Natasha Wightman is captivated by ancient English materials and the raw power of the elements that conceived them. She is drawn to precious natural commodities that, over millennia, have been shaped by turbulent waves, the high sun and raging winds, becoming singular in their beauty and strength. These are the qualities that inform the soul of each NVW piece.

First among these discovered materials is Whitby Jet, an organic gemstone formed from the fossilised Araucaria tree. While found around the world, jet from the north Yorkshire coast is highly prized. No longer mined, small pieces fall from the cliffs during storms, eventually washing up on the beach. Wightman selects only the most exquisite and lustrous of these foraged samples in order to harness their intense, velvety blackness.

Whitby Jet has been worn as a decorative item since the Bronze Age. In Roman England it was believed that to wear it would deflect the evil eye and in Queen Victoria’s court, jet jewellery became highly fashionable. For the artist, it is jet’s delicacy and warm, natural finish that creates its appeal. Usually polished to a high shine, the master craftsman innovates jet for NVW, by intricately carving into its yielding texture, to uncover the raven within.

Native boxwood is equally evocative. Growing wild on the moors, boxwood is an unhurried, low-lying evergreen that provides a verdant habitat for small wildlife. NVW does not take it from nature. Instead, the artist secured a piece from a woodsman who had been resting it for twenty years. Boxwood has a small grain and carves elegantly, often used for ornaments and instruments. However, it has never been used for high art jewellery before. NVW’s chosen craftsman has developed his own intricate process of carving and blackening the material, which lends it an inky, tactile complexion.

Precious stones and gems bring a special light to the collection. They are carefully sourced for the exacting qualities they imbue the works with. Black diamonds transform into the raven’s knowing eyes and reflect moon-lit feathers in flight. Edwardian seed pearls and aquamarines are reminiscent of a bygone era and a shower of black and white diamonds conjures a wintery forest scene. These gemstones work in harmony with the ancient English materials and precious metals in Natasha Wightman’s debut collection, evoking a call to the wild; an embrace of the other.

Discover the collection.

View the Works