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A pin of cicada shells – you could call it a challenge for the average accessories fan. But then, mortality is not easy to digest in any shape or form. Setting aside the egocentric and ever-lingering tumult of human mortality, Luci Jockel makes mourning jewellery that contemplates life and loss around us. These highly original pieces are a poignant homage to a flora and fauna whose history and presence are unquestionably and astonishingly interwoven with ours. Rather than engage in the familiar and merely decorative process of glittering jewellery-making, Jockel produces work that carries an unsettling and intricate mystique. Enveloped in a subtle veil of sadness, it gives food for thought and opens the door to a forgotten kinship with the creatures that surround us.

The old tradition of Victorian mourning jewellery here enters a daring and multifaceted phase. Scarab, honey bees, mouse vertebrae and pigeon skeletons (all ethically acquired, for the sceptics) are brought together with steel, lace, sequins and beads in a therapeutic, ritualistic process of suturing – an allegoric reconciliation, one might say, with death and the great beyond.

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Silkies (silkie chicken skulls, mushroom, beeswax, silver)

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Silence of the Lamb (Icelandic sheep hair, steel, thread)

In addition to scanning specimen collections and collaborating with beekeepers, Luci Jockel walks the woods in search of unpredictable treasures. Her Lunula necklace chains together honey bee wings with admirable delicacy, while Bloom decorates a groundhog skull with honey comb and tree fungi. Seven Sorrows, on the other hand, ironically combines muskrat skulls with 24k gold foil and lichen. Much as fashion’s fainthearted would flinch at the idea of sporting a pin of scarab legs, Jockel’s wearable and mobile mementos mori are a badge of honour signalling a profound sensibility and meditation. An unusual and inspired fantasia, they tie past, present and a precarious future with mighty elegance – and a little help from PVA glue.

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Scarab and Steel (scarab legs, steel)

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Stick Pin (vintage hat pin, cicada shells, walking stick insect)

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Mend (robin bird head, vintage sequins, passementerie and thread)

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Mend

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The Whole (pigeon skeleton, latex, vintage ribbon, beads and lace)

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Casket (raccoon skull, swallowtail butterfly, vintage hat pin)

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Casket

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Seven Sorrows

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Acherontia lachesis (moth, potato skins, steel, beeswax)

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Royal Mourning (squirrel skull, lichen, mushrooms, insect pins, steel)

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Willow (Icelandic sheepskin hide, thread)

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