Launch: City's Dittany Rose showcases new jewels

Celebrating both her new collection and her home city, Cambridge jeweller Dittany Rose collaborated with portrait photographer Onur Pinar to capture these shots of her silverwork being modelled in the wilds of Coe Fen. Alice Ryan reports

Set on the edge of the city, Hodson’s Folly is a lesser-known Cambridge gem: fringed by the cow parsley of Coe Fen and spattered in spray-painted graffiti, the 1897 building is a crossing point between past and present, rural and urban.

The folly was, says city jeweller Dittany Rose, the perfect place to shoot her latest collection. Inspired both by the 19th century Arts & Crafts movement and the greats of 20th century sculpture - such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, both known for their avant garde abstract forms - the pieces are, like all Dittany Rose jewels, handcrafted from silver and resin-coated paper, with no two ever the same.

“The paper is coloured and printed with my original designs and then protected with the resin,” explains Dittany, who trained for her jewellery degree at Middlesex University and now works out of her garden workshop so has been able to keep making throughout the pandemic.

“No two pieces are ever the same so each is as unique as the individual who wears it,” she continues. “I knew as soon as I saw Hodson’s Folly that we had found a suitable location to shoot the collection.

“The colours and textures formed by the layers of history, paint and graffiti on the folly itself are the perfect backdrop to my pieces; it evokes a sense of the way urban and rural merge on Cambridge’s fringes.”

Using colour-block dresses loaned from as a foil for her jewellery, Dittany chose London-based model Tani Beck - see @tanisabeck on Instagram - for the shoot. “Tani has a timeless beauty that brings to mind the Pre-Raphaelites, and she also wears contemporary fashion with ease,” she explains.

A collaboration with photographer Onur Pinar, known for his portraiture, the shoot was stalled by August’s temperamental weather, switching from heatwave to thunderstorms. “It was touch and go, but Tani raced up from London early one morning and we were able to just fit the shoot in before the heavens opened,” says Dittany, adding: “The mysterious, overcast look we got was serendipitous, and Onur’s edits show the dramatic lighting effects to full advantage.”

Dittany Rose’s readymade pieces are available to buy online from and at VK Gallery in St Ives. She also takes commissions and can be found on the Crafts Council Directory. Prices range from £20 to £220.

Pictures by Onur Pinar:

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