Category Archives: Inspirational Jewellers

World Architecture Day-1st October

Here we look at the many ways that jewellery can be made architectural as a celebration of World Architecture Day. Architects love putting on different creative hats within the design world. The humble chair is often the focus of their attentions, but they are equally inclined (rather than reclined) to turn their hands to the decoration of necks, fingers and ears. Architectural jewellery is a term, it seems, used for what modern architectural forms can bring to design, rather than the incorporating of the columns and domes of classical architecture into collections-which is frankly a shame.

However Vicki Amberly Smith doesn’t shy away from this creating recognisable mini-structures in meticulous detail. From Palladio to Lubetkin’s Penguin Pool in mini metal models, you can sport a whole building on your hand from her ring collection.

Starchitects who have dabbled in the jewellery world include Frank Gehry in collaboration with Tiffany & Co and the late, great Zaha Hadid with Georg Jensen.

As we know, the lure of jewellery making is strong and many a former architect has turned full-time jewellery maker, to the good fortune their customers and inspirational joy for us. Great jewellery is something you want to inhabit. It makes you feel good, just as a well-considered built environment should do. Jewellery should be as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional and improve the quality of your life (not a lot to ask. Is it?). It’s the kind of high-level design work that architects do for their clients, thinking about their needs, lifestyles and use of materials. I think we should feel privileged to be in the company of makers like the following converts Amanda Li Hope, Jeanne Marrell and Yeena Yoon.

Images: Juliet Sheath

 

These pieces by Jeanne Marrell highlight the precise and intricate use of materials in her work.

 

 

Reminiscent of an iconic building that may not have been built yet, Ute Decker makes pieces that are both sculptural and architectural in their flowing forms.

 

The bold, brights of Finest Imaginary are often directly inspired by architecture, making versions of houses that can travel with you – clearly better than just one home.

Usually it’s the buildings that an architect leaves behind that become their legacy. While jewellery can be a reminder of a loved one who has passed away. But in the case of Luis Barragan, artist Jill Magid ensured that the memory of the prominent Mexican architect was immortalised in a diamond ring. A 2 carat diamond ring was created from his ashes as an offering for his archive.

Of course, you may want to put your heart and soul into your jewellery making, but maybe not your mortal remains. So if you are feeling like you could be inspired by architecture, visit us at our new digs for the day at the RIBA. We will be partnering with the RIBA for a Wax Carving Class in magnificent Art Deco surroundings on Saturday 3rd November.

Student Jeweller of the month for September – Sally Costen

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do

I am a graphic designer with 30 years of experience, specialising in branding and packaging. I have been running my own company for many years. Mother of a fabulous 11 yr old boy. I am a Northern Soul dancer, a terrible cook, music and fashion lover who swears too much.

What’s been your general career path?

I applied to art college-aged 15. I was determined to be a silversmith but could not get onto the course – I was too young! So I got a Diploma place at college to study ‘General design’ then found myself guided into Graphics. After 35 years working as a graphic designer, I decided to go for it and study jewellery…LJS has been my route into jewellery as a career. 

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Sea change ring by Sally Costen

When did your interest in jewellery making start?

As a kid; I’d cobble together pieces of jewellery from anything I could find. Anyone who’d show the slightest interest would have a piece foisted upon them. My real interest in jewellery was first and foremost as a consumer. Liberty’s of London showcased new jeweller talent and I spent a worrying amount of my lunch breaks there. The first 3 pieces of jewellery I saved up for; affording to buy an item from their collection every few months, was in Liberty. It was a Wouters & Hendrix ring, bracelet and necklace. I have the original packaging with the tissue, card and receipts! And still love it all, 30 years on.  And that’s why I want to be a Jeweller. If you get it right, design with heart and hone your skills; you’ll have people wearing your creations with pride, for decades. I would love to think a 20-year-old, in their first job, would save up for some of my work – How good is that?

Sea-change-pendant-sally-costenWhich class/es did you take at the London Jewellery School and why did you choose that class?

I first chose to do the Diploma in Creative Jewellery – 1 day a week for a year. Being a freelance designer, I could shuffle my time to accommodate. I needed a comprehensive introduction to jewellery making – across a broad spectrum of disciplines, discovering techniques and materials new to me which I thoroughly enjoyed. 

