Tag Archives: Jewellery

Original Skull Beads from Amor Y Locura


Black & White Skull Beads from Amor Y Locura

Photographs by Charlotte Pridding

18/12/12 – Day of the Dead Store on Gertrude Street offer Amazing Stock ready for Christmas!

The other day, my supervisor from uni had shown me these small ceramic skulls that she had purchased from the Day of the Dead Store in Melbourne. I just could not help myself, I quickly ran into the store and bought three ceramic skulls for myself; two in black and white and one in colour.

The skulls do appear to be hand crafted and the beads have proven to be very popular; I have seen many visitors within the store purchasing these small ceramic skulls. There were only a few left in stock as soon as I arrived to Amor Y Locura on Gertrude Street; an amazing Mexican store that sells a range of Mexican cookbooks, art books papier mache Skulls, hand crafted skeletons and jewellery. It’s very hard to walk into the store without buying anything, I must admit.

Colourful Skull Bead from Amor Y Locura

At first I was going to buy one skull and I walked out of the store with three, If you can leave the store without buying anything, you much have a lot of will power! Amor Y Locura do rotate their stock on a regular basis, so it is worth checking out the store for new stock. Now that I have the beads, I can now make a necklace, I just have to find a local jewellery store where I can purchase some thread.


Gertrude Street

28/9/12 – Skulls on Gertrude Street, Melbourne

Yesterday I decided to take a trip down to Gertrude Street in Melbourne with a friend and we did find some small galleries that were open for public display. Gertrude street has some very interesting stores and galleries that do sell unique items or products that you wouldn’t usually find in your regular shopping mall.

Almost every store I walked into had images of skulls on shelfs, in cabinets and in window displays. I have listed a few that stores or gallery spaces that have used the image of the skull.

#1 Natalie Ryan (Evanescence) Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects

The works of Natalie Ryan are currently displayed in the Dianne Tanzer Gallery, which featured large dimensional forms with very bold and interesting colours. There were a range of animals within the space, which may have been made from velvet.I also noticed a ram’s skull, which was positioned opposite the desk and the three-dimensional construction definitely captured my attention.

The shape is very well designed and the skull features a striking composition with the reflective material within the interior of the skull.  According to the Dianne Tanzer Gallery website, Natalie Ryan is an Australian artist who explores the subject of death and the “animal cadaver” through large installations or three-dimensional formats. From a personal perspective, the skull invites one to gaze into the reflective surface of the skull, which may challenge certain interpretations of death.

Image taken inside the gallery with permission

Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Project, “Natalie Ryan”, Diane Tanzer Gallery + Project, http://diannetanzergallery.net.au/Natalie-Ryan (Accessed 28/6/12)

#2 Metal Couture

After our visit to the Gallery, I recognised a very interesting collection of rings, bracelets and necklaces, which were displayed in the front of the shop window. Most of the jewellery within the store featured the image of the skull and the style is very gothic / avant gaurde.

There was an empty bottle of Crystal Head vodka right next to the front desk, which also features the shape of a skull. The sales assistant explained that he was interested in the  design of the bottle and the assistant had also expressed an interest for skulls, which was an interesting observation.

According to the Metal Couture website, Metal Couture is a brand, which is founded by William Llewllyn Griffiths who creates jewellery from “precious metals”. Metal Couture also designed jewellery for large companies and fashion designers. Metal Couture feature a gothic style, although the jewellery does feature a level of elegance and sophistication.

Metal Couture Website “WLG Biography”, Metal Couture, 2010 http://www.metalcouture.com/information/?c=bio_main(Accessed 28/6/12)

Photo used as a reference from Deer & Stag Blog, http://deerandstag.com/post/16436311878/skull-etched-into-quartz-stone-metal-couture-ring 

#3 Amor y Locura

Towards the end of Gertrude street there is a store called Amor y Locura, which sells Mexican Day of the Dead skulls and figurines. There is paper mache skulls, ceramic skulls, key ring skulls, cupcake moulds and jewellery in the shape of a skull. Everywhere you turn there are skulls in different colours, shapes and sizes. This is personally one of my favourite stores in Melbourne and there are so many different skulls to choose from.

The products are well designed and the it’s quite hard to walk out of the store without buying anything. Amor y Locura is definitely the place if you are interested in Day of the Dead imagery and Mexican skulls.

