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The graduate class of 2021 overcame a year of disruption and very different working environments due to Covid restrictions, to created some extraordinary work. These efforts were recognised with the annual Theo Fennell Awards for Best Concept, Best Technical and Overall Achievement for the RCA Jewellery & Metalwork, graduating class.

The RCA students have all done a magnificent job of working through the Pandemic and the work Jingwen Yuan and Mairi Millar exhibited our two top prize winners was extraordinary. We are thrilled that these prizes are still part of the student’s big day, as they have been for so many years, as we will do anything we can do to encourage young people into this grate trade.

Theo Fennell

The Winners

Overall – Jingwen Yuan

Calculating Poetry- Surface- Origami- A Moonlit Night On The Spring River (excerpt)

Calculating Poetry-Plane-Decoding- Selected Poems of Li Bai

Calculating Poetry- Surface- Origami- A Moonlit Night On The Spring River I (excerpt)

Calculating Poetry- Surface- Origami- A Moonlit Night On The Spring River II (excerpt)

Calculating Poetry- Surface- Origami- A Moonlit Night On The Spring River III (excerpt)

Jingwen’s works are are discussions of poetry. She uses mathematical formulas to visualise poetry and expresses emotional poetry through rational mathematics. Her work has a sense of order and is also another form of expression of poetry. The confrontation between rationality and sensibility in her work is her thinking about ‘what is poetry’

Best Concept – Mairi Millar


A ring that speaks to guilt and responsibility, it bleeds when washed and afterwards leaves an intaglio of a permanent ‘wound’.

Mairi Millar is a multidisciplinary artist from Trinidad & Tobago whose practice center’s on the materiality, power and the ritual of objects.

For millennia, humans have always held a strong relationship with the sense of touch when it come to belief. Clutching a talisman, wearing an amulet close to our skin, a stature worn down and polished from years of pilgrimages; tangibility gives us that sense of control amid chaos.

Throughout the history of jewellery we have countless examples of humans placing faith in small objects we can carry and hold close to us. Whether its our hopes or fears, having a vessel for these abstract emotions that we can see and hold helps us to better understand them. When we place so much of ourselves in an object, when it lies intimately on our skin and carries our aura long after we’re gone, where’s the line? When does the objects’ matter become our own?

Best Technical – Stamp Sangsuk-iam & Yu Chen

Stamp Sangsuk-iam

Fly Me To The MoonNecklace

‘Key Tray’ & ‘Life Music’

Stamp Sangsuk-iam is a Thai artist / designer-maker. She studied for a BA (Hons) Industrial Design at Chulalongkorn University, before studying for an MA in Jewellery & Metal at the Royal College of Art. Her work has always been influenced by sounds around her. She likes to use the sound properties of objects as a language to communicate to the world.

‘Everything around us is like an instrument, our interaction controls rhythm and tune and it’s all composed together by our living. Sound in our daily life has unique characteristics which intuitively tells a story of its own.’
Stamp’s practice is mainly influenced by sounds from our living world. She enjoys exploring the sound properties of everyday objects together with observing our intuitive interaction with them. Spending most of her time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, she started to hear and see her family relationship through sounds and interactions from her domestic life. Her current practice, Life Music, turned simple everyday objects in the house into sound objects which communicate the story of family relationships.
Stamp’s hope is that, after hearing and seeing her work, it will change your listening experience, at least a bit, because there are so many beautiful sounds around us that we ignore.

Yu Chen (Cyan Chen)

Yu Chen is a contemporary jewellery designer living in China. She completed a BA in product design at Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology and an MA in Jewellery & Metal at RCA. Cyan is deeply committed to the culture of her generation and to using jewellery as a means to record and comment on contemporary life experiences.

Do You Really Want It?

