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Travels in Turkey

We’ve told you a bit about our travels in Morocco so now we thought we’d share some of the wonders we found on a trip to Turkey earlier this year.  I am a regular traveller to Turkey and generally play it very safe, gold is BIG in Turkey, items are purchased by the weight with very little regard to the detail or design involved.  Jewellery in Turkey is often bought as an investment, but to say simply that is to deny some of the stunning design and work that goes into some of the designs that can be found.  Here are some of my favourites:

 

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You can see the type of displays they generally have in the jewellery quarter – lots of gold and no prices!  The centrepiece of the above picture is this absolutely stunning leaf with butterfly and flower detail.  My photographs really don’t do it justice, definitely my favourite item this year.

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Traditional designs seem to have come to the fore recently, but I was surprised at the modern designs I found too this year, in particular the display below seemed to feature the best of both worlds:

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The above three pieces are all so different, the centerpiece was a stunning large gem with a traditional look and modern twist, to it’s right is this fabulous fish skeleton design, really unusual!

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To the left is this much more traditional design, but again it definitely has the look of the modern in it:

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Whilst yellow gold has been the staple of Turkish design there is a definite move over the last couple of years towards white gold.

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I adore this simple but really effective design – what you can’t see well from the picture is the stunning effect from all the diamonds making up the flowers…yes it was diamond…it was way out of my budget…
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I think this was the first time I saw any real rose gold either too, the three tactile bangles below would look fab all stacked up together!

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I am really fond of the use of traditional shapes and tessellating patterns which can be found in Turkish (and other!) jewellery, the bangles below were a fabulous example of this:

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I also found this unusual ring – I am not convinced it would be the most comfortable thing to wear but what a great look!

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Last but not least was my absolute favourite, featuring both earrings and pendant I very nearly invested a months wages in this necklace, I love the simple look but with traditional detailing, very classic.

  

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Guilt free jewellery – the charitable approach!

You may recall our previous post about charity wristbands, well we decided to expand our search of charitable support with a look at the jewellery in our local high street in North London.  Whilst we live in slightly different areas, one thing British high streets are not short of is charity shops!

We enjoyed our little excursion (although as always taking a buggy into charity shops on a Saturday is a bit traumatic!) and what we found was pretty surprising.  The range varied extensively, starting with the sublime at our local Cancer Research shop which has a great range of jewellery, including some brand new pieces.  We thought this was a really fantastic example of what a great contribution to fundraising jewellery could be.  There were some lovely items and a variety of styles, but what we thought was crucial was the fact that they managed to tap into the current style of chunk jewellery rather than simply being a mass of out dated older style jewellery.  The jewellery here was also really well displayed, definitely the best display we found on the high street (and I include some of the non-charity shops in this too!) which is difficult when your product is not a uniform style.

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Our local British Heart Foundation store came a close second – we weren’t allowed to take a picture of their display for the purpose of the blog but they had a good display of new jewellery, including some fabulous beaded bracelets.

 

Sadly not all our local stores were such shining examples of jewellery magnificence…I am not convinced about the merits of a large box of tangled jewellery which was how a nameless store decided to display it’s wares!
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That said I did managed to dig out a leaf pendant:

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but even our pair of bargain magpies couldn’t salvage anything else from the mess, we did try to buy the whole box to see if there was anything salvageable (I am certain the jewellery makers amongst you would find many great opportunities in here) but it was individual items only unfortunately!

 

Jewellery events between now and Christmas!

If you’re already panicking because the John Lewis Christmas advert is out but you haven’t bought your gifts and are in need of some scintillating shopping ideas; or maybe you’re sick of twinkling lights and looking for something delightful to distract you from Christmas, here’s a run down of some of the jewellery events coming up in November and December for a little sparkling escape!

 

November

Already running until 9 Nov : Spirit of Christmas, Olympia – but you’ll have to get your skates on!