I then went on to do the Advanced Diploma at the London Jewellery School – An intense and challenging course, over a couple of weeks.

This pushed me – in terms of skill and deadline! I loved it…

I was awarded a distinction in both diplomas.

I’m also signed up for the chain making one day course in October! 

What are your goals for the future?

To make my online jewellery business my primary focus, with view to working with other designers/jewellers. Ideally, I would also like to sell at ECOne and Liberty’s – of course!

What is your favourite piece you ever made and why?

The Pill Pendant. It derived from an award-winning concept I’m very proud of – ‘Unfinished Business’. It was awarded silver in this year’s Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council Awards, Fashion Illustration category.

The pendant translated well and resulted in a clean, contemporary piece. I also had to push myself, technically.

Sally Costen won the F Hinds High Street by Design award in 2015 and the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council Awards 2018 in the Fashion Illustration category.

See more of Sally’s work

Website  – theclerkenwelljeweller.com

Facebook business page – The Clerkenwell Jeweller

Instagram – The Clerkenwell Jeweller

 

 

International Cat Day-Wednesday 8th August

On your finger, in your hair, cat jewellery everywhere! Happy International Cat Day, well they say every dog has his day so we shall take this purrfect opportunity to celebrate all things feline.

First we broach (brooch) the subject with Lea Stein. She is to cats what Cartier is to ducks and is one of the most recognised designers in plastic jewellery of the 20th Century.

Esty’s offering of items inspired by cats gives more than a paws for thought. Here I only scratch the surface.

There is no masking your inner cat lady with this nifty gold necklace.

More to get your claws into with these simple bead and wire rings.

Heads or tails? Decision made with this moggy.

Land on your feet every time even if black cats haven’t always brought you luck.

These little kitties have bows in their hair and they go in your hair – does it get any better?! (may have to lay off the catnip now)

If these offerings aren’t quite the cat’s pyjamas in your eyes, feline it’s time to get curious and try one of our courses.

 

 

 

 

Showcasing jewellery designed and made by our Diploma students

We have had two Diploma groups studying for their Intensive Diplomas this summer and we are really proud to share just a sample of the work they have made below. Many of them had not made jewellery before and what they have achieved over the course of the Diploma is fantastic, congratulations to you all.

If seeing this gorgeous jewellery is tempting you to consider a Diploma course with us we have three to choose from starting in September. Our Diploma courses are taught on one day per week allowing you to fit in studying with your other commitments. We also have flexible payment plans available and a maximum number of 7 per group ensuring you have individual support from our expert tutors. The focus of your courses is to help you develop your making skills.

If you’d like to try a variety of jewellery making techniques including silver, beading, metal clay, perspex, wax carving, resin and more then take a look at our Diploma in Creative Jewellery. We have Sunday and Wednesday options available starting this September.

If you would like to focus on silversmithing then our Diploma in Silver Jewellery is for you, run on a Saturday.

The above Diploma courses are both suitable for beginners or those with a little jewellery making experience.

If you are already advanced then our intensive Advanced Diploma in Creative Jewellery could be for you.

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Copyright of the jewellery designs above is held by each individual designer.

International Friendship Day-Monday 30th July

We all get by with a little help from our friends. Sometimes more than others. But there’s never a bad time to tell a friend you think they’re golden so we’re loving the reminder of International Friendship day today.

Erica Weiner’s range helpfully takes us from historic pieces to modern twists in the quest to express buddily love. Weiner has two New York stores that see a range of beautiful antique pieces and vintage-inspired ‘future heirlooms’ pass through their doors. If a trip to the big apple isn’t on the cards the website is a temptation on the purse strings as well as a lesson in the history of jewellery.

The seal of approval. Friendship rebus carved from amethyst with red foil behind was strung by the jeweller to make a pendant for the affectionate correspondent on the go.

The idea for this friendship bracelet/cuff was drawn from a personal history and given an upgrade from plaited plastic into cast polished brass – for the grown up with mates with great taste.

A friendship necklace is a lovely present. Maybe Argos won’t take care of it now we aren’t 10 anymore? These classic and customisable hearts are broken so you stay connected in spirit. It’s not just kids’ stuff, friends are important, let’s not forget it however you want to show it.

If your affections can’t be bought (and you would like to make a symbolic gift for a pal) or you want to learn more about the history of jewellery, of course we have a class you.

 

 

 

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