Amor y Locura, a Latin American fiesta of Architectural Antiques, Furniture and Folk art, http://www.amorylocura.com/ (Accessed 28/6/12)

Image from Amor y Locura website, http://www.amorylocura.com/cat.cfm?id=62 

# 4 Shoe Shop / Fashion Accessory Store on Brunswick Street

While a friend was shopping for shoes, I recognised a pair of scarfs towards the back of the store. The scarfs do not appear well designed or fabricated, which clearly demonstrates that the image of the skull is used for almost everything and everything.

# 5 Devil Kitty

The last store I visited was Devil Kitty, which featured punk / gothic clothes, jewellery and other fashion accessories, which were completely plastered with the image of the skull. Every corner of the store featured another representation of a skull, which did cause me to feel dizzy after ten minutes.

The different designs and styles were definitely interesting and it is very interesting to view the comparisons between the Day of the Dead merchandise in Amor y locura and the gothic representations of the skull in Devil Kitty. The skulls were usually displayed on dresses, handbags and high-heeled shoes in either black, pink or red, which may indicate that the skull is used to attract a female demographic?

Devil Kitty, http://blog.devilkitty.com.au/ (Accessed 28/6/12)

Image from Devil Kitty Blog, http://blog.devilkitty.com.au/ 

Diamond Skulls

13/4/12 – Skull necklace become a recent observation

There were several people with skull t-shirts and there was one lady who was wearing a diamond skull necklace at the station. The necklace became an instant reminder of Damien Hirst’s Diamond Skull, For the Love of God. The lady’s diamond skull necklace is quite similar to the image below, which has been extracted from the Ultra Diamond website.

Damien Hirst – For the Love of God, 2007

Daragh O’Reily and Finola Kerrigan examine Hirst’s work which features over 8000 diamonds that cover the entire surface of the skull. The diamond skull has been displayed in London and the art piece captivated an enormous amount of publicity from the media and the public.

One critic at the exhibition associated the skull with the ‘nightclub’ scene and one could argue that Hirst’s skull features a similar appearance to a ‘disco’ ball. For the Love of God features similar patterns, shapes and colours and the skull may generate a similar reflection in a dark space.

Perhaps Hirst has attempted to challenge morbid or sinister interpretations of death through the composition of diamonds, which are applied to exterior of the skull. One could argue that the skull reflects beauty, although Hirst’s work questions whether the skull requires thousands of diamonds in order to create a visually appealing subject.

The skull itself could be interpreted as a beautiful and interesting form, although Hirst’s work may encourage the viewer to question mortality or reconsider the notion of death. For the Love of God questions what is beautiful within the 21st century culture and whether a particular subject requires additional commodities to intensify it’s natural beauty.

Daragh O’Reily and Finola Kerrigan also associate Hirst’s skull with consumerism or mass consumption and from a personal perspective the juxtaposition of the skull with the diamonds, may represent the negative aspects of commercialism. Perhaps the skull relates to the blood diamond industry, which has resulted in many deaths from terrible working conditions in order to source diamonds for the west.

Perhaps Hirst’s work also relates to Swallow’s work, which suggests that the majority of mass produced items will eventually surpass mankind. For the love of God may remind the viewer that all of the diamonds may outlive their very own existence, especially with preservation or conservation.

According to the White Cube Gallery, For the Love of God questions humanity and the nature of mankind. One could argue that Hirst’s creation may present a positive and and a negative perspective of death. While the visual aesthetics imply that death isn’t a confronting or frightening subject, the diamonds may represent the pessimistic results from a commercialised society.

Bradshaw, Alan, Kerrigan, Finola & Holbrook, Morris.B. “Marketing the Arts: A Fresh Approach.” In Challenging Conventions in Arts Marketing, edited by Daragh and Kerrigan O’Reilly, Finola. Oxon: Routledge, 2010 p. 5-17

Cube, White. “For the Love of God.” White Cube 2012, http://whitecube.com/artists/damien_hirst/ (accessed 23/4/12)

Shaw, William. “The Iceman Cometh.” The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/03/magazine/03Style-skull-t.html (accessed 23/4/12)

Victoria, National Gallery of. “Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur.” National Gallery of Victoria, http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/exhibitions/ricky-swallow. (Accessed 23/4/12)

Image Citations:

Ultra Diamonds, http://www.ultradiamonds.com/necklaces/1-5ctw-black-diamond-skull-pendant-set-in-sterling-silver-48857