Meet Sam

About Rock & Rose

Mission Statement

Born from a struggle to find gothic jewellery in mainstream shops, Rock & Rose started in 2020 from a desire to make gorgeously gothic and alternative jewellery that others love as much as I do. Influenced by different cultures, ancient history, and a fascination with memorial jewellery, I want to help you embrace and express your individuality and passion for the weird and wonderful.

A little about me

Rock & Rose Jewellery is the brainchild of me, Sam Self. My jewellery is inspired by a personal desire to create pieces for people who want a delicate touch of the gothic with their everyday outfits hence the name Rock and Rose.

Why I do what I do!

I have always struggled to find gorgeous gothic alternative skull jewellery in mainstream shops. I wanted something that would show the world my individuality and my passion. They are either too big/bulky or were just a bit too much for day-to-day wear. I would buy items from shops and customise it to suit my needs. In the end I decided that I should just make my own rather than wasting all the bits and pieces of the bought jewellery. It’s certainly a more sustainable approach.

But what’s with all the skulls?

I kind of fell into liking skulls. I wasn’t born with a fascination for them! For many years I’ve been into rock music, and I’ve always worn clothes covered in skulls. When I did my MA in 2006, I happened to be wearing lots of skull covered clothing and jewellery and my friends just associated this imagery with me. It just stuck. I was their friend who loves skulls and now I see skulls as part of me.

I’m also captivated by different cultures and ancient history (that was my first degree) and I am particularly fascinated with the way different cultures, present and past, use skulls as a memorial item such as Day of the Dead sugar skulls and memento mori as a way of remembering them. I have lost 2 close family members in my life and sometimes have view of death that some might find morbid or melancholic, but I see it as a lovely way of remembering them.

What is memento mori?

“memento mori” = an object kept as a reminder of the inevitability of death, such as a skull. The origin of the phrase is Latin meaning ‘remember (that you have to die)’.

Memento mori as a phrase and object emerged in late 16th/early 17th centuries as an instruction to value the eternal life of your spirit over the temporary life of your body. The skull motif was used on numerous graves in New England in the 17th and 18th centuries like the one below that I photographed while in holiday in Boston, MA. For more information about iconography in Boston’s Burying Grounds visit this useful website.

boston burying ground tombstone with death head
Image of gravestone from Granary Burial Ground, Boston MA © Samantha Self

Art historians can use memento mori as a technical term for artworks that contain reminders of mortality, including the classic skull but also hourglasses and candles (which burn out) and flowers (which decay). Although the memento mori picture became popular in the 17th century, modern artists, and crafters like me continue to explore this genre.

The Victorians were also fascinated with death and often wore symbols of memento mori, such as the skull, within mourning jewellery. My skull cufflinks are actually moulded from an original Victorian skull bead! Check out my memento mori collections.

(see my Pinterest album for more images)

My logo is a sugar skull!

Day of the Dead, or Dia De Los Muertos, is a fascinating holiday celebrated in central and southern Mexico on November 1 & 2 to honour deceased loved ones in a similar way to Halloween in this country.

One of the most iconic and colourful items seen during the festivities is the sugar skull or calavera. These skulls, which can come in different sizes, are traditionally made of sugar and are decorated with icing to be fun and colourful. Some even have feathers, glitter, hats, or other objects attached to make them more personal.

Sugar skulls are sometimes eaten, but their main function is to adorn the altars and tombs with a sugary delight for the visiting spirits. I have several sugar skulls as you might expect and I won’t be eating mine!

But why SUGAR skulls? In Mexico, a country abundant in sugar production people learned how to make sugar art for their religious festivals. Clay moulded sugar figures of angels, sheep and sugar skulls go back to the 18th century. Sugar skulls represented a departed soul and often had names written on their foreheads and placed on the home “ofrenda” or gravestone to honour the return of a particular spirit. Sugar skull art reflects the folk art style of big happy smiles, colourful icing and sparkly tin and glittery adornments.

Sugar skulls can look a bit scary but they are meant to be happy, colourful and are meant to capture the joy and happy memories associated with lost loved ones which is why I am particularly fond of them. People also have their faces painted to look like a sugar skull to celebrate the holiday just like I did in 2017!

Check out my sugar skull collections!


Finally after doing lots of jewellery workshops with my favourite brands, a short college course and online research, I decided it was about time I gave jewellery making a go myself and send my creations out into the world as Rock & Rose Jewellery. If you have any more questions about my mission statement, about me, or my products just send me an email!


Hi, I'm Sam

Hi! I’m Sam Self and I am the creator and passion behind Rock & Rose Jewellery. Influenced by different cultures, ancient history and memorial jewellery, my designs are also motivated by a personal desire to create pieces for people who want a little touch of the gothic with their everyday outfits.

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