April 27 2011
Linnie McLarty’s approach to designing her ultra-quirky bespoke jewellery is refreshingly lateral, making it all the more individual. She designs mainly rings – “maybe because of their emotional associations,” she says – but also earrings, bracelets, torques (a neckpiece or armband made from a single strip of solid metal) and brooches in silver, gold and platinum. “I’d like to see brooches worn more imaginatively than just on lapels – on cuffs or hems or at the waist,” she says. Rather ingeniously, she’s designed a brooch-fastening without pins so it doesn’t puncture clothing.
She also combines copper and enamel, as this results in “rich, warm tones”, and is about to start making wooden rings with gold accents.
McLarty can turn her hand to all types of jewellery: “When a friend got married recently I made all her hair ornaments.” Usually, clients first spot her jewellery on her website or at an exhibition. “Normally, they want something similar but adapted to their taste. We’ll explore different variations of an idea until we reach a point where we’re both happy.” A bespoke 18ct-gold and sapphire ring adapted from her Bizarrely Enough collection costs £4,200, an 18ct-gold bangle from her Discreetly Bizarre line, £3,900. (Pictured: two examples from her Bizarrely Enough collection.)
She also often upcycles, giving a new lease of life to an ordinary-looking item of jewellery a client already owns. “I’m currently designing a new ring in Fairtrade gold using lovely sapphires and diamonds from a traditional, old ring,” she says. “It’s a great way to turn an old piece that may have sentimental value into something more special that you want to wear and not leave, unloved, in a drawer.”
Her bespoke pieces are dramatic as well as unique for being large and sculptural. Wear one of her gold neckpieces and you could find it’s the torque of the town.