Category Archives: Inspirational Jewellers

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.

Applications invited for London Jewellery School Student Jeweller of the month

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The London Jewellery School is delighted to announce a new programme – student jeweller of the month, and we invite applications.  Each month we will be showcasing the work of one student including exhibiting their work in our London studios as well as featuring them on our popular blog, instagram and other social media. 

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for student of the month

  • You need to have attended at least one class at the London Jewellery School
  • The jewellery you are displaying needs to have been handmade by you
  • You need to have enough work available to display in the glass cabinet 

It is free to enter and we welcome applications from all types of jewellery making including silversmithing, goldsmithing, silver clay, beading, resin, perspex, mixed media and more.

 

What if I’m chosen?

We will choose a winner each month and you will

  • Have your work displayed in a secure glass cabinet in our Hatton Garden studios. The London Jewellery School is open 7 days a week and this is a great opportunity to display your work in prestigious Hatton Garden and you are invited to display your prices and business cards
  • Be promoted on our popular social media channels and on our blog, one of the top ten jewellery blogs in the world according to Feedspot
  • Receive a London Jewellery School certificate

 

Interested? We’d love you to apply! This is not just open to those with their own jewellery business, we are interested in promoting the work of student jewellers at different stages of their career so please do consider applying.

For more details about the opportunity please see the information on our website, where you will find the online application form and details of how to ask any questions you have.

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

January Birthstones-Garnet-Give me strength

Weary or rested from celebrating or resting over the December break, January may feel like a rough month to have a birthday. But these January folks are not down-hearted. They are ambitious leaders, who love to learn new things and take living seriously. They also have a cracking birthstone in garnet to back them up, thought to bring strength, good health and prosperity.

This beautiful rock can be found in many colours but most commonly in the red of almandine and pyrope garnets. Iron and magnesium cause the colour differences in these stones.

Garnet has been used in digit decoration from Romans times, with these simple styles still holding their own in contemporary adornment as we see here in this mercury ring by Astley Clarke.

It is thought that the name garnet derives from the Latin for pomegranate ‘granatum’, due to the similarities of colour of the fruity innards. This is a possibility explored in detail by ‘Winged Lion‘ jeweller Sergey Zhiboedov with their garnet pomegranate pieces.

 

Another fruity offering comes from Alison Maclead with this ring that suggests a cluster of berries or grapes.

 

London Jewellery School tutor Helen Walls often illustrates the point that a single gem against silver is a winning combination and proves this again with a simple blood-red garnet droplet from a textured hoop.

So if it’s a little or a lot of your birthstone you wish to pin down to your crown. Have no fear to start the year, take the lead and get some inspiration in one of our classes.

Jewels for Halloween – It’s a kind of magic

Halloween in the Adams Family household was never a small Thing, my personal style may have gone from Cousin Itt to Pugsley in the last 25 years but my enthusiasm for this dubious holiday has not wavered. So in the spirit of celebration of the unknown and creepy, we can also embrace the magical and mysterious and even some veg to bring us back down to earth.

This year there has been an appearance of magical, mystical motifs on the catwalks and looking beyond the stars and moons there are otherworldly delights to be found.

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Chanel A/W 2017

Shelley James makes 3D printed and cast glass sculptures from her base in Cockpit Studios. These pieces, some of which can be worn as necklaces, change colour in different light conditions.

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There are some more traditionally spooky treats to bewitch us too, like this beautiful bat out of the blue ring by Lydia Courteille.

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These cheeky eight-legged freaks have got their fangs into some of Alexander McQueen’s signature skulls.

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It doesn’t take Halloween to get under your skin to use skulls as a way to get a-head with your jewellery designs. Susan Elanora uses this as a regular motif for her cute and creepy jewellery. And our tutors Natasha Williams and Sophie Arnott have also used the skull as a reference in their work.

Natasha has used Computer Aided Design and 3d printing in wax to get to create this angular cranial knuckle duster in silver.

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While Sophie has favoured engraving for this silver signet ring.

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I am growing to love Halloween even more since discovering that its roots are in harvest festival traditions. I have a great appreciation of vegetable jewellery. The pumpkin may be the go-to-veg for these times but this pumpkin coloured Romanesco cauliflower brooch by Barbara Paganin (AKA Space Cauliflower, usually the unearthly colour of Slimer from Ghostbusters) from the epic collections at the V&A is just what the witch doctor ordered.

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Don’t let your creepy creations (Uncle) Fester indoors, here are a few magical, curious or kooky things to see and do over at this frightful time of year:

Harry Potter- A History of Magic Exhibition at The British Library. Until Wednesday 28th February.

Screening of The Addams Family with orchestral accompaniment at The Royal Albert Hall. Thursday 26th October.

Halloween Fair at the Horniman Museum, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October 2017.

Virtual Reality Haunted Cinema in Covent Garden, from Wednesday 25th October-Sunday 29th October.

Halloween Fright Night party at The Quarter of Curiosity Shop in Soho, Thursday 26th October.

Or Go(mez) wild and book onto one of our magical courses to get that memento mori made.

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. 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.

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.

Who needs beads? The (w)hole of civilisation

It is National Beading Week so we have been taking a look at how beads have been used in contemporary jewellery designs

A bead can be anything threadable. The first pieces of jewellery were beads made from shells, while the trading of beads was one of the first forms of currency leading to the development of language. Oh yeah and they are pretty too.

