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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

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021

Theo Fennell collaborate with Gold medallist nursery Primrose Hall Peonies

Virtual RHS Chelsea 17th – 23rd May.

We are delighted that our collaboration with Primrose Hall Nursery can finally go ahead in 2021, beginning with ‘Virtual Chelsea’ week. It shows how the thought, love and craftsmanship that go into creating an exquisite piece of jewellery is mirrored by the love, passion and care needed to nurture a peony to exhibition standard.

There is great synergy between the journey of designing, creating and crafting a piece of jewellery and breeding a new peony plant.

“Our Gallery, workshop and studio have been based in Chelsea for 40 years and it is our spiritual home. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is one of the great local, jolly events and a cornerstone of the London season.

As a company we have used flowers as an inspiration for years and my wife’s favourites are Peonies….so when Primrose Hall Peonies, the best Peony growers in the Kingdom, asked us to partner with them at the show, it seemed like a perfect fit.
We are very excited to be working with them, designing some Peony inspired jewels and showing them at RHS Chelsea flower show. We are much looking forward to it.”

THEO FENNELL

The thought, love and craftsmanship that is poured into creating an exquisite piece of jewellery is much like the care and attention needed to nurture a peony from bud to flowering maturity. Giving jewellery, like giving a gorgeous peony, is a joyous thing and an act of love. This collaboration with expert peony grower Alec White for the RHS Virtual Chelsea Show in May and the physical show in September 2021, perfectly depicts the closeness of this sentiment.

Primrose Hall Peonies is an RHS award-winning British nursery. They hold the National Collection for Intersectional peonies and stock the largest selection of rare and extremely collectable peonies for sale in the UK.

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.

The ethereal heart shaped Trellis Pendant with its intricately entwined woodland branches, adorned with leaves and flowers is home to a tiny sleeping flower fairy.

The intricacy of the pierced, diamond studded setting that hovers over the hand painted enamel landscape has been crafted by the master craftsmen here in our London workshop. This simple, and whimsical work of art is impeccably made.

Not only beautifully designed on the front, the attention to detail continues with the magnificent deep-engraving on the reverse; each minute detail of every leaf and flower have been painstakingly engraved by hand by one of the best deep-engravers in the world.

A true work of art that demonstrates Theo’s passion for beautiful design and exceptional craftsmanship.

“I have always loved the tradition of whimsical jewellery but it has to be really well conceived and made to succeed. The fairy, so much part of our tradition of folklore and poetry, is something that transcends kitch and can have its own precious beauty so I have always loved working with fairies”.

THEO FENNELL

The Chrysanthemum is a symbol of purity and its simplicity of shape lends itself to this uncomplicated design which make the drop stones the star of the piece. Such a crisp design needs exceptional hand-craftsmanship to craft it perfectly.

The chrysanthemum is one of Theo Fennell’s favourite natural shapes and they are used here to stunning effect in white gold, diamond set, to celebrate this stunning pair of Green Beryls weighing 92.63ct.

here to stunning effect in white gold, diamond set, to celebrate this stunning pair of Green Beryls weighing 92.63ct.

“Simple elegance is one of the most difficult things to design and achieve and we enjoy making no-frills elegance as much as we do the most Baroque pieces”.

THEO FENNELL

This exquisite one of a kind pendant pays homage to the majestic Koi Carp and its habitat.

Beautifully handcrafted in our London workshop from 18ct white gold and blue enamel, the front of the pendant showcases a stunningly cut blue topaz, surrounded by diamonds and intricately detailed Koi, waterlilies and a dragonfly.

Beautifully handcrafted in our London workshop from 18ct white gold and blue enamel, the front of the pendant showcases a stunningly cut blue topaz, surrounded by diamonds and intricately detailed Koi, waterlilies and a dragonfly.

“The Koi is no stranger to Japanese art and I wanted to see if we could use it to do something original that melded Eastern and Western jewellery traditions”

THEO FENNELL

Exquisitely made by our highly skilled craftsman in our London workshop, the Chinese Garden Ring has an African Green Tourmaline at its heart set in yellow and pink gold, surrounded by diamonds.

