Fancy a little drive, the wind in your hair, beautiful countryside…but not so keen on visiting castles, abbeys or birthplaces?
Let me take you on a JEWELLERY ROADTRIP! No, not to the Hampton Courts, Giant Causeways or Blenheim Palaces of the industry, but its secret walled gardens, picturesque manor houses and stunning vistas…..yes, the little gems off the beaten track. Places, where you’re not just sold pricey tickets and pre-packed sandwiches, but offered home-made cakes, freshly brewed coffee and a smile… metaphorically speaking!
So fasten your seatbelts……..and bring an overnight bag!
Let’s start our trip in the capital:
NUDE JEWELLERY (London)
Established in 2001, Nude is an independent London jewellers based in the heart of Mayfair, central London. The chic and slightly edgy boutique is tucked away in Shepherd Market and prides itself on stocking handmade jewellery by leading local, national, and international designers, aiming to bring you the best of British. Owner and award-winning jewellery designer, Nikki Galloway takes the time to seek out hard-to-find or up-and-coming jewellers from around the globe.
In 2014 Nude Contemporary Jewellery created a FEATURED DESIGNER opportunity each month for innovative, independent jewellery designers to showcase their collections in their Mayfair boutique and be the feature of their jewellery shop for one month.
“We feel it is extremely important to promote handmade jewellery and independent jewellery designer makers. At Nude Contemporary Jewellery we are always keeping our jewellery up to date, unusual and modern, therefore we will be choosing designers that are fully established and also some who are just starting out in the industry and help give them more publicity.”
Her passion for design and love of contemporary, unique and unusual designer jewellery is obvious the minute you enter her shop. The stunning work on offer covers a broad range of materials from leather, acrylic, titanium and silver, to gold, platinum, pearls, precious and semi-precious gem stones. As well as stocking several of her own exclusive and popular jewellery ranges including Glitterball, Goldball, Nude’s Little Gems and the Classic Pearl Collection, Nikki Galloway designs and creates bespoke jewellery for weddings, engagements and red carpet events, and has worked on hundreds of bespoke jewellery commissions over the years including for the Sultan of Brunei.
And as if all that wasn’t enough – at Nude Jewellery they offer a variety of jewellery courses to suit different skill levels. So you might want to book a weekend in London and try your hand at making your own bespoke piece!
We’re heading west now – to Plymouth – meander along the coast if you want, or just take the M4/M5 if you need another jewellery fix quickly!
VICTORIA SEWART CONTEMPORARY JEWELLERY (Plymouth)
As a successful jewellery designer for over 20 years, opening a gallery was the next logical step for gallery owner, Victoria Sewart, so in 2006 Victoria Sewart Contemporary Jewellery Gallery was established. The first of its kind in Plymouth.
“I have always wanted to run my own gallery. It is a fantastic opportunity to bring the very best of contemporary jewellery design to a wider audience,” says Victoria.
Having completed her Masters degree in 2005, Victoria’s work changed direction and she began to make more sculptural fine art pieces. This gave her the impetus to establish a gallery to showcase her own work and that of her contemporaries.
“The main inspirations for my work are the aesthetics of form, structure and material composition. Earlier in my career I worked with traditional metals incorporating solid geometric compositions, but latterly became driven to find a material to work with that would have a more organic and textured quality.
My most recent collection investigates the properties of stainless steel mesh, a material that is rarely used in contemporary studio jewellery.”
The gallery has grown in reputation with customers re-visiting from all over the UK and the world, proving that contemporary doesn’t mean whacky, un-wearable and over-priced, but stunning, fresh and affordable jewellery. With this in mind they decided to create an online gallery so that those who cannot visit the gallery can still purchase unique, inspiring and high quality contemporary jewellery by designers living and working in Britain.
Vicky’s passion for her work and gallery is infectious, in fact her whole team ooze knowledge and friendliness. The selection of jewellery you find in this beautiful shop is fantastic, but if you still can’t find the right piece, they offer a special commission service….well, and if you fancy yourself as a bit of a jeweller and are a hopeless romantic, Vicky offers classes to make your own wedding bands!
What a wonderful start to your future together!!
Heading north, with a desire for a bit of vintage, our next stop is Leamington Spa.
SYDNA (Royal Leamington Spa)
Sioned and Ann established Sydna Jewellers in November 2009. Named after Ann’s grandmother, Sydna is a celebration of a family’s love of jewellery and of the stories that can accompany individual pieces.
Sioned gained an interest in gemmology whilst also working in local auction houses, and was accepted to study with the internationally recognised Gemmological Association of Great Britain, Graduating in Gemmological studies (FGA), and specialising in Diamond Grading (DGA).
