Category Archives: Inspirational Jewellers

Clasps 4,000 Years of Fasteners in Jewellery by Anna Tabakhova

This week I have been taking a look at jeweller and collector Anna Tabakhova’s book ‘Clasps: 4000 years of fasteners in Jewellery’ which details a fascination with the fastener throughout the ages and I’ve already changed my attitude towards the clasp as just a means to an end.

From Egyptian times the oldest removable clasp followed on from the simple knot. Older styles of closure would have been perishable so ancient clasps remain a mystery. The discreet closure created by two simple joining folds date from 2000 BC.

Interlocking twists, nesting boxes, slot and slide, pin and hinge, ball and loop, double hooks, screws, and sliding balls or a junction box where two slides meet in a decorative feature, pins with safety chains are all details as aesthetic solutions to join sides. Like the puzzle clasp by Petr Dvorak, here, attention has not been spared but painstakingly lavished on an intricate fixing to keep this piece about your person.

Rings and pendants traditionally act as the focus for fancy settings, enamelling and elaborate details. Here we see necklaces where the clasp is not pushed to the back but is the focus point of the piece as, more conventionally, a pendant would be. And fasten your seat belts for the section on transforming jewels, from necklaces to tiaras with clever mechanisms. Day (well a very fancy day) to-night pieces with a series of catches. A bird brooch whose wings can fly off to become earrings.

The author set out to make an art book and technical manual based on historical research which began with her own collections, then moved on to museum and private collections. This resulted in a marvel of inspiring colour images and 28 original illustrations which could give you the closure you need for your next collection or inspire a lifetime of clever clasps for your jewellery making. So not just pretty pictures (although this book does provide a wide range of beautifully selected pieces throughout the ages). Surely there must be a catch!? Nope, the clasp isn’t for everyone apparently. Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel is quoted as saying ‘I hate clasps! I got rid of clasps’ and the figure-hugging designs that resulted from this aversion are detailed in these pages.

 

I had a very nice time consulting this book that acts as a cross-section of jewellery through time, without ever realising that I had a particular interest in what keeps pieces together. I also enjoyed chancing upon this little scene above from the authors’ Twitter feed. In conclusion, it’s clear that the appreciation of clasps is not a simple open and shut case.

Want to try making your own findings to keep your pieces on your person? Try our Make your own Silver Findings class.

Catch you later.

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

💚Birthstone for May-Emerald-Go green! 💚

The birthstone for May is the mighty Emerald, a stone considered to be a symbol for re-birth and love. Being born in this month will mean you are dependable and quick-witted, not a bad start in life.

Emerald is a stone whose colour reminds us of fictional cities and namesake to a whole isle. The deep green colour in this Beryl mineral is caused by inclusions of chromium, rather than the presence of a diminutive wizard or magical elves.

The brilliant colour of an Emerald is where its value lies, as it is not equal in strength to its hardened friends, diamond or corundum.

Yet the shade of these stones is enough to inspire the most dramatic of jewels. It lends itself well to storytelling since it masquerades as kryptonite in this ‘Superman’ ring by Ming Lampson. Clearly not a ring for Superman himself, but ideal for a wearer trying to bring Superman to his knees.

This vintage inspired pyramid ring by Erica Weiner highlights how just a touch of Emerald could be enough to bring out the green-eyed monster in your mates.

Whereas Robert Trisko makes a statement with this set of jewellery sculptures.

Mikala Djorup’s ring with simple chunky setting shows off a gorgeous stone.

Ornella Iannuzzi’s ring follows the form of the stone in its setting of gold.

Gold lends itself well to complement the tone of this stone, but emerald sits equally with other metals. As we see in this 9ct wax-carved white gold engagement with diamond and aquamarine ring by London Jewellery School tutor Helen Walls.

Green egg no ham. A bespoke ring designed for a couple who met in a cookery class. Just a hint of the frying pan was requested for this design.

Don’t be green with envy at these glittering creations this May. Get started on your own lucky charms on one of our courses.

 

 

 

 

Student Jeweller of the month for May – Louise Cain

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do

I am 52 years old and I work freelance mainly on nightclub and corporate event dressing. At the moment I am making a padded leather wall and a fabric and hanging crystal ceiling for Cafe de Paris. Every job is different which I like and I could be making bespoke table centres for one job or a stage backdrop. I have worked for myself for 30 years. I also voluntarily help run creative workshops for a community green space in south London called the Wildcat Wilderness. This summer we will be building a massive 2.5mtr high castle out of cardboard boxes. The kids will be allowed to paint and decorate it inside and out. Messy fun. We are also knitting vegetables in support of the first Lewisham Food Festival which is happening this year then yarn bombing a tree as part of the Catford Art’s Trail in autumn.

 

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Silver ring copyright Louise Cain

What’s been your general career path?

