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Five winners of IJL ‘Editor’s Choice’ revealed

The winners of International Jewellery London’s (IJL) sixth Editor’s Choice competition were announced today. 

Claire Adler, Editor’s Choice judge, luxury brand consultant and Financial Times contributor, said she was impressed by the winning five.

“IJL’s 2014 Editor’s Choice winners are a set of gifted, daring and ambitious jewellers,” she said. “A big thank you to all the entrants to Editor’s Choice this year who hailed from as far afield as South Africa, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Greece and Ireland, in addition to England, all adding to the competition’s international flavour.”

This year there were five categories including a new category –  Most Innovative Collection – which will be showcased on the IJL Catwalk.

Sam Willoughby, event director for IJL, said: “This year’s winners really have excelled themselves.  The collections are all so different, giving an exciting snapshot of the range of companies exhibiting at IJL. I am very much looking forward to seeing some of these stunning pieces showcased on the Runway at IJL 2014.”

The 2014 winners are:

Most Innovative New Collection – NEW for 2014: 5 to 6 pieces from the same collection with the winning collection featured on the IJL Runway

Winner: Sarah Jane Smyth

Sarah Jane Smyth creates strong statement stone jewellery by hand, selecting the stones that she has a connection with from their look, feel or touch. The winning pieces from her new A/W14 Aquadrama collection are inspired by the mystical depths of the ocean with an emphasis on organic rock and stone formations. Each piece uses only a very high quality gemstones juxtaposed with Czech, vintage and crystal glass to create a mythical and decadent quality.

Sarah Jane Smyth explains, “IJL has represented such a journey for me.  In the past twelve months I have accomplished so much with a re-brand, new website, campaign imagery and inspiration. I am over the moon at winning the Editor’sChoice Award in that it recognises the unique and innovative way that I put my jewellery together, designing it in sections and not as a whole. It is amazing to be recognised in this way by such a prestigious authority.”

Claire Adler added, “I am very excited to see Sarah Jane Smyth’s dramatic necklaces crafted from Czech crystal and vintage glass when they’re professionally styled and brought to life on the IJL catwalk in September”.

Commercial Vision – a piece or collection produced in volume that demonstrates thorough research of the target market and current trends – destined to become a best seller.

Winner: Chrysalis – Expandable bangles

This English company has created collections of expandable bangles with a vast assortment of charms and stones which can be worn alone or stacked on the arm.  More than just decorative charms, each tag carries a special meaning to attract positivity and good energy. The bangle’s unique mechanism makes each piece adjustable for a perfect fit every time. Chrysalis has created a cohesive marketing package to support their rapidly expanding customer base.  Their in-house design team have created displays which tell the brand’s story, making it as easy for the retailer as possible. The story begins on their eco structured cardboard trade stand through to comprehensive marketing materials which are made available to retailers through a ‘dropbox’ folder.

David Maine, Director of Chrysalis US, told us: “The formula works as sales and reorders are continuing to increase at an alarming rate with most customers reordering every other week. At the JCK show we opened up over 100 new accounts and we are hoping for the same at IJL 2014. ”

Claire Adler applauded Chrysalis for their commercial strengths: “Chrysalis claims its bracelets contain spiritual energy, but we’ve awarded the company purely for its commercial vision, in attracting an impressive number of British and international retailers while offering alluring price points.”

Visual Impact – a show-stopping piece or collection that photographs well

Winner: Angela O’Keefe – Blue Venice Resin Gold Ring and Orange Florida Resin Gold Ring

Irish designer Angela O’Keefe is a graduate of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland Jewellery and Goldsmithing Course, has a Diploma in Art Jewellery from Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence, Italy and an MA(Hons) in History of Art from St. Andrews University. Her pieces combine salt crystals with precious metals, resin and pigment. As an artist and designer her practice is driven by experimentation and she often employs deliberate chance when creating her jewels.  The Venice Ring evokes the luxury of the Renaissance using deep blue pigment, salt crystals and 9ct gold, contrasting rich precious metals with the natural bounty of the lagoon.  The Florida ring evokes the warmth of summer with bright orange pigment, salt crystals and 9ct gold.

“I am absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the winner of the Editor’sChoice Visual Impact Category at International  Jewellery London. As a first time exhibitor in the Irish Pavilion,  receiving this award is certain to make my show an exciting  experience.” said Angela O’Keefe on hearing the results.

Claire Adler praised O’Keefe’s creativity, stating: “The winner of this category, Angela O’Keefe, was inspired by a swim in the Dead Sea. When she emerged from the water, she was captivated by the crystals of salt that formed on her skin in the sunlight. The rings we’ve chosen are just gorgeous and photograph beautifully.”

Originality  – a truly unique piece or a collection which highlights the talents of the designer

Winner : Kasun London – The Fang Bangle

The Fang Bangle is from the ‘God Loves Fangs’ collection and is a truly striking piece, crafted in brass and plated with 18 carat gold or sterling silver. Through discrete hinges the piece creates a sense of mystery as to how it wraps itself around the wearer’s wrist. This statement piece makes a memorable impression, but at the same time still has function and comfort. The piece has been designed in a way so that it sits comfortably on the wrist but still shows off the intricate jaw design at all times.

Kasun Ekanayake, Creative Director, commented: “It’s amazing to have been selected for this category! We were at IJL last year and saw how much exposure and attention the winners of the IJL Editor’s Choice received, so it’s an important award for us. We’re really excited about exhibiting at this year’s IJL as we’re launching two fantastic new collections. We’re looking forward to seeing the reaction to the new ranges, catching up with our customers and hopefully gaining a few more, and of course seeing the new venue!”

Claire Adler stated: “Kasun London’s Fang Bangle from this eclectic collection is cheeky, original and very striking.”

Technical Excellence – a piece or collection that is worked with technical innovation or a rarely used technique

Winner: Saxons of Oxford – Man in a Cage

This piece is micro-machined from a solid block of sterling silver with an extraordinary level of detail and is the perfect example of Saxons of Oxford’s intent to bring high-tech capabilities with a blend of contemporary flair to men’s jewellery.

Jorg Schlieffers, the owner and founder of Saxons of Oxford, explained:  “We are delighted to receive recognition for our design which was the culmination of several years of trial and error to bring the ‘Man in a Cage’ to production. This will be our second time exhibiting at IJL, where we will be showcasing our new collection ‘Hidden Gems’. Last year brought us some very exciting collaborations – and we look forward to the opportunities IJL 2014 will bring.”

Clare Adler noted: “Saxons of Oxford has come up with an intensely technical and contemporary version of Jesus on the cross, cast from a single piece of solid silver. It is excellent craftsmanship.”

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