Already running until 31 Dec : Inspire Exhibition, Walford Mill Crafts in Wimborne has an impressive 300+ makers on show

9th – January 2015 : Dazzle@Oxo are returning for the London Dazzle exhibition at the Oxo Tower Wharf in what promises to be a huge event with a host of talented designers ranging from new graduates to established makers

10th : F&L Designer Guides are hosting a #speeddateadesigner event at the Fable Bar, London, to help you meet talented engagement (and other jewellery!) ring designers to help you create your perfect jewels.  It’s a great opportunity to help you get to know someone who could create one of the most precious items of jewellery you will ever own.  Tickets must be pre-booked so check it out now!

12 – 16th : Country Living Christmas Fair, Islington at the Business Design Centre.  There are three of these in November at different locations and each of them feature some jewellery designers as well as a host of other gift ideas, do check out the exhibitors list for each different location to see if your favourite local jewellery designer will be there.

14 – 16th : Handmade in Britain, Chelsea.  Returning for it’s eighth year to this beautiful location the £7 entry fee should be well worth it – there’s even a private view on 13th for £18 which sounds like a great idea to treat a jewellery lover.  We’re particularly excited by some of the new graduates being showcased this year such as Alexandra Goodrick 

15th : Introduction to Jewellery Making, Newark, 3 hour workshop hosted by Aarticrafts by Fi (a fab blogger we follow) in conjunction with Crafty Betty.  It’s a simple intro to jewellery making but the really exciting part is the sheer number of pieces of jewellery and techniques covered.  It should be a really lovely opportunity to test yourself and your potential jewellering (not a real word I know) skills!

20 – 23rd : Country Living Christmas Fair, Glasgow at the SECC

21 – 23 : Brighton MADE fair, Corn Exchange.  If it’s anything like MADE London this is definitely worth a visit

21 Nov – 24 Dec : ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, the annual Contemporary Applied Arts Seasonal Selling Exhibition in Southwark Street promises to be a fantastic opportunity to see an extravaganza of creative joy.  Details aren’t out at the time of publishing but entry is likely to be free and should be a great way to fill a chilly afternoon

22 Nov – January 2015 : The Devon Guild of Craftsman are holding their annual MAKE fair, Bovey Tracey

22 Nov – January 2015 : Crafted for Christmas, New Brewery Arts Cirencester has a great selection of jewellers featuring, including friend of the blog Emma Swailes

27 – 30th : Country Living Christmas Fair, Harrogate at HIC

27 – 30th : Made in Clerkenwell, presented by Craft Central and spread over three venues, all within walking distance of each other, this growing event is not to be missed for anyone in London as it features over 100 designers (not all jewellers but what an opportunity to do all your Christmas shopping in one place!) and for the single ticket price you get unlimited entry!

28 – 30th : Cockpit Arts Open Studio, Holborn is a great chance to buy unique and original gifts, entry from £3 and at two different locations

29 – 30th : Crafty Fox Market, getting you into the Christmas spirit these markets offer much more than simply shopping opportunities

30th : Friend of the blog Genna Designs will be taking part in the WASPS Christmas sale, keep an eye on her website for details

 

December

4th : Brew-dog, Dundee – rumour of an exciting event with music and drinks…and jewellery…we’re keeping an eye on the website to see if anything arises!

5 – 7th : Online Marketplace Etsy is setting up an Etsy House for three days only in December in Covent Garden – we’ll be going so keep an eye out for us!  As well as sellling there will be live crafting and workshops – we recommend following on Twitter to keep fully up to date on this event.

5 – 7th : Cockpit Arts Open Studio, Deptford

6 – 7th : The Crafty Fox Market, Brixton

7th : Tea Green Pop Up Craft Fair, Malmaison  Dundee – no details as yet but a couple of designers are mentioning appearances so keep your eyes peeled!

9 – 10th : Farnham Maltings Christmas Fair returns for its 10th year

14th: Bust Christmas Craftacular at the Islington Metal Works promises DJs, drinking and shopping…plus cake and tea…could there be a better way to buy jewellery?!