In this series, Cyan tries to challenge the audience to consider: which is more important, the material price or artistic value? People keep and carry bags with logos to imply that they have the capacity to consume luxury goods. In other words, shopping bags and products have the same function. The value of paper is higher than the price of paper. From paper bags to shopping bags, the value and price of the brand is more than that of the paper. For example, Tiffany shopping bags are full of commercial elements. Using the traditional Chinese paper-making technique, the shopping bag becomes paper pulp. Cyan’s work strips out the price and value of the brand, but retains the colour to indicate the source of the material. By reshaping the physical form, the value of classic jewellery design and the value of craft are given to paper. At the end, the price of paper is still cheap: do you really want it?

Dongting Pearls

Social status is not the most important or valuable aspect of life. What is really valuable in life? Cyan’ believes the answer is – food. She chose rice as a material because, in China, rice has a thousand-year history of cultivation. The status of rice in Chinese food culture is like the central precious stone in jewellery. However, as the quality of life improves, hunger is no longer a problem. People start to waste food. She uses rice instead of gems to imitate the jewellery production process. After comparing the colour, wholeness, hardness and shape of different kinds of rice, she selects glutinous rice as a material. Using rice, Cyan imitates the process of selecting, measuring and sorting gems. Cyan uses rice that originates from the Dongting Lake. Set into the jewellery, the individual grains are as pure and white as pearls. 

Gilded Youth

Theo Fennell has an ongoing commitment to supporting the jewellery industry through our Gilded Youth initiative which aims to encourage great designers for the future as well as giving a voice to emerging young jewellery and silver talent.

The Gilded Youth project is our ongoing mission to support and nurture the best master jewellers and designers of the future. The reason we sponsor prizes, awards and initiatives for young starters, apprentices and college students, at, amongst others, The RCA, Central St Martins and The Goldsmiths Centre – is to try and help them prepare for the future and promote the extraordinary young talent we have in this country.

Theo Fennell

2021 is the 13th year that Theo Fennell have sponsored the BA Jewellery Design show at Central Saint Martins and presented their annual design awards. For the second year running students coped extraordinarily well with the limitations of Covid and produced outstanding levels of work across the board. This year we virtually awarded prizes to three students for Technical Achievement, Design and an Overall First prize.

‘In very difficult circumstances, the CSM students have produced some really interesting and accomplished work and I am delighted by how they rose to overcome the challenges of the last year or so. As always, it has been rewarding to work with them and the Theo Fennell award winners were very worth of their prizes’

Theo Fennell

The Winners

Theo Fennell Award First Prize: Roni Levy

Revealing

Roni‘s collection is a love affair with the onion. Its an affair that unfolds tear-jerkingly; in the quest for a nutritious kernel of truth, each layer of the journey is just translucent enough to invite deeper investigation. Composed entirely of onion skins, her biodegradable pieces bring romance to a material that has long been relegated to the scrapheap. Roni embodies the shedding of an onion through her collections metamorphic narrative. She begins with an intricate, defamiliarised composition of the onion, which she then peels back to reveal its true organic form.

Roni is a London based jeweller and artist. Whilst using a wide range of materials in her designs, her main passion lies in exploring the use of sustainable materials. Her skill-set incorporates a conscious approach to traditional bench work, by introducing transformative techniques that bring new life to otherwise “unwanted” waste products.

Theo Fennell Award For Technical Achievement: Ruby Mellish

Contemporary Self Portraiture

Ruby’s collection draws on her personal experience of isolation. Deprived of external inspiration, Ruby became her own muse, questioning her own perception of identity through the image of her eye. Her eyepieces subvert conventions of traditional self-portraiture by enabling the wearer to see from the artists perspective. Viewing the human eye as a vessel of ‘the self’, Ruby uses acetate to allow the wearer’s face to become part of each piece. By gradually distorting her eye, she shows the inability to truly capture the self, which is constantly fluctuating, inherently personal.

Ruby is an experimental jewellery artist who uses a wide range of materials and techniques to achieve unique outcomes. Her practice is primarily influenced by the body and carries surreal themes through the application of computer aided design and hand-crafting. She specialises in Photoshop, exhibiting her original interpretation of digital manipulation and converting virtual projects to life through a considered range of materials. 

