London-based designer and curator, Alice Cicolini creates unique and timeless jewellery mixing contemporary design with Indian ancient craft rituals. For her first collaboration with Ilado, she reinterprets the traditional Bola into an expressive and colorful collection celebrating the power of jewellery to create sensory, meaningful and enduring connection between mother and baby.
Why did you accept Ilado’s invitation?
AC – I was excited to be invited to collaborate with Ilado on a precious collection of jewels to embrace the Bola. Since I first started to think about jewellery, sound has played an important part in my response. It was a jewellery box in the Mehrangir Fort in Jodhpur that inspired my first collection, and it contained gems, scent and pigment, all the things a royal woman would have needed to appear in public. How she sounded as she moved, and the role her jewels played in this, was an important part of the design of the pieces. So it felt like a natural fit to consider how my design could incorporate the gentle sounds of the Bola, a jewel that has developed an almost innate understanding of the way in which sound builds enduring emotional connections.
What were your sources of inspiration?
AC – It was an exciting brief to think about how to make jewellery that a woman would wish to wear for many years, to embrace such a powerful link between mother and child. I was inspired by the idea of the jewel building layers of meaning and connection that could be added to over the years, which was classic but contemporary enough to want to wear every day, to remind women of this precious moment.
I was inspired by a collection of Porte Bonheur housed at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, and the way in which these ancient charms were gifted one a year for every year of childhood, each one adding protection or support for the child’s developing character. This led to an exploration of the ancient lore of gemstone healing and astrology. The Element charms elegantly take this enduring concept into a fresh, geometric form. In combination, these charms allow contemporary women to explore and understand these poetic traditions.