Category Archives: Inspirational Jewellers

Student profile: Ursula Brucherseifer on studying at LJS as an overseas student

ursula-brucherseifer-jewellerUrsula Brucherseifer completed the Intensive Diploma in Creative Jewellery in 2015, travelling from Germany to live in London for the duration of the course. We interviewed her about her experiences on the course and advice for overseas students coming to the London Jewellery School.

Where do you live?
I live in Frankfurt, Germany.

When did your interest in jewellery making start?
My interest in jewellery making started when I was a teenager. I was (and still am) very attracted by beads and collected them on every holiday and in every bead shop. I made rings and earrings from silver wire and decorated them with beads.

Why did you decide to take the Intensive Diploma?
After my high school exam I have been au-pair in London. There I applied for jewellery design and was directly accepted at several colleges. However, I wasn’t able to afford to live and study in London for a couple of years. Back in Germany I became a carpenter instead, studied afterwards economics and carried out different jobs. Several years ago I started to make and sell jewellery on a part-time basis. I have attended a lot of different jewellery workshops in Germany as well as at the London Jewellery School. In 2014 I found out about the diploma intensive course. In order to finally realize my dream I enrolled for the course.

 

Work in progress – wire jewellery on the Diploma in Creative Jewellery

What was your favourite class on the diploma and why?
The huge advantage of the diploma is the great variety of techniques and materials you work with. My favourite class was the polymer clay class. With polymer clay you can combine different colours, patterns/designs and shapes. We all had a lot of fun in class. 


Where do you find your inspiration and how do you decide what to do next?
The material itself gives me a lot of inspiration. When I make beaded jewellery I combine different colours, shapes and techniques and play around until it is perfect. I also find inspiration in books or workshops, in working with my students or in talking to customers.
What I do next depends a little bit on my appointments/calendar. If markets or classes are coming up I have to prepare for them. In less busy times I design my collection or do some office work.

What are your goals for the future?
At the moment I take part in the Jewellery Business Bootcamp and work on my business growth plan to get my business going.

 

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Silver and gold earrings by Ursula Brucherseifer

What advice would you give to an overseas student considering taking a course at LJS?
As an overseas student I would do some decent research about the accommodation and check all the university halls of residence. Two months away from home is quite a long time. I would invite a lot of friends and family to London, so that you have someone to talk to and to spend some time with during the weekends.

Take a look at Ursula’s work here
http://www.schoeneliese.de
https://www.facebook.com/schoeneliese/
https://www.instagram.com/schoeneliese/
https://www.pinterest.de/schoeneliese/

 

 

 


Intensive Diplomas
In 2018 we are running two Intensive Diploma courses. They are perfect for overseas students or those that would like to study in a short period of time. The groups are kept small to ensure you get individual attention and your own workspace and tools during the classes.

The Diploma in Creative Jewellery starts on Monday 16th July and runs for seven weeks. This Diploma is for anyone who would like to learn different types of jewellery making including silversmithing, beading, metal clay, mixed media, polymer clay, resin jewellery and more. Installment payments are available. You can find more information here

We have just two places left on the Diploma in Silver Jewellery which runs from Monday 4th June to Friday 20th July. This Diploma course is for anyone who knows they would like to specialise in silver jewellery making. Installment payments are available, find out more here

Both Diploma courses are suitable for beginners or those with some experience.

Visa requirements
We suggest that you arrange any visas you might need to study in the UK before enrolling on the course. We are not able to assist with acquiring a visa and it is best to check with your own consulate to find out whether you will meet the eligibility criteria. If you have any questions please give us a call on 0203 176 0546

Narrative Jewelry by Mark Fenn-Book Review

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Narrative jewelry by Mark Fenn

Tell me about it. As anyone that has ever asked about my jewellery making knows, every piece tells a tale, even the plainest looking ring. Jewellery goes on adventures with you, reminds you of a person, holiday or the mistake you made that made it look so cool. Pieces often have their own lives that are special to the wearer, but Narrative Jewelry by Mark Fenn is a delightful investigation into the creators who set out to tell a story with their work. And we thought that today, National Handmade Day, would be a great day to share our thoughts on this fantastic book.

