All That Glitters: Britain's Next Jewellery Star: The Semi Final - Spoilers inside
May 12, 2021 4:45 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

The final 4 jewellers are asked to make items that sparkle, utilising precious gemstones. First up they are challenged to make an encrusted cuff bracelet then to make an engagement ring for couple James and Clare.

I really enjoyed the Bestseller challenge, and I thought both Tamara's and Dan's cuffs were beautiful. Tamara's in particular was innovative and flattering. Hugo's was okay, but Sonny's was messy and unattractive.

As for the Bespoke challenge, soon as I saw the monstrosity that is Solange's own engagement ring - which she designed herself - I realised why she hates anything that's traditional. Here's an article which features her ring - it has to be the fugliest thing I've ever seen. In the article she says: "I found faceted diamonds and traditional shapes very ageing and old-fashioned" No shit.

I thought Tamara's ring was stunning, and I loved the unevenness of the bezel setting, making it look, as Sean said, as if it had been dug up from an archaeological site. It was delicate and very pretty. But I'm also happy for Dan and that his ring was the choice of the client, and I thought that's the one they'd pick as they seemed quite conventional in taste, looking at their clothes.

The maple leaf design on the shoulders of Hugo's ring was a good idea, but those didn't look like maple leaves at all. I think this challenge showed the limitations of Sonny's skills, but I'm sure there's a market for his style.

I'm rooting for Tamara next week. She seems to be going from strength to strength. (Knowing my predictions for this type of show, I'm sure that's the Kiss of Death for her now ...)
posted by essexjan (9 comments total)
Thank you for that article, it clarifies a lot. I don't think I would wear any of the pieces in it. I bet she is coming from the same place high-end fashion designers do--more interested in challenging shapes and viewing jewelry as High Art rather than designing something that most people could (or would want to) wear.

I really liked Tamara's work and I'm also rooting for her. This has been my favorite episode so far as I feel we got the most shots of the process. I thought the leaf design was cheesy, but it actually looked better than I was expecting (though I agree or didn't look like maple leaves).
posted by Anonymous at 5:39 AM on May 12, 2021

Oh, that article explains so much. I haven't had the chance to watch this episode yet, but I did want to express my thanks for posting that article. Of the ones referenced in it, I like Brent Neale Winston's and really like Kirsty Stone's--but both as right-hand rings, as I'm not in the market for an engagement ring. I'm intrigued by Hannah Martin's only because the set stones look more like dark blue sapphires than than the loose emerald.
posted by sardonyx at 11:11 AM on May 12, 2021

Holy cow Solange's ring is ugly (I like many of the rings in there, but not all). More obsession with modern jewelry, which again is not what literally everyone wants.

Also I think that it's super weird to be like "I will make a version of my wife's engagement ring for this tv show", and if I were the wife I'd be annoyed.

I thought Dan's and Sonny's were both fairly generic engagement rings though Dan's was a bit more interestingly generic, Hugo's was promising but he didn't have enough time to do what he planned, and Tamara's was lovely but clearly not the right ring for that couple, she just did an engagement ring that she wanted.

I like neither cuff bracelets (though Dan and Tamara made nice ones) nor princess cut stones though, so this was not for me.
posted by jeather at 12:14 PM on May 12, 2021

As soon as they did the walkthrough I had the "top" result pegged-- the normie couple would go for the "nice" but completely standard-looking design from Dan, and the judges would go for Tamara's. I thought Hugo was in more trouble at the bottom, though.

The bottom 3 definitely got melted down and the stone sold back, right? Or maybe a deal like "We're going to take these 4 rocks for a week, we'll give you back three of them." That's a pretty big giveaway, even just for one; I wonder what the deal was for the couple.
posted by supercres at 2:45 PM on May 12, 2021

Eh I take it back, between two big-name jewelers they probably keep a stock of diamonds or something. What a weird economy.
posted by supercres at 2:47 PM on May 12, 2021

Maybe the couple got it for free, given that it wasn't a surety that they'd like any of them.
posted by Anonymous at 4:04 PM on May 12, 2021

The contestants have all really upped their game here; I liked all the cuffs, even Sonny's, which would have been really nice if he'd spaced the stones out a bit more and finished it. I personally find diamond rings the least interesting type of jewellery out there, but I did like Tamara's.

Solange's ring is indeed horrible, although I suppose it might be useful if she ever got into a fight, and it impelled me to look at her other stuff, which is also, er, not really to my taste. I liked Shaun's stuff much better, but I wasn't exactly blown away by it.

I was wondering what happened to the stuff that doesn't win too - do the contestants get to keep it? This week is the first with any really valuable materials , and even the stones for the cuffs weren't super-valuable, but someone might want those diamonds back...
posted by Fuchsoid at 4:07 PM on May 12, 2021

Oh, and that bloody presenter - so annoying this week that I found myself muting her every time she opened her mouth.
posted by Fuchsoid at 4:09 PM on May 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

i finally got an opportunity to watch this. Personally, I don't get the love for Tamara's pieces. I thought her cuff looked amateurish in design, and I don't think her workmanship (the bezels on the cuff in particular but also the wobbly crooked shank) rated approval from the judges.

The only cuff out of the bunch that I liked at all was Dan's and that was despite it having some technical issues (which I'm sure came from rushing, not from lack of skill).

I know jewellery standards are different in the UK than they are in North America, but I'm sorry, a one carat diamond like that deserves should be set in something better than nine karat gold. Yes, I know the brief said durable, but I have no problem with 14k for daily wear rings.
posted by sardonyx at 7:53 PM on May 15, 2021

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