British born jeweler Richard Roney-Dougal and his wife Roz have spent their lives around horses so it was only natural they chose something from the equestrian world as inspiration for jewelry they designed.
"Stirrups?" I asked Richard. "Why?"
It began after a visit to the Kentucky Horse Park where he viewed an exhibit of items from the Queen of England's collection of equestrian historical artifacts. A lover of history, Richard began to ponder the development of the stirrup. For two to three years he conducted research by visiting museums and reading whatever materials he could get his hands on.
I began to get more interested as he discussed the history. In ancient times, stirrups were made from readily available materials. Some were practical, and some were more ornate to show off the rider's wealth. The shape was based on the boots: round for raw hide soles and flat and large to accommodate suits of armor. Anglo Saxon stirrups were bronze and inlaid with gold; the French used gilded bronze; Italian stirrups were hardened leather with gold and silver decorations; the Chinese developed casted bronze stirrups beginning in the 6th Century BC; the design of Portuguese stirrups was based on clam shells to symbolize St. James of Compostela; and stirrups from Mexico were carved wood, which when broken, were simply re-carved by the cowboy.
The result of Richard's research and fine craftsmanship is a fabulous collection of miniature 14K yellow gold charms, earrings, and pendants representing stirrups of old from around the world