Cassia Smith-Bingham’s hand-crafted jewellery is a fine example of the exquisite craftsmanship you’ll often find in the South West.
Cassia, a jeweller since the late 1990s, has sold her designs to Alice Temperley, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges among others.
But the desire to collect and craft beautiful things was honed much earlier during a childhood growing up on the northern shores of Scotland where she was obsessed with gathering shells, stones and cowries. Recently Cassia moved to Wiltshire where she fits in jewellery design and buying trips to Asia around looking after two small children. Her style is very unique, contemporary and luxurious but pared down at the same time so that the jewels speak for themselves. This is statement jewellery which is minimal enough to work with party clothes or jeans and a t-shirt. Cassia finds inspiration from the West Country’s beautiful countryside, trees, nature and the sea. But really the imaginative process begins when she spots a particular gem. “I might see something and it completely changes the direction of my collection,' she says. She completed the Diamond GIA course 5 years ago and particularly loves to work with old style cut Indian diamonds, which have disappeared in Europe and 22 ct yellow gold.
Some of her most popular pieces are necklaces and pendants made from 18 ct gold and precious and semi-precious stones such as diamond, sapphire, tourmaline and aquamarine. These she buys in Bombay from dealers she has been working with for years. Cassia says she prefers stones which have a back story - slight imperfections can be more interesting than a completely perfect gem.
She also loves to work with pearls and recently crafted these beautiful and classic Tahitian pearl earrings (which are reminiscent of Vermeer's wonderful Girl With a Pearl Earring).
Pieces can take days to create and prices range from £250 to £12,000. But this is seriously collectable stuff, the kind of jewellery that will be handed down through the generations. It is both modern and classic, very fine gems in a contemporary setting. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, we'd say it's time to drop some heavy hints.
Find Cassia here or at Felt, Chelsea Green, London SW3