As part of my course, we were required to make a geometric fretwork brooch. During my research, I came across and loved the pendant / brooch by John Donald exhibited at the V and A and was inspired to create 'The Messenger of Love' brooch.
The brooch has a strong geometric honeycomb pattern, which tessellates perfectly to give an even covering to the surface. This is balanced by the random pierced design on the top of the brooch and the asymmetric placement of the surface bee. In contrast, the internal bee is similar but is completely central, as is the acid etched bee on the back of the brooch and both are reminiscent of bee specimens.
The brooch is intended to convey a sense of luxury and warmth and to invite the viewer to peer within the depths of the honeycomb to find the hidden bee. The rich colours achieved through plating strongly support the overall theme and design. In particular, the gold and black rhodium give a warm feel that is in keeping with the colour of bees and this is accented with honey yellow citrine stones which represent oozing honey drops. The sandblasted silver inside provides a contrast to the glossy exterior and enables the bee to be clearly seen within the brooch itself.
Around the sides of the brooch, I have acid etched a quote from the prose poetry of Kahlil Gibran in which he describes the exchange and interdependence of bees and flowers "And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love" and it is this quote which gives the brooch its name. The two main sections of the brooch are riveted together by three rivets which have gold bead tops and the brooch has a strong double pin to secure it firmly.
London, England (made)
Donald, John, born 1928 (designer and maker)
Gold, diamonds and fire opals
V&A collection reference number(s):