Bright Young Gems

  • Unveiling future stars in the contemporary jewellery arena.

    Bright Young Gems is a free launch pad scheme specifically for final year jewellery students and recent graduates. IJL's Bright Young Gems initiative has steadily grown into one of the most coveted platforms in the industry, spawning a string of high flying careers in particular Tomasz Donocik & Imogen Belfield.

    IJL’s illustrious Bright Young Gems project selects talented designers who are recent graduates or current students of jewellery schools in the UK. These star designers of the future get the unique opportunity to exhibit their work at IJL, a premier jewellery industry show, as well as benefit from dedicated mentoring from jewellery experts before and during the event.

    In 2019 the judges were established and award-winning designers Dinny Hall and Bobby White; industry consultant Nyasha Pitt; Charlie Miller, Executive Fashion & Jewellery Director at Porter; and Katerina Perez, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of and IJL Blog Award winner 2018.

    The IJL Bright Young Gems in 2019 were:

  • Isla Gilham

    Isla graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2018 and since then has set up her own workshop in Somerset where she has continued to create precious pieces with playful twists. Jewellery is delicious, tempting and often described as 'good enough to eat'. Her work plays on this narrative. She hand carves bites from an array of juicy and enticing gemstones. Setting them in gold plated silver which also appear to have been tasted, scattered with crumbs and twisted in the haste of grabbing the delicious morsel.

    Isla Gilham said: "I feel very lucky and excited to have been selected as a Bright Young Gem. It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase my work and it’s a real privilege to have been recognised by the panel of judges. I can’t wait for IJL in September, I’m really looking forward to receiving industry feedback on my work."

    Eloise Kramer

    Eloise Kramer is a British designer/maker who tells romantic, whimsical stories through jewellery. Developing poetic narratives though, she balances figurative elements inspired by art and nature with clean line and colour. She enjoys experimenting with unusual combinations of materials and processes, whilst being respectful of the heritage and craftsmanship of jewellery.

    Her approach and style have been informed by her education at Central Saint Martins, from which she graduated with a First-Class Degree in Jewellery Design in 2018. Her work has been recognised by leading British jewellers Solange Azagury-Partridge and Theo Fennell, alongside awards and support from The Worshipful Company of Tin Platers. Eloise hopes to present a contemporary approach to wearing jewellery, reclaiming it as art.

    Eloise Kramer said:“Being selected as one of the Bright Young Gems for 2019 is a huge honour. For my work to be recognised by industry professionals at this early stage is extremely exciting. It can be difficult as a new graduate to find your place in the industry, International Jewellery London provides me with a fantastic opportunity to showcase my work to the industry which I hope will lead to the next opportunity and help to determine the next step in my career.”

  • Lingjun Sun

    Having worked for 10 years as an Opal cutter in Australia, Lingjun Sun has recently completed his two-year MA Jewellery Design project in Central Saint Martins. His understanding of Opals supplies the material richness to the ‘Crosscut Cabouchon’ collection. His inside knowledge reshapes the value of the parent rock in which most boulder opals are found, the opal itself forming a liquid skin across the surface of the rugged bespoke ironstone cuts he has devised.

    Within the carefully designed and boldly coloured settings, Sun matches the opal with new vocabularies of materials, Corian and anodized aluminium meet gold and silver to offer a stark contrast with the characteristics of the stone. The unusual material palette allows Sun opportunities to play with scale and proportion, encouraging the wearer to look beyond a familiar understanding of the Australian opal, ‘Crosscut Cabouchon’ invites its audience to see the gem in a new light.

    Lingjun Sun said: “I am very honoured and proud to be selected by Bright Young Gems at IJL, and I would love to use this great opportunity to promote the project from my MA study and ethical, sustainable jewellery. IJL has been supporting and promoting creativities in the jewellery industry by offering valuable opportunities to designers and jewellers to showcase their work.”

    Wen-Ju Tseng

    Wen-Ju Tseng, from the University of the Arts London Central St Martins, scrutinises the individual’s role in contemporary society by challenging how societal expectations are creating a worrying trend to commodify everything we do into unrealistic values. Wryly humorous but earnestly involved, her graduate collection ‘How Valuable Are You?’ diagnoses modern neuroses by taking everyday objects as the basis for her jewellery.

    Each piece in her collection tackles a divisive social expectation. Whether you are the ‘correct’ or ‘accepted’ age or specific sex, have the ‘right’ education, is ‘liked’ enough, single or married or physically ‘slim’ enough, they all share the common role of determining the way we judge people in a society obsessed by control. By referencing familiar objects such as a credit card to a condom, Wen-Ju elevated their status by highly crafting each piece of jewellery in precious materials to create a tension between our free selves and the bureaucratic dataset identities that govern us.

    Wen-Ju Tseng said: “I am incredibly honoured to have been selected as a Bright Young Gem and to have my first commercial display at IJL! I am excited to share my creativity and humour through my jewellery and to showcase to such an influential audience!”

  • Highly Commended

    This year the calibre of the entrants was so high, there were also four highly commended entrants; Chih Ning Li (Birmgham University), Naomi Scott (Glasgow School of Art), Caroline Wellesley (Sir John Cass School of Architecture, Art and Design – East London) and Sarah Christian (Hereford College of Arts).

    View the highly commended

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