I finished four years studying graphic design at London College of Printing in 1986 and never actually once worked in graphic design afterwards. I was lucky and my course was just before major educational cuts. It was very varied and included 3D design, photography, printing and life drawing. I worked in production in the nightclub business. Props, stage sets and backdrops for raves in the 90’s which was a lot of fun. I designed watches and lighters for BOY London in the later 90’s and clubwear. In 1998 I had a dance costume shown in the Streetstyle exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. I have loved my work over the years and was able to work from home and bring up my two children as a single mum for 12 years. I had time with my children and being freelance could tell clients I was working on another project. It also meant they thought I was busier than I really was and booked me early!

 

 

Corset ring copyright Louise Cain

When did your interest in jewellery making start?
I have throughout my whole life loved Jewellery. Particularly large silver rings. I wanted to design and make my own pieces thirty years ago but was never in a position time wise or financially to try. Now both my children have left home I can afford it!

 

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

I attended the working with silver beginners week at the London Jewellery School which was fantastic. It covered so much that I left feeling confident enough to go away and have a go myself. While I was there one of your members of staff showed me her first wax carving ring. I loved it and I realized that the kind of big silver pieces I really wanted to work on would not cost as much as I thought.

I then attended the one-day beginners wax carving class. Again I learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed it. I bought some wax and started working on my first dozen pieces. It has been so lovely to be able to work on something creative and personal instead of commercial.

 

What are your goals for the future?

I really would like to do less of the club work, less ladders and heavy work and work on my wax carving was heaven in comparison. My first dozen pieces taught me a huge amount and I have new designs to explore them further, particularly the double finger ring. I like working on the multi-finger rings the most.

 

Double ring copyright Louise Cain

What is your favourite piece you ever made and why?

If I had to pick a favourite I am torn between the laced bustier and the double finger straps and hoop ring. I think it would be the double one.

 

See more of Louise’s work here

Instagram – @thinlinesilver
Email – thinlinesilver@gmail.com

 

Louise’s work will be displayed at the London Jewellery School throughout the month of May so do come and visit if you can!

Would you like to be chosen as a future Student Jeweller of the Month? Click here to find out more and how to apply

World Penguin Day-Wednesday 25th April 2018

Today we celebrate everyone’s favourite Aquatic flightless bird on World Penguin Day.

Uniquely adapted to their living environment with flippers instead of wings for swimming and the ability to ‘toboggan’ across ice in this way energy saving and gaining speed. The inspiration for one of the most reliable chocolate snacks around and their distinctive form lends itself to jewellery design like no other southerner.

So never has there been a better excuse to pick up a penguin (or you could even adopt one).

Keeping it simple. Origami style flapper from The Penguin Patrol.

Triton embodied in feathers atop his trusty seahorse steed in this lavish necklace from N2 Creative Jewellery.

Baby bling ring by And Mary.

Silly Big Penguin ring is a 3D rendering that comes in many colours, shades unrecognisable in any of the seventeen known species. The iconic combination of streamlined beak to flippers makes this Shapeways design a King.

 

Tatty Devine’s romantic acrylic shows off the mostly monogamous nature of our suited mates in this Penguin Pals necklace.

This mighty gangster bird, Emperor Penguin Freddie with Polar Bear Claw Necklace by Felieke Van Der Leest, was easily the star of the Craft Council’s touring show ‘Here I am’ in 2017, showcasing jewellery as art since the 1970’s.

(Pengu)inspired?!  Why not join one of our courses to make your own jewellery worth getting in a flap about.

The jewellery shared here remains the copyright of the jeweller. If you’d like to buy a piece do click on the link

Earth Day-22nd April-Katrin Spranger-Aquatopia

At the heart of this year’s Earth Day is a campaign to end plastic pollution. Single use plastic has become an issue that large companies like Pret are starting to attempt to tackle. The pollution of our planet and global warming will never not be a burning issue. Conceptual artist and jeweller Katrin Spranger has taken the idea of water vessels to another level with her work which was unveiled at Collect at the Saatchi Gallery in February.

Aquatopia looks at the dangers of taking for granted the most basic ingredients for human survival, given to us by the Earth, and how we are putting ourselves in danger by squandering our resources. Spranger invites us to view water through a dystopian, yet believable, narrative of increasing demand and damage by rising population and pollution.

As an artist and jeweller, her aim to transform water into a precious material through this visual narrative of objects that highlight its scarcity is achieved by the use of electroforming. Ideas of jewellery being seen as indulgent and extravagant are played out against the materials used, with vessels that are inspired by functional pipes and plumbing. The everyday and necessary plays  against the opulent and extra in one scary and beautiful project.

This Earth Day may be about the battle against the throwaway bottle (amongst other harmful plastics that end up in our rivers and seas), but hopefully Spranger’s water vessels leave a permanent mark on our memories to try and be kinder to our planet every day.

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

 

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.

 

Earrings-by-Ursula_brucherseifer

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

narrative-jewelry-tales-from-the-toolbox-mark-fenn

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.