 

Have we missed your event out?  Do let us know – we’re always happy to share jewellery related events with our followers and we’d love to hear from you: Twitter @throughtheloupe / http://www.facebook.com/adventuresthroughtheloupe / adventuresthroughtheloupe@outlook.com / Instagram: @adventuresthroughtheloupe

 

 

Moroccan Jewels

Ok so I’m a bit batty about all things Moroccan, in particular I love the creative culture and looking at the work of the highly skilled artisans. I have some modern Moroccan jewellery which still has a traditional feel and look to them but where did these motifs and themes come from, I wanted to look to the past and to the Berber people who were a great influence on the aesthetic culture of the country and who’s influence can still be seen today.

The Berbers are believed to be the original inhabitants of North Africa, they converted to Islam at an early date, but kept their language, customs and identity. As they were typically farmers and county people, their dress was more rustic than that of Arabs, they used draped fabric, held together with brooches.

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Traditional Berber robes and brooches

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Jewellery was a symbol of wealth and an investment, women would sell pieces to buy something else or to raise money when needed, even buying animals and land. Women would therefore often act as the family banker. Jewellery was not usually of sentimental value and was often melted down for new pieces to be created.

Berber jewellery was made almost entirely of silver, enriched with niello work, enamel, engraving, repousse and semi-precious stones, the colours used have a symbolic meaning. Necklaces of huge amber beads were often worn which were believed to have protective properties.

Enamel and engraving work can be seen here, along with heavy amber beads

Enamel and engraving work can be seen here, along with heavy amber beads

 

The main pieces of Berber jewellery – best seen at weddings and at harvest time – include head ornaments, which may be crown like or made from silver coins. Earrings were usually so large that they had to be supported on a chain running across the head or hooked into the hair, and pendants which hung over the temples. Various necklaces where worn, along with rings, pairs of bracelets including star-shaped and heavy Ait Atta ones, (a Berber tribe) the points of which could be used for self- defence. Anklets would be worn typically horseshoe in shape. Finished off with pairs of large silver brooches for holding the draped robes in place.

Heavy brooches and various necklaces seen with coins in the head-dress

Heavy brooches and various necklaces seen with coins in the head-dress

 

A crown like head ornament

A crown like head ornament

 

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Pointed rings used for self-defence

 

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Pointed bracelets used for self-defence

These traditional materials and shapes are still seen in some form in jewellery today, so it is inspiring for me to think of the rich heritage that has influenced the jewellery I have brought home from my travels there!

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My traditionally inspired modern Moroccan finds

 

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My traditionally inspired modern Moroccan finds

 

Goldsmiths’ Fair – 2014

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For over 30 years the magnificent Goldsmiths’ Hall in the heart of London has been showcasing the very best in British design and craftsmanship in the precious metals.  The annual ‘Goldmiths’ Fair’ this year continues the tradition, but with a new approach to the concept and with many new  and exciting exhibitors.  The fair allows the public to purchase pieces direct from the designer-makers over the two week period – in perfect time for Christmas!  The event contains the latest collections from 170 leading designer-makers, each exhibiting for one week, selected by an expert judging panel assembled by the Goldsmiths Company.

The new look fair, feels fresher and more spacious, the clean lines of the white stands clearly define the individual spaces without looking cluttered and tight, the exhibitors are happy to talk about their pieces and to allow you to take a closer look & try things on!

 

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There are plenty of new exhibitors this year, including Clara Breen who’s colourful pieces caught my eye, Clara incorporates paper into her beautifully crafted pieces, including these ‘Fossil’ Earrings with removable part; Oxidised silver, vermeil, citrine and paper. (week one, stand 15)

 

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Other tempting week one exhibitors include Shivani Patel, Melissa Rigby, new exhibitors Amy Keeper  and Tanja Ufer.

