A visit to Goldsmiths’ Fair 2016

Apart from being a truly majestic building, with grand interiors that still fill me with the same sense of wonder that I felt when I first stepped through the door, Goldsmiths’ Hall also holds treasured memories.

It was here, at the press launch of the Goldsmiths’ Company’s Gold: Power and Allure exhibition several years ago during my editorship of Jewellery Focus magazine, that I met renowned artist-goldsmith Kevin Coates, who subsequently honoured me with the most memorable and inspirational interview of my career to date.

Kevin Coates, Harlequin Masks Ring, part of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths collection.

It is also here that I have discovered the work of many of today’s most talented fine jewellery designers thanks to the annual Goldsmiths’ Fair – a unique selling exhibition, showcasing the latest collections from selected gold and silversmiths.

And so it was with much anticipation that I made my way to London to see what treasures week two of this year’s event held in store for me.

First up was Ornella Iannuzzi – without doubt one of my favourite jewellery designers. Ornella’s designs have evolved and diversified over the past few years, but they are always inspired by her fascination with geology and gemmology, and created with an architectural style. At this year’s Goldsmiths’ Fair she exhibited older favourites alongside brand new collections, demonstrating the range of her imagination and talent.

Ornella Iannuzzi, Kristalik Ring, 18ct matt rose gold and diamonds.
Ornella Iannuzzi, Rock It! Cage Earrings, 18ct rose gold, opal spheres and diamond studs.
Ornella Iannuzzi, Coralline Atoll Ring, 18ct gold, Wello opal cabochon and diamonds.

Ornella is a big fan of opal (as am I!), using it in many of her collections, and I noticed that the stone was particularly popular with designer-makers this year. Tanja Ufer, David Fowkes and Marie Walshe, for example, were exhibiting several beautiful pieces – as was Charmian Harris, who is renowned for her use of this magical stone.

David Fowkes, Boulder Opal Brooch, 18ct yellow and white gold, boulder opal and diamonds.
David Fowkes, Boulder Opal and Diamond Pendant, 18ct yellow and white gold, boulder opal and diamonds.
David Fowkes, Set of Two Rings, 18ct yellow and white gold, boulder opal and diamonds.
Charmian Harris, Wolf Ring, 24ct and 18ct gold, boulder opal and diamonds.
Tanja Ufer, Balance Rings, 18ct and 22ct gold, Australian opal and emerald.
Tanja Ufer, Satellite Ring, 22ct gold, silver, fine gold kumboo, Andean opal and fire opal.
Marie Walshe, Opal Shield Diamond Ring, 18ct gold, boulder opal and diamonds.

I was delighted to discover that Marie Walshe, who is creative director of Sorrel Bay Fine Jewellery, was also showing a new range of agate jewellery – another of my favourite minerals. The natural pattern in the pieces she had selected reminded me of winter frost – perfect for an early autumnal day.

Marie Walshe, agate necklaces, 18ct Fair Trade gold, agate and diamonds.
Marie Walshe, Oval Agate Ring, 18ct Fair Trade gold, agate and diamonds.

And on the subject of agate – how amazing are these Barbara Cartlidge pieces? I must admit to having stood in awe for some time in front of the Goldsmiths’ Fair’s special exhibition of 60s and 70s jewellery by this pioneering Berlin-born British designer-maker.

Barbara Cartlidge agate pendant, 1968. Photo by Elke Bock.
Barbara Cartlidge agate earrings, c1968. Photo by Elke Bock.
Barbara Cartlidge agate pendant, 1968. Photo by Elke Bock.

Ulla Hörnfeldt‘s use of gemstones was bold and modern, with angular shapes and contrasting colours. Rings and necklaces of rutilated quartz (sometimes known as ‘angel hair’, which is rather lovely!), azurite-malachite, lapis lazuli and chrysoprase – among many other stones – all vied for attention, and were drawing quite a crowd. It took three attempts before I was able to reach the front, but it was well worth the wait.

Ulla Hörnfeldt, Pendant, silver, lapis, slate, chrysoprase.

I’ll leave you with a few more of my favourite pieces from this year’s Fair. If your appetite is whetted, do pay a visit to Goldsmiths’ Hall for the 2017 event. Dates will be announced on the website soon.

Fiona McAlear, Trailing Ivy Earrings, sterling silver and 9ct gold.
Gurmit Kaur Campbell, Bubble Ring, white gold, chalcedony and diamonds. © The Goldsmiths’ Company. Photo by Richard Valencia.
Max Danger’s award-winning Honey Bee Cluster Ring, 18ct red and yellow gold, rhodium and diamonds. © The Goldsmiths’ Company. Photo by Richard Valenci.
Fred Rich, Pearl Drop Diamond Earrings, 18ct gold, diamonds, pearls and enamel.

4 thoughts on “A visit to Goldsmiths’ Fair 2016

  1. Louise says:

    Thanks Michael! And yes, the Fair never disappoints when it comes to new discoveries and jaw-dropping design, as I’m sure you’ll agree!

  2. Ornella Iannuzzi says:

    It was amazing to see you again Louise !! 🙂 Thank you for sharing, beautiful article !

  3. Louise says:

    Aw you too Ornella. It’s been too long. Glad you like the blog, and make sure you keep me up to date with your latest creations!

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