This hefty tome features 241 inspiring jewellers. Their comedy, politics, puns and personal lives are spun out in metal and yarn (and soap, resin, plastic, paper, models, cigarettes and gemstones) on the pages. Life-changing moments as well as the horror and beauty of the everyday are given equal importance by the memorial created in their honour. Clear colour images and accompanying descriptions tell their tales and the pieces are a broad spectrum of the most interesting jewellery out there today.

Nick Palmer’s piece was made as a theoretical commission; a task I would highly recommend. Fantasy dinner party surely can’t compare.

Not only does this beautiful book show how jewellery can skillfully be used to tell a story or do more than just be pretty, it shows a way to embrace a wide range of techniques used by skilled international jewellers. It’s the kind of book that you want to sit down and read like a novel, but the images distract you with their own little stories. It’s a great book, all of the tutors want to steal it off me when I am looking at it, I can tell. For a teaser a maker is featured online each week here.

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. You can see her work on instagram @smalltoad_jewellery

 

 

April Birthstone-Diamond-Rough or smooth it’s clearly for you

Lucky babies born in April get a diamond as their birthstone. Characteristics of determination are comparable to the origins the name Diamond, from the Greek ‘adamas’ meaning ‘unbreakable’. They really are the hardest of them all, measuring a mighty 10 on the Mohs scale.

Many wear diamonds every day in engagement rings which is great for showing off that someone wants to marry you, but these beauties were also believed to cure all kinds of illnesses, protect homes from lightning and have wondrous anti-poison powers. So worthwhile trying to tie someone down for the long haul I guess!

The first diamond engagement ring was commissioned by Archduke Maximillian of Austria in 1477 for Mary of Burgundy. De Beers secured the tradition and commercial success of the diamond for engagement rings in 1947 with its slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’. De Beers, or companies under that umbrella organisation, control up to 80% of the world’s production and supply of diamonds at any given time.

The shape of the brilliant cut is synonymous with the diamond, this cut is what gave rise to its popularity, showing off its potential for clarity and sparkle. It only takes a piece of jewellery to be shaped this way to conjure the impression of a dazzling diamond, like this ring with a diamond silhouette by Carrie Weston.

Often considered the most precious of gemstones, a diamond sometimes gains celebrity status, not just because of who the wearer might be. These famous stones are notable because of their beauty, size or their exciting lives. The Star of Africa, the largest cut diamond of fine quality, is a ‘celebrity’ diamond that lives locally to the School at the Tower of London.

Initially only found in India, this stone gained popularity after the faceted cut was developed to reveal its true beauty, after which diamonds were mined in Brazil and later South Africa. A diamond would be a pretty good card to have when playing Gemstone Top Trumps (just checked and this doesn’t exist – gap in the market alert!) as a diamond is the only gemstone that can cut a diamond. Lasers are used to cut diamonds nowadays, but powdered diamonds are used in grinding and polishing.

Diamonds are assessed by a system called the ‘Four Cs’: colour, clarity, cut and carat weight. Diamonds with either a very strong colour or completely colourless are the most valuable, yet these rough grey diamonds in this ring by Ruth Tomlinson (above) have a beauty all of their own.

 

Anvil & Ivy rough diamond and silver wax carved ring

London Jewellery School tutor Sophie Arnott (of Anvil & Ivy) uses wax carving to achieve this organic finish with a grey diamond.

The simple clarity of a diamond can lend itself to a multitude of different design styles. As we can see here in these flashy compressed carbon rings. Erica Weiner specialises in vintage-inspired jewellery, this deco lovely and its friends are handmade in New York.

While DMD Metal does delicate deco below.

If bigger is better go for the Queen Nico ring with stunning grey diamond by Digby & Iona.

London jeweller Disa Allsopp may be inspired by the jewellery of ancient civilisations, yet her tiny rows of diamonds look modern and alternative in these unique rings.

