From a talk given at Goldsmiths’ Fair with reiki healer Reeya Avani and Goldsmiths’ Fair exhibitors Ami Victoria Pepper and Disa Allsopp.
Being amongst the divine sensory experience of Goldsmiths’ Fair it is easy to forget there is a beating heart here, to be found beyond the gold leaf and magnificent jewellery and silver. Being the home of the goldsmith for seven centuries, Goldsmiths’ Hall exudes a sense of the spiritual – a hearth where makers have turned to throughout the centuries to support each other in the fellowship of making. This profound sense of place provided a rich context for host Reeya Avani to present her talk on the power of gemstones.
Reeya Avani is a reiki healer, whose work with crystals makes her an expert in understanding the power of stones. Reiki is based in a philosophy that our bodies contain seven chakras, which are invisible muscles whose health affects our physical and mental wellbeing. Avani explains that in her practice she aims at realignment, unblocking any chakras that need it with the use of reiki energy – channelling the energy of life force through the hands – and crystal healing. Her aim is to take care of the subtle in order to aid the physical. Although this form of healing is not chosen by all, even the most cynical, can appreciate a necessity to address the individual parts of our mental and physical health to cure the entire being.
At a fair so pristinely adorned, the raw crystals brought by Reeya Avani provided a well-received juxtaposition between natural forms and finished pieces. The rugged natural state of stones holding their own unique power and beauty, exquisite in their impurity, reminds the audience of a time before pieces are cut, polished and boxed up for the lucky wearer.
Avani offers an entirely different approach to the selection of jewellery, as she comes at this experience not just as a buyer but as a healer. Rather than judging a piece by its cut or monetary value she encouraged the audience to allow themselves to be drawn to a piece, stating that its spiritual pull “[is] giving you something you need right now”. Alongside our host Avani, selected two jewellers, Disa Allsop and Ami Victoria Pepper, who imbue emotion and sentimental value into the work in much the same way as Reeya explores in her practice.
Disa Allsopp lives and works in London, but her pieces are inspired by her childhood in Barbados. She crafts bright gemstones into recycled metals to honour this beautiful island. Allsopp explained to us that she loves to work with gemstones as the differentiation of shades tell us where the stone originate from. They hold the earth within themselves.
Much like Avani’s philosophy towards stones both jewellers experience many emotional exchanges with their clients as they search for pieces that evoke feeling. Whether this be a tearful response to tourmaline, nostalgic attachment to sapphire, or a commission with a request for citrine to touch their skin; it is the sun stone after all and an empowering aid to help them through the winter months.
Ami Victoria Pepper’s pieces are similarly inspired by a nostalgia. Her work comes in clustered forms reminiscent of the Pembrokeshire Coast that framed her upbringing. For her, the barnacle-inspired clustering of her pieces are both a snapshot of memory, whilst the natural shapes’ represent symbols of new life. With this her customers carry with them a part of the sea, their past and a reminder that all things are subject to change.
Whether or not you experience a spiritual connection to stones, Reeya Avani’s workshop and her guests demonstrated an emotional reaction to jewellery and stones that many of us have experienced. The pieces that we choose to adorn ourselves often hold strong sentimental value. That might be because of the chapter in our lives in which we acquired the piece, the colour that evokes memory, or who gifted it to us. Through the power of gemstones we can be reminded to keep emotional reactions as a guiding force for decision making – advice worth taking, at least when it comes to jewellery.
Reeya Avani is a renowned Reiki Master and a Crystal Healer based in Mayfair, in central London. She works with high-end clients and celebrities to help bring balance to their emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing, as well as realigning the energy in their homes. She regularly appears on TV and in print in the UK and internationally.
Ami Pepper’s collection of unique sculptural pieces explore the intricate cluster formations of shells and marine life from where she lives and works in Pembrokeshire. Ami encapsulates a sense of the coast, giving her jewellery an essence of the raw, organic treasure you can find there. Taking on a growth process, the pieces are encrusted with barnacles like a shell would be over time under the sea.
Disa Allsopp was born in London and grew up in Barbados. This special island influenced her designs with the use of colourful gemstones. Disa hand-selects each gemstone, using golden citrines, garnets, tourmalines, white and coloured diamonds all set on textured organic bands. All of the work is handmade in London.