LONDON — Maybe it's the fragile nature of the world today, with heightened security and global flash points, that's making Britain's jewelry designers turn to delicate creations.
At the latest edition of Goldsmiths' Fair, the annual London showcase of U.K.-based emerging jewelry designers, the stands were filled with the most dainty of designs, including Tom Rucker's rings handmade from a crosshatch of fine platinum wire; Lilly Hastedt's barely-there gold chain bracelets dotted with peridots, tourmalines and diamonds, and Kelvin J. Birk's crushed and pulverized gemstone rings.
The fair, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, has long been a hunting ground for new talent and helped give designers such as Stephen Webster his start. This year, exhibitors included Jacqueline Cullen, who works with jet and has shown at the Donna Karan store in London, and Shaun Leane, who has worked with Alexander McQueen on his runway jewelry and props.
The fair is run by the Goldsmiths' Company, which has been responsible for hallmarking since 1300, and supports the craft and industry of precious metal jewelry. The exhibition takes place at the palazzo-like Goldsmiths' Hall in the City of London, on a site that has belonged to the company since 1339.
Some 160 designers showed from Sept. 24 through Sunday and the standouts included Kayo Saito, who said she wants her gold wire and freshwater pearl necklaces to be like "a floating mist" around the neck, and other silver necklaces to look like "leaf" skeletons.
"I like fragility, but wearable fragility," Saito said. "My jewelry is also strong because it has to be worn."
Rucker's delicate platinum rings and necklaces are laser-welded and look as if they could dissolve in the palm of one's hand.
"They look so delicate, but they're rock solid," said Rucker, whose inspiration is the legendary American architect and designer Richard Buckminster Fuller.
Ruth Tomlinson's jewelry has a delicate, organic feel. She often recycles old jewelry, stones, pearls or antique glass to make her rings and bracelets. She shapes her 24-karat jewelry by allowing small particles of gold to fuse together in a water tank."The whole feel of the collection is of treasures that might have been discovered," she said.
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