Jewellery designer Mary MacGill has always spent her summers on Block Island – the smallest island of the USA’s smallest state, Rhode Island. “I’ve been going there since I was in my mother’s womb,” she says.
home away from home has fuelled her imagination: “There’s nothing like the
feeling of stepping outside and seeing a vast expanse of ocean. In my work, I’m
always looking for materials that remind me of that, like aquamarine, pearls
and sharks’ teeth.” Mary has been making her own jewellery since childhood, and
now works out of an upstate New York studio, with a small team around her. With
a laugh, she explains: “It takes a village to have a handmade jewellery
Mary’s inspiration often starts with the raw materials: “I’m interested in finding stones that have a lot of flaws,” she says. “All the pearls that we work with are baroque pearls, so they have imperfections and no two are the same.”
Most of her jewellery is made without heat or chemicals. Often it uses 14-karat gold wire, hammered out to create pieces with clean, simple lines. The hammering process compresses the molecules of the gold and helps it to keep its form.
Nevertheless, her wire bangles can be a little malleable – and that’s part of their charm. “It’s what I love about them,” she says. “They come alive on your wrist, which is beautiful.”
“Not everyone makes handmade jewellery any more because you can’t replicate it, but for us, that’s exactly the point. Every single piece we make is unique – it’s one of a kind, it’s special, it’s yours.”Mary MacGill