Cover Medallions are fast becoming a must-have trend, according to Azlee founder Baylee Zwart (Photo: Baylee Zwart)

Medallions are fast becoming a must-have trend, according to Azlee founder Baylee Zwart

What do you love about ancient talismans and why do you incorporate them into your jewellery?

I’m amazed by their enduring significance and timelessness. I love that medallions have been used throughout history and across civilisations, but still resonate to this day. Historically, they have signified familial lineage or been prescribed to have protective properties, and it’s fascinating to see how something so ancient can acquire new meaning and continue to remain relevant.

You’re also inspired by the art deco era.

When I started designing, I fell in love with art deco architecture, particularly its use of patterns, form and balance. My initial inspiration came from sculptural buildings and, as a result, my pieces were very angular and minimal.

Read more: During the Pandemic, Your Jewellery Could Help Keep Priceless Memories Alive

When did you first become interested in history?

In elementary school I felt an instant connection to ancient history and mythology, and was deeply fascinated with the civilisations of Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. After school, I struggled to find time to further explore these interests, but I reacquainted myself with this subject when I discovered jewellery-making.

How does history feature in your jewellery?

My desire to create meaningful pieces gave me the perfect opportunity to return to my interest in history and delve deeper into ancient civilisations. Now I use new collections and custom projects as an excuse to visit museums, investigate archives and read. I feel so lucky that my passions can coexist in this way.

If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?

Enjoy not knowing a little longer. I graduated from college and had worked so hard to do so, but after graduation I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do next. It made me feel anxious at the time. But I realise now that life is full of possibilities. I allowed myself to be pulled in all directions and this was a beautiful time of self-discovery. It was through this process that I found what I love most.

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