Tag Archives: jewellery

Birthstone for September-Sapphire-Barnacles of Bling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stone setting in silver (2 days)

Intermediate stone setting

Channel setting in silver

Collet setting in silver

Grain setting in silver

Stone setting in metal clay

Introduction to gemstones (evening taster class)

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

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.

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

 

 

 

Sac magique! – Bumbags to brighten your summer trading

So the summer is here and if you are thinking about taking the product of your jewellery making out and about to spread their joys to the punters at markets you had better get organised about it. Assuming that you have the nitty gritty sorted I have a top tip for a hands-free fun time as you vend.

Get yourself a great bumbag!

Earlier in the year I invested in a fabulous yellow number from Mika Bon Bon, with the excuse of travelling. Mr.Bum has the odd night out as well, and generally delights all that he meets. Others have found that these endearing characters deserve a name too, like jet setting jeweller Akiko Ban aka Mystic Forms. Her metallic companion Jeff Goldbum is often by her side as she models her own bold and bright jewels in various exotic locations.

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Mika Bon Bon

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Mysticforms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Brighton based Beksie’s boutique is rustling up spangly, tassled, themed bum bags that equip you for wild festival times or brighten any hall or field you are setting up your stand in.

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Beksies Boutique

And not to put the trusty market traders’ pouch in the shadows, these practical belts can be customised for your brand or adorned with your own patch plethora or simple brooch. Needless to say, once you go fanny pack you’ll never go back.

Do tell us your tips for trading at fairs and markets.

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.

Wonder Woman-Tough in cuffs

Following the recent success of the new incarnation of Wonder Woman I have taken a moment to appreciate the Amazonian princess’ excellent accessories. Although I feel I could probably do with a headband as ruggedly cool as hers while I grow out my fringe, the bullet deflecting wrist cuffs have a more practical appeal. So I’ve selected a range of favourite cuffs to inspire a gift for a wonderful woman (or man), or yourself (those pesky cuffs sometimes get stuck I find, oops).

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Peter Schmid has a range of designs with set stones fit for superheroes.

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This clever Gucci lion may not help with bullet dodging but certainly struck gold when it caught this pearl in its chops.

Simple designs in non-precious materials can inspire a strong look when worn as a cuff.

What super pieces have you been creating?If you are looking to put ideas into action join us in saving the world from unadorned fingers, ears, necks and wrists on one of our courses including our polymer clay cuffs one day 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.

Smog Diamonds – World Environment Day 5th June

How jewellery will save the planet!

What a relief. I was wondering who would do it. (All my hopes were on Leonardo Di Caprio)

Although jewellery is often inspired by the natural world there is often little opportunity to give back to mother earth. Last year Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde invented a way of creating jewellery whilst cleansing the skies. His towers in Beijing were designed to scoop up polluted air, filter out the filth and release it back into the city up to 75% cleaner. The carbon from the smog is then transformed by pressure into diamonds in under half an hour.

Roosegaarde doesn’t like waste, so fingers crossed for our portable diamond producing face masks to pound the London pavements in style, as I am fairly sure there might be some spare smog round these parts.

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Ideas for saving the world with jewellery are always welcome. Or, for now, save your pocket in our Summer Sale with 25% off evening and day courses using code 04061701 when booking online or over the phone (0203 176 0546).

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.

 

 

Born to Rock! – Birthstones for June

June is just around the corner so our Sunday Studios manager Lil has been looking at some birthstone inspiration!

If you are born in June apparently you are romantic and curious. Even if you don’t believe everything the internet tells you about yourself, it is interesting to look at the birthstones for next month.

June babies get the choice of Moonstone, Alexandrite or Pearl and each presents its own type of mystery and romance.

Moonstone was once believed to be moonlight captured in solid form by ancient civilisations. Alexandrite, is capricious – changing colour from emerald green in the day to ruby red at night while Pearl is a naturally forming rarity from the depths of the sea.

For some reason I could never quite get on board with the appeal of a pearl until now. Pearl obviously lends itself so well to dainty pieces and bridal jewellery that I had dismissed them as a bit twee for me. However the following jewellers have managed to convince me of this stone’s potential to rock and a new appreciation for the traditional use of these calcium carbonate layered spheres. Metalurj is probably my favourite jeweller for unusual and interesting ways to set stones.

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Here the juxtaposition of the smoothness of a pearl next to oxidised silver means that these pieces have never been further from prissy. Another two designs that steer away from conventional trappings are this monochrome fishing net style ring and elaborate octopus hand piece-both cleverly referencing the pearl’s marine origin.

Sevan Bicakci 

Why not discover the potential of your birthstone and join us on one of our classes in Stone Setting or our Introduction to Gemstones classes? Or, if your birthday is around the corner, you might want to treat your curious side to a Pearl Knotting 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.

 

Jewellery inspiration – the Shape of things

Recent visits to the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin and the Mies Van der Rohe and James Stirling exhibition ‘Circling the Square’ at the RIBA in London have inspired Lil to consider the design power of basic geometric shapes.

Shapes can be fascinating and inspiring and their simple, dynamic qualities can be enough to inspire a lifetime of jewellery making. A triangle is nature’s strongest shape and is often utilised in construction and engineering. The artist Giotto was considered a genius for his perfect drawing of a freehand circle, so it’s potentially worth practising in your spare time to fast track your Mensa application. Squares have much to recommend them too; they are regular, reliable, foldable and mathematically very handy.