Theo Fennell Award For Design – Imogen Burch

Emotive

Traditionally, rings memorialise specific events. In ‘Emotive’, Imogen steps beyond this, turning sober, commemorative rings into light-hearted versions of themselves while maintaining an emphasis on preciousness. From heirloom to cocktail to engagement, each ring sets aside weighty tradition, instead becoming fun, playful and kinetic. By each representing an individual feeling or emotion that is less present in traditional notions of ring-wearing, such as being tipsy, they collectively illustrate a more developed picture of the intimate wearer-ring relationship.

Imogen is a Jewellery designer and maker based in London. She explores the relationship between jewellery, emotions and people. She situates her practice within luxury fine jewellery as a means to navigate identity in a playful and light-hearted way. By reinterpreting and updating traditional pieces, she challenges the assumptions of what is expected from fine jewellery. She does this by designing objects that update traditional steadfast designs, in an attempt to connect people in a shared experience.

Gilded Youth

Theo Fennell has an ongoing commitment to supporting the jewellery industry through our Gilded Youth initiative which aims to encourage great designers for the future as well as giving a voice to emerging young jewellery and silver talent.

The Gilded Youth project is our ongoing mission to support and nurture the best master jewellers and designers of the future. The reason we sponsor prizes, awards and initiatives for young starters, apprentices and college students, at, amongst others, The RCA, Central St Martins and The Goldsmiths Centre – is to try and help them prepare for the future and promote the extraordinary young talent we have in this country.

Theo Fennell

Collection descriptions courtesy of Central St Martins BA Hons Jewellery & Design Catalogue

We were thrilled to create six important trophies again for the Qatar Goodwood Festival 27th -31st July 2021.

Congratulations to all the winning owners, trainers and jockeys!

The Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup

Won By Trueshan
Jockey: Hollie Doyle
Trainer: Alan King
Owner: The Singular Partnership

The Qatar International Stakes

Won By Lady Princess
Jockey: Oisin Murphy
Trainer: Thomas Fourcy
Owner: Khalifa Bin Shaeil Al Kuwari
The Qatar Sussex Stakes

Won By Alcohol Free
Jockey: Oisin Murphy
Trainer: Andrew Balding
Owner: J C Smith
The Qatar Nassau Stakes

Won By Lady Bowthorpe
Jockey: Kieran Shoemark
Trainer: William Jarvis
Owner: Mrs E L Banks

The King George Qatar Stakes

Won By Suesa
Jockey: William Buick
Trainer: Francois Rohaut
Owner: George Strawbridge
The Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes

Won By: Wonderful Tonight
Jockey: William Buick
Trainer: David Menuisier
Owner: Christopher Wright

Theo Fennell is probably the last company to design and hand make all their own silver in Britain. There is nothing to compare with the look and feel of handmade British silver. The pieces we make require unbelievably brilliant craftsmanship. We can produce pieces to suit perfectly your company and event.

Learn more about our Bespoke Silverware

On Sunday 9th May, a watch made by Roger Smith in partnership with Theo Fennell sold at Phillips Watch auction in Geneva for an astonishing $600,000. The ‘Onely’ was one of a set of 3 watches originally sold in 2006.

The White Gold ‘Onely Watch’ one of only three watches made by Roger Smith in collaboration with Theo Fennell.

Back in 2003 Theo came across Roger Smith, the brilliant and only apprentice to the legendary George Daniels. Theo commissioned three watches from Smith, incorporating the Fennell logo at 12 o’clock, one in each of yellow, red and white gold. They were named the ‘Onely Watch’ as only one of each was ever to be made and are signed by both principles on the movement. This watch marks a significant moment in Roger Smiths career and reflects Theo’s passion for timeless and unique design.

Original artwork for the ‘Onely’ watches in Red, Yellow & White Gold.

‘I have always been proud of the joint endeavor with Roger and the watches it produced. I am even prouder of Roger’s stellar career, the brilliant pieces he makes and his place in the horological firmament’

THEO FENNELL

It is one of the many projects that Theo has been involved in to encourage and further the career of young talent. This continues with Theo Fennell’s Gilded Youth initiative and with The Leopards, a collective of jewellery professionals.

Learn more about our Gilded Youth initiative.

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