London's Leopards leap into action

I joined the London Leopards last night for the inaugural Leopard Awards at Goldsmiths’ Hall to celebrate the role of jewellery in film, fashion and art.

The London Leopards

Hundreds of candles burned bright in the splendid chandeliers that light the magnificent main Livery Hall of Goldsmiths’ Hall in the City of London as over 200 jewellers, celebrities and patrons sat down to dinner and to witness the first-ever Leopard Awards.

The Leopards are a self-styled group of prominent figures in London’s jewellery milieu that describe themselves as a: “…like-minded group of British designers and jewellery professionals who have come together to celebrate the wonder, art and desire that jewellery inspires…The collective ambition of The Leopards is to preserve the expertise, innovation and design excellence established over the past seven centuries and to identify, nurture and promote new and exciting talent, critical to its future.”

The founding Leopards are Carol Woolton, jewellery editor at Vogue UK, PR consultant at De Beers Susan Farmer and jewellers Solange Azagury-Partridge, Theo Fennell, Stephen Webster and Shaun Leane. Named after London’s Leopard Hallmark for gold and silver that has been in use since 1363, this is the group’s inaugural event.

As Carol Woolton explained in her speech: “We have been getting together after work for several years in pubs around London. But somehow, things never took off. It wasn’t until I insisted on 9am meetings over coffee that finally we managed to put a plan in place.”

The Leopard Award for Jewellery in Fashion was presented to Daphne Guinness, who has been a muse to many designers in both the fashion and jewellery industries. Image courtesy of Dave Benett.

The first half of the dinner ceremony was dedicated to the Leopard Awards, which recognise those who have supported the UK’s jewellery industry. Solange Azagury-Partridge designed the handsome Leopard Award trophies, one of which was handed to Richard Edgcumbe, Senior Curator at the V&A Museum for Jewellery in the Arts. Gareth Pugh presented the Fashion Award to Daphne Guinness. The Legend Award went to Sir Elton John CBE while Vanessa Kirby won Jewellery on Screen award for her portrayal of Princess Margaret in Netflix series The Crown.

The final awards were in association with the Prince’s Trust mentorship programme. Four young jewellers, Louis Browning, Katherine Anderson, Mollie Rose Hemming and Hannah Jackson, were chosen from those who submitted their London-inspired designs and awarded a mentorship programme. The winning designs will be produced under the guidance of The Leopards and sold commercially. 

Four young jewellers received Leopard Future Stars Awards, in association with the Prince's Trust: left to right, Mollie Rose Hemming, Louis Browning, Katherine Anderson, and (not pictured) Hannah Jackson. Image courtesy of Dave Benett.


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