This summer, I was asked to judge a design competition run by the jewellery exhibition Dazera, which celebrates artistry in jewellery design. Continue reading to find out more about the winners and what I thought of each design in the winners press release. I will also be attending the exhibition to take part in a panel discussion on jewellery as art alongside jewellery designer Theo Fennell, jewellery blogger Katerina Perez, Goldsmiths’ Company jewellery historian Eleni Bide, Jewellery Historian editor Lucas Samaltanos-Ferrier and art curator Vestalia Chilton (Thursday 30th November, 6.30pm).
Dazera, the London exhibition dedicated to artistic fine jewellery, has revealed the winners of its inaugural design competition. Innovative jeweller Max Danger took the top prize, while Kayo Saito won second place and Beth Gilmour beat stiff competition to claim third place.
Entries for the competition opened this summer, and Dazera founder Domini Hogg said there was an incredibly high level of jewellery submitted. Joining Hogg on the judging panel were high-profile jewellery blogger Katerina Perez and jewellery journalist Rachael Taylor. Designs were judged according to three criteria: originality of design, ability to express and communicate an idea, and quality of craftsmanship.
As the Dazera competition’s first winner, Max Danger has been awarded a cash prize of £400 to help support his business as an artist-jeweller. Runners up Kayo Saito and Beth Gilmour will both receive a copy of Fine Jewellery Couture: Contemporary Heirlooms by Oliver Dupon to serve as inspiration for future works.
Max Danger and Kayo Sayito will be among the exhibitors at the 2017 edition of Dazera. The exhibition be held at The Exhibitionist Hotel in South Kensington and will be open 2pm to 9pm from the 30th of November to the 2nd of December. All details and tickets can be found at dazera.com.
More about the winning designs
FIRST PLACE: Max Danger’s The Weight of the World On Our Shoulders gold and Ethiopian opal ring
What Rachael said about it: “What I really loved about this ring is the symbolism behind it. It really spoke to me, and it is so relevant for our lives today, which are dominated and excessively facilitated by technology. In the ring, we see miniature robots holding up a 12ct Ethiopian opal that represents the world. The bezel-set opal floats above the rest of the ring and would fall down if not for those quirky little robots – just as our world would instantly come to crisis should we suffer a digital blackout. For me, this is the perfect piece of art jewellery as it is beautifully executed but also tells a great story and creatively passes comment on a moment in our history.”
SECOND PLACE: Kayo Saito’s Mist gold and baby freshwater pearls brooch
What Rachael said about it: “We so often associate brooches with heavy designs, so to see something so incredibly light and airy was refreshing. The gold wire connecting a haze of lustrous baby freshwater pearls so brilliantly captures that feeling of being able to see mist but not quite grasp it in your hand, which is a lovely sentiment and unusual point of reference for a jewel.”
THIRD PLACE: Beth Gilmour’s Dichroma gold and bi-coloured quartz earrings
What Rachael said about it: “Beth Gilmour’s Dichroma earrings are a perfect blend of the artistry of mother nature and that of the jeweller. The bi-coloured quartz has an entirely natural dual colour created by geological conditions under the ground where the gemstone formed, and these are beautifully accentuated by Beth’s vision as a goldsmith. To match the gems, she used black rhodium plating to transform parts of the yellow gold leafy surrounds of the earrings, and it creates a strikingly beautiful contrast.”