London’s most talented independent jewellery designers continue to play an integral role in cementing the capital’s reputation as the world’s greatest fashion city. The jewellers selected to take part in Rock Vault - the BFC initiative curated by the legendary Stephen Webster - returned to the Designer Showrooms at the spring edition of London Fashion Week last week to showcase their new fine jewellery collections.
Now in its eighth year, Rock Vault at London Fashion Week offers these designers an opportunity to further develop their businesses and also gives them a platform to launch their jewels to a bigger audience, both in the UK and internationally. As always, it was a real treat to see so many contemporary fine jewellers with such varying styles displaying their latest creations under one roof.
Ana de Costa joined Rock Vault last season, but her eponymous jewellery brand has been gathering pace since she graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2005. A true proponent of British manufacturing, all Ana de Costa jewellery is handmade in this country and she steadfastly refuses to outsource any part of the production. By combining traditional jewellery making techniques with a fresh, modern aesthetic, Ana mesmerises with jewels such as the incredibly detailed Lotus Bud ring. Crafted from yellow and rose gold and set with diamonds and tsavorites, it can be worn on its own or with a pair of mismatched Ana de Costa earrings in the shape of fallen petals.
Another Central Saint Martins graduate, Rachel Boston showed us her new Contra fine jewellery collection, which includes transformable diamond rings that can be flipped over to create a different look when the mood takes you. While clean lines and repetitive shapes continue to run through the Shimell and Madden jewellery collections, the new Parallel range sees a shift from circular to quadrilateral forms. Using mathematical concepts, straight lines of textured gold are aligned as parallel or perpendicular to create elegant multi-layered pieces set with diamonds or coloured gemstones.
COMPLETEDWORKS, the jewellery brand set up by siblings Mark and Anna Jewsbury, is known for its avant-garde pieces that play on the contrast between high-quality materials and purist elements. The latest collection, Fluid, explores the mutability of forms through jewels that were first created from lengths of rolled clay, which were kneaded and shaped by hand.
Rachel Shaw, the designer behind Ruifier jewellery, has added new pieces to the emoji-inspired Visage collection, which captures the Zeitgeist of our social media-obsessed culture. As well as Ruifier necklaces depicting the ubiquitous “crying with laughter” emoji, animal faces picked out in gold and coloured gemstones have also joined the line-up.
Ornella Iannuzzi unveiled her latest ready-to-wear fine jewellery collection, Kristalik, inspired by the crystallisation of emeralds. As ever, the French designer displays an immaculate attention to detail and each ring has been designed with a left and right-hand version to ensure it sits perfectly on the finger. The new jewels are all available in matt or polished yellow, white or rose gold, and set with diamonds.
All the Rock Vault designers are continually pushing the boundaries with their creations and innovative uses of materials, including Jacqueline Cullen’s trademark Whitby jet and Lily Kamper’s signature pendants crafted from Picasso Jasper - a type of marble known for its distinctive lines and web-like markings. Renowned for its colour-changing gemstones, a range of Beth Gilmour jewellery sets bi-coloured tourmaline and quartz onto textured gold for an elegantly pared-back aesthetic.
Alongside Rock Vault, a number of other fine jewellery designers were also showcasing their collections in the Designer Showrooms. These included London-based Jessie V E, who has quickly gathered a celebrity following for her delicate, diamond-studded constellation rings, and Daou, the Lebanese jewellery brand revived by the founder’s granddaughter Dalia Daou.