are first sketched, then 3D modelled in putty or wire, often designed around gemstones Disa has sourced from a family-owned mine in Kenya. “Most stones are one-offs,” she says. Disa chooses subtle, pastel gems as they feel more timeless.
Sustainability is important; she uses only traceable diamonds and recycled gold and silver, with a waste-free model that utilises leftover scraps and dust. “I like to know that my materials are handled with care.”
“I like to know that my materials are handled with care.”Disa Allsopp