British fine jewelry designer Andrew Geoghegan found inspiration for his latest collection—a series of five unique rings dubbed Emergence—in a fabled good luck charm: the hag stone.
What’s a hag stone? So glad you asked. It’s a beach-worn rock with a hole worn clear through it from years of tumbling around in the surf and sand. The hole-y rocks are part of Celtic folklore; they’re believed to have magical properties and ward off evil spirits. Some people hang them over doors or from a necklace for protections, and legend has it that only good things can pass through a hole—bad luck is too big to pass through, naturally.
Geoghegan, who’s celebrating his eponymous brand’s 25th anniversary this year, spied his first-ever hag stone very recently when his wife wore one as a pendant. We caught up with the designer to talk about his dynamic new ring series, dropping April 7, and how the hag stone’s look and lore influenced both its vibe and design.
The Zing Report: I love that your super glamorous new diamond ring series was inspired by hag stones—tell me a little about that connection.
Andrew Geoghegan: A few months ago, I noticed my wife, Lindsay, wearing a pendant I hadn’t seen before. It was an irregular pebble with naturally occurring holes. As I am my wife’s personal jeweler, I felt I should enquire as to what it was and why I hadn’t seen it before. ‘It’s a hag stone,’ Lindsay said. ‘What the heck is a hag stone?’ I arrogantly replied!
So, this stone was found by Lindsay when she was a young girl living in England’s Lake District [a UNESCO World Heritage Site]. The holes are created by water over millennia and the stones themselves are said to be magical. There are many stories and folklore about hag stones, but the one that inspired me the most was that it represented, for Lindsay, her going through menopause and celebrating and embracing her ‘second part of life.’ There is also an amulet sensibility with the hag stones. The more Lindsay told me about her hag stone, something sparked in me, and I knew that this would undoubtedly be my inspiration for a new collection.
How did you come to the design choice to do the double-sided diamond in a “flipped” position that’s so unique?
My initial concept for the ring was to have an actual void, as the hag stones do. However, when researching more about the hag stones, there was a delightful [idea] that said looking through the hole was in some way like looking into different realities. Immediately the idea came to me that if a type of diamond was set within the hole, then it would elaborate on this idea of ‘looking into different realities,’ almost like a kaleidoscopic look at life through a diamond! The flipped position was dictated by the design, but it also represents a challenge to conventional gem-set rings where the stone is face-up.
Furthermore, it has an understated elegance in that the ring is not about showing off how large one’s diamond is but is rather a cool and modest presentation of the diamond that’s more for the wearer than anyone else.
You’re a former metal sculptor, and that background feels very relevant here. How does your background in art inform your work as a jewelry designer?
My early work with metal sculpture no doubt influences my love of flow, form, and materials. I have an affinity for metal because of its wonderful versatility as a medium but also because it lends itself to the potential of expressing flowing forms, large and small!
I like that the diamonds are a bit hidden but we move our hands all over the place, so viewers probably get a good glimpse of the center stone more than I think. True?
When I considered this new gem position, I realized that it’s quite rare for the wearer of a ring to really see her diamond head-on without consciously supinating the hand in what is quite an unnatural position. It’s almost like the gemstone is more for others than it is the wearer! The Emergence diamond set ring is truly a ring for the wearer—for her to catch strong glimpses of the stone in all its glory, with her hands on the steering wheel or reaching out to hold someone’s hand.