BAJ Insight: The trailblazer, the original and the mastermind

BAJ Insight: The trailblazer, the original and the mastermind

Join us for our weekly BAJ:Insight on the latest industry trends by Rachael Taylor, a freelance journalist who writes about jewellery for a number of titles, including The Financial Times, The Jewellery Editor and Retail Jeweller. In her 10 years reporting on the industry, she has travelled the globe to visit key industry fairs, descended a Fairtrade gold mine on top of a Peruvian mountain, toured silver jewellery factories in Thailand, and regularly has access to the most sparkling jewels and people in the business.

No, they don’t all walk into a bar; although there was indeed a bartender on hand at the show when the winners of the IJL Editor’s Choice Awards 2017 (our trailblazer, original and mastermind) posed for their winners’ photographs.

These awards are handed out every year at London jewellery trade show IJL, and this year the categories were Creative Originality, Technical Trailblazer and Commercial Mastermind.

Here are the three winning collections, along with commentary from IJL and Editor’s Choice judge Claire Adler on just what makes each piece so special. Which is your favourite?

CREATIVE ORIGINALITY

Sea Rymes by Isabella Liu

Born in China and based in London, Isabella Liu is a multiple-award-winning jewellery designer and artist who founded her own design studio in 2014. Her Sea Rhymes collection is inspired by Japanese artist Hokusai’s The Great Wave, and Isabella’s fascination with the sound of the sea. Sculptural, swirling and curling lines represent the ocean. The curves of each piece are designed to embrace each stone like the ocean envelopes the body, which when moving, inspires the sound of waves gently lapping against the shore and transporting the wearer to a place of tranquility.

“Isabella Liu’s Sea Rhymes collection is statement jewellery at its best – bold, architectural and imaginative. It experiments with the notion of hearing the waves of the sea and experiencing their calming influence.”

Claire Adler, IJL Editor’s Choice judge

ISABELLA LIU Sea Rhymes Gold Square Bracelet_preview

Isabella Liu’s Sea Rhymes collection

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Isabella Liu’s Sea Rhymes collection

TECHNICAL TRAILBLAZER

Chromanteq bombe rings by The Rock Hound

The Rock Hound are gemmologist jewellers known for working with responsibly sourced, raw materials to create bold, design-led pieces. The Chromanteq Bombe Rings exhibit coloured gemstones from around the world, chosen as examples of saturation and life. They include green Namibian demantoids, vivid blue tourmalines, orange mandarin garnets, hot pink Mahenge spinels, pink kunzite and warm pinky-orange morganite. The jewels are further brightened with vibrant ceramics, coating recycled gold.

“All the way from sketching with gouache paints to the nano-ceramic coating, the Rock Hound pieces are a delicious burst of colour and a fusion of old-world techniques with a totally fresh finish.”

Claire Adler, IJL Editor’s Choice judge

The Rock Hound Chromanteq Ring Cluster

COMMERCIAL MASTERMIND

Bow and Arrow bracelets by Franco Florenzi

Franco Florenzi is a design-led brand focused on creating simple accessories for men and women. Attention to detail is at the core of its designs, and impeccable craftsmanship. The growing collection of Bow and Arrow bracelets designed for men and women are suitable for both classic and contemporary outfits. Each piece is designed in England, and the ultra-thin cord is complemented by the handcrafted Bow & Arrow detailing and is available in a variety of colours. Franco Florenzi’s has global role models to reach its target audience of 18 to 24 year olds – such as Olivia Buckland, Heather Watson and Daniel Goodfellow – supported by endorsements from footballers including Christian Benteke, Alberto Moreno and Jordan Ibe. As a result, the company has seen its social media followers surge to more than 600,000 across Facebook and Instagram, resulting in sales in 109 countries.

“Congratulations to Franco Florenzi’s appropriately named co-founder Lucky Nwosu and his associates on winning 2017 Editor’s Choice Commercial Mastermind. The brand is well positioned for further success in the years to come with robust business and social media strategies in place.”

Claire Adler, IJL Editor’s Choice judge

Franco Florenzi Noventa Nesta