The intricately handcrafted ring is made entirely from 18ct yellow, white and rose gold. Decorated with yellow sapphire and diamonds, this stunning work of art opens to reveal your own perfectly detailed little bee.

“I was sketching a Chinese garden – outdoor sketches are often a starting point for my designs – and the little secrets of the garden seemed to suggest this sort of design. The stone mirrored the dominant colour of that garden”.

THEO FENNELL

Handcrafted in our London flagship workshop by our team of master craftsmen, this entirely one of a kind ring pays homage to two of the favourite animals in English literary tradition ; the good-natured Mole and the arrogant but loveable Toad.

Perched on a miniature golden bridge, the two characters seem to be deep in conversation. The detail of this delightfully whimsical ring is quite staggering – from the opening gates and hand-engraved bridge and river, to the minutely modelled figurines.

Entirely made in 18ct yellow gold, engraved with trees from the riverbank, the gentle scene is delicately enclosed by a rock crystal dome and surrounded by a halo of diamonds.

“A perfect scene taken from a quintessentially English book. I wanted to catch the moment in a childlike way in a very grown up piece…almost a toy. Our craftsmen did the rest”.

THEO FENNELL

Symbol of happy industry and maker of honey; the bee is one of Theo Fennell’s most beloved symbols. This exquisitely crafted ring pays homage to their place of work and social hub: the beehive.

The intricately handcrafted ring is made entirely from 18ct yellow, white and rose gold. Decorated with yellow sapphire and diamonds, this stunning work of art opens to reveal your own perfectly detailed little bee.

The level of expertise invested into this piece is breath taking: from the diamond and sapphire encrusted yellow gold honeycomb, to the delicate rose gold leaves which decorate the beehive itself – every detail has been handcrafted by our team of highly skilled craftsmen.

The opening rings are one of my delights, as is the bee, so it seemed natural to combine them.

THEO FENNELL

This incredibly detailed brooch is Theo’s reinterpretation of the portrait bust jewels that punctuate the history of jewellery and so often depicting great people. So Theo felt that Elizabeth I should be his first portrait brooch to be realised by his master craftsmen as she oversaw the zenith of such jewels.

The skull, carved in mammoth bone is framed by a delicate white gold and diamond ruff and crowned by hand carved citrine hair, studded with black diamonds above a sapphire and diamond dress to create an instantly recognisable and regal portrait.

The individual skills that have combined to create this one off jewel are outstanding. As always with Theo’s work, the incredible detail extends to the back of the piece. Hand engraved, filigree pattern work is a finishing touch to this most regal of broches that is the result of years of dedication and of great artisans honing their skills. Such pieces will be admired for generations.

“These are genuine works of art, and I don’t believe they could have been conceived, let alone made, anywhere else but here at Theo Fennell. We really are at the vanguard of the renaissance of one-off, hand-made jewellery”.

THEO FENNELL

This charming Railing bangle, each one unique, has been modelled on the much loved, traditional wrought iron railings that line London’s streets and in this instance the highly sought after Kings Road.

Crafted entirely by hand from 18ct Yellow gold, enamelled and set with diamonds. This bangle combines Theo’s passion for beautiful craftsmanship and original design with his enduring sense of humour and love of storytelling through originality and quirk.

The level of detail invested in this creation is staggering: from the hand painted enamelled street sign, modelled exactly on its real life counterpart, to the pampered pooches promenading around the square.

It is possible to have an entirely personalised bangle with our bespoke service. Whether you live on Eaton Square or Park Avenue, you have a Poodle or a Labrador, we can create to your exact specifications featuring the street-sign and pet of your choice.

“The level of detail invested in this creation is staggering: from the hand painted enamelled street sign, modelled exactly on its real life counterpart, to the pampered pooches promenading around the square. It is possible to have an entirely personalised bangle with our bespoke service. Whether you live on Eaton Square or Park Avenue, you have a Poodle or a Labrador, we can create to your exact specifications featuring the street-sign and pet of your choice”.

