Thursday, 26 February 2009

Show: Desire Jewellery & Silversmithing Fair - 6th-8th March 2009

Just thought I'd leave you with a quick reminder that next week sees Desire jewellery fair come to Richmond upon Thames in south-west London.

The fair - which focuses on UK talent - promises "an unrivalled choice of contemporary jewellery"; us consumers have the chance to meet the designers face-to-face, to discuss commissions or to buy on the spot (which might be hard to avoid!).

18ct gold and diamond rings by Kate Moncrieff

Silver honeycomb necklace by Stephanie Ray

With pieces to suit any budget, the fair promises an array of gorgeous sterling silver, gold and platinum designs, alongside mixed-media pieces featuring paper, acrylic, glass and much more.

Entry is £4 and the fair is open 10pm -5pm. Click here for more details and directions.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Trend: Neckache Necklaces

Beauty is pain, so they say. So if beauty = fabulous neckwear then the pain is sure to be found at the bottom of an empty purse. But - fear no more! - the purse's monetary contents are saved! Enter the truly gorgeous, have-to-be-seen-in neckache necklace.

OK, so I'm sure you're thinking 'what's she on about?'... What I'm referring to are those heavy, chunky, bright, embellished, fabric, metal and SO on-trend necklaces cropping up in every magazine, and found - best of all - on the high street! The neckache necklace is a staple right now. Almost as much as making sure you leave the house wearing underwear. Read on and, whilst you're there, pass the paracetamol...!

First up, this Egyptian-inspired collar from Accessorize. Just LOOK at those colours- do I spy lilac...? So hot for spring (see Luella's SS09 catwalk) and a great high street alternative to Dori Csengeri - at only £20!

Next stop, New Look. With a wearable clothing range by Giles, New Look's accessories have followed suit; I'm pretty impressed by their selection of necklaces. Alongside some fabulous mixed-bead pieces and a heavy antique-gold bauble necklace, is this long seed-bead number. I know it probably won't give you neckache, but I thought the design was reminiscent of pieces by Fiona Paxton (seen on Drew Barrymore, don't you know!), so I had to include it! And, better still, they only cost as much an the average Londoner's lunch!

Drawing the crowds with a fabulous range of acid denim, Miss Selfridge has gone truly 80s on us. It's enough to make me get out my Pretty in Pink DVD and watch it for, like, the 300th time! It's a shame Valentine's Day has just gone, because top of my list would have been this beauty - it's gold, it's got chunky chains and it's got hearts!

Tempting the pennies out of my hand is Topshop. Maybe I've just started to pay more attention, but it seems that Topshop have been producing some cracking accessories lately. So, I'm going to have to show you three pieces, because I couldn't decide which I liked most... and luckily each fits into a SS09 trend. First up is this fabulous tribal-luxe necklace. With its tactile mix of soft suede cord and giant glass crystals, its day-to-night super glamour.

Sure to get the attention of those lace'n'chignon girls who fancy something a little more edgy, is this chainmail-style creation, topped with ice white pearls - pretty with a pastel camisole.

Last of the Topshop trio is this pop colour necklace; shocking pink plaits and graduating gold chains make this a truly coveted piece. Like Miss Selfridge's gold necklace, above, it'll look great with a acid denim jeans and an oversized tee.

Kabiri - OK so a little less 'high street' but still found on Marylebone High Street! Top of their list right now is this sterling silver and fabric necklace by designer Wear and Tear. Mixing electric-blue fabric that's to die for, and - ooh yes! - some more chains, this is the kind of statement neckache necklace that will receive those envious glances. Go on, lap it up! (PS. there's a matching bracelet!)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Theme: Come Fly With Me!

Ah, birds. Most of our experience with birds stretches as far as flicking a free newspaper at that sad pigeon hopelessly pecking around the bus stop... or screaming as one flaps up in your face as you're about to cross the road. Eugh.

But then we also know birds are beautiful; they can fly, for starters, and their feathers are wonderfully soft and appear in a myriad of colours. Take a closer look at that pigeon next time - it's neck is superbly iridescent; I think it was Flaubert who described the colour 'gorge-du-pigeon', a reflection of that shimmering greeny-purple!

Like the beady-eyed, sparkle loving magpie I have gone in search of the yummiest bits of bird jewellery, from a stunning ring by Gurhan, to ethical jewellery by Oria. Go ahead, feast your eyes!

Arena Copenhagen are a group of young Danish designers who create chic collections under the Arena name. Their designs vary but each piece has a gorgeous silk-matt finish to it, adding to their contemporary style. Arena's Hope Bird necklace - shown here in silver - bears resemblance to Picasso's Dove of Peace, and is depicted in a playful stencil design.

