I love the image of Mrs. Jones, Philip’s best friend’s mother, digging in her garden next door with all of her ancestors’ rings piled on her fingers. For Philip, she was one of those seminal characters, a “leftist yankee in suburban Florida,” whose style seemed fussy but wasn’t. There was no such thing as the “good stuff” – she just loved it all, he recalls. This uninhibited authenticity inspired a drive in him to not just make jewelry, but create pieces that appear to be long lost treasures and make people feel more like themselves while wearing them. “I believe, especially with jewelry, that you can set yourself apart from someone else,” Philip says.
Philip’s ball and chain bracelet is reminiscent of something as simple and classic as Cartier, but next to his tattoos, it reveals the rebel who once shunned loafers after a lifetime in prep school. The codes of preppydom are so embedded in Philip’s DNA that one of his tattoos says ‘fuck you’ in a Lands’ End monogram font. With a signet ring, Church’s, red and royal sweaters mixed with vintage blazers and bandanas, he still wears his clothes like a school uniform with some version of the same thing all week. And I can’t help but see a relationship between Philip’s ancestors who date back to The Civil War when I see his signature beard.
With the detailed eye of a writer, Phillip’s ideas are expressed in all aspects of his life. He attributes some of this to the quizzes he would receive from his art historian mother on schools of paintings. Quick to recognize the Baroque, Rococo or 16th century Italian, Philip sees everything in vignettes of a place and time. A finished, well-curated room completes a scene in his mind and begins with a historical reference like the antique map or tapestry in his bedroom. Likewise, Philip’s bathroom is tiny in size and filled to the brim with antique photographs.
The vaguely familiar but relevant is an obsession of Philip’s. His jewels often show the parts in an effort to convey the beauty in the connection between things, especially when they are handmade. Whether it’s the way that metals fuse or a joint screws on, he sees his jewelry as part of a continuum. “Like architecture and sculpture, it lasts thousands of years. You are borrowing it, inhabiting it… then it goes on the the next person…and like writing, you throw it into the world..it’s not really yours.” So here’s to being so unabashedly who you are that you garden in the things you covet.