So we’re all set for a great April. Are you? Maybe one of our courses could help you get your diamond ducks in a row.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Student Jeweller of the Month for April – Helen Naylor

Helen Naylor

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do

I am Helen Naylor. I have a degree in English Literature and Philosophy and a PGCE in English. I have been an English teacher for the last 8 years and began learning how to make jewellery 5 years ago. I live in Manchester and have travelled extensively, taking time out to travel the world. I gather inspiration from things I have studied, seen or learnt and use these experiences to help shape and influence my jewellery.
I recently got engaged and plan on making my own bridal jewellery, using yellow diamonds.


What’s been your general career path

I started making jewellery approximately 5 years ago, going from working with a needle and thread and beads to wire work and then my true passion, working with precious metals and gemstones. After taking my diploma last year, I set up my website with an online shop and have begun to sell my jewellery in Manchester. I’m hoping to take a qualification in gemmology within the next year to continue to further my skills and knowledge, developing my business and jewellery skills further.

 

Macbeth ring, copyright Helen Naylor

When did your interest in jewellery making start?

I have always been fascinated with gemstones and wanted to learn how to make jewellery from a young age. I never thought I would have the opportunity or the time to pursue jewellery making but I decided to write a list of things I wanted to achieve in life, and top of the list was learning this skill


Which class/es did you take at the London Jewellery School and why did you choose that class?

I took the Diploma in Silver Jewellery as I felt it offered a broad range of jewellery making techniques and provided a really comprehensive study, with a focus on stone setting which is my favourite part of jewellery making.

 

What are your goals for the future?

In the future, I would like to continue developing my jewellery skills and my business. I’d love to win an award one day at the Goldsmiths’ awards and become so established that I have my own premises.

 

The Tempest ring, copyright Helen Naylor

What is your favourite piece you ever made and why?

This is a really hard choice! I think my favourite would have to be my ‘The Tempest’  ring and necklace. I adore opals and the contrast of the silver and gold together. I like my thought process around each piece in this collection and finding the perfect quote to go alongside the piece I have created. The quote that goes with ‘The Tempest’ ring is ‘I would not wish any companion in the world but you’ and when I look at this ring, I fall in love every time. The quote with this necklace is ‘The clouds methought would open, and show riches ready to drop upon me’. I used the tiny 1.5mm diamonds on the side to represent how you must be tough and hard to weather any storm in contrast to the stormy, murky depths of the boulder opal.

See more of Helen’s work here
Instagram: @hnajewellery
Would you like to be chosen as a future Student Jeweller of the Month? Click here to find out more and how to apply

 

Pencil Day -Friday 30th March

It’s pencil day! So let’s break out the lead to celebrate these sharp designs by jewellers inspired by this humble and useful staple of the stationery family. After all, they have been decorating the under-adorned top-of-ear spaces since their creation, even if we have been pretending this was just for on body storage purposes.

To ‘pencil in’ may be a term for a noncommittal arrangement. But with this golden pencil bangle, the use of precious metal and coral, gives shimmering weight to anyone’s intentions.

Gold and coral pencil bangle by Noma Copley

Jo McAllister brings us a warm spectrum with this selection of colour pencils in a miniature tin in her piece ‘Colouring’.

I love it when creativity can be facilitated on the move, so it seems, stationery doesn’t have to be stationary after all.  And when it looks this good at the same time, it’s enough to draw the attention of the long-departed beautilitarian William Morris, who famously stated ‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’ – the same rule of thumb would bode well with what we put on our bodies.

Mini pencil tin ring by Jo McAllister

A colourful array of sliced-through pencils makes for a satisfying interlocking cross-section of brights in this bangle. Highlighting the pencil’s natural ability for tessellation to bring out colour in an unexpected way.

Bangle by Maria Cristina Belucci

More to the point, the pen might be mightier than the sword, but let’s not get in a fight about it on pencil day! All materials are fair game to the jeweller, yet 2B or not 2B is always the question.

March Birthstone-Aquamarine-Sea life through blue tinted stones

The bluey-green Aquamarine gets its name from the Latin for ‘water of the sea’. Lucky March born children have this brittle, sensitive gem as their birthstone and personalities that reportedly range from friendly and boisterous to vibrant and colourful (like this beautiful stone). Its a gemstone symbolic of health and hope -so perfectly matched to springy feelings.