THEO FENNELL

For the 12th year Theo Fennell have sponsored the BA Jewellery Design show at Central Saint Martins and presented their annual design awards. Two students were awarded in two categories set by Theo Fennell – Best Design Proposal and Best Online Project.

This year was a first for the awards, which are traditionally held at the Central St Martins campus. Due to the COVID 19 crisis Central St Martins was forced to rethink their presentations and exhibitions, re-imagining them in a digital space. Students were tasked with virtually presenting their designs to Theo – with each student given only a few minutes to talk through their inspirations, year’s work and final piece. A further physical show will be hosted in January 2021, again sponsored by Theo Fennell, where Theo will be presenting two additional awards: Best Overall Piece and Best Technical Prize.

The Winners

Best Design Proposal: Olivia Woodhouse

Olivia’s collection explores the female body and simultaneously critiques its idealisation. By using suggestive “womanly” fruits such as peaches and pomegranates and manipulating them into chains, pendants, and rings, she conveys the ways that women are constrained from using their bodies freely. Olivia’s jewellery adopts glass as a symbol of fragility and strength, offering an alternative perspective to society’s view of the female body solely as a reproductive tool.

Best Online Visual Identity/Presentation: Hannah Bourn

Hannah’s collection explores the close connection between the human body and nature. She focusses on preserving organic forms and shapes whilst transforming natural objects collected from the seashore into pieces of jewellery. Drawing inspiration from biophilic design, which reconnects humans to nature, Hannah uses shells, pearls, and seaweed, adapting them for adornment of the human body. With minimal intervention in the raw material, she explores the fluidity of the shapes, highlighting their delicate beauty by using precious metals to breathe life back into their inanimate forms.

“As always we are thrilled to sponsor the CSM Degree show and to give our annual prizes. This year has obviously been quite a challenge and the students and staff should be very proud of the way they have managed through this very difficult time. There is some fantastic work and some deeply thought out projects and, as usual, it has been very difficult to separate the best.”

THEO FENNELL

Zircon is not one of the hardest gems and has a tendency towards brittleness, so care must be taken in the cutting, setting, wearing and cleaning of these gems.  Colourless stones are also common and these were sometimes used as a diamond imitation in the early 20th Century, falling out of fashion when better and cheaper imitations became available.

Historically it was believed the stone could imbue the wearer with wisdom and riches whilst also having the power to drive away evil spirits. Commercial sources of this gem are Australia, Burma, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Description: Zircons occur in a range of colours including blue, yellow, brown and green and have a particularly bright lustre and high dispersion. Found in many locations including Sri Lanka.

Hardness: 6.5 – 7 on Mohs Scale

The new Whip collection was inspired by the whipping that attaches the head of a polo stick to its shaft and binds very fine rattan chair legs. It has a wonderful, crisp and linear look. I first saw it on old, beautifully made pieces of furniture and luggage, bound by hand. We used Whip years ago and it worked so well – that now we’ve designed a new collection. We think it’s very chic, very simple, but very stylish.

The Waterlily setting is a misleadingly simple but very subtle design that reflects the many graceful petals of its namesake. The mount manages to show off a stone to it best advantage yet can be set with diamonds to make a really gorgeous setting. It particularly suits diamonds and more pastel, watery stones. It transforms a subtly coloured stone into a perfect piece of jewellery.

Tryst is an old fashioned way for modern lovers to express their feelings; it has been beautifully crafted from a wide choice of the most perfect materials and symbols that make each piece utterly individual whether ‘off the peg’ or bespoke. 

These timeless pieces feature some of Theo’s best loved motifs – from the bee to the starfish – and his beautiful attention to detail, of course! A happy bee of industry, blossom for hope, the skull for a memento mori: these pieces have been designed to give jewellery back its heart.

Tryst can be tailored entirely to the wearer from the stone and the setting, to all the detailing. Each piece is totally unique so whether ‘off the peg’ or bespoke, a Tryst piece makes a unique and intimate gift. The more apt the details the more intimate the present. Let your heart rule…

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