How it happened.
The Kate Holmes Design collection launched with a single ring created for an old friend. Caroline sought a unique ring, timeless enough to wear daily that also captured her individuality in a deeply personal way. She wanted a ‘signature’ piece to serve as a reminder of her values and a reflection of her essence. In a jewelry marketplace awash with preconceived meaning, Caroline wanted to invert the paradigm. She would determine her ring’s significance independently.
Rings are Caroline’s favorite – celebrating hands as she sees it. Hands that help her create, express and connect, as well as perform the basic human tasks for living. Hand that represent empowerment. So she needed a ring that also highlighted the spirituality and functionality of her hands.
When we sat down together, Caroline discussed her love of bees. The bee has resonated with many different cultures throughout centuries. For the ancient druids, the bee represented hidden knowledge. Some Celtic traditions thought of bees as messengers between our world and the otherworld. It was subsequently thought that if one’s soul were to leave the body it could do so in the shape of a bee. Greeks, too, believed that bees might be the human souls awaiting reincarnation or birth. The bee also is a universal symbol of diligence, harmony, community, wisdom and creativity.
But for Caroline, the bee meant none of this. She associates bees with childhood summers playing and exploring in her grandparent’s backyard, surrounded by honeysuckle and blackberries, accompanied by the soft buzz of bees at work. Recalling the warm summer scents and untamed natural beauty, Caroline remembers the bees as her garden guardian angels (replaced at dusk with the lightning bug.) Her connection remains strong between bees and her sense of freedom to be her authentic self in a safe and compassionate environment.
When Caroline came to me, I had taken a hiatus from painting and was experimenting with precious metal clay, attempting to realize a vision for a necklace pendant. Simultaneously I had discovered some gorgeous vintage brass picture buttons, stamped with bas relief scenes, animals and symbols. I pressed them into the silver clay, and played around with the ensuing motifs. One such button had a tiny bee, and this became the genesis for Caroline’s ring. Our design didn’t have to start from scratch, but instead looked to the bee button for inspiration. The early 1900’s considered the picture button to be a miniature objet d’arte, and we both loved the idea of re-imagining this tiny treasure.
Like Caroline herself, the bee ring embodies a balanced blend of whimsy and sophistication, and while her bee is profoundly personal, we both intuitively understood this ring was universal. (And also timely.) Many people love and connect with the bee, which was evident by the enormous response this piece immediately garnered.
Caroline and the bee button laid the foundation for the collection. As a designer I am committed to embracing each ring as an open-ended icon. I am compelled to step back and let each ring speak for itself – to and for she or he who wears it, perhaps assuming a tangible piece of identity. These rings incorporate powerful motifs, a power defined by you.