SPOT CHECK: British jewelers Solange Azagury-Partridge, Shaun Leane, Stephen Webster and Theo Fennell showed off the glittering fruits of a year’s labor working with students in a Prince’s Trust mentorship program, during an event in London on Tuesday night.
Each designer worked with an aspiring jeweler to create original pieces, and also whipped up 18-karat gold and sterling silver versions of their signature styles to raise money for The Prince’s Trust. Azagury-Partridge created a leopard-print Hot Lips ring while Leane put the spots on his signature pointy-edged bangles.
The spots are a reference to The Leopards, a group of jewelers and industry supporters who are aiming to raise the profile of the British fine jewelry industry and support young talent together with The Prince’s Trust, the youth charity founded by Prince Charles more than 40 years ago. Guests, including Vivienne Westwood, Andreas Kronthaler, Emilia Wickstead and Sabine Getty, gathered at Fortnum & Mason in London on Tuesday night to toast the designers and the designs.
Azagury-Partridge said she spent much time with her mentee, Louis Browning, “refining, changing and modifying” and was impressed with his creativity and craftsmanship. “I would have never been able to dp that at his age,” said the jeweler who has just released her new Scribbles collection of flouro bright jewelry.
Leane said he loved watching his student Katherine Anderson create “without any financial constraints,” although he did say that he taught her a thing or two about how to marry the commercial and the creative sides of the business.
As for his own projects, Leane has been busy with a new diamond collection that will come out next week, his first large-scale installation in China, with Pace Gallery, set for the end of the year, and a furniture collaboration with Maker.
Earlier this month, Leane made his architecture and public art debut with the opening of the 21 Young Street apartment building in Kensington. Leane designed the building’s exterior metalwork, a graceful maze of leaves and vines.
It was the largest scale commission in the U.K. to be undertaken by a jewelry designer, and his metalwork for 21 Young Street will also be on permanent display at the V&A Museum in London. He said he’s keen to push the boundaries both of metalworking and of scale.