London. Sept. 2, 2020. When Jacqueline Cullen of the same-name design firm unveiled her Dark Matter jewelry collection earlier this year, she couldn’t have envisioned halting production at just four pieces. But, alas, Covid came calling around the globe, hampering production on the outer-space-inspired jewelry made in her signature 18 yellow gold with Whitby jet and black diamonds. As the world slowly reopens, Cullen’s efforts to expand the line are resuming; she will have a new Dark Matter necklace in time for the virtual edition of the London-based Goldsmith’s Fair, Sept. 22–27 and Sept. 29–Oct. 4, as well as a shoppable website.
Dark Matter explores intergalactic space travel through constellation- and black-hole-like effects in her beloved Whitby jet.Hand-carved fissures in the gem give way to black-diamond-encrusted clefts that scatter across surfaces as if propelled by meteoric speed. For sure, Cullen’s collections always put themes of powerful forces—erupting volcanoes, colliding asteroids, and lightning ripping apart a placid sky—on an imaginative pedestal, so she sees Dark Matter as a natural progression in her body of work. Previous collections include Atomic, Stardust, and Galactica, all iterations of a space theme family of ideas that keep on giving. Dark Matter differs from the others in the flattened, rounded disc shapes of the jet, which are put together from two bonded halves bearing a center of negative space. That’s where Cullen sets marquise shapes of black diamonds to give a jagged appearance, as if the center had just exploded. “It looks like you are traveling through dark matter,” she says.
“I am one of the very few people who still work with this material and the only one doing very nontraditional work,” she explains over email about Whitby jet, a 180-million-year-old fossil native to the northeast coast of the U.K. “The material is rare but has a long heritage from Roman times through to Victorian mourning jewelry. It is also highly unusual to see diamonds set directly into a stone rather than encased in a metal surround. I am reinterpreting an organic heritage material for a 21st century audience.”
Retailers can place orders now for delivery this winter, while collectors can soon shop styles now on Cullen’s website (for now, use email for inquiries). Retail prices start at $1,530.
Pendant necklace in 18k yellow gold with Whitby jet and round brilliant black diamonds, $1,265; email firstname.lastname@example.org for purchase
Explosion earrings in 18k yellow gold with Whitby jet and 3.5 cts. t.w. marquise and round brilliant diamonds, $3,320; email email@example.com for purchase
Vortex earrings in frosted 18k yellow gold with Whitby jet and 4.0 cts. t.w. marquise and round brilliant diamonds, $3,700; email firstname.lastname@example.org for purchase
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