OffeRings part 1: Mudlarking on the banks of the River Thames


This year, Ruth Tomlinson celebrates 20 years of creating unique, handcrafted fine jewels that offer a beautiful alternative to the traditional. Of course, we had to do something special to honour this important milestone!

As 2021 has been such an unusual year, dealing with months of lockdowns and the renewed outlooks that the pandemic brought; it was important to us to observe this anniversary in a particularly meaningful way.

Innately inspired by her fascination with history, and in particular the history of craft and those creating things for the world around them, Ruth is a regular visitor to museums, keeping those fires of awe and inspiration stoked. 

Driven to explore the outdoors due to the restrictions imposed during the lockdowns in London, Ruth discovered a new historical haven to immerse herself: the foreshore of the River Thames. Obtaining a mudlarking licence from the Port of London Authority, Ruth started venturing down to the banks of the Thames to discover what lost treasures could be uncovered on the river's ancient bed. 

Rumours of the river offering up garnets caught Ruth's attention, and she set out on a mission to find these unusual 'Thames treasures'. As one can only pick up what lies on the surface of the mud and sand (absolutely no digging or burrowing allowed), one's eyes need to be accustomed to tuning in to tiny details in order to make exciting discoveries such as a clutch of tiny garnets.

Luckily for Ruth and her familiarity with seeking out minute details, she was successful. Not only unearthing garnets, but also handmade Tudor brass pins, Roman glass beads, and an interesting assortment of nails in varying stages of decay. 

Inspiration struck and an idea took hold . . . In honour of London and her business's 20th anniversary, Ruth decided to create a collection of one-off rings to celebrate the tiny offerings from the Thames.

In recognition of how these jewels were conceptualised, they will be ceremoniously returned to the river for future mudlarkers to discover and treasure for themselves, thereby treating the materials and the singular experience of discovering them with the respect they deserve.

Click here to read OffeRings part 2: gifting treasure back the the River Thames

Read more on this story in the Financial Times

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