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Donna Burns

Donna is a jewellery designer and maker based in South East Cornwall, where she works from her small home studio. She made silver jewellery for many years before returning to study for a BA (Hons) in Jewellery at Arts University Plymouth (formally Plymouth College of Art), and graduated in 2020 with a First Class degree.

Recycling silver to capture patterns in nature

A lover of line and form, Donna takes inspiration from architecture and nature to create her timeless jewellery.

The Fragments collection began with exploration of netting, a material that lies between the geometric lines of lattice windows and the organic lines produced by nature.

Donna uses the traditional method of lost wax casting to capture fluid lines in recycled silver, using the resulting individual shapes to make her understated jewellery. Influenced by the repeat patterns in nature, she builds up larger statement pieces with the playful arrangement of multiple components, sculpting them into organic forms that evoke branches, leaves and movement in water.

Our Favourite Pieces

Each piece is beautifully handmade and unique, we have selected a few of our favourites to show you.

Silver can be finished in many ways

Donna’s silver sculptures are finished in one of three ways – polished, brushed satin or oxidised – each with their own appeal.

Oxidised silver is where the surface has been intentionally darkened by introducing it to a chemical process. This patina is created by use of “liver of sulphide”, which smells like rotten eggs but can be used to create a spectrum of colours on silver, rather like the colours you see in a droplet of oil or petrol. At full strength it creates a gunmetal black finish. As it a surface treatment, it will wear off over time and the silver will gradually shine through. Donna can re-oxidise her pieces to maintain that dark colour.

Inspiration comes from many places

The Fragment Collection was developed from experiments with netting during the last year of Donna’s degree. The original inspiration came from old leaded lattice windows that she saw on a visit to the Elizabethan House in Plymouth.

She spent endless hours playing with the changing lines as netting moves and trying to capture that same movement in other materials. Like lace, netting obscures what is underneath, but at the same time draws your eye to it, just like jewellery.


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