Spring Bird Watch

Sally Thornton jewellers blog on bird jewellery fromThorntons jewellers Kettering Northampton

Spring Bird Watch

“No matter what yesterday was like, birds always start the day with a new song”

I am sure I am not alone in finding an escape through nature and in particular birds.  Whether taking part in RSBP’s Big garden Bird Watch, walking or simply watching the birds on my garden feeders it is a reminder that our feathered friends can help and inspire us.    So this month I want to celebrate birds and how designers use these within their work.



I have a little wren that often visits my garden and hops amongst the flower pots and Richard Cooper has captured this miniature of birds beautifully in bronze.

Who doesn’t love an owl? These limited edition pair of little owls look like they are enjoying a having a mutual preen! Owls have long been associated as a symbol of wisdom with their Latin name “Athene” symbolizing their association with the Greek goddess of wisdom Athena

Birds were a particularly important motif throughout the Georgian and Victorian period for it was an age of sentiment where jewellery was given as a token of friendship and love. Swallows, owls, peacocks and doves were all popular, each piece encoded with its own personal meaning and message.




The Victorians also loved the tiny whirring humming bird when this exotic creature was discovered in South America and associated this as a symbol of progress. The humming bird is so jewel like so it is no wonder they are an inspiration to jewellery designers.

Bar brooches appeared in the 1890’s and ‘novelty wildlife’ brooches became very popular. This gold bar brooch has two little mother of pearl ducks was given to me by father and has always intrigued me. I have no history of the piece but it is dated as 1875 and I would like to think the former owner enjoyed wearing it as much as I do.

The little birds in my garden often sit on the fence in a neat row and this English designer must have taken inspiration too and designed this ‘Bird on a wire’ pendant and earring set.




From the latest ’Three Little Birds’ collection from Linda Macdonald who is also inspired by nature with her garden birds. This circular pendant is rather like an open wire nest with three little gold hearts and a little bird to the front.  But what I did discover if you turn the pendant over, there are two polished silver birds and so you could wear this either way round – creative thinking!

In the early 20th century, the art of the silversmith was revitalized by the Danish firm Georg Jensen.    This vintage 1930’s bird brooch is a wonderful example Jensen’s work showing his ability to look at nature and understand it.

The ancient art of origami of the Japanese skill of folding paper has been created in silver by wildlife artist Sophie Mackrell. This eye catching miniature wren is such a lovely piece with the light catching the folds of metal.



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