Fiercely proud of their heritage, the contemporary range showcases the very best of Great British hand crafted work, and to prove that old and new can sit side by side, this is complemented with a treasure-trove of vintage and collectors pieces, featuring sought-after original jewellery.
If you are after something unique to you, a bespoke service is available. Working with Sioned, you can design your own piece, which is then crafted out of the materials you have chosen. Synda always welcome visitors to come and share in their passion for beautiful and unique jewellery, so don’t be surprised that time flies when browsing through their boutique collection of rare and wonderful pieces.
Sydna Florence Adaire Jones was Sioned’s Grandmother, though she was known to all simply as Queenie. She first introduced Sioned to jewellery as they watched old films together during the school holidays whilst rummaging through her collection of jewellery that she hid under the bed in old soap boxes.
To celebrate the love that Queenie had for remarkable jewellery, Sydna Jewellers have curated a collection of pieces that they think best reflect the her ideal that a piece doesn’t have to be expensive to be special, but what counts is its personality, and how it makes you feel when you wear it. I don’t know about you, but I want a quick coffee or tea break, devour a scone or two and then head further north to the Midlands.
Franny & Filer is a unique contemporary jewellery and craft gallery, set up by jewellery designers Frances Stunt and Abby Filer with the aim to provide emerging designers specialising in handmade jewellery with a modern space to showcase their talent, alongside a hand-picked selection of established designers.
Being a small independent retailer Franny & Filer strive to be different. Fran and Abby make all of their own jewellery collections in store, allowing customers to see the techniques, skills and time spent creating each unique and original piece. This results in a friendly, down to earth environment where shoppers can feel confident and comfortable choosing that special gift for a loved one or simply a well deserved treat for themselves. And trust me, you would want to treat yourself! And they are really putting their stamp on the map by stocking exciting designers to cater for different tastes and budgets.
After time in the buzzing city it’s off to the country. Yorkshire to be precise, and the stunningly picturesque Nunnington. Now, our next stop might not be what you expect on a Jewellery Road Trip, but bearwith me!
An inspiring art gallery in the heart of North Yorkshire exhibiting eye-catching contemporary sculpture and exquisite ceramics from some of the UK’s finest artists and makers. The relaxed environment allows visitors to explore and engage with an inspiring collection of contemporary British artwork. The key element is that it is not a stuffy atmosphere, many visitors are speechless on first entering the gallery, such is the unexpected presentation.
Owners Kate & Nick Bentley encourage hands-on exploration of the works on display and are always happy to discuss and explain works with the same level of passion that was used in their creation. There is always an eclectic mix on work on display, sourced from all over the British Isles.
Now why did I take you there, you might ask? Simply because they are now also showcasing jewellery! The selection might not be as vast as in your usual jewellery shop, but having witnessed the passion Kate and Nick show for design and simply all things beautiful, and the speed at which their gallery is growing, you can be sure that what is at the moment a hidden gem, will sparkle very brightly!
Leaving Yorkshire it’s now off across the border to Scotland where there is much more to be had than thistle brooches and Charles Rennie Mackintosh-esque jewellery.
ROCKCANDY GALLERY (Edinburgh)
Established in 2006 by designers Danielle Wilson and Susanna Hanl, Rockcandy Gallery showcases beautiful designer and one-off jewellery from British and international designers, most of them exclusive to them in Edinburgh, but also supports up and coming small designers to create a vibrant and tantalizing mix for jewellery-lovers.
The name Rockcandy, meaning jewellery and gems, was chosen as it reflects perfectly the mix of men’s and women’s collections and materials, such as silver, gold, platinum, steel, titanium, tungsten, zirconium, diamonds and semi-precious stones.
All the Rockcandy Team are designer-makers with very different styles, which enhances the variety of jewellery available in their shop. There is a great selection of men’s jewellery too, from bracelets, rings, pendants to a small selection of watches.
Visiting these wonderful shops, it is refreshing to see passionate, knowledgeable people at work and to receive excellent customer service without overly-keen commission driven sales assistants breathing down your neck. You will come home with the comforting feeling that there is fabulous jewellery out there, not mass-produced, but lovingly handmade and that British design is going strong.
Well…… there might even be that piece of jewellery coming home with you!
Credits with thanks:
NUDE JEWELLERY www.nudejewellery.co.uk
VICTORIA SEWART CONTEMPORARY JEWELLERY www.victoriasewart.com
ROCKCANDY GALLERY www.rockcandygallery.com
Susanna Hanl www.susannahanl.com
Torz Cartwright www.torzcartwright.co.uk
Abby Filer www.abbyfilerjewellery.co.uk
Frances Stunt www.francesstuntjewellery.com