I’m enamored with the creations of Polly Wales. The jewelry designer’s wabi-sabi style of creating makes me wonder why all jewelry isn’t made this way (then again, as Wales’ “cast-not-set” style is what sets her apart, it’s a good thing it isn’t). Each time I see a new Polly Wales piece, it becomes my new favorite. It goes, “This one is my favorite. Oh, this one is my favorite! Oh wow, this one is my favorite.” I expect that trend will continue.
These earrings, however, while a new favorite, are also different from the work of Wales that I have familiarized myself with.
Those that I’ve come to know are the pieces brimming with an overflow of colorful gemstones, like a rainbow bursting through golden cement. They’re inspiring and imaginative, encouraging playful wonder and awe. If they were set to music, it would be like one of those movie melodies that builds to a can-do anthem—inspirational and swift.
These earrings, though, are quiet. What little music they do make is soothing, a Tibetan singing bowl or notes on a pan flute. All is calm. Brilliantly, beautifully calm.
Where the reference to a Tibetan instrument comes from is obvious. With their architectural bodies, these earrings portray golden pagodas, sacred buildings most often associated with Buddhism and originating in Southeast Asia (the evolution of the structures is quite fascinating, if you care to read).
Wales’ work is abundantly evident in this pair, by the way—it just took me a little longer to see it. Distracted by the golden birds in flight that adhere to the ear and the elongated shapes that dangle from them, it was a few seconds before my eyes landed on the gemstones—that recognizable, surface-shattering flow of them.
In shades of green and blue, these sapphires—though they possess that boldness often associated with the designer’s creations—take on a serene delicacy, traveling up and around the pagoda bodies like a trail of flowers, placed with intention and purpose. And don’t miss the pearls dangling from the lowest point of the pagodas, a picture of repose.
If I haven’t made it clear, these are my new favorites—until, inevitably, the next one comes along.
Top: Jade Terrace Pagoda earrings in 18k yellow gold with 5.16 cts. t.w. blue and green sapphires and pearls, $14,300