John Donald

Brooch

1963

18 carat gold setting with rose quartz centre, 3 baguette rubies at the centre, surrounded by 14 gold rectangular rods, some decorated with granulation, some polished and set with rectangular rubies.

John Donald’s rose quartz brooch recalls a Catholic silver monstrance (used to display consecrated bread after Mass) with radiating rays seen on Donald’s 1955 travel scholarship to Italy: “the radiating energy which I saw on bejewelled monstrances… later began to be translated into radiating rods and tubes of silver and, later, gold.” Brooches were a part of Donald’s life from childhood: he remembers his mother wearing a brooch of a peacock as the beginning of his design awareness. His first jewel in 1953 was a silver brooch in the form of a pencil sea urchin, copying an example he had seen at the Natural History Museum. He explains: “Designs were always experiments in form; small sculptures or three dimensional painting. In the early days, there were times when I thought to supply an appropriately sized picture frame where the brooch could be pinned and viewed as pure artwork, without reference to or influenced by the wearer.”