It’s worth keeping your beady eye on the graduates spilling out of this year’s degree shows. They are fresh and dynamic and completely varied. Some of the bright young things of Central Saint Martins have favoured using beads this year and are creating some great examples of the potential for striking results that can be achieved. Rosanna Batt uses delicate threads of shimmering beads to trace the outlines of the body to create garments that challenge traditional ideas of function in clothing and jewellery as decoration.

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Rosanna Batt

Bead counting toys have been a traditional sight in the doctor or dentist waiting room aiding the development of fine motor skills in children. Also used as the inspiration for Dani Lane’s Abacus Maximus rings, a delight for any kidult stuck in a dull meeting.

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Dani Lane

Teri Howes takes simple bead threading to another level with her knitted and crochet fine jewellery pieces.

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Terri Howes

The tiny beads on Just Rocks and Coral’s yellow waterfall necklace work as a team to make for a bold statement and a cool cascade of colour for the summer.

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Just rocks and coral

Words can’t explain the staggering potential of the humble concept of these items of adornment, but it may be thanks to them that we can use language to attempt it.

Take a look at this video by our founder/director Jessica Rose explaining a simple and effective way of making a quartz crystal bead necklace that can be used for any type of bead.

Inspired? Take a look at our beading classes run at our London studios and our free online course with Jewellery School Online

 

 

 

Tech on the Neck -wearable technologies and technology in the jewellery studio

Today is ‘Embrace your Geekness Day’, and we love when jewellery and technology meet in a beautiful way so we are encouraging you to get involved by harking on about your passion. Anyway, if you are reading this you are probably into jewellery, so let’s nerd it up and see what the technological enthusiasts are up to.

Jewellery is more often about appearance over function. Traditional jewellery making techniques date as far back as any tools that were made for human survival, yet utility and beauty have frequently gone hand in hand in the jewellery world and now designers are using cutting edge technologies to realise their pieces. A 17th century abacus ring is thought to be the first known item of wearable technology; its teeny tiny silver beads count as an impressive feat to this day.

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17th Century Abacus Ring. Photo via Gizmodo

Personally, I am still baffled by mood rings; their mystic powers (thermotropic liquid crystals that show different colours at different temperatures) never fail to interpret my complex emotions. Thankfully there are many movers and shakers in the jewellery world forging the path with new technologies allowing us to reap these beautiful rewards.

Architect Jenny Wu created Lace, a collection of 3D printed and cast jewellery, that echos the designs of her architectural practice. These beautiful interlocking designs are not just appreciated as pieces by the wearer and any admirers; she has been recognised for her pioneering work in 3D printing by the design press.

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Jenny Wu

Glasgow based Lynne Maclachlan has taken 3D printing into the realms of geometric brights for our delight. With a background in aerospace engineering, Maclachlan creates optical illusions with these seemingly simple structures.

Fan neckpiece

Lynne MacLaughlan

Speaking of bright, if you have a bright idea that solves a problem, there is an invention award for you. The James Dyson Award website is a wonderful place to hoover up ideas for innovation. Entries have previously included Elenice de Faria Elmi a jewellery designer whose idea for a magnetic earbud to listen to music hands-free led her to examine its use for children and teenagers with hearing loss. Entries for the James Dyson Award close on July 20th.

So on this day of embracing the geekery in your life we will wish you the best of luck with re-inventing yourself as an inventor. Or just remind yourself that geek is chic and that passion doesn’t go out of fashion whilst on one of our lovely courses!

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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.

 

Diploma in Silver Jewellery graduate feature – Guida Cusso

 

This week on the blog we will be featuring some of the graduates of our Diploma in Silver Jewellery as we have a free exhibition of their work this Friday, 7th July 2017, 6.30-8pm, at our London studios. You are invited to attend!

Today we feature jeweller Guida Cusso

guida-cusso-silver-ring-london-jewellery-school-diploma-in-silver-jewelleryWhere do you live? I have been living in London for the last 5 and a half years, but I am originally from Barcelona.

When did your interest in jewellery making start? It started when I was a child, I was making jewellery with plastic beads at an early age. I have always loved making things with my hands and I have tried all kind of crafts. When I turned 18 I went to uni to study Translation and Interpreting, but it was a very hard decision and my other option would have been artistic jewellery then.

Why did you decide to take the Silver Diploma? I had tried a few evening courses on silver jewellery and I loved them so much! I really wanted to take a step forward and the Silver Jewellery Diploma was my perfect match.

guida-cusso-silver-brooch-london-jewellery-school-diploma-in-silver-jewelleryWhat was your favourite class on the diploma and why? I enjoyed them all, but if I had to pick one, I would say wax carving. It is so rewarding and relaxing!

What are your goals for the future? I feel quite confident with my skills, but I would love to keep learning more techniques and to go deeper on what I have already learnt.

What is your favourite piece you ever made and why? From all the pieces I have made, my favourite one is a pair of drop earrings in the shape of a curved leaf with matt finish. While making them I realised how important it is to mirror symmetrical earrings. It was hard work but the result was a pair of very light and wearable earrings that match anything you wear.

guida-cusso-stone-set-pendant-london-jewellery-school-diploma-in-silver-jewelleryYou can follow Guida on instagram @guidiki

 

 

The Diploma in Silver Jewellery exhibition is this Friday, 7th July 2017, 6.30-8pm

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

How to find us

No need to RSVP, just turn up!

images copyright Guida Cusso 2017