[ header image ]
2013/09/12 / Shanan


Yesterday it was family apple-picking, today it’s jewelled skeletons… welcome to my world.

A link to photographer Paul Koudounaris’ upcoming book gave me a true visual jolt.  I can’t stop looking at these but they do make me supremely uneasy.

In late 16th-century Rome, the remains of what were believed to be thousands of Christian martyrs were unearthed from catacombs beneath the city.  The bones were sent to churches around Germany, Austria and Switzerland and re-assembled, then painstakingly adorned with elaborate jewels and clothing and displayed in public reliquaries.  The ‘Heavenly Bodies’ were revered as encompassments of “the spiritual treasures that awaited the faithful after death” (Thames & Hudson) for hundreds of years.  Eventually their authenticity was called into question and they were concealed or destroyed.  Koudounaris has been granted extraordinary access to a host of these truly bizarre relics; with the skeletons appearing in photographs for the very first time.

Paul Koudounaris Heavenly Bodies

St Valentine Paul Koudounaris skeleton hand

Religious ties aside, this incongruous mashup of the glittery ornate and the starkly macabre will be etched in my mind for awhile.  What do you think – pretty dark, eh?

Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs will be available for sale October 8th.  You can see more photos from the book over at Atlas Obscura (thanks to Kirsty McKenzie for the link). All photographs copyright Paul Koudounaris.

[ header image ]
2013/09/04 / Shanan


NYC-based twin sisters Elizabeth and Kathryn are the brainchild(ren) behind Lizzie Fortunato, one of my favourite accessories lines.  Season after season their statement jewelry and leather bags just kill it, and I wait in anticipation to receive the lookbook for each new collection (my graphic design studio, Linseed Projects, designed and maintains their website). Over the last year or two I’ve managed to save up for a couple of pieces and seriously, every time I break them out I feel like the coolest girl in the room.

The girls’ love of travel (adventures in Peru, Japan, and India can be found on their blog, A Fortune Found), visual art, architecture, and landscape subtly informs and inspires each collection.  Fall/Winter 2013 plays on the idea of embellishment as armour and the cultivation of a modern uniform, and really manages to nail that elusive mix of both polished and playful.  Here are some of my favourite looks:

Image above: The Working Uniform necklace, black rope and burgundy leather with chalcedony, amethyst, and rose quartz beads.

Lizzie Fortunato leather embroidered clutch

The Midnight Cruiser clutch in Heatwave (insane colour palette, right?).

Lizzie Fortunato Some Girls earrings

Some Girls earrings inspired by The Rolling Stones (natch), with topaz, amethyst, and alexandrite vintage glass.

Lizzie Fortunato Fall Winter 2013 Conversation on Cool Necklace

The Conversation on Cool necklace, a multi-chain collar with mother-of-pearl cabochons and gold-plated bullets.

Lizzie Fortunato modern warrior earrings hearts & bones necklace Fall Winter 2013

Hearts & Bones necklace and Modern Warrior earrings in citrine.

Lizzie Fortunato arrow t-bar cuff sodalite

The Arrow T-Bar Cuff in sodalite.

Lizzie Fortunato port of call clutch purse desert sand

The Port of Call clutch in black desert sand.  Keep dreaming, ladies…

All images courtesy of Lizzie Fortunato, with product photography by Jason Ross Savage.  This post was written independently and I just genuinely lust after everything that these hard-working girls make, but in the interest of full disclosure it should be noted that Lizzie Fortunato have kindly extended a discount to me in the past.

PS. More jewelry picks here.

[ header image ]
2013/06/19 / Shanan


Bad-ass jewelry, no frills.

1. A68 (SS08) ring by Iosselliani.   2. Mawi cygnet cocktail ring from Charm & Chain.   3. Hand-carved Black Swan earrings from Catbird.   4. Rock daisy earrings by Wanderluster.   5. Fallon classique micro spike studs from Shopbop.   6. Verameat silver spine bracelet from Magic Pony.   7. Whistles spike ring from Asos.   8. Natalia Brilli leather bracelet from The Corner.   9. K/ller Collection quill earrings from Of a Kind.   10. Leia necklace by Cuchara.

ps. More on Pinterest here.

Warning: Division by zero in /home/linseed/webapps/thesymmetric/wp-content/themes/symmetric/content-single.php on line 11
[ header image ]
2013/05/10 / Shanan


When I got married a few years ago, I was honoured to be able to use my late grandmother’s ring in our ceremony.  My cousins had used it in their weddings, too, and then the ring was passed back to my aunt for safekeeping.

Unfortunately a deadly combination of thrift and sloth means that today, I still don’t have an actual wedding band.  I hope to get to it eventually.  In the meantime I browse for rings every now and again and try to imagine what I might even want, and wonder if my choice will be different now than it might have been when we were standing at the bright and shiny brink of this once-new life phase.

And, I am pretty sure my choice would be different.


It would be a lot cooler, and braver, I think.  I recently came across this ring by UK jeweler Polly Wales.  An amazing jagged arrangement of red rubies set in a narrow band of gold, it reminds me of a treasure unearthed from the bottom of a shipwreck.  If I’m mixing metaphors here, it’s a ring that feels like it’s been around the block and lived to tell the tale. I mean, it’s kind of weird for a wedding ring but it feels like something real.  It doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

No guts, no glory.  Right?