More data jewellery experiments

I don’t think I ever blogged about this before but I definitely had it in my newsletter at the time; last summer I did a two day workshop on creating data jewellery at the V&A and it was awesome.

I ended up making 3 items during the two days and I had so much fun.

I made: a personal holiday necklace which reminds me of all the places I’ve been over the last 6 years; a David Bowie discography necklace; a David Bowie discography bracelet.
Here they are, with instructions on how to read them:

I still have them and I love them! People always ask me what they mean and I have to explain, especially the David Bowie ones. And some people are like “well that’s weird” and some people really get it and like that they could probably pick out the beads representing their favourite albums. Someone even asked me if they could buy one which is really cool.


Anyway, so it’s been on my mind ever since to experiment a little more with data and jewellery and creating special pieces that look interesting/nice but also make people ask questions. I want conversation-starters!

Although I have loads of beads I wanted to look at a different kind of material to see what could be done. And personally, I know that they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I love Tatty Devine style jewellery, and I thought if I could combine acrylic pieces with data somehow that might be pretty cool.

I designed a couple of different prototypes, and wanted to experiment with engravings, too. And I also tried to think about more generic things I could use. I tried designing a Fibonacci necklace but it didn’t work, but then I thought that Pi is quite interesting so I based a design on that.

Here’s what I’ve ended up with:

Pi necklace! Read it from left to right, the bars symbolise the digit in Pi.

Pi necklace! This is probably my favourite design. Ignore the ‘chain’ part since that is just jewellery wire (which is also bent, somehow) for now, and I wouldn’t want to wear it like this anyway.

I love how the bars hang, and I like that it’s slightly obscure and nerdy (technically it’s not data, just maths — the first ten digits of Pi) but also looks really cool? I dunno. I like it. A lot. I do wonder if it’s perhaps too small and maybe going up to 20 digits might work better.

I’m slightly vexed by the fact that the bars are basically hanging the wrong way (I would prefer the mirrored surface to be frontwards), though I can probably fix this with jump rings. I would also like to see what the bars look like when it’s not mirrored acrylic. I don’t know if, eg, purple acrylic would look purple from the side or not. If it does then perhaps that’s not so bad.

These two represent the same thing — the popularity of my name from 1996 to 2016 (UK baby names, ONS).

So this is two prototypes of the same thing — the popularity of my name over time. Basically, my name was super popular and has now died a death with far fewer new Sophies being born/named each year. I am cool with that, though.

I wanted to see how the engraving came out and I think it’s kinda cool, though I don’t know if it adds too much to it, or if it makes sense. I really messed up the medallion pendant itself so I can’t see what it looks like on a necklace — I added the ring but the ring got cut out. Need to figure out how to fix that…

The one on the right has holes on either end for the chain to go through which might help with keeping it stabilised more than one with a ring in the middle (though I do have one of those, although unfortunately as with the medallion I messed up the ring so I can’t test which one works better!)


So, there you are. I’ve been excited about seeing them for the first time, and showing people, as well as thinking about how I can improve on them.

What do you think?