Monday, 29 November 2010

Alex Monroe's mini tour of his workshop

I was just having a quick read through the Alex Monroe blog ahead of something fun I'm looking forward to writing about soon (before the end of the week, anyway!), when I came across this lovely little video filmed by Emma at Alex Monroe. It's a mini tour of the staff and workshop at AM headquarters in London. Alex showing us his favourite drill and saw... gotta love that!

Stephen Webster: Seven Deadly Sins Rings

Last week I got to luxuriate in the headiness of high-end jewellery - being involved in the launch of British jewellery designer Stephen Webster's exclusive new collection - Seven Deadly Sins - at EC One in Notting Hill. This was the first time the rings had been unveiled in the UK, and the idea behind the collection is Stephen through and through - a little bit dark, a little bit playful; showing off the beauty and the atrocity of the theme simultaneously. The desire for Stephen's jewellery is reflected in these rings' exclusivity: only seven of each design will ever be made... And with two of the seven styles already selling out, the Seven Deadly Sins rings are in demand - despite starting at £15,000 and peaking at £125,000...

So here we have them: Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Pride, Sloth, Wrath and Lust.... and a few little snaps from the evening at EC One

Envy - white gold set with a central green tourmaline, black and white diamonds
Gluttony - white gold set with a central fire opal, white agate 'teeth' and rubies
Greed - yellow gold set with round brilliant-cut diamonds
Pride - set with a central emerald-cut amethyst in anodised titanium, with blue and pink sapphires
Sloth - yellow gold set with a cushion-cut aquamarine, diamonds and rubies
Wrath - rose gold set with a deep red garnet, rubies and black and white diamonds
Lust - white gold set with a central tanzanite and white diamonds

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Interview: Ros Millar

I first saw Ros Millar's jewellery at New Designers, an absolute treasure-trove of upcoming, just-graduated design talent. Next, she appeared as an entrant and later a top ten finalist in EC One's graduate jewellery design competition EC One Unsigned, meeting Ros in person at the Unsigned winner's party. Today, Ros is busy with a new collection, open studio days and is seeing ever-growing interest in her jewellery - most recently she was involved in City jeweller Little 15's evening of events for Vogue's Fashion Night In. I caught up with this lovely lass to find out more about her collections and future plans...

Three stacking rings from Ros' Growth Collection, set with natural brown diamonds

Your jewellery has a clear style to it, and I love that it's a step away from the cute, vintage-style of a lot of jewellery designers are doing. Tell me a little about your jewellery-making history and style...

I first studied jewellery at Ulster university for about a month during my foundation year and absolutely loved it... So I scrapped all my intentions of going to study Fashion and moved to Sheffield to study Metalwork and Jewellery. There I found the techniques which suited me best and were easy to work with - cuttlebone casting in particular. Taking this technique as a base I do most of my designing after. When I left university in 2009 I moved to London and started an internship with Melissa McArthur and then with Fannie Schiavoni, as well as freelance work. Finally I set up my studio and began to design for myself again.

Sounds brilliant, a great progression and some great designers to be working with. You're originally from Northern Ireland where you grew up and studied; do you think your work takes any influence from your early surroundings?
I grew up in a place called Bangor on the coast of Northern Ireland.  It's so beautiful... And I do believe that it does have influence on my designs - the fact that they are very organic!

Ros' Double Stud stacking rings

And how did you find studying in Sheffield, with its history of industry, engineering and the Yorkshire countryside so close by? 
I loved Sheffield, I really miss it.  I think that it was the perfect place to study and really concentrate on finding my design style.  In terms of the countryside - I am lucky that my current studio is based in the Essex countryside in a place called Felsted. Soon though I'll be embarking on a new studio in Greenwich where I will be moving in with two other designers (Emma Yeo and Rose Sharp Jones). I hope it will help being surrounded by other designers and being closer to Hatton Garden!
Your Growth Collection features stacking rings in silver, oxidised silver and rose gold - how do you make these rings?
All my pieces are cuttlebone cast at some point in the design process.  Once cast, I then decide which features of the ring to leave textured, and which parts to clean up and make smooth.  The cuttlebone gives an organic texture to each of the rings.  It's important that all rings fit together well so that they can be stacked easil and be worn comfortably. 

They're great, especially the ones with serious height to them! Tell me a little about your new collection...
I'm working on a new collection now - I am so excited about it.  I feel that having had this year since university, I can show in this collection how I have developed and grown as a designer.  I plan to play with colour again (move away from the black oxidisation and rose gold plate) but I definitely want to keep the cuttlefish bone grain within all my pieces again. I want to develop this process more, to make it my signature style as a designer.  As well as developing new collections I will always enjoy to make one-off pieces, I think that these help with the designing for new collections and vice-versa.

Pebble and Growth stacking rings
Do you have a favourite jewellery designer or someone you look up to?
My favourite jewellery designer is Ruth Tomlinson; I have followed her career and work since being at university myself. I love her techniques [Ruth uses porcelain, gemstones and glass] textures and use of colour... I think she's legendary when it comes to electroforming!
I also have a favourite 'fashion jewellery' designer - Fannie Schiavoni. She really inspired me to work hard and to design my own jewellery when I interned with her having just moved to London. I think that her background in fashion helps give her jewellery pieces edge - they are so bold and well made!

Are there anyone designers you'd love to collaborate with?
Good question!!! I would really love to collaborate with another designer who wasn't necessarily a jewellery designer, I think it would be great to see how I could push myself and having the influence of someone with a different design mind... It makes me a little excited to be moving into a studio with two different designers from different design disciplines.

And finally - that age old one - where do you see yourself in 5 years' time?

A selection of rings from the Growth Collection

What a sweetheart, eh?! A big thank you to Ros for her brilliant answers and photos

Friday, 5 November 2010

Lanvin for H&M Jewellery

That's right! The long anticipated range by Lanvin for H&M has finally been unveiled. Although we've still got to wait until November 23rd before we can snap it up, we've seen some great collaborations in recent years - Sonia Rykiel, Comme des Garcons - and now it looks to be Lanvin's turn to impress. While most of the clothing revolves around dresses and suits for the impending party season, the jewellery is rather grand as well. Think pearls and gold chains, bold acrylic neckpieces with ribbon ties and matching chandelier earrings... Here's a sneak peek!

All images courtesy of H&M

Check out the video, below

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A little something: Pippa Small Jellyfish earrings

I'd forgotten about Moonstone recently, which is a real shame. These stunning Jellyfish earrings by Pippa Small reminded me of my first Monica Vinader ring - gosh, that sounds like 'my first shoes' or something - which was a large square Moonstone. Like the Jellyfish earrings it shimmered with rainbow hues and soft icy blue colours. After a year of daily wear the poor thing was tattered, but in time for the wintry season I'm going to dig it out of my jewellery box, have it cleaned and replated. Love it. And love these...