Andrew Grima marked a new era of avant-garde jewellery design with his jewels in the 1960s which became synonymous with a new modernity.

Now, in preparation for the 100th anniversary of Andrew Grima’s birth next year, a new book looks back upon an illustrious career. Drawing on the Grima archive as well as personal recollections of family and friends, it showcases his designs from the mid-Forties to the mid-2000s.

grima jewellery
Brooch with yellow gold ’matchsticks’, green tourmaline and baguette diamonds, 1967. Grima archives

Andrew Grima’s jewels are characterised only by their capacity to surprise. Irregularly cut precious stones are placed unexpectedly; textures and styles are juxtaposed and materials can be surprising (casts of leaves and lichens, matches and pencil shavings have all appeared). A background in engineering allowed Grima to revolutionise the ways his pieces could be worn. He used textured gold wire from early on in his career to create rippling surfaces; other seemingly rigid pieces were crafted from wires and secret hinges so as to be comfortably light and flexible.

‘He managed to make his jewellery both elegant and wearable,’ says author William Grant. ‘It is one of the reasons why both the establishment and the fashionable crowd flocked to his stores and galleries around the world; collectors also love the fact that his jewellery is incredibly well made.’ His customers, including Jacqueline Onassis, Ursula Andress and the Royal family – Grima was appointed jeweller to the Queen in 1970 – also appreciated the unique nature of each piece.

grima jewellery
’Gondola’ watch in yellow gold set with a smoky quartz, from the About Time collection for Omega, 1969. Grima archives

Grima’s legacy continues today, with the brand producing a small number of one-of-a-kind jewels annually using experienced goldsmiths who worked with him. ‘The designs are sculptural, organic and abstract,’ says Grant. ‘They are different but they share the same design philosophy; the same DNA.’ §

grima jewellery
Brooch in yellow gold with diamonds and rough malachite. Grima archives