Subaqueous Locutorium. It’s quite an odd name for a jewellery showroom. Jewellery designer, artist and taxidermist Julia Deville explains the title for her new space, “the latin ‘locutorium’ is just like a parlour. And I’m calling it subaqueous because of the octopus [chandelier] and there’s a seahorse on the wall. I’ve been looking for an antique diving helmet too”.
Creating treasures in her studio at the same site for nearly a decade, the building has a diverse energy. Originally it was a button factory and the tenant prior to Julia who resided here for 30 years was an artist and tai chi master. Julia herself now lives upstairs; the new showroom used to be her bedroom.
“I have a lot of private clients coming to get engagement rings and commission pieces. In the studio now there’s up to eight people working so it’s quite an intimidating environment. A lot of guys are quite nervous when they’re coming to get an engagement ring and they don’t want eight people hovering around. So having that dedicated space is really important for us to give our clients the right experience.”
Julia designed the Subaqueous Locutorium’s fit-out herself with “a collection of things that I love, my work and other artists’ work that speaks of me and my aesthetic.” Her favourite possession in the room is the aforementioned octopus chandelier by fellow artist Adam Wallacavage, commissioned for one of Julia’s toy-themed art exhibitions. “Luckily I got to keep it afterwards, but I’m actually swapping a taxidermied raven for it…it’s very kind of gothic isn’t it, paying for things with ravens?”
That peculiar transaction reflects Julia’s creative eye, which is inspired by mourning jewellery and love relics. “I don’t really work in collections, I’m always making new pieces,” she explains of the treasure trove found in her new showroom. “My problem is getting to make all the ideas I have. I just constantly make new stuff but all of my old pieces are still available as well. So it’s always a collection of things, some up to 10 years old in terms of design and some brand new. I think we’ve got a few hundred pieces in there at the moment!”
For bridal clients visiting Subaqueous Locutorium for a consultation (often over a Hendricks G&T or two), Julia’s favourite materials of the moment include pairing blue sapphires with champagne diamonds and white gold. Her current palette is quite colourful; incorporating rose gold, pale pink morganite and dainty pearls. Her clientele seek out her designs for their asymmetry and organic feel.
While her jewels might be slightly unconventional, the thought and feeling behind them is rather traditional; “the thing that I’m drawn to with jewellery is that it’s all about sentimentality. Whether that sentiment is about betrothal or celebrating someone that passed; it is all about love. Love for a child or a partner, devotional love for a god or otherwise…”
“Really jewellery is all about love.”
Images via Julia Deville
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Such beautiful bespoke jewellery; something truly special and unique!