 

A new feature of the fair this year has been Goldsmiths’ Fair Revels ‘Zaha Hadid Selects.’  For the first time the fair has invited an iconic figure from the design world to make a selection of her favourite pieces from the 170 exhibitors. The internationally renowned architect has selected 21 pieces of jewellery and silver which have been displayed together at the start of the fair. Her selection is bold and diverse and all are testimonies to cutting edge design and techniques – here are a couple of my favourites from her selection:

 

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Tom Rucker’s Ring GEO. AEGEANA – This artist goldsmith uses state of the art laser welding technology in conjunction with master goldsmith skills to create his unique pieces, skills which are supremely in evidence in this stunning ring, the intricate laser welding of the wire work and the rich combinations of colour, texture and materials makes this ring a work of art and craft. (week one, stand 78)

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Ute Decker’s – ‘In Praise o Shadows’ Earrings – reminiscent of folded pieces of paper these minimalist but tactile earrings are striking and substantial in size but look effortlessly wearable and have a pleasing fluidity to their overall sculptural appearance. (week one, stand 4)

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It’s all change in week two, and I’m looking forward to checking out the work of  Ornella Iannuzzi (week two stand 72) whose distinctive pieces include this stunning ring:

 

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“A l’Ere Glaciaire”

Also Chris Boland, and Charmian Harris who have both used a variety of interesting gemstones in their bold pieces.

‘Monolith rings’

‘Monolith rings’ by Chris Boland

 

Opal bracelet set with 22ct gold & diamonds by Chairman Harris

Opal bracelet set with 22ct gold & diamonds by Charmian Harris

 

As you can imagine with 170 exhibitors there are far too many dazzling pieces to mention here and as this is a jewellery blog I haven’t even began to feature the many outstanding pieces of silversmithing work on show at the fair as well, definitely worth a look if you manage to visit!

Dates for the Fair 2014

Week one Monday 22 September 2014 – Sunday 28 September
Week two Tuesday 30 September – Sunday 5 October
Closed on Monday 29 September for the change-over.

11am – 6.30pm daily
Thursdays open 8.30pm

 

The Goldsmiths’ Company are also offering a series of breakfast talks over the course of the fair – these feature experts from the jewellery world speaking about their area of specialty, there are some really exciting talks scheduled (for example this morning was Edward Johnson – the London Director of the GIA!) but these are booking up quickly so if you’re interested do have a look at the website for booking details.

An evening in Nude….Jewellery

Sorry about the title, we just couldn’t resist!  We were lucky enough to be invited along to Nude Jewellery last month to celebrate the relaunch of this amazing boutique in the heart of Mayfair.  The store showcases the best of up and coming contemporary designers and a trip to the store is akin to visiting a gallery, there’s a real range of texture, material and style.  It’s located in a lovely leafy square and on a sunny summer afternoon it was a great part of London to be in.

 

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Naturally greeting us with cupcakes and bubbles tends to go down well (note to future friends 😉 ) but having admired Nude Jewellery from afar it was really great to meet Nikki and Clara and explore the store.

 

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What is particularly lovely about Nude is the level of knowledge they have about their jewellery and designers, it’s a really personal approach and this is clearly something that is important to the owner Nikki Galloway.  Her drive to bring new designers to the public means that there is an ecclectic mix, and her enthusiasm is contagious.

Particular highlights for us were:

Discovering the amazing design talents of Rosie May – her delicate functional designs are unique and interesting.  Miniature cogs and spokes that can be rearranged by the wearer.  These have an amazing finish and thank you to Clara for doing a fab demo for us.

 

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It was hard to choose where to look next, but this fabulous Vesper collection by Cara Tonkin caught our eye, it’s a really unusual style made up of swinging strands of silver chain oxidised in part to give a cascade of shadow.   The bracelet was amazing to try, it can be attached to a chain to convert it into a statement necklace too which is amazing.  It’s a really striking collection, very weighty and the movement from the pieces is really appealing.  They are real red carpet pieces at first glance, but they would actually set off pretty much any outfit – incredibly versatile.

