- Alex Goodman, Ami Pepper, Castro Smith, Catherine Martin, Designers, Fairs, Goldsmiths’ Fair, London, Sarah Herriot, Sonia Cheadle
THE BEST OF BRITISH JEWELLERY: GOLDSMITHS’ FAIR LONDON
One of the joys of being a jewellery blogger is the journey of discovery and guess who just spent time at the Goldsmiths’ Fair in London, exploring the beautiful and unique creations of more than 130 jewellery designers!
So come with me now as we journey through jewellery heaven and let me show you all the breathtaking new discoveries I have found at this year’s Goldsmiths’ Fair London. It’s an incredible show and it speaks to my belief in slow fashion, shopping independently and buying made-to-last pieces.
This year I’ve chosen to showcase a curation of rings (with a few fine exceptions) for a number of reasons. Throughout history, the ring has always been an important symbol of power, status, love and loyalty. Rings are an expression of our personality and define who we are. So they need to complement the wearer and accentuate their style. From every handshake to every hand gesture, rings get noticed by everyone.
My jewellery discoveries from this year’s Goldsmiths’ Fair include one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces and unique ideas and concepts that I’ve never seen before. It takes an artist’s vision to create a ring by hand and it is becoming a serious artform.
AMI PEPPER JEWELLERY
One of my first discoveries is from Welsh designer Ami Pepper. She brings us a taste of the sea with her sculptural jewellery, fascinating clusters of underwater life encrusted with gemstones – MY FAVOURITE PART! Inspired by the calmness of the sea, Ami sculpts these creations first in wax before casting them in gold and setting the jewels. This ring definitely brings me the same feeling of peace I experience in my Yoga Nidra practice. I always bring my mind to visualise a peaceful view over the ocean, sometimes floating in the warm water and sometimes enjoying the sunset.
Sarah Herriot features a collection of unique and original jewellery designs with a sculptural and architectural nature. Each statement ring, some with colourful and unusual gemstone settings, bring aesthetic pleasure both to the wearer and the beholder. Sarah takes an organic approach to her intelligent designs and is inspired by her surrounding urban environment. Not just jewellery but objet d’art.
Sarah features a collection of unusual silver rings, each with their own unique twist, made from recycled sterling silver 925. Working to commission, she also fashions sculptural and architectural stacking rings, plain rings and silver ring sets as desired, all handcrafted in the UK.
Silver jewellery is not something I usually feature on GEMOLOGUE, but these Sarah Herriot rings are the exception to rule and they are just stunning.
So let’s take a moment to talk about that other precious metal, silver. Archaeological records show that the first silver jewellery ever discovered was from Anatolia, Turkey, dated around 3000 B.C.
Silver is one of the three Noble Metals, together with gold and platinum, known for their durability and resistance to oxidisation and corrosion. It is affordable, easy to work with and favoured by many metalsmiths and jewellery designers.
But how do you tell the difference between pure silver and sterling silver?
- Sterling silver is a metal alloy, a composition of different metals, making it more durable and cheaper than pure silver
- With the added strength of these metal alloys, sterling silver will last longer than fine silver which is soft and malleable
- Metalsmiths prefer working with sterling silver compared to pure silver, as it is easier to shape and sculpt
- Just look for the 925, 92.5 or .925 silver stamp, indicating its purity
View this post on Instagram
An illustrator, painter and print-maker at heart, Castro Smith fuses together European and Japanese engraving styles to create a unique collection of colourful bespoke jewellery. Inspired by history, mythology and biology, his jewellery comes to life through these magical creatures and naturalistic stylings.
As an apprentice of The Goldsmiths’ Company, Castro studied engraving under RH Wilkins, one of the largest engraving firms in the jewellery district of Hatton Garden. After receiving the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust scholarship in 2017, he travelled to Japan to study engraving, metalworking and patination from the best Japanese Masters, under the guidance of Hiroshi Suzuki.
