Local markets are almost ubiquitous now in London. My neighbourhood, Kew Gardens, hosts one on the first Sunday of every month. My mouth salivates just over the thought of the salad pots I buy get as a treat for work lunches-normally I take something in as a refusal to spend a small fortune on buying something from the shops or cafes nearby-and home made fudge (the Smarties one being my fave). The Kew market is mostly food but there are also the odd textile or ceramic stalls, sometimes jewellery pops up too. At the December market, the French owner and maker Caroline of Chokerbali and her husband were there with modern gems.
Caroline was working for the French film industry when she was travelling in India and was inspired by the gems she saw there. Staying in India’s jewellery capital, Jaipur, for a couple of months she learnt all she could about gems. Now she produces handmade jewellery made from semi-precious gemstones and fresh water pearls set on sterling silver. In her more recent work Caroline has added beads found on her travels through Africa, most of them antique Venetian glass beads and trade beads, many of them hundreds of years old.
When it comes to jewellery I am a bit of a magpie, or perhaps you can say I have a princess complex: I like my jewellery ornament like. I have quite a collection of costume jewellery which one day I hope to upgrade to the real deal. This ring from Chokerbali, which my aunt and uncle kindly agreed to give to me for Christmas, is one step on this journey. I am afraid I can not remember what stone is set but I am happy knowing it is a natural gem.