Gothic jewelry evokes images of the lofty flying buttresses, and the graceful lines found framing the intricate laceworks of stone and glass in the great Gothic cathedrals and in the charming buildings and artwork of Europe in the medieval and Belle Époque eras. The cathedrals are bibles in stone, while the Belle Époque buildings and paintings are rich in symbolism and profound imagery. Like the fantastic architectural marvels of the Old World that inspire it, Michelle Valadon’s Enlightenment jewelry line is deep in symbolism. Rich with architectural elements, this Gothic jewelry is as awe-inspiring as it is beautiful. This is exemplified by the Windows to the Soul Bracelet. While Gothic jewelry has a history separate from the gothic subculture, their existence is often intertwined because of their similarities in tone, imagery, and symbolism.
The term "Gothic" is associated with the Germanic tribes that rose to prominence in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. They were the builders of great cathedrals such as Notre Dame de Paris, the Milan cathedral, and Glastonbury Abbey. Unlike the various forms that contemporary Gothic jewelry currently takes, the jewelry associated with the "Gothic" period uses primarily yellow gold and precious stones. Though the jewelry didn't originally take the architectural design elements present in the cathedrals, the jewelry’s forms and techniques were just as intricate and detailed. The basse-taille enameling technique gave way to email en ronde bosse, allowing precise and colorful enamels to expand into three-dimensional work. The prevalent cuts for stones by the 14th century were point cut and table cut. Women wore such intricate jewelry to express their power and influence amidst the prevailing norms of conformity and masculinity.
Michelle Valadon Designs exhibits tremendous care and attention in every piece we create. Like the pieces of jewelry popular in the medieval age, each piece embodies a woman's yearning to be identified for her uniqueness and is her way of extending her grace and power as only a woman can. Inspired by the immortal, the Gothic Diamonds Black Diamond Ring is an eternity band of alternating diamond shape motifs and black diamond florals. Its textured silver patina reminds us of medieval treasures. The mesmerizing quality of black diamonds is set in a petal-shaped, floral miligrain beadwork. The diamonds in brilliant-cut evolving from the table cut prevaleint from the 15th century onwards. The black diamond itself symbolizes strength, power, and majesty.
Inspired by the Victoria era, "The Majestic" faceted Onyx necklace is a faithful rendition of the age's sensibilities and spirit. The faceted onyx stone signifying strength and the many unique facets of a woman embodies the woman who yearns to break free from the shackles of societal expectations and express her power, her sacred essence, and her own majestic qualities.
Michelle Valadon's Enlightenment line pays homage to Old World architectural elements and its jewelry's riches and vivid qualities. Gothic jewelry embodies a deep symbolism and mysticism that the gothic subculture also identifies with. The affinity for textured metal, the preference for white metals, and the choice of stones that symbolizes uniqueness, the sacred feminine, the night, and dark romanticism are the essential features of Gothic jewelry that make it appealing to the gothic subculture. However, Gothic jewelry's elements capture the essence of a woman's inherent qualities because every woman is beautiful and unique inside and out. Today, these qualities of Gothic jewelry make it appealing to any woman, whether or not they belong to the goth subculture.