Kandinsky, who began teaching at the Bauhaus experimental art school in 1922, believed in a system where certain shapes attributed themselves to particular colours. He felt that yellow belonged as a triangle, squares should be red and circles blue. He also had some interesting feelings about green. Sadly he felt this colour was self-satisfied, like a fat cow, but with hidden strength. I love green, but also cows, so maybe he was onto something.

The current exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects, documents the debates of one site in the City of London.  Here we can see two architects, designing years apart and in different styles, result in one building after decades of controversy. Architectural drawings and meticulously conserved and reconstructed models illustrate the project’s processes with accompanying videos and paraphernalia to contextualise the building that never was and the one that might never have been. Both schemes have a lot to recommend them in terms of ‘shapespiration’ (inspiration from shapes, hoping this will catch on), from Mies’s famous quote ‘Less is more’ to the handling of Stirling’s building that now stands at No.1 Poultry, with its interplay of shape and colour. If Stirling’s sketches don’t leave you inspired and the beautiful 1930’s building of the RIBA headquarters doesn’t hit the spot, hopefully some of my favourite shapely jewellery finds below will.

Thinking just about within the box with this circle band trapped in a cube ring by Etsuko Sonobe.

 Kioko Hashimoto allows this circular cabochon to brazenly defy its true (Kandinsky designated) colour.

 

Rhona McCallum shows us how to circle with squares with this angular silver marvel.

Not so square-jeweller Amy Glenn utilises these two handy shapes in her edgy ring designs.

If you are looking for a great way to fast track shaping your ideas into a wearable beauties like these check out our Diploma Courses in Creative Jewellery Making.

Boxing clever or circling the drain? Let us know how your projects are going in the comments below. Are you inspired by geometric shapes? How do they relate to your designs?

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.

 

 

 

 

Exciting new 10-week Silver Jewellery Comprehensive Course!

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Our Silver Jewellery classes are hugely popular here at the School and more and more of you are learning how to craft your own silver jewellery during our 1-Day courses.  But some of you have been asking for a longer course that will allow you to quickly develop professional silversmithing skills by coming regularly to us for a period of time.  Due to popular demand, we have been working hard behind the scenes to create a comprehensive short silver course and are thrilled to announce the dates for our new 10-week Silver Jewellery Intensive Course!

This is a practical and intensive course designed to help you quickly build your skills with a focus on traditional silversmithing techniques and skills.

Suitable for complete beginners or those who have some silversmithing experience; week by week you will build your skills so that by the end of the course you are a confident and professional silversmith able to work independently on your own jewellery designs.

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Stacked Silver Bangles
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Water Casting
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Collet Setting
Spend 1-day per week with us for 10 consecutive weeks and learn all of the essential silversmithing skills including 6 stone setting techniques, and leave us as a confident and professional silversmith able to work independently on your own jewellery designs.   Suitable for complete beginners or those with a bit of silversmithing experience alike!
The new course includes the following:

Week 1 – Beginners Silver Jewellery
Week 2 – Soldering Masterclass
Week 3 – Intermediate Silver Jewellery
Week 4 – Stone Setting (week 1) – Bezel, Tube and Flush
Week 5 – Stone Setting (week 2) – Bezel, Tube and Flush
Week 6 – Stacked Silver Rings and Bangles
Week 7 – Water Casting
Week 8 – Intermediate Stone Setting (week 1) – Irregular, Collet & Channel setting
Week 9 – Intermediate Stone Setting (week 1) – Irregular, Collet & Channel setting
Week 10 – Make your own Silver Findings

The first cohort of the 10-week Comprehensive Course starts on 29th April!  We can’t wait to see lots of accomplished silversmiths blossom before our eyes!

You can find out more including dates, prices and payments plans on our website here.

LJS gets an insight into 3D Printing

Last month groups of LJS students were lucky enough to secure a place on our visit to a local 3D printing company.  ‘My Mini Factory’ which launched in 2013, is the world’s leading curated social platform for 3D Printable objects.  The community platform connects 3D Designers, makers, users and brands.  For more information about the company please click here: https://www.myminifactory.com/


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The tour of the studio was absolutely fascinating and we were given a great insight into how the 3D printing world works.  Students (and lucky staff representatives) were shown lots of different 3D printed jewellery masters in various resins, along with the finished cast pieces.  Max (our guide from My Mini Factory) explained the process of getting from a digital design file to a finished piece of jewellery.

One student, Nadia Thomas ( http://www.chamareldesigns.com ) was asked to provide two examples of her work in order to be reproduced with a 3D printer.  A demonstration was given of the ‘scanning’ process.  This essentially was a 360 degree photo of the object which was converted into a digital file ready for retouching and printing.

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The images below show the 3D printed versions and Nadia’s original sterling silver masters.

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We got lots of great feedback from the students that attended and many have since said that they would love to give it a go for their own work.  We still love our jewellery to be handmade but would definitely be open to experimenting with this exciting technology.  We would love to hear your thoughts or experiences of 3D printing.

Author: Sophie Arnott

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