Faraway cultures, fairytales inspire UK jewel design new wave
LONDON, July 2014 – Faraway cultures and fairytales have inspired the new wave of UK jewellery design talent which broke through at the 2014 UK Watch and Jewellery Awards (UKWJA) on July 2.
Rachel Entwistle wins Designer of the Year at UKWJA 2014
Rachel Entwistle, whose designs reflect her passion for distant cultures from her travels to Mexico, Guatemala and India, won Best Designer at an elegant gathering of the UK industry, which has an annual turnover of 4.5 billion pounds a year.
“Rachel’s academic background in researching different and indigenous cultural lives in distant parts of the world spoke through her work with a voice of familiarity and reassurance,” said Vanessa Burkitt, owner of a jewellery shop in Cambridge and one of the judges at the awards.
Sian Bostwick, a young designer whose jewellery is inspired by fairytales, myths and literature, won New Designer of the Year.
The awards, promoted by a leading trade magazine, Retail Jeweller, gathered several hundred leaders of the UK jewellery and watch industry at a glitzy dinner, held at the Hilton Park Lane in London’s chic Mayfair district.
London is a leading creative hub in the world of jewellery design, offering colleges, such as Central Saint Martins and Holts Academy, that nurture fresh talent from around the world.
“There are the edgy streets of Shoreditch, the elegant luxury of Mayfair and Knightsbridge, and the traditional jewellery and diamond trading and manufacturing areas of Hatton Garden and Farringdon,” said jewellery editor Sarah Carpin.
“All these centres of design, fashion, luxury and jewellery combine with the heady mix of cultural diversity that makes London such an interesting city, to become vital elements that form and nurture fresh jewellery design talent,” added Carpin, head of CMJ Media, which represents jewellery and watch brands.
The British capital is home to a number of trade events that promote emerging jewellery design talent, and showcases established designers such as Theo Fennell, seen at the Masterpiece London luxury art and design fair.
The big news at Masterpiece, a highlight of the London design season in June, was the sale by exhibitor Symbolic and Chase of a 1912 Cartier diamond corsage for in excess of $20 million to an unidentified buyer.
Among other winners in the talent categories at the UK watch and jewellery awards, Fei Liu, a fast-emerging Birmingham-based Chinese-British designer, won the best bridal collection.
Fei Liu wins Best Bridal Collection at UKWJA 2014
He has won plaudits across the jewellery trade for feminine designs in platinum, gold and diamonds that have sold well in the Chinese and UK retail and bespoke markets.
Bridal is a vital category because it is a major segment in total retail jewellery turnover.
“Fei has taken great care to ensure that the collections are affordably priced, yet there is no sacrifice to the quality of design or manufacture,” said Burkitt, who stocks his jewels.
Simon Rainer, CEO of BJA, wins Outstanding Contribution to Industry award at UKWJA 2014
Simon Rainer, chief executive of the British Jewellers’ Association (BJA), won the award for the most outstanding contribution to the industry, in recognition of his work in helping to promote UK jewellery designs and exports.