Theo Fennell: Giving Back to the Jewellery Industry
Amongst a long list of successful designers that the jewellery industry has seen over time, there exist only a few who give it back to the industry generously. Theo Fennell, the master craftsman from London, is surely one of them. Theo is passionate about promoting and nurturing young talent and actively supports the future of the British jewellery and silversmithing industries.
In December 2013, the BA Jewellery course students of final year at London’s famous art and design college Central Saint Martins received a gift from Theo Fennell- a collection of five exquisite gemstones to be turned into wearable pieces of jewellery. The challenge was to design a piece of jewellery incorporating one the five stones: an emerald cut Green Tourmaline, a marquise Golden Beryl, a heart shaped Padparadscha Sapphire, an oval Pink Tourmaline and an Oval Tsavorite Garnet. The winners would be each awarded the stones they had designed around and get their jewellery piece manufactured by the most experienced and talented craftsmen in Theo Fennell’s Fulham Road workshop under the guidance of the Theo himself.
“We have long been involved with the jewellery courses at various Colleges, Schools and Universities in Britain and this initiative with Central Saint Martin’s is just the latest. We felt that this project would give the students a chance to see how a real commission works, using a real stone and having their designs made up by our workshop – one of the finest in the world. This gave me a chance to keep an eye on the jobs and the students the chance to learn how to interact with a real workshop. We then got them involved in the packaging and presentation of their pieces so that they learned what was needed, not just to realise the design, but to bring a work to a level at which it could be put in front of a very knowledgeable customer and the Press in our flagship”.
“Britain and London, are currently at the epicenter of the jewellery design world – from young students to established designers; it is also the heartbeat of originality and craftsmanship. This is an extraordinarily fertile phase we are going through and we want to be part of giving the young talent here as much opportunity as possible so it remains that way into the future” adds Theo fennel.
And the winners are:
Sarah Howson’s ‘Treasure’:
Padparadscha Sapphire used with a love of amulets & lucky charms are inspirations.
“I explored ways in which I could take trinkets out of storage and combine them to create wearable ‘treasure’. Working with Theo Fennell has enabled me to develop my collection one step further and to explore the fine jewellery world with humour and intrigue.”
Leonid Dementiev’s ‘Shine from Within’:
Tsavorite Garnet combined with a passion for innovation in material and a strong belief in ‘responsible design’ motivates his work. The surrealistic drawing by Vladimir Kuw ‘Sunrise by the Ocean’ inspired his design.
“Through the contrast of electric light and shadow; transparency of the form and lightness of the structure, I wanted to create the feeling of joy and tranquility.”
Zuleika Penniman’s ‘Under the Canopy’:
Golden Beryl with Nicobar pigeon as source of inspiration.
“Like a bird in flight, I play with the idea of solid vs. void in this ring, with one half remaining hollow while the other suspends a Golden Beryl.”
Tiffany Baehler’s ‘Camo’:
Green Tourmaline inspired by the visual trickery seen in the works of photographer Vivian Maier.
“In my ring the stone is deliberately hidden by metal flaps, the Green Tourmaline is waiting to be revealed and comes as a surprise when the flaps open. It is a playful, sculptural, and surprising piece.”
Lola (Ying) Lou:
Pink Tourmaline plays around the inclusions of the gemstones.
“I took silicon mode from crystals of different shapes and sizes and casted my own manmade gemstones using resin and adding pieces of my drawings inside. I wanted to create a connection between the Pink Tourmaline and my own stones. The pink and green colour has created the ‘watermelon’ Tourmaline.”