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Category Winner


Nouveau Jaw Statement Neck Piece


Emer Roberts



Accessories Including Footwear

Fashion & Textiles


Designed and created by Emer Roberts (Lead Designer) Photographer Darren Moriarty

Design Challenge and Design Ideas

“As an extension of my 2019 Wearable Biology — Jaw Collection, comprising fine-art jewellery cast from the lower jaw of the common rat (Rattus norvegicus), I set myself the challenge of creating a couture neckpiece inspired by the whiplash lines and organic patterns of Art Nouveau.

Traditionally modelled after vegetal forms, the Art Nouveau aesthetic, synonymous with femininity and romanticism, is principally inspired by plants and flowers. The key element in this challenge for me was translating the physiological or biological into botanical form using the infamous incisors of the rat to mirror Art Nouveau’s decorative style.

My intention was to produce an edgy and elegant luxury neckpiece that would cross the frontiers between sculpture and decorative art in creating wearable beauty out of something so universally abhorred as the common rat.”

How the brief was fulfilled

“In the early stages of the design, I chose the lower jaw from the skull of a young adult brown rat to create my Wearable Biology — Jaw Collection. I made a mould of the left and right hand side of the jaw, utilising the lost wax process to cast multiples of each in silver. Creating a variety of patterns, I decided upon five left and five right, gently curved in a row. The repetitive curves of the incisors immediately created a whiplash effect and, at this point, the visual resolved itself in the direction of Art Nouveau. In positioning these multiples (of five left and five right) face to face, the continuity of the mirrored pattern for the overall visual successfully represented the vegetal patterns of the Nouveau aesthetic. With teeth facing outwards, the molars of the lower jaw of the rat resemble a cluster of diamonds, suggesting compelling embellishments.

Beyond this exploration of elegant floral patterns in the context of fine-art jewellery, the main focus for the statement Nouveau Jaw neckpiece was producing “stand out” design. Created entirely from sterling silver and 18 carat yellow gold, originality and functionality were vital proponents in this process: the latter by creating rigidity in sections while maintaining the dynamism and movement synonymous with Nouveau’s whiplash lines. By technically eliminating potential inter-tangling of the sharp incisors, balance and visual density were achieved through the interlinking of the rats jaws via jump rings and the subtle and minimal use of (belcher) chain.

Artfully proportioned, the overall visual is symmetrical with the exception of the central detail at the chest. At the clavicle and inner shoulders, the sharp incisors face inward, away from the skin, ensuring maximum comfort for the wearer. At the nape of the neck, the linear contours of chain swaggering toward the clasp echo the femininity of the Nouveau aesthetic. A single silver cast of the (right) jaw of the rat loosely dangles at the back—evocative of the movement’s preoccupation with lines of long flowing hair intertwined with flowers—highlighting the attention to detail throughout this Nouveau Jaw neckpiece.”


Love the continuity of the mirrored pattern creating an organic symmetrical botanical look around the neckline.



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