Birthstones for October-Opal and Tourmaline-Fruity favourites

If you are born in October you are peace loving characters who wish to be surrounded by beauty. So it’s fitting that your birthstones are the ones with magical rainbow shades, Opal and Tourmaline.

Tourmaline is best known for its green and pink shades but it is the gemstone found in the greatest range of colours. The watermelon effect of the stones that present with two-in-one colouration are clearly the most delicious. Here they are celebrated together, although not as one, nestled in these stunning orbs by master jeweller Friedrich Becker.

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The internal structure of an opal causes multi-coloured light diffractions to occur and these characteristic rainbow effects can be found in stones of very different tones too. For jewellers it is both an inspirational friend and technical foe with its softness and tendency to expand and contract according to temperature fluctuations. This makes it a very difficult stone to work with.

Kimberlin Brown uses opal to very different effect in her work that references nature and organic forms. As we can see here in these two rings, the delicate ‘anemone’ contrasts with the intergalactic beast ‘galaxy’ without sacrificing her signature style.

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October child, whatever your flavour, you won’t fail to find a tempting juicy delight in one these fruity pieces using these dynamic stones. But be sure to give one, or five, of our classes a try if you feel the need for more jewellery nutrition.

A reminder that creativity is good for your mental health on World Mental Health Day

Hello! So back in June I wrote a little ditty to big up Creativity and Wellbeing week, but life sometimes smacks you in the face and makes you not want to tell everyone that you have struggled and are now looking back smugly from the other side. Winston Churchill spoke of his black dog of depression, I feel like the brain is a little like a naughty puppy (ok sometimes very naughty one, that can turn your life upside down like an old school toilet paper advert). You have to train it, entertain it, keep it calm or when you are not looking you may end up with a poo in the corner. But it’s World Mental Health Day and the fact that sharing that you aren’t always totally smashing it and that some people, including myself, find making things helps their brain to chill out and heal a bit is still something important.

Creativity has always been an important part of my life however much of the time I was either too inspired or not at all. This made a great deal of sense when I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2013. I wouldn’t say that drawing and making things got me through that and the very tricky time that led to my diagnosis. This was thanks to the support of the ridiculously amazing people around me and the hard working dudes and dudettes of the NHS. Yet my life wouldn’t feel complete now without making something or letting my brain stray creatively on a daily basis. It is also integral to making my life more than just managing my special brain, by providing a distraction in the process of making and little delights as end results.

To steal the wise words of the people over at Creativity and Wellbeing Week:

‘There is a growing body of evidence indicating the profound effect engagement in the arts and creativity can have on health and wellbeing. The arts bring us alive, nourish our curiosity, help us learn – they change the places in which we are treated – and make them places we might want to be, they can improve the relationship between clinician and patient, and they give us the courage to face our own frailties and strengths.’

I have worked in many media when making art or gifts and always carry a little sketchbook for emergencies (to record ideas/also handy for those who may suffer bothersome thoughts). I made the decision to take up jewellery making in 2014 and love that it combines hard-core metal working skills with making pretty and fun transportable pieces that others seem amused by too. I couldn’t recommend jewellery making enough as an activity and wish I had taken the idea seriously at a younger age. But still, learning ain’t just for kids.

Top 3 creativity TED talks

Taika Waititi – The Art of Creativity

Margaret Wertheim- The beautiful math of coral

Julie Burstein- 4 lessons in creativity

Whatever your go-to helper is in life, may it be running, writing, crafting or climbing (if it isn’t going to damage you or anyone else), look after yourself and that pesky puppy and just do it.

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

 

Online Charity Raffle

Fancy giving to a good cause with a chance to win fabulous Jewellery making prizes? Well yes, obviously, me too.
Here at the Jewellery School we are running an exciting online raffle from now until Sunday 22nd October 2017, for just a pound a ticket to raise money for the victims of Grenfell Tower fire.

Prizes include:

  • Any 1 Day Class at London Jewellery School (worth up to £140)
  • Any 3 Taster Classes of your choice (not including the wax carving taster or valentines class)
  • A Soldering Kit
  • A Metal Clay Starter Kit
  • £50 Gift Voucher which can be redeemed against any day or evening class

50% of monies we raise will go to the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster. Tickets will be randomly selected on Monday 23rd October and winners will be notified by email.

