Monday 17th May 2021 saw the presentation of the annual Goldsmiths’ Craftsmanship & Design Awards, with more than 600 guests joining online for a special livestreamed edition of the Awards – the first of its kind in the competition’s 113-year history.
The highly anticipated Craftsmanship & Design Awards ceremony took the form of a livestream production filmed at the Goldsmiths’ Hall and aired via YouTube hosted by Rachael Taylor, jewellery journalist and co-founder of The Jewellery Cut.
The ceremony opened with a personal message from HRH Princess Michael of Kent, Royal Patron for the Awards, who endorsed the work of the Council and its Awards.
Among this year’s foremost winners was enameller Jane Short, the recipient of the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award, while the prestigious Jacques Cartier Memorial Award was presented to fellow master enameller Fred Rich for his Fair Game Vases.
This unique annual competition rewards excellence in technical skills and creative design in precious metals and related materials and is operated by the UK’s Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council (GC&DC). In total, 117 industry judges – experts in their respective fields – assessed this year’s entries.
Demonstrating an increase on last year’s Awards, a total of 700 individual entries were recorded in 2021, which increased to over 1,233 entries when accounting for pieces submitted into multiple award categories.
Of those entries, 151 winners were named across 32 categories with a total of 54 Gold Awards granted, 58 Silver Awards and 76 Bronze Award given during this year’s competition.
The coveted College Trophy was presented to Glasgow School of Art –– awarded to the College or University that has achieved the highest total of points accumulated from any Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes in the competition.
The Junior Award was presented to Silversmith William Sullivan for a pair of Silver Water Jugs.
The Senior Award was won by Tony Bedford for the Chased Relief of Madonna and Child.
Awarded for exceptional and outstanding design, The Goldsmiths’ Company Award was presented to Jiarui Sun of Gearry Suen Jewellery for the striking Conversation Earrings.
An Awards Annual documenting this year’s foremost winners with high-quality photography, alongside exclusive industry interviews and features, is now available to pre-order for £12 per copy, via the GC&DC site.
In his opening speech, Peter Crump, Chairman of GC&DC said: “This year, I am delighted that thanks to the wonders of technology, we have been able to open the Awards evening to all. After a record number of entries of an incredibly high standard, we are able to share a breathtaking and colourful array of skills covering our craft and all its disciplines. Heartfelt thanks go to all who have generously supported us to create such a memorable year.”
Guest presenter Rachael Taylor added: “It is unfortunate that the pandemic meant the talented winners of this year’s awards weren’t able to gather in person in Goldsmiths’ Hall to celebrate their achievements, however what the new digital format did was to share their incredible work with a much wider audience. The winners of the GC&DC Awards represent some of the best craftspeople in Britain and I am so excited that we can offer a glimpse into this fantastic tradition to viewers all over the world, some of whom might be discovering the competition for the first time.”
Among the guests joining the livestreamed ceremony were representatives of world-renowned jewellery houses, the Awards’ notable Patrons and Sponsors, jewellery industry associations, leading designers and members of the global jewellery media.
The GC&DC encouraged its virtual guests to use the hashtag #GCDCAwards across social media to celebrate this year’s event, with a lively flurry of celebration seen across Instagram and Facebook.
Premier Awards Information:
Lifetime Achievement Award (LAA)
Each year, the Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council honours a member of the UK industry with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2021 this accolade was presented to Jane Short who has been instrumental in guiding aspiring enamellers to follow and achieve their personal goals with some of her former students progressing to be outstanding enamellers in their own right. Not only has Jane received numerous highly acclaimed awards, including the Council’s top accolade – the Cartier Award – but she has also received an MBE for her contribution to the craft of enamelling.
Jane received her LAA silver medal, generously sponsored and crafted by Thomas Fattorini Ltd, and in a short film shared during the Awards, expressed how honoured and touched she was to receive such an accolade.
Jane added “This Lifetime Achievement Award has come both as a surprise and a great honour.
Enamel has been the medium which has inspired and sustained me as a maker since I discovered it as a student at Central St Martins. I have received encouragement and support over the years from many people – including the Goldsmiths’ Company, clients and collectors, and have learned much from teachers, fellow enamellers, makers and my students. Thank you all!”
The Jacques Cartier Memorial Award
The Jacques Cartier Memorial Award is given at the discretion of the Council for exceptional and outstanding craftsmanship. It is only awarded when, in the Council’s judgement, an entry achieves a standard to justify the honour. This year there were three contenders for this Award in 2021, with the winner named as Fred Rich for his Fair Game Vases.
