Jacqueline Cullen is a designer maker specialising in contemporary Whitby jet jewellery. Whitby jet is a prehistoric black fossil ca. 180 million years old and most commonly associated with Victorian mourning jewellery. The trend for wearing jet jewellery was started by Queen Victoria when she went into mourning for Prince Albert. Mined during its heyday, Whitby jet is now rare. Jacqueline's supplier abseils down the cliffs on a rope collecting raw samples from the disused mines and ancient caves.
Jacqueline has developed innovative processes and formats that celebrate rather than disguise the inherent flaws and inclusions of Whitby jet allowing the natural beauty of the material to speak for itself removed from connotations of death, grief and morbidity.
Jacqueline is inspired by dramatic acts of nature, a placid sky ripped open by a slash of lightening, a volcano erupting, a cliff edge left jagged from erosion. Hiatuses inform her aesthetics and the interruption or breaking up of a bold, fluid form is central to her work where fractures, fissures and crevices release a luxurious cascade of textured gold or glittering diamonds.
Jacqueline Cullen is the only person working with Whitby jet in a non-traditional and design led way and she remains committed to introducing this ancient and sensual material to a contemporary audience.
- 2000 - 2003: First class BA Honours Jewellery Design, Central Saint Martins
- 1986-1990 BA Honours Visual and Performing Art, Brighton University
Commissions and Collections
- 2012 - Beyond Compare for Sobranie: two luxury Whitby jet and diamond containers
- 2010 - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: Whitby jet accessories for Narcissa
- 2010 - Deborah Meadon: two pieces worn throughout Dragon's Den
- 2009 - Alice and Louis Koch: ring collection Switzerland
- 2006 - Donna Karan: private collection New York
- 2003 - Contemporary acquisitions museum, Central Saint Martins
- 2011 - Balvenie Masters of Craft: winner in the stone carving category
- 2011 - Crafted: mentoring by Georgia Fendley, brand director for Mulberry
- 2008 - Arts Council Grant
- 2008 - City Fringe Partnership: equipment grant
- 2004 - Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) research bursary