You enter by paying through paypal, go to this link https://www.paypal.me/ljsraffle2017/1
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Raffle terms and conditions

You can enter as many times as you like – £1 = 1 entry

Your choice of course is dependent on our timetable and available spaces at the time of booking

Cost of travel to LJS is not included in the prize

If a class has to be cancelled you will be notified and will be able to transfer your booking to another date

If you win the 3 taster classes of your choice you can choose any taster classes except the wax carving taster class or valentines class http://www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/taster-classes/

Your class must be taken by October 2018

There is no monetary equivalent for the prizes

Free postage for the soldering kit and metal clay kit in the UK only. Overseas winners will need to pay additionally for postage

The £50 gift voucher prize can be redeemed against any day or evening class only

 

Diploma Exhibition Invitation – 29th September 2017

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You are cordially invited to the Diploma in Creative Jewellery Exhibition, but no need to RSVP, just come along for free! It’s a great opportunity to visit the school if you are thinking of taking a class with the added incentive of checking out what our most recent students have been making. Drinks and nibbles will also be in attendance. We will look forward to seeing you!

When: Friday 29th September 2017, 6.30-8pm

Where: London Jewellery School, Rear Ground Floor Studios, NEW HOUSE, 67-68 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8JY

Great British Beach Clean –Friday 15th September

Today is the day to get to the beach and get your tidy on. A depressing 4 to 12 million metric tonnes of plastic were washed out to sea in 2010 and that was set to increase to double in 10 years, so we may be almost at that sad target now. Scientists still don’t know where 99% of this plastic ends up in the ocean or the extent of the impact on marine life. If these shocking facts aren’t an enticement enough to get yourself to the seaside and join in with the beach clean, here are some wearable products of beach-combing to tempt you.

Frankie rainbow

Recent Central Saint Martens Graduate Frankie Moughton-Small draws attention to the issue of ocean waste with her bold jewellery and head wear. This beautiful rainbow piece trips the plastic fantastic whilst reminding us of the perilous implications of our disposable lifestyles.

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Jeweller and London Jewellery School Tutor Melissa Hunt makes these detachable rings to feature seaglass and sea-smoothed broken plate.

So do a good deed and gather materials for your next creation to make the most of a trip to the coast.

 

Armour/Amore

Like many people I know I feel a bit unprotected, or just a bit wrong, if I forget to put on my metal of a morning. I prefer to assume people are staring at my earrings on the tube rather than the bit of avocado on my face from breakfast. If I could go full man in the iron mask for my commute I would(I wouldn’t, it would be very warm, but if I don’t mention Leonardo Di Caprio in some way I lose his sponsorship).

When speaking about the themes behind her work Jeweller Katerina Glyka has said ‘I decided to build a fortress to defend myself’ and some of her pieces definitely border upon weaponry.

Armour is defined as is a protective covering that is used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object or individual. Within contemporary jewellery making this often more visual than practical.

Yet jewellers whose work strays into the realm of self-defence reference the traditional notion of armoury quite intentionally. These articulated rings by Rokus London and Shahrzad Aliyari elegantly draw the eye and defend the finger.

Rokus-ring

Rokus London

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Shahrzad Aliyari

Chain mail making is a great lesson in perfecting soldering skills and a wonderful way to test your patience. I had a go at connecting a ring to a bracelet with chain mail and was grateful to be making a small panel rather than a full battle shirt.

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Lisa Walker

However it was still markedly less successful than this powerful yet understated use of chain mail by my New Zealand favourite Lisa Walker.

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Jane Bowler

London-based Jane Bowler makes super-fun geometric articulated and plated holographic pieces and takes them to another level with her bridal wear. Perfect for those who want to feel like a goddess going into battle on your special day.

jane bowler bridal

There are amazing collections of armour living at The Wallace Collection in London and The Royal Armouries in Leeds. The V&A also has some impressive pieces (don’t forget to pop into the jewellery gallery for a treat too) and there may be some lurking in a corner if you find yourself in any country houses.

When attacking any project its victory hinges on having the skills as well as a winning plan of attack. Shield yourself from disappointment and conquer a new technique on one of our courses.

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

 

 

Birthstone for September-Sapphire-Barnacles of Bling

Sapphire is the birthstone for September and is famous for its deep blue colour, caused by the presence of iron and titanium. But these stones can be found in almost every colour and when non-blueness occurs they are termed ‘fancy’. A nice compliment, although it makes the gemstones less valuable.