Aquamarine is part of the Beryl family which includes Emerald and gets its colour from its iron content, with the dark blue shade has always been the most desirable. So what would you do if these stones were given to you (apart from saying thank you kindly)? These jewellers are here to show you some wildly different ways of handling Aquamarine’s watery depths.

Massimo Izzo heads to the rock pool for an epic splash of decadence with this Aquamarine, Diamond, Yellow Gold ring, representing sea life-starfish, seahorse and shells.

Here Rosanne Pugliese heads to the other extreme with a lovely minimal setting, using a delicate Gold frame to clasp a sheet of Aquamarine in place.

Art Nouveau master Rene Lalique does delicacy and abundance in one piece with this dragonfly and grasshopper necklace.

On a smaller scale in this very wearable ring, set with Aquamarine, blue topaz and diamonds by Melanie Casey.

Finally Regine Schwarzer shows us how to pick a boldly-coloured stone (like the bottom of the ocean this Aquamarine potentially has its own thoughts and feelings it’s so deep) and make a piece all about beautiful shade and texture by avoiding traditional faceting.

 

Spring hasn’t totally sprung but it’s never too early to jump into one of our lovely classes.

 

 

Wax carved jewellery inspiration

We are LOVING wax carved jewellery at the moment but what can you make when you’ve mastered the technique? Here is some inspiration from our talented tutors and students to get you thinking.

(And here is a blog post from our own Lil Adams on what wax carving is and how casting works in case you’re not sure)

Rough-ruby-silver-ring-Anvil-and-Ivy-Sophie-Arnott

Rough ruby silver ring by Sophie Arnott

gold-pearl-ring-rebecca-steiner

Gold pearl ring by Rebecca Steiner

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Silver pendant by Sophie Arnott

Gold-rings-rebecca-steiner

Gold rings by Rebecca Steiner

 

knuckle-duster-ring-by-natasha-lisa-afrodeco

Knuckle duster ring by Natasha Lisa

 

rose-gold-ring-jmhandcraftedjewellery

Rose gold ring by Jayne Murphy

silver-cufflinks-by-natasha-lisa-afrodeco

Silver cufflinks by Natasha Lisa

Silver-ring-sophie-arnott

Silver ring by Sophie Arnott

silver-ring-by-jayne-murphy

Silver ring by Jayne Murphy

george-lion-ring-lil-adams

George the lion ring in progress! By Lil Adams

Note: for inspiration only. The jewellery designs shown here are copyrighted by the designers


Fancy giving wax carving a try? We have some classes at the London Jewellery School and online at Jewellery School Online. We also have a kit of tools available to make it easy to get started.

In London

We have lots of wax carving classes at the London Jewellery School for beginners and advanced learners including an evening taster classa five-week evening class and day classes so do check out our courses and available dates on our website.

Online courses

We have a FREE wax carved ring making online course with tutor Sophie Arnott. You will learn to apply your designs to your wax piece, remove excess wax and create a full 3D design of your choosing. Following that, Sophie will show you how to file your wax piece into shape, remove any file marks and sand and refine the piece ready for casting. You will also learn how to create a ring to size and some recommendations on casters to use.

beginners-wax-carving-rebecca-steiner-jewellery-school-onlineIf you enjoy that course then consider our more comprehensive beginners wax carving online course which covers ring making, pendant making. The course launches on 26th March 2018 and is currently available at a pre-sale price of 50% off. CLICK HERE FOR 50% OFF – VALID UNTIL 26TH MARCH 2018 ONLY. THAT’S TOMORROW!

 

 

 

wax-carving-kit-london-jewellery-schoolKits

At the London Jewellery School we are also selling wax carving toolkits which have everything you need to get started! The cost is £100 and includes UK postage (for postage outside the UK please email us at info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk for a postage quote)

Click here to see what you get in the kit and to purchase

We also have a set of three wax ring blanks for sale for £12.99 plus postage, perfect if you want to get started with rings straight away!

