UK's glitsiest designers dazzle the stars

Eight of the UK’s glitsiest designers are recovering from celebrations after winning the Design Innovation Award, recently unveiled by the Platinum Collection magazine.

All of the winners will see their designs showcased on a forthcoming spread in the prestigious title, that launched the competition to find designers who are driving forward contemporary jewellery design.

The third year of the competition was hailed as the most fiercely contested yet, with double the number of entries for the panel of expert judges to consider than in 2003.

The eclectic range of eye-catching platinum designs ranged from an expandable platinum brooch, to a ring engineered to resemble satellites orbiting in space, to the winning design - a skeleton leaf necklace valued at $88,000 (£50,000).

This was the brainchild of Janet Weller, a freelance designer from Buckinghamshire, whose dainty yet glamorous creation has been worn by The West Wing actress, Stockard Channing at the Emmy award ceremony 2005.

"As a freelance designer, it is an amazing confidence booster to have a winning entry, and to be able to exhibit the finished piece at such a high profile event as the International Jewellery London," Ms Weller reportedly said.

Adding that she felt “thrilled” to be scoop the Innovation Award alongside seven other designers, budding and established, Ms Weller is increasingly part of a design trend that has not gone unnoticed by A-list celebrities.

Terri Hatcher, star of Desperate Housewives, the British actor Hugh Laurie and James Spader, face of the Boston Legal Show, all turned out in platinum-studded force at the Emmys, according to Platinum Today.

Speaking to the trade magazine, Michael O’Connor, of Platinum Guild International, said increasing numbers of men are nowadays seen sporting platinum luxury accessories.

“Platinum, a naturally white metal with brushed and matte finishes creates a very masculine look,” he said.

“It is the precious metal of choice for many of Hollywood’s leading men that you will see gracing the Red Carpet at this year’s Emmys.”

All eight winners, which included two undergraduate designers from Birmingham University, received a grant to assist in the production of their design and displayed their creations at the recent International Jewellery exhibition.

One of those students, Shona Marsh scooped the prize with her design of a flexible brooch that can be transformed from a star-like shape.

She told her University paper the joy in being recognised so early on by the industry.

“Being a winner of the Design Innovation Award is a great opportunity for a new designer such as myself,” said Ms Marsh, before showcasing her design to over 8,000 visitors at the London event.


27th October 2005

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