It’s tough to write about sapphires without mentioning ‘that ring’ (you know, the one that now belongs to Kate). However, I intend to sidestep it to not seem like a big fawning royalist and just say it’s iconic. (Iconic enough that my American brother-in-law thought it might be mandatory to propose to British ladies with a blue-stoned ring. He didn’t, but I like the story.)

If you are born in September you are graced with the qualities of tolerance and wisdom. You are also inspirational. So here is Elizabeth Taylor in a swimming pool wearing her diamonds and sapphires. She has also brought along her trusty parrot. Liz was not a September baby, but let’s pretend so that I can justify the use of this great image.

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If sapphires match your eyes like this don’t be too worried if it’s not your birthstone.

The thing is with these gemstones, they do lend themselves to be used in significant pieces of jewellery on account of their value. So they may be better for inspiration rather than aspiration for now.

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Even this little skeleton merperson brooch by Lydia Courteille has an indicator of once being a marine monarch in its dinky crown.

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Yet jeweller Polly Wales has left no stone un-cast in these two examples of her signature technique of casting stones in place rather than setting. The skull encrusted with sapphires of different sizes could be the remnants of an underwater pirating accident producing a facial of sparkling barnacles of bling.

Maybe Leo wouldn’t have come to such a sticky end if (the other) Kate’s blue diamond necklace had been a sapphire instead. That ‘heart of the ocean’ could have gone for a light dip in a pool with a parrot rather than being brutally chucked into the waves by old lady Kate.

Anyhow, all’s well that ends well. And even if it’s not your birthday, don’t get the blues. Give yourself a present and join us on one of our stone setting courses and learn techniques to bring your own inspiration to the nation.

Stone setting in silver (2 days)

Intermediate stone setting

Channel setting in silver

Collet setting in silver

Grain setting in silver

Stone setting in metal clay

Introduction to gemstones (evening taster class)

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

Want to become a jeweller but can’t face the cost of a 3 year degree? Consider this option

It’s hard to believe now but when I went to university there was no such thing as tuition fees. I *whispers it* actually got a full grant! A grant, for those who are too young to have heard of the concept, was an annual payment from the government to attend university. It wasn’t enough to live on but it was a start!

The world of education has unfortunately changed since then and there are more things to consider than when I went to university. If you’ve just got your A-level results, have had a break before thinking about university or are looking to a second or third career you might be trying to decide whether university study will be worth it. Perhaps you still want to learn more but can’t quite face three years of full-time study. Or maybe you would love to take three years out but life is getting in the way, not to mention worries over the debt that you would finish with.

Well, we have another option for you. Our Diploma in Creative Jewellery.

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Some of the things you’ll learn to make on the Diploma in Creative Jewellery

What is the Diploma in Creative Jewellery?

A one year course you attend at our central London studios one day per week (10-5pm). On this very practical course you will learn lots of different types of jewellery making techniques and we take you through from beginner to advanced level. The skills you’ll learn include silversmithing, beading, perspex, silver clay, enamelling, polymer clay, wax carving, wire work, resin and more. And don’t worry if you don’t know what all of these are; you will! 

Our current and previous Diploma students tend to be working or looking after family alongside taking the course, putting less of a strain on their lives and finances. 

 

Do I need jewellery making experience?

No! All the jewellery techniques are taught from beginners level. If you do have some experience with any of the techniques then that’s good because you will get to practice. If not it doesn’t matter, you will be taken through everything step by step by our expert tutors.

 

How am I assessed?

Your work is marked once a term. You are provided with all the criteria for marking on the first day of the course so you will know what you need to do to get a distinction.

Along with your marked coursework you are also assessed on a jewellery collection you create for a final exhibition. This is an opportunity for you to invite friends and family to see what you have achieved, as well as being the day you are awarded your diploma certificate!

 

How am I supported?

We want to ensure that all students get individual attention and feedback to learn effectively so there are no more than seven students on the course.

As well as your expert tutors, you will also be assigned a mentor (if you join our September Sunday group I’ll be your mentor!). Your mentor is one of our experienced tutors who also runs their own jewellery business. You will be able to email her anytime you have a question and you will also meet with her once a term for marking and discussion about your progress on the course.

On the day you are at the studios the studio manager will also be able to help with queries you have.

 

Is it just women that take the course?
No! Many students are but we had one diploma group where the men outnumbered the women!

 

Am I too old to take the course?
No! Students at the London Jewellery School must be sixteen or over but there’s no upper limit! This course attracts a diverse group of people including school leavers, people on a gap year, people wishing to retrain for a second or third career, people taking the course purely for their own development and interest, retired people and more! All you need is a desire to create, learn and practice.

