This has been a busy week for shows in London so a lot of the events in Jewellery Week, in which designers from across the UK showcase their work, passed me by. But I did manage to catch the final flagship event, Treasure, in the Embankment Gallery at Somerset House, showing until 16th June.
The Embankment Gallery is underneath Somerset House (if you come in the Strand entrance like I did you need to take the lift in the Seamen’s Hall down to embankment level). It’s a real rabbit warren of chambers and undercrofts which have been filled with stands for more than a hundred contemporary jewellery designers. With so many to see I was glad that I had a plan – to seek out the three Japanese designers in the show. I found all three and also fell for the work of a chinese designer. Here they all are.
KAORU, by Kaoru Nakanishi, was founded in 1999. Her delicate handmade pieces are inspired by the timeless qualities of her native city of Kyoto, where she’s still based. She’s worked a lot in silver but has begun making pieces in gold especially for Treasures. She’s well known in Japan but hasn’t been selling in the UK for very long.
Ikuria is the work of London-based designer Ikuko Kurahone from Tokyo. The work she’s showing at Treasure uses pink and white sapphires in a cherry blossom design and Japanese pearls, including black pearls. Some of her new designs feature a cobweb design, inspired by one of Shoen Uemura’s paintings of a woman who went mad after being crossed in love and wore a costume embroidered with a spider’s web.
Momoko Tamura of Momocretura studied fine arts and jewellery making in Japan and graduated with an MA in jewellery design at Central St Martins. She was one of the Professional Jeweller Magazine’s hottest hundred emerging designers in 2011. Her jewellery explores the boundaries between reality and fantasy through the depiction of fairy-tale inspired images. She’s influenced by European antique jewellery of the 16th-19th century and post-war Japanese culture and creates macabre figurative objects like these hanged animals. Her work has a wry, twisted humour that may not be to everyone’s taste, though apparently Alexa Chung is a fan.
I was impressed by the work of chinese designer Lei Sihan of Lion Studio. She got her MA at the School of Jewellery at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. Her big, heavy necklaces of crystal and agate, using massive stones and sharp triangles were hard to ignore. Here one of her necklaces is modelled by Michael.
Treasure is open from 10am to 6pm on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June. Tickets are £10 and there is a Father’s Day special where the first two hundred men through the door on the 16th get a goody bag.
All of the jewellery on show is for sale with process ranging from £30 to £5,000. You can find full details of the show including a list of designers on the Treasure website.