Literary jewels by Jeremy May

Dear Jeremy,

I have to say that I am fascinated by paper jewelry. This love story comes from my quilling skills 🙂 But the real reason for which I started the series of articles about paper jewelry is that most women fear to wear them. That is why I need the opinion of great artists, so I can tell everyone that they are safe to wear.

In my quest for jewelry designers, I found your work online and I fell in love with it from the beginning. The way you present the item is really ingenious. I want all my readers to know you.

Pic 7a_Jeremy May Portrait_credit to Stacey Wei

photo credit: Stacey Wei

Please tell us more about yourself. Who is Jeremy May? 🙂

That is a very ‘big’ question; I am still discovering myself but to answer your question, I am a Landscape Architect born in Suffolk, UK. After having worked in this field of design for over 10 years, I created the first paper ring in September 2007. My literary jewels were first introduced to the public in January 2009, transforming the paper that aspires to last beautifully and bring joy, colour, and love to all those sustainably minded individuals. The jewels have been presented in London, Paris, Osaka, Athens, Hamburg and Saint Petersburg. Currently I am is working on private commissions and on creating collections of jewels under a thematology to be presented in exhibitions around the world. I live and work in London.

When ( or how) did you discover that you are an artist?

I am not sure that I deserve the characterization. I guess I view my work as unique pieces that ‘translate’ the narrative into a new form. I always had a passion for ‘creating’ since I can remember.

Why did you choose paper to work with?

The first ring that I made was for Eva for our first wedding anniversary. The material that symbolizes this anniversary is paper – so that was the beginning.


How did you come up the idea of literary jewelry? – it is quite original I might say

The idea evolved gradually. I first used newspaper and recycled paper. I am not quite sure how I made the jump. It was probably a moment of inspiration in a charity bookshop near my workshop. I always went in and that day a book stood out.

What inspires you for your collections? The book that you choose to create from is important?

The book is very important. Everything about experiencing that particular book is contributing and informing the design at every level of the process.

Can you describe us in a few words your creation process?

I guess it would be: charity shop, choosing the book, reading the book, and designing the jewel choosing a quote that most informs the design that is to come. The rest of the process would be cutting the pages of the book one by one, choosing the recycled colored paper and taking the piece through the lamination process and finally forming the paper and lacquering and polishing. Finally we photograph each piece before it is sent to the customer or the gallery.

Are you a self taught artist?

I am a designer but as a jeweler I am self-taught.

What do you like to create most?

I am afraid I do not have a favorite. For me each piece is unique.

And the final question: how can we convince the audience that paper jewelry is safe to wear?

I cannot speak on behalf of all the paper artists but my paper jewels are safe to wear, but should be treated as a delicate jewel. Of course you should always remember that paper does not behave the same way that metal does. For the paper jewellery that I have created so far I tell the wearer that they are ideal for singing in the rain but not for scuba diving!

Thank you for your time Jeremy!



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