Castro went on to win multiple awards that same year, including the Apprentice of the Year award at St James’ Palace; the GCDC Gold Award; the Podolsky Award and the Theo Fennell Award. Until 2020, his studio was based in East London at the Sarabande Foundation which was established by Alexander McQueen, but he now works from Holborn, Central London.
It is no secret that a piece of fine jewellery should be impeccable in all its details. But how about the finishing touches that a lot of people don’t tend to look at? I’m talking about the back of our ear jewels. How many of us pay attention to the back of the earring?
I have always been a firm believer that jewellery should look fabulous from all sides. The back of the earring is just as important as the front of the earring. But why is this simple detail so often overlooked? I’m glad to say Catherine Martin shares my opinion on this matter. We had a lovely time chatting at Goldsmiths’ Fair.
Catherine Martin is a professional musician, singer, designer and goldsmith, who creates the kind of jewellery that makes my soul sing. Her musical influence comes through in her breathtaking braided jewels. Have you ever seen braiding in jewellery before? Such a sensual play of intricacy and simplicity, I simply cannot take my eyes off them. These Japanese-inspired silken jewels are exactly the kind of jewellery I want to collect and cherish throughout this wonderful life journey.
Catherine Martin was the first-ever westerner to graduate in Kumihimo – the ancient art of Japanese braiding. She has developed this skill into a truly incredible artform by working in the finest gold wire instead of silk and painstakingly weaving each braid by hand. Her jewels display a subtle sheen, somewhere between matt and shine, and possess a musical fluidity and rhythm that is simply enchanting. Each one of her creations flow with finesse on the wearer’s body.
View this post on Instagram
“I like working with gold. I love the colour and sensuality but above all, the timelessness and the thought of continuing a tradition of using this beautiful material which has been used for adornment for centuries. I hand braid fine gold wire which gives a particular and unique lustre that is soft and shimmers as it moves.” Catherine Martin
Alex Goodman’s passion for jewellery-making began the moment he picked up a jewellery saw for the first time at the age of seventeen. It was the beginning of a fruitful apprenticeship at a local jeweller and silversmith that would inspire him to study jewellery design later on at art college. After practising his jewellery-making skills working in Hatton Garden, Alex set up his workshop in his hometown in Sussex.
His beautiful jewellery creations bring together traditional jewellery-making skills with a clean, modern aesthetic with a timeless quality for today’s jewellery lover. He is now based in the heart of The South Downs National Park
There’s a sense of peace and tranquillity in Sonia Cheadle’s highly distinguished jewels that is absolutely enchanting. After 20 years as an independent jewellery designer, she has perfected her exceptional designs into a timeless collection of subtle beauty. Her speciality is diamonds and her designs are classic yet modern. These jewellery designs are so unique and dynamic, you will want to celebrate by wearing them every day.
The Spinning Ring II by Sonia Cheadle makes my heart sing and it feels like it was made just for me. Oh pearls! You know how much I adore them, but have you ever seen a faceted pearl before?
The faceted pearl came into fashion in 1998 when pearl lovers got their first taste of this unique cultured pearl. Each pearl can have up to 200 facets that gem cutters skillfully make using the same equipment used for gemstones. Isn’t that just so fascinating? I wonder what the future has in store for us when it comes to crafting techniques and gem-cutting!
This ring is going to complement my personal jewellery collection perfectly.
View this post on Instagram
GEMOLOGUE jewelry blog by Liza Urla is a celebration of fine, fashion and vintage jewellery featuring talented jewellery designers, trendy urban street style, exclusive interviews and rare jewellery reviews. This jewellery blog’s goal is to encourage and educate about jewellery online in a fresh and original fashion to inspire women and men across the globe in a fashion and travelling context.
Jewellery blogger, writer Liza Urla, the founder of GEMOLOGUE, is a London-based and NYC-educated gemologist, who has travelled to and lived in many countries. She is now one of the most influential digital jewellery tastemakers. Her jewellery influence has been acknowledged by Financial Times, The New York Times, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
*Styling and Art Direction by Liza Urla. All photos belong to GEM Kreatives for GEMOLOGUE.
Material on this website may not be copied, broadcasted or adapted without written consent.