The Story Behind My Sea Urchin Jewellery and How to Wear It

Into The Blue

cornwall sea shore

I love the sea but sadly don’t have great sea legs and hate really cold water however, I do love to swim and once I’d discovered the joys of a wetsuit I was away! I love looking under the water at fish, my son and I went snorkeling in Sardinia last summer and it blew me away. My happiest memory of sea swimming alone was with pigmy dolphins in Hawaii in the 90’s.

Rock Pooling

Dorset rock pool

I have a life-long love of treasure hunting, which started with rock-pooling and feather collecting as a child - I still add to my feather collection now! Most months my dad and I make a trip to Ardingly Antiques Fair, on the look-out for treasure. I’m always on the hunt for props to photograph my jewellery – for my website and Instagram. Keeping my props in one piece has been tricky with my new puppy Rolo in the workshop!

Rolo puppy chewing vintage props

It was on one of these trips that I discovered an old necklace with circular discs. I’d wanted to make an urchin necklace for sometime and this vintage necklace immediate sparked an idea for how I wanted it to look.

Catherine Hills Jewellery sketchbook - sea urchin necklace

Urchin Necklace

Catherine Hills Jewellery Sea urchin necklace

Here’s my finished Urchin necklace – textured silver rounds, nestle and cluster together. It reflects a beautiful light onto the face and provides a great talking point. Adult sea urchins have fivefold symmetry whereas their larvae have mirror or bilateral symmetry. The shells of sea urchins are called tests and are round and spiny. Sea urchins belong to the echinoderm family (the family name comes from the ancient Greek for hedgehog). Other echinoderms include starfish (or seastars), sand dollars and sea cucumbers.

Catherine Hills Jewellery - Urchin necklace commission

I've also created a one-off version of my Urchin Necklace which is studded with glistening London and Swiss blue topaz and diamonds.

Round Like a Circle

Catherine Hills Jewellery Sea urchin studs

One of the things I love to do when I design is take the elements of a piece I’ve made and explore different ways I can use the pieces. I had a eureka moment when I was experimenting with the pieces of my Urchin necklace and discovered that they made the most wonderful earrings. They’ve quickly become one of my best-sellers and sit up the ear, fitting most ears perfectly. They are lightweight and comfortable to wear while being flattering and quite different.

You can find out more about my sea-inspired jewellery in this blog, shop my Sea and Shore jewellery collection here or shop my Urchin jewellery here.