 

What can I do at the end of the course?

Most of our students go on to start their own successful jewellery businesses (you do learn jewellery business and jewellery photography as part of the course). By the end of the course you will have a good idea of which type of jewellery making you like best and will be able to specialise.

We also run an Advanced Diploma in Jewellery and a Diploma in Silver Jewellery if you would like to study further. 

 

Is the course accredited?

The course is assessed internally and is not affiliated with external examining bodies. It is well regarded in the industry and forms a great kickstart to your career in the jewellery industry. We are happy to act as a reference for any relevant job applications.

 

When is the next intake for the course?
We start the course twice a year, with the next intake next month, in September.

There is still time to apply for our September Sunday group.

 

What does the cost of the course include?
The cost of the course includes your tuition, mentoring and the vast majority of materials.

 

Do I need to buy tools?
All the tools you need will be provided for you to use during your workshops. We recommend you wait until you start the course to get advice from tutors about the tools you might like to purchase to use at home.

 

Can I pay the course fee in installments?
Yes! We have a few different installment options which you can see on our website.

 

Where can I find out more about the Diploma course?

Have a look on our website for a detailed breakdown of the course content or give us a call if you have questions, 0203 176 0546. We’re open 7 days a week!

http://www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/jewellery-diploma/diploma-in-creative-jewellery/

 

Can I visit the studios?
You are welcome to visit the studios to talk to the studios manager and see our facilities. It is worth calling in advance to let us know that you will be coming in. Our number is 0203 176 0546

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Power of Flowers – flowers in jewellery design

By definition the flower power of the late sixties and seventies was about non-violent protest and the use of flowers in this way became a symbol of a peaceful approach.

Flowers are often seen in a whimsical light, not implying strength. However their omnipresence in fashion indicates that these natural beauties are a force to be reckoned with. They may appear small on their own but massed together they have real power.

This season there is no room for wallflowers or shrinking violets in our florals. Loewe models we’re sporting bold leather lily cuffs in a range of colours.

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Delpozo had literal armfuls of blooms on lightweight gloves (a big statement but still ‘armless fun for wearability).

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Delpozo model getting an earful from these artificial green blooms

Many of my most admired jewellers have a flowery muse. Christopher Thompson-Royds with his flattened, hand painted pieces on precious metals is enough to make you dust off your childhood flower pressing skills and practice some dainty watercolours. The kinetic delights of Victoria Walker are also inspired by natural forms and happily mirror the movements of plants and flowers.

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Floral themes are here to stay and are commanding our attention.

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Heng Lee creates these pixelated embroidery in silver that appear like florals of the future.

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Rosa Pietschs’ laser cut nouveau neckpiece has a chunky clout but keeps a delicate visual.

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Slawa Tchorzewska  is here to take you on a walk on the wild side with these organic sproutings.

Five faves for finding flowers in the big smoke

St James’s Park-a trundle around the grounds of one of London’s free public garden can blow out the cobwebs and let in some colourful ideas this summer.

Kew– Kew has amazing architecture, plants, flowers and a high walk to recommend it.

Barbican conservatory-for the all-weather plant lover. These brutally beautiful surroundings never fail to disappoint. Open Sundays 12-5pm. Free.

Chelsea Physic Garden, opening times vary with some late hours in the summer. This often hidden treasure is ticketed treat.

Tell us what ideas and projects do you have blossoming right now?

And if you are looking for a class to help nip your ideas in the bud take a look at our website.

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

August Birthstones-Spin Spin Spinel

Well, August child, not much to live up to here, but you are the best person anyone will ever know!

Your birthstones are Peridot, Sardonyx, Spinel, so you are spoilt in this area as well as having a splendid personality. Peridot will protect you from evil with its greeny magic and bring you good fortune. Spinel can masquerade as Ruby (which can only be a good thing). In fact, the Black Prince’s Ruby that dominates the front of the Crown, of the Crown Jewels fame, is a sneaky little (or not so little) Spinel (it weighs 34g). And Saydonyx with its layered formation, which is traditionally crafted into cameos could be used to capture your no doubt delightful profile.

Only the most fabulous of jewels could be appropriate for you August lion kings and queens. Go wild with the possibilities of summer colour as here with Solange Azagury’s marvellously fruity ring brings us an opal sandwich with spinel bread.

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Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.