 

All prices are correct at time of blog publication but please note that they are subject to change

Jewel Day-All that glitters

Often in life it’s the genuine article, the purest and most natural, which we value most. All gemstones have a special month to shine, see ‘Birthstones’. So it’s worth exploring the joys of the unreal, underappreciated or synthetic of the jewellery world on Jewel day.

 

Let’s first take a look at the useful, synthetic, Cubic Zirconia (aka CZ). CZ may not be the product of the forces of nature but it’s no fake and has much to recommend it for use in jewellery making. Low cost, durable and flawless, these faceted beauts can be made in many colours. And Cubic Zirconia is up there with diamond in strength, measuring 8 ½ to a diamond’s 10 on the Mohs* scale.

Next, let’s turn our starry-eyed attention to the Druzy. Druzy is a crystal coating on top of a colourful mineral. These crystals can vary in size and are commonly found on quartz, but also garnet, calcite, malachite and dolomite. Usually found where rocks have contact with water that can evaporate, the crystal finish is the last layer of growth. These are naturally occurring gems, but they have the tendency to look manufactured due to the overly glittery appearance of the crystals and that the stones can be coloured. London Jewellery School tutor Amy Keeper often utilises Druzy stones in her work.

Jeweller Nikki Couppee experiments with different combinations of synthetic materials and resins in the making of her flamboyant hologem pieces. She uses everyday materials like silver foil to replicate the appearance and lustre of gemstones with an astonishing variety of results.

Couppee’s work may be shiny and pretty on the surface but its meanings run deep and reflect on themes of jewellery’s role in society and the psychology behind adornment. Her early jewellery making experiments were products of a hurricane that destroyed the area of Florida where she lived in. Leaving a plethora of materials broken from the houses that were swept away, young Couppee would create jewellery from these pieces built up like mosaics. It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it. Also (unrelated), some of her pieces glow in the dark!

Whether your gems be real or fake, we have a number of courses that can inspire you to shine with them.

*Moh’s scale is named after Frederick Moh who invented a scale for hardness based on the ability for minerals to scratch each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Book Day-1st March

Never judge a book by its cover they say and certainly not on World Book Day. And especially when investigating the work of Jeremy May. Here, beneath what is bound,  a ring, a bangle or a necklace could be found.

May uses a top-secret lamination technique to create bespoke pieces from a bookkeeping the original binding as a beautiful box too. You could probably still get the gist of the story reading around one of his luxury adornments.

Here’s a nice little video about his process and you don’t have to read between the lines for the booky puns.

If this inspires you to pick up a book, your tools or take back your library books have a wonderful World Book Day.

Valentine’s Day-Jewelling couple Lisa Walker and Karl Fritsch

Valentine’s Day may be about the love an individual has for another person, but here at London Jewellery School we are all about the love of making jewellery. So on this lovey-dovey day I would like to shine a spotlight on one of my favourite jewellers, Lisa Walker, who happens to be married to another very interesting jeweller, Karl Fritsch.

There are few couples I would look to and feel real jealousy about the dynamic of their relationship (maybe Grayson and Philippa Perry) but these two metalsmiths are something special to aspire to.

Karl Fritsch’s work is normally hard as nails, see above, so we can forgive a bit of soppiness for his wife, especially when he simply carves her name into the face of a signet ring. All of his work has a pretty rugged aesthetic with little romantic kitsch-ery. My general feelings about Valentine’s Day are illustrated in ring form by this little guy by Fritsch, in silver set with Sapphires below.

But, if you have more of a softer side, you may appreciate this endearing self-hugging neckpiece by Lisa Walker.

Another necklace by Walker, ‘Karl’s off-cuts’, recognises their connection in life and jewellery.

A slight topical diversion on this day to celebrate these two jewellers with entirely different styles both working in a very unique and fun way. If you still need a hit of love, check out these hearty offerings from Gregory Larin and David Bielander.

Gregory Larin ‘hearts’ ring

David Bielander ‘Cardboard Heart Bracelet’

 

Would you and your partner like to join us for an evening with a professional jeweller and make rings for each other? Why not join us this Valentine’s day for a great alternative to the boring meal and go away with your own unique creations. For more information click here. 

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.