Cece Jewellery: Turning Tattoo Art into Jewellery

Growing up in a family of artists, architects and musicians, creativity has always been Cece Fein Hughes’ blood. Jewellery design wasn’t an immediate calling but boy, aren’t we glad she made it so.

Her dreamy, ethereal signet rings and pendant necklaces immediately catch your eye with its enchanting hand-painted enamel artwork, tattoo-like artworks that are inspired by the fairytales and legends that she grew up with. We speak with the London-based designer to learn more.

Jewellery designer Cece Fein Hughes
Jewellery designer Cece Fein Hughes

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to become a jewellery designer?

I grew up in a very large and creative family, surrounded by artists, architects and musicians. I spent my childhood painting and drawing and later decided to study History of Art at University. I then went on to intern and Christie’s and Sotheby’s, however, I never felt close enough to the artwork. The desire to create with my hands again led me to take a short jewellery making course, which set me on a very exciting new path.

What inspires your own style and aesthetics?

I am always drawn to beautiful textiles and intricate designs. My house is covered in Indian pearl inlay furniture and colourful botanical and block print linens.

Cece Jewellery

What is your most treasured piece of jewellery?

A very simple gold band I wear hidden in amongst other treasures. It once belonged to my granny and was worn as her wedding band in the 60s. The ring is a gorgeous deep Irish gold that I had engraved with her handwriting across the front. Every time I look down at it, I think of her.

What is the first piece of jewellery you’ve ever designed?

It was a solid gold ring for my mum with A & C engraved across the top of the band with a star set diamond between the letters (Alexander for my dad and Claudia for my mum). We chose tattoo style lettering to emulate my dad’s tattoo – he has of ‘A&C’ on his shoulder – it’s their version of a love letter.

Cece Jewellery is inspired by tattoo art – do you have a lot of tattoos yourself?

Yes, I do! They are all tiny fine line tattoos of snakes, moons, and stars… very similar to my jewellery designs!

Cece Jewellery

The miniature paintings on your jewellery work tells of fairytales and legends – are these motifs very close to your heart?

Yes, my childhood consisted of long summers at my granny’s house in the countryside. She lived on the Moors in Devon, in the middle of nowhere in a thatched cottage where we would spend days picking wildflowers and blackberries and the nights reading stories in front of the open fire. Fairy tales and legends and mythical creatures remind me of these memories of my childhood which I will always hold very close to my heart.

Does your background in art history inform your jewellery design?

I spent years studying and analysing beautiful historic paintings, from the characters portrayed to the brush strokes used. The composition of a painting is very important, the placement of objects and how they relate to each other contribute to the expressiveness of an image. When designing I like to refer to these important elements by making sure I create depth – for example combining the background engraving of a crescent moon and foreground of enamel painting of a snake.

Cece Jewellery

You also work a lot with enamelling. Why does this medium interest you?

I love using enamel because you can paint anything you want on the surface of the metal. The opportunities are endless.

Who is Cece Jewellery designed for?

Cece Jewellery is designed for those who value symbolic meaning and unique artistry.

If you could design a piece of jewellery for anyone, who would you want to design for and what would it be?

I would create a ring for Venus de Milo, the ancient Greek Goddess of Love. My favourite depiction is of course Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’ painting, the ring would portray her arrival onshore with seashells and pearls and enamel flowers.

Cece Jewellery

Source: Prestige Online

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