This brooch is by the UK designer Jed Green. Jed’s jewellery is highly individual and distinctive. Jed uses as her main material inexpensive Borosilicate clear glass tubes, which are widely used in laboratory and medical environments. Borosilicate glass was first developed in the late 19th century by the German glassmaker Otto Schott, its principal ingredients are silica and boron trioxide which can withstand extremely high temperatures (165 °C / 300 °F). And in 1915 the Corning Glass Works introduced Pyrex, a type of Borosilicate glass which can be found in kitchens across America and Europe, mine included, my Pyrex measuring jug is in regular use.
Jed transforms this humble material by cutting, carving, and working with heat-lamps to form various shapes. Clusters of shapes are then linked together by drilling and pinning. And finally, colour is applied by painting the interior of the glass walls and applying handmade transfers to pattern the outside walls. The essence of Jed’s work is the transformation of the simple tubes into sculptural wearable jewellery. Jed describes her work as
“Experiencing a spark of an idea, then trying to create it in glass always seems impossible…until its done! The transformation from simple clear glass tubes into soft sculptural forms and experimenting with colour, texture, pattern and shape is intrinsic to my work.”
Jed Green in her studio
Glass has been used in jewellery for centuries, glass beads have been found dating back to the third millennium BC in Mesopotamia. The ancient Egyptians used glass to imitate precious stones as far back as 1500BC. Perhaps some of the most famous and well-known glass jewellery is made from glass beads made in Italy on the isle of Murano. Murano glass jewellery has been produced since the 13th century. Originally produced in Venice but due to a fear of fire in the city of Venice, the authorities decided to move the factories to the island of Murano. Early Venetian glassmakers were not allowed to leave or divulge the secrets of their glassmaking, the punishment was a prison sentence, ensuring their skills remained in Venice. Murano glass jewellery has been popular for centuries. I have a number of strings of glass beads hanging on the back of my wardrobe door, one of my favourites and precious belonged to my maternal Grandmother. A single row of pinkish beige with gold flakes interspersed with dark brown with gold flakes. Interestingly there are few brooches made using Murano glass; on a holiday a few years ago in Venice I had to search high and low for a brooch to have as a memento of my visit.