 

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Having enjoyed the entries for the Nude Jewellery Graduates in the Spotlight competition I had been particularly looking forward to seeing Dovile Bertulyte’s work in the flesh, and it was well worth the wait!  They really are brilliantly designed and truly creepy, they have a surprising weight to them and I couldn’t really not try one on!

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There were so many fantastic designs we can’t possibly mention them all, a special word for the Spin collection  (below) which was stunning:

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The acrylic and lace pieces were a really unusual take on jewellery, we loved the light yet chunky effect.  We haven’t seen much in this sort of style before, they are particularly interesting as each piece is individual.

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The Crevice collection by Jessica Nam also captured our focus because it has such a contemporary look which really draws the eye into the gems.

 

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The Skyline collection pieces were mini works of art, really incredible

 

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I wish I’d taken a closer look at the Lava collection by Carina De Jager, and the Andrew O’Dell collection but my husband is grateful (for the sake of our mortgage payments) that I didn’t invest in my favourite piece…I’ve got it on my wish list

To be fair it was hard to find anything not to like about any of the jewellery in store when we visited.  As a designer herself we had a chat with Nikki and we look forward to sharing this with you in a future post!

New Designers 2014

 

A quick trip to the New Designers exhibition last month left me inspired to get back to the bench!

New Designers is an event to showcase the best in new and emerging design talent across a range of disciplines.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go around the whole event, I did however make a beeline for the jewellery/precious metal section.  Every material I could think of was represented there, along with some more traditional materials and designs, which were somewhat drowned in the sea of the avant-garde.

 

There are over 3000 exhibitors at New Designers, and of course not all jewellers, so here’s a taste of some of the highlights:

The wooden jewellery of Sayoko Kobayashi was beautifully crafted and  I was fascinated to hear about some of the techniques she used for staining the wood, which included raspberry juice and onion skins!

 

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My colleague and friend had her head turned by the laser cut rubber range of body adornment pieces produced by Black Lune,  truly statement pieces with such a unique look and feel.

I’m pretty sure my co-blogger would have enjoyed seeing the crocheted wirework of Sheila Zeat, [yes you’re right I would have loved to see this as a crochet addict!]

Being a gem lady myself, I was drawn to Lindsay Hill’s  rings, in particular the large geometric ring with movable stone, this designer won the Weston Beamor Award for her work, a great achievement.

 

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There were a number of awards handed out at the event and a list of the winners can be found here.  As I mentioned above there are a number of areas of design featured, but we make special mention of Karen Elizabeth Donovan who won the Goldsmiths’ Company award for Jewellery with her stunning designs.

Although there were so many to choose from, my favorite piece was a wonderfully tactile gold strip layered ring from the LISSOM collection of Mireia Rossell  showing in the one year on section (along with Black Lune) which welcomes back some previously shown graduates to chart their progress.  One size fits all[FYI your co-blogger is ridiculously jealous that you tried this on and wants a go herself]!!  The ring was comfortable to wear and oh so springy!  I was advised you could play with the shape and wear it different ways even stretched out as a neckpiece!  Although I was too afraid of damaging this lovely ring to try it out myself, I was most impressed when the designer demonstrated on herself!  If you want to see what I am talking about do have a look at her website:

 

 

So what do you think – stars in the making? We’ll be keeping an eye out….

 

If you’d like to check out any of the other jewellery (or indeed not jewellery) exhibitors from New Designers 2014 – One Year On you can find a list here and here.  We’ve picked out the jewellers for you below (if we’ve missed anyone out do let us know!):

 

Alice Barnes Jewellery

Alice Clarke

Anais Paulard

Beatrice Mayfield

Han-Chieh Chuang

Chloe Herrero

Christiana Christforou

Hamish Dobbie

Kelly Munro

Kirsty Stewart

Mirka Janeckova

Rhona McCallum

Sofie Boons

Stefanie Cheong

 

 

If you’re a blooming designer why don’t you apply to exhibit at New Designers next year?!