The judges said, “The vases showed exceptional technical ability in not only engraving, enamelling and cloisonne work but the impressive act of firing such large-scale pieces and maintaining clear and bright rich colours was breath-taking.” In their opinion, the judges felt there is no-one in the world producing work of this quality in terms of design and craftsmanship, nor has there been in the past.
The Goldsmiths’ Company Award
The Goldsmiths’ Company Award, awarded for exceptional and outstanding design, was won by Jiarui Sun for the Conversation Earrings which were considered by the judges to be “technically innovative, highly original in design, beautifully executed and wearable.”
- 151 winners were honoured in 32 categories with 11 other Special, Major and Premier Awards give, 54 Gold Awards, 58 Silver Awards and 76 Bronze Award. This was the most Gold Awards
- A slight increase in entries in 2021 with 700 single entries (641 in 2020) which increased to over 1233 from multiple entries (1167 in 2020). There were an incredible number of 2D entries, which accounted for 52% of the total.
- Over 52 industry Patrons, Sponsors and Contributors supported the Awards in 2021.
- 117 industry judges, experts in their respective fields, assessed this year’s entries
- All Patron and Special Awards were awarded in 2021
Patron, Named and Special Awards:
- The College Trophy was presented to Glasgow School of Art. This trophy is awarded to the College or University that has achieved the highest total of points accumulated from any gold, silver and bronze prizes in the competition.
- Scott Smith won the Silversmithing Champagne Gosset Award for the Celebris Bottle Stopper Design.
- Abbie Williams won the new Commercial Jewellery, creative Design Award sponsored by Beaverbrooks for the ‘Tying the Knot’ Pearl & Diamond Suite.
- William Sullivan & Master Steven Ottewill won the Theo Fennell Apprentice and Master Award.
- Richard Gamester scooped the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) and British Allied Trades Federation (BATF) award themed on Diversity and Inclusiond for the Diversity + Inclusion = Equality Design suite. Kassandra Lauren Gordon also won a gold in this section for the Gender Neutral Gold Lightbulb Pendant.
- The Junior Award was presented to silversmith William Sullivan for the pair of Silver Water Jugs.
- The Senior Award was won by Tony Bedford for the Chased Relief of Madonna and Child.
- Thomas Carl Johnson won the Brown & Newirth Award for the ‘String in the Tail’ Bangle.
- The Boodles Fine Jewellery Award was also won by Thomas Carl Johnson for the ‘String in the Tail Bangle.’
- A gold award and the Vipa Designs Award went to Mandy Morris for the Tie Fighter Ring and a gold was also awarded to Susan Blackler for the Light Overcomes Darkness Pendant.
- The International Jewellery London Award went to Jiarui Sun for the Conversation Earrings with a gold award to Lynne MacLachlan-Eastwood for the Ripple Ring in Silver Precious Jewellery.
- The two Gold & Silver Wyre Drawers Awards were won by Joanne Thompson for the Hanna Chain Necklace and Lusk Chain Necklace and Rachel Jones for the Spectrum Earrings.
- Ryan McClean won The Lindström Award with the Koch Snowflake Vase
- New to 2021 was the The Alpha Laser Technology Award, with a Gold Award and the Alpha Laser Award going to Ellina Pollitt for the Parametric Silver Bracelet, and a second Gold Award presented to Jiarui Sun for the Conversation Earrings.
- The Valcambi Award for Ethical Jewellery and Investment went to Vicki Smith for the Valcambi Hourglass Design.
- The Cooksongold Award for precious metal direct printing went to Marina Skia for the Blooming Cocktail Ring Design.
- For the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office’s Make Your Mark 2D Design Award, a Gold Award and the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office Award went to Isabella Kelley for the Celebration Whiskey & Olive Set, with a second Gold Awarded to Caitlin Murphy for the Punch Drunk Design.
- The Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office Award for Technological Innovation went to Jiarui Sun for the Conversation Earrings
- The Birmingham Assay Office Award went to William Sullivan for the pair of Silver Water Jugs.
- The first Phil Barnes Enamelling Bursary was awarded to Tomiko Ravn.
- The GEM-A Award was won by Clio Thomas for the Snake Knuckleduster
- The Podolsky Award went to Sorrel Acacia for the Tulip Neckla
Patrons, Sponsors & Contributors:
As in previous years, the headline sponsors for 2021 included The Goldsmiths’ Company as the Awards’ Founding Leading Patron, Cartier, Valcambi and Brown & Newirth as Principal Patrons.
Special Patrons this year were: International Jewellery London (IJL); The Goldsmiths’ Centre and Lindström.