Cassandra Goad takes us on a journey to Morocco in her latest Maroc collection.
Jewellery has the ability to transform and transport us, and Cassandra Goad’s jewellery never fails on either count. Her collections of exquisitely crafted pieces are inspired by her travels — of which she is passionate — and in her latest Maroc collection she has gleaned inspiration from her love for Morocco — its shapes, tastes, smells, textures and sounds. Never have we needed transportation more, and with hope on the horizon, it’s a special time to treat yourself or someone else to an infinitely wearable piece of jewellery.
When visiting Marrakech before the collection came to life, there were many magical moments which sparked ideas in the jewellers’ mind. Early morning breakfasts on the terrace where Cassandra would admire architectural details, then meandering the streets taking in the atmosphere and watching the basket weavers at work under canvas umbrellas, seeing water glinting off mosaic tiles in courtyard fountains, or sipping a cup of mint tea in a cafe whilst eyeing up delectable pastries. In the evenings, flickering lights and air thick with the scent of jasmine was intoxicating, so Cassandra would get out her sketchbook and let designs come to life on the page.
The Porte Ouvrant pendant design feels particularly poignant as we begin to emerge from a year of being locked at home, the spinning amulet is very much opening, not closing — full of hope and intrigue: it is leading the wearer into a new era.
The design is exquisite, with intricate craftsmanship drawing parallels to that of the doors in the ancient city, which are themselves carved and painted with similar detail and care. They seem to beckon you to look inside and step away from the bustling Medina of everyday life.
These pendants feel talismanic, and very tactile. They can be stacked together or worn alone and there are matching earrings too.
The French name Porte Ouvrant reminds us that the door is not just opened but opening, and possibilities of what’s behind is exciting and full of possibilities.
Cassandra’s Zellije design is inspired by the mosaic tiles which are simply everywhere in Morocco. This form of Islamic art is one of the main characteristics of Moroccan and medieval Moorish architecture. Their kaleidoscopic nature is mesmerising, and the handmade tiles are vibrantly coloured forming star motifs that have been much exported (and copied) around the world. ‘Like an optical illusion the patterns of the zellije appear. Whirling stars that link like cartwheels one to another’ enthuses the jeweller.
‘I closed my eyes and saw those same patterns on the workshop bench in gold and silver, and filled with the colour of stones. The geometry of the star points, linking one to another creating necklaces and bracelets. Once back at the workbench, I began with the outlines of stars and once I had mastered their shape, I linked them together and pavé-set them with diamonds.’
The Raffia design takes inspiration from the dusty souk floor where sellers lay out their wares on woven raffia mats. Women carry raffia baskets brimming with fruit, and elderly men weave baskets under umbrellas to shade them from the glare of the sun.
The basket is very much a part of the Moroccan daily ritual, and so Raffia was born. The hero piece being the tasselled earring, painstakingly crafted in precious metal, with the wrapping of gold and silver echoing the dedicated and relentless work of the men in the souk. ‘The movement reminds me of the busy Medina that is never still and always in motion’ explains the designer.
The final design is the Mashrabiya Trellis which is a joyful play with geometric form and colour, inspired by the trellises at the Saadian Berber tombs in Marrakech.
Cassandra first saw the Mashrabiya screens here and sketched the simple shapes of circles, squares and rectangles, turning them into puzzling patterns. Later the designer transformed these sketches into beautiful rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets using vibrant stones to bring them alive.
A perfect collection for summer and beyond — if travel isn’t so simple at the moment, transport yourself with beautiful and inspiring jewellery instead.