Most of the blackberries seem to be over now, but there are still plenty of ripe sloes hanging in the hedgerows. We must get around to picking some soon, so that the sloe brandy we make from them will be ready for tasting at Christmas.
As well as tasting great when combined with alcohol and sugar, the fruits are really attractive to look at. The berries have a slightly exotic look, which I think is to do with them being quite large in comparison with the leaves of the plant, and they’re a really rich deep, dusty purple colour.
I used these autumn fruits as the starting point for one of my recent jewellery designs – matching pendant and earrings in silver, with freshwater pearls.
I’ve had the pearls for a while now, and not been sure how to use them, but when I saw the first sloes this year, I knew they’d be perfect. They’re just the right deep, dark shade of purple, and they have a lovely lustre on the surface. The leaf shape is based on that of the sloe, but I’ve kept it comparatively small, so that the pearl is the real star. The leaves have been lightly textured with a hammer edge, then oxidised and rubbed back to the silver, leaving some dark traces in the hammer marks.
Both pendant and earrings are available now via my online shop.