Keeping with the Danish theme are Clevin Jensen, a pair of twin sisters who studied at Central St. Martins and now work together creating witty, colourful jewellery. Using a closely guarded 'secret process', they transfer images onto silver, making necklaces and bracelets that are sure to draw attention. Past collections have included fruit, butterflies and flowers. This swan necklace stood out from their current collection (check them out at Fashion Week stand A22, if you have the chance!)

Alex Monroe has had a fabulous year, reflected in how often one hears his name these days! After winning Designer of the Year at last year's UK Jewellery Awards, Monroe shot onto the pages of Elle and Vogue. Where I work, he's one of our best sellers; most women are surprised to learn that Alex is a 'he', because his jewellery harbours such femininity. He knows how to get our hearts in a flutter, that's for sure - take his Bird Loop necklace as just one of many yummy examples!

Ethical jewellery is an ever-growing part of the industry and those conscious about working conditions and the environment will no doubt appreciate Oria. Using ethically-mined silver and gold in their jewellery, the London-based duo behind Oria address the environmental effects of gold and silver mining, donating 10% from every sale of their silver collection to WWF. Below are their sweet Bird and Blossom earrings from the collection.

Finally, I have to end on a high note (or, I should say, high-end note) because whilst browsing American designer Gurhan Orhan I stumbled across this 24k gold mosaic ring. Gurhan hand makes all of his pieces, and there's an evident homage to ancient times through his hammered finishes, the use of such rich gold and bright gemstones. Featuring a restored Roman mosaic, Gurhan's bird ring is one-of-a-kind... and retailing at £4290 means I'd better carry on dreaming!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Theme: Let the words do the talking...

I have to admit something - I have a bit of a love for personalised jewellery. Some think it's a little tacky if not a bit tongue in cheek, whilst others - like me - love the fact that you're wearing something unique; yours and nobody else's.

But whilst personalised goodies are great, just as irresistible are those less personal, but just as wordy pieces, as seen in past and present collections by Ginette NY, Solange Azagury-Partridge, Jeanine Payer and Allumer.

I was reminded that all need not be 'Kathryn'd' when rummaging through my jewellery box I discovered my much loved, but recently neglected silver 'Believe' necklace by Dogeared. This was one of my first pieces of 'real' jewellery, which I still adore for the simplicity of the smooth word pebble. It also means a great deal to me because, if I remember back that far, I must have been about 16 and approaching the dreaded G.C.S.Es... So back then 'Believe' was very apt - and the exam results were OK in the end!
So I've scoured some of my favourite jewellery designers to see what they have been up to when it come to words. And my! there are some pretty - and often affordable - results.

One of my favourite London-based designers, Becca, adds endearing and loving phrases to her charm necklaces and bracelets. The 18ct gold 'sweetness' scroll necklace (below), with little ruby and rabbit, is the perfect present for any loved one. Becca makes in both silver and gold, and is a dab hand at enamelling, too. Keep an eye on her website for new examples and bespoke pieces.

So I know they're probably meant to be name necklaces, but Lady Luck Rules OK have an ever-changing range of playful, wordy wooden necklaces, all hand-made in their Brick Lane studio. Featuring designs such as a Russian doll (below) anchors, swallows (below) and - just in time for Valentine's Day - a pair of lovebirds, they're cute, affordable and unique. I have the nautical heart with - I know - my name on it, but anything is possible within the word limit. They also make brooches, which are great for those discerning males who prefer to wear their words elsewhere!

Laura Lee is one of those jewellery designers who creates the kind of jewellery I dream about: traditionally styled, super detailed but ultimately feminine. When I first moved to London I made it my mission to track down her Covent Garden boutique - and I was not disappointed! It's worth going just to see her fabulous window displays, most recently with an Alice in Wonderland theme, all chintzy teacups and sparkles. Her recent collection - timed well with the relaunch of her website - features pretty, Edwardian inspired rings and lockets, delicately engraved with divine phrases such as 'You make my heart sing' (locket, below) and 'Wish upon a star'... I'm saving up already!

Last but not least, we come to surely the name in wordy jewellery - Jeanine Payer. To me, she wins the crown, perhaps not so much for the design but the time and effort she puts into her jewellery. Each piece is hand engraved, by her, with some featuring quotes or poems several lines long. The boyfriend is especially fond of Jeanine's 'Palmer' cuff, for its quote from Rainer Maria Rilke (below, right), and though I'm a sucker for her rings I also love the slimline bangle with the quote by Appolinaire (below, left).

So there it is! Although personalised jewellery is just as popular as ever, these few designers demonstrate just how diverse word jewellery can be. And with many designers open to bespoke ideas, all you have to do now is think up the perfect array of words!