Esteemed jewellery show International Jewellery London (IJL) opened its doors yesterday to jewellery-enthusiasts and industry professionals from around the world. This dynamic event showcases the finest talents in the jewellery industry, from emerging designers to established gemologists and editors. Hosted in the heart of London, the JewelStreet team were enthusiastic to support the wider jewellery community at an event rich with innovation.
The day was filled with a succession of exciting events. From catwalk shows forecasting the upcoming jewellery trends to seminars offering advice on adapting to an ever-changing industry. Discover the highlights from day one of International Jewellery London
Asha Pitt leads conversation on the future of fine jewellery
There were a number of inspiring discussions over the day and technology was certainly a prominent topic of conversation. This aspect of the industry is driving innovation, with a large proportion of the exhibitors at IJL being related to technology. From CAD manufacturers to trailblazing technology-driven display companies, technology reaches all corners of the jewellery industry.
At one o’clock, Asha Pitt led a discussion panel of four female industry professionals who debated the future of fine jewellery. One of the panelists, Sukhi Julta, COO and co-founder of MarketOrders - a B2B platform connecting gold jewellery retailers to suppliers and manufacturers - provided insight into how blockchain and bitcoin was carving a new sphere in the industry. She drew upon her background in finance to comment on the increasing appetite for demi-fine jewellery and how technological advancement is contributing to this change.
Among the very interesting comments regarding creative design and the retail-supply chain, Julta made a comment about consumer desire that resonated very strongly with our ethos here at JewelStreet:
"People want to have beautiful jewellery. It needs to be different. They don’t want the same as someone else. I also believe there has to be an experience tied with it now as well."
Roz Buehrlen utilising the power of technology
Following on from the discussions about technology, we caught up with our designer Roz Buehrlen who was exhibiting alongside Sierra Consultancy, a 3D software company that helps designers produce their designs using computer-aided technology. Roz has recently collaborated with Sierra Consultancy to produce an intricate CAD jewellery design in silver. The design, featuring a tree of life symbol within a circle, was simply stunning.
It’s very rewarding and humbling to see how our amazing designers are pushing innovation in different ways. We had the privilege of seeing the different steps Roz took to produce the finished jewellery piece, which, for two marketeers, was eye-opening to say the least!
Young jewellery graduates innovating the industry
IJL are dedicated to championing young talents within the industry. Each year they celebrate the Bright Young Gems awards, which provides a platform to students and recent graduates who showcase their designs. 2019 was the 14th year IJL have celebrated the Bright Young Gems and seeing these young creatives’ exhibition stands proved just how influential young jewellers are in innovating the industry.
The jewellery spoke for itself. Firstly we met Eloise Kramer, a Central Saint Martins graduate who recently launched her eponymous jewellery brand. Kramer’s dedication to success was admirable. She is in full time employment as well as being the designer, maker and marketer of her incredible designs. (Images from Eloise's Instagram)
The jewellery itself is romantic, whimsical, and highly unique. We were taken by her peachy ring which features a half peach resin design fit on top of a copper band. Eloise was experimenting with materials and noticed how the way the light hit the copper through the resin created an iridescent and unusual reflection. Needless to say, we were obsessed. As well as an array of intriguing nature-inspired designs, Eloise also puts a lot of thought into her packaging, which itself forms an object of ornamentation. Her peach stone ring, for example, fits into a wooden, peach-shaped case, concealing an abundance of magic within.
Wen-Ju Tseng, another inspiring graduate from Central Saint Martins, baffled us with her humorous yet profound avant-garde pieces, which blurred the distinction between jewellery and art. Commenting on societal expectations, one of her stand out pieces was a ring in the shape of a credit card. Leading designs like Wen-Ju Tseng’s spark new and productive conversations in the industry, which itself is something to celebrate.
Some gemstones are so tempting, they look good enough to eat. So when we came across Bright Young Gem Isla Gilham’s quirky and chic designs, this concept immediately sprung to mind. Isla carved pristine bite marks out of precious gemstones to form a contemporary jewellery collection one can’t help but adore. Watch out for this leading designer as I’m sure she will soon be splashed across Vogue and Dazed.
An eye on the ethical - Kastur Jewels
One can see why Kastur Jewels won the leading lights award for Fashion Fusion. Not only does the brand create beautiful jewellery, both fashion and fine. But also, ethical standards and altruism lie at the heart of the brand. Rajvi Vora founded Kastur Jewels seven years ago after working in development and humanitarian aid in the most vulnerable and volatile parts of the world. A proportion of profits are donated to those in need. Rajvi comments:
“My aim is to give back directly in a way that I can oversee funding to projects myself. On the one hand a woman gets to own a beautiful heritage inspired jewel, embedded in history and glamour, at the same time she is helping improve another less privileged persons life!”
Bringing back the narrative behind jewellery
After an exciting but long day, it was an absolute pleasure to stumble across the stand of Michael Michaud Jewellery, which, in my opinion, was the real gem of the day. We were pleasantly greeted by the brand owner, Ralph Aichinger, who told us about the brand history and took us through some of the collections.
As an individual with a keen interest in art history, the influences behind many of the botanical designs - such as the Van Gogh-inspired sunflower jewellery - were visible yet truly authentic. The jewellery is made using actual flora; leaves, branches and flowers replace the wax in a process akin to traditional lost-wax carving. The result? Hyper-realistic botanical designs that emanate beauty.
Each piece purchased is accompanied with a delicate card describing the symbolism of each flower, plant and fruit. Attention to detail is so often lost with modern brands. However, for Michael Michaud Jewellery, it is through the detail that the brand is defined.
Thank you IJL for inviting us to such a wonderful event. The jewellery industry is rich with talent, and it's a privileged to be able to show our support at inspiring events like these.