Young gems: a new exhibition at the Museum of London rounds up the city’s fresh jewellery talent

'Made in London: Jewellery Now', at the Museum of London
'Made in London: Jewellery Now', at the Museum of London, pulls together works from seven up-and-coming London jewellery designers, and places their work in a context unique to each
(Image credit: press)

The challenge for the 21st century jeweller is to create pieces that still evoke a sense of wonder or surprise. 'Made in London: Jewellery Now', at the Museum of London, exhibits a new generation of jewellery designers conquering contemporary jewellery. The exhibition, which runs alongside 'Cheapside Hoard: London's Lost Jewels', featuring Elizabethan and Jacobean jewels and gemstones, affirms that jewellery today can be just as captivating and powerful as it was 400 years ago.

Co-curated by the museum's senior fashion curator, Beatrice Behlen, and fashion editor Agata Belcen, the exhibition places the work of seven designers in the context of the workspace, showing how each designer interacts with his or her environment. 'We tried not only to show the jewellery, but also the jeweller's world, to put their designs in context, showing how they work and what inspires them,' says Belhen.

The designers – Jordan Aksill, Imogen Belfield, Rachel Boston, Duffy, Husam el Odeh, Noemi Klein and Frances Wadsworth-Jones – prove that contemporary jewellery is about so much more than aesthetics. From the humorous to the macabre, their designs share a studious curiosity of nature and transformation.

The humble exhibition space is tucked neatly into a dark corner and lets the mise en scène do the talking. Spot-lit vitrines reveal the jewellery in ways unique to each exhibitor. From one wall hangs a photograph of Sir Henry Hayelock's soiled statue in Trafalgar Square. One of the pigeon droppings is represented by Frances Wadsworth-Jones' Heaven Sent brooch, made with sapphires and tourmaline. At the centre of the room stands a traditional crystal display case filled with organically shaped jewellery by Imogen Belfield.

Husam el Odeh gives us a glimpse into his studio by setting up his desk and exhibiting his tools. 'I get bored easily in museums, so I wanted to create a display that really got people intrigued. Every time you look, you discover something new. Looking at the display makes me want to sit down and do some work, because this is actually part of my studio.'

Australian-born jeweller Jordan Askill worked with the curators to create three vignettes from three different collections with corresponding film sequences. He says: 'The idea for my work is to create pieces from found objects that have a history and are given this historical museum feel, so it was an honour for me to have them put here in the context of the Museum of London.'

Studio replication at London Museum

Husam el Odeh has replicated part of his studio to provide insight into how he works

(Image credit: press)

Cracked Watch at Museum

El Odeh's Cracked Watch Cuff exemplifies the designer's ability to transform everyday objects into works of art

(Image credit: press)

Image of Sir Henry Hayelock's statue in Trafalgar Square

On an image of Sir Henry Hayelock's statue in Trafalgar Square, Frances Wadworth-Jones' Heaven Sent sapphire-and-tourmaline brooch resembles a drop of good luck. Beside each display is a quote from the jeweller, expressing what drives him or her to create

(Image credit: press)

Crab legs with fountain shape jewellery

Noemi Klein replicates nature in her jewellery. This statement ring incorporates crab legs that extend out, forming a fountain shape

(Image credit: press)

Bird with cast rings for feet

Klein's playful approach to animal anatomy is evident in her taxidermy bird with cast rings for feet

(Image credit: press)

Jewellery sketches

Imogen Belfield's jewellery is derived from organic forms like crystals and bubbles. Interspersed in her display are small sketches that show how the designer fosters her ideas

(Image credit: press)

Belfield's square ring

Belfield's square ring seems to have emerged from the ground. The free shapes of her jewellery give her designs a natural aesthetic

(Image credit: press)

Mini-sculpture jewellery

Jordan Askill creates portable 'mini-sculpture' jewellery. Each piece displayed at 'Made in London' was featured alongside a corresponding film, directed by his brothers Daniel and Lorin

(Image credit: press)

The Battle Cat Cuff 3D wearable creation

The Battle Cat Cuff by Askill repeats a 3D shape, creating an unrecognisable yet wearable creation. He uses the latest 3D printing technology to cement his role as a 21st century jeweller

(Image credit: press)

Designer Duffy childhood objects

Before the exhibition, Duffy visted his family home to collect objects from his childhood that he believes shaped how he designs today

(Image credit: press)

Casting jewellery

His cast work is bold, graphic and connected to the nature that surrounds him

(Image credit: press)

Human spine jewellery

A study in human anatomy, Rachel Boston's ear cuff resembles a human spine

(Image credit: press)

Rachel Boston designed jewellery

Boston installs her pieces with the utmost precision. Pieces from her Beetle collection sit within a wooded diorama

(Image credit: press)


Museum of London
150 London Wall
London EC2Y 5HN