It’s only Rock ‘n Roll baby
Jake first introduced me to The Great Frog about two years ago – walking through Carnaby street after an all nighter in Soho, he mentioned he wanted to get his rings cleaned. Having never heard of the store before and with no plans to do anything other than shower and sleep, I agreed and we headed over. My initial reaction upon walking into the jewelry store was awe – portraits of Rock n Rolls icons by Ross Halfin dominated the room. It was as if the photos and posters emulated that of every 70’s teenagers room, from floor to ceiling plastered with timeless imagery, it’s easy to see why Halfin was considered to have helped built the identities and legends of Rock n Rolls greatest icons.
‘Motorbike helmets, cattle skulls and waxy candles; this is the epitome of 70’s Rock n Roll culture.’
2 years on, and I’m back at the store now; this time here to talk to Reino about their latest commission for the new suicide squad film.
‘Exclusively commissioned by Warner Bros. to create customised bracelets and rings for Suicide Squad, rock ‘n’ roll jewellers The Great Frog have adapted some of their best selling designs to be worn by Jared Leto’s Joker character in DC Comics’ latest release.
Suicide Squad focuses on a supervillain team helping a secret government agency in return for a shorter prison sentence – the perfect cool, rebellious and boisterous backdrop for The Great Frog’s rock’n’roll designs, which have been previously worn by the likes of Mick Jagger and Motorhead.
Made from solid 9ct gold components, the skull adorned jewellery is a perfect reflection of the Joker character, as he leads the rest of the unruly Suicide Squad, played by Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Cara Delevigne.’
What is The Great Frog and how did it come about?
The Great Frog specialise in handmade rock ‘n’ roll jewellery which came about as an antidote to the lack of quality jewellery to suit the alternative lifestyle of the heavy metal and biker communities. Nothing existed in the early 70s for this demographic.
What makes the brand so unique?
We are authentic and stay true to our core values and design, we don’t follow trends and wouldn’t ever class ourselves as a fashion brand (we still have some existing designs from the 70s). We use traditional methods of jewellery design and production, making everything by hand to the same standard as we always have. We’re proud to be a British company making all our items in the basement of our London store; we will never outsource for cheap labour overseas. That’s something I’m very passionate about as a business owner and a consumer.
‘Rock n Roll’ has provided a rich source of inspiration for The Great Frog brand; what’s the biggest influence in terms of design?
Rock ‘n’ roll and metal have always provided a huge source of inspiration as the motifs and symbols used are very powerful – sometimes challenging the status quo with stage outfits, stage design, t-shirt designs ad album artwork. It’s designed to get noticed sometimes shock the mainstream which in itself is a huge inspiration – I feel it gives us the creativity to push boundaries with our designs.
Motorbikes have also had a big influence on a lot of our designs. I ride bikes so want to wear jewellery that is not only stylish but functional and practical too – we’ve even started a line of motorbike accessories including guardian bells and skull helmet poppers.
If you could choose one person to endorse your product, who would it be? (in the present, and of all time).
Lemmy Kilmister – in the present and of all time! No contest.
What about Jared Leto’s character attracted you to produce this collection with Warner Bros?
His character oozes distilled rock ‘n roll style, I can only assume the designers must have based him on a psychotic Ziggy Stardust.
What was the inspiration for the pieces, aside from the character profile?
It’s rare you get to work with designers who have such free reign – they were really able to let loose and get sinister. The pieces we made had to be garish, over the top, unforgivable and dangerous. I think we achieved this.
The use of skulls is something that The Great Frog has become known for; how much of an influence was your ‘brand image’ in the design of these pieces?
Whilst we can’t claim to be the first to use the skull motif – the romans were using skull designs in jewellery, as were the Victorians using skulls as memento mori – but we can lay claim to the modern skull ring as we know it, it’s been key to what we’ve done since the start – it has an aurora and mystery that has intrinsically appealed to mankind over the centuries as we all have a common bond – we’re all going to die!
So maybe the skull ring is a two finger salute to death itself as well as a reminder to live life while you can.
You can check out the latest collection for The Great Frog here.
Photos by Jake Hartwell
Words by Tayler Prince-Fraser