How a compendium of antique jewellery sparked a gem of an idea

How a compendium of antique jewellery sparked a gem of an idea

When the Bentley & Skinner Compendium of Jewellery dropped through Paul Smith’s letter box, the graphic layout of the London-based specialist’s Victorian brooch collection caught the designer’s eye. ‘I just thought “Wow, these photos would make a perfect print”’. A collaboration ensued, and the pattern is a high point in Smith’s A/W 2018 collection. Discover how this gem of an idea took shape…

The Diamond Lyre brooch by Bentley & Skinner

Paul Smith was inspired to create a new photographic-printed silk by the Bentley & Skinner Compendium catalogue. The London Victorian-jewellery specialist is also famed as Damien Hirst’s jewellery partner. It was the chief collaborator on Hirst’s ‘For the Love of God’ diamond skull, the largest diamond work to be commissioned since the Crown Jewels.

Photography: Aylin Bayhan

 

 

THE DIAMOND LYRE
Victorian gold and diamond lyre brooch with laurel leaf motif and gold strings, circa 1880 (£22,500, Bentley & Skinner)
Dress featuring Bentley & Skinner silk-blend print by Paul Smith

‘Someone once referred to me as a “collector of collections”. I collect everything from stamps to matchboxes, books to bikes. I love collections of things,’ admits Paul Smith. ‘With the Bentley & Skinner Compendium I just loved the mix of colours, shapes and textures in the jewels.’

‘We work to make an aesthetic combination so that the pages of our Compendium are a joy to look at, as well as the individual beauty of the jewels,’ says Mark Evans of Bentley & Skinner.

Rare jewels from Bentley & Skinner’s current Compendium have been translated into a silk-blend print, as seen in Paul Smith’s S/S 2018 womenswear collection

THE SILK SKIRT AND SHIRT
Silk blend shirt and skirt, by Paul Smith
The opal flower brooch from bentley & skinner

This brooch is marked by a central diamond surrounded by five opals in diamond clusters and a diamond-set stem. It is a prominent motif in Paul Smith’s new printed silk collection.

Rare jewels from Bentley & Skinner’s current Compendium have been translated into a silk-blend print, as seen in Paul Smith’s S/S 2018 womenswear collection Photography: Aylin Bayhan

 

THE OPAL FLOWER
Victorian opal and diamond flower brooch, circa 1860 (£9,750, Bentley & Skinner)
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