I wanted to share the story of the Three Edge Lace bangle, which was the first piece of mine that Goldsmiths acquired for their private collection back in 2007.
I created this bangle as part of my graduation collection from the Royal College of Art in 2006.
Selection of pieces from my fledgling graduation collection, made in silver, gold and stainless steel.
I designed the bangle in a CAD program called Rhino (which I still use to create my designs today). This piece, along with the rest of my RCA Collection, was too intricate to be cast in-house at the college and so I began to work with some precision jewellery casting companies. When I showed the design to the casting company they described the model as 'a caster's nightmare' due to the complexity of the piece. However, with careful consultation, I developed and designed a sprue structure that sufficiently allowed the molten gold to flow into the mould, without hindering the cast clean up.
The piece was large and in order to fabricate the bangle I first needed to 3D print the piece in wax - which took roughly 70 hours on the college’s Solidscape wax printer.
I was terrified that I would break it. So much so that when I needed to transport it to the casters who were located in Birmingham, I delivered it by hand myself. Just one week before the graduation show I ordered it to be cast in silver as I couldn’t afford gold.
Two days later, I had a frantic phone call from the casters, they had accidentally cast it in 18ct gold! Panic ensued. I couldn’t afford to pay for the gold. Fortunately for me, they suggested that they lend me the metal, and when I sold the bangle I could pay them back. I had six months to sell it. No pressure then.
A big benefit of having a large gold piece in my graduation collection was that it looked very serious and impressive for the show. Thanks to that collection I got some of my work into Electrum, a contemporary jewellery gallery on South Molton Street, co-founded by the renown jeweller Barbara Cartlidge. This was a huge deal for me, a real pinch me moment. Electrum featured a lot of eccentric pieces as well as the more traditional engagement rings and I was absolutely chuffed to bits to have my work displayed there.
However, months rolled by and the bangle hadn’t sold. I started to get phone calls from the casters asking when they could have their money - either that or I must return the gold. I was seriously panicking at this point. Then one day, a full 6 months after my graduation show, a buyer for The Goldsmiths’ Contemporary Jewellery Collection discovered the bangle at Electrum and decided they wanted to buy it for the Goldsmiths private collection. I was completely over the moon! The bangle was saved, just in the nic of time. I could pay the casters back, and use the remaining money to create more pieces for my burgeoning business.
Today the Three Edge Lace Bangle lives, amongst many other exquisite pieces pieces by various incredible jewellers and silversmiths, in The Goldsmiths Company’s Modern jewellery Collection. It has participated in various exhibitions at Goldsmiths Hall and is frequetly introduced to new audiences by the curator of the collection.
You can find out more about The Goldsmiths Company, what they do and their long history, in another blog post here. This includes details of the other pieces I have in their Modern Jewellery Collection.