October 25 2011
Sixteen years ago, the rock stars’ favourite jeweller Stephen Webster was a mere beginner, and the then managing director of Crown jeweller Garrard recognised his talent and offered him a short-term sales platform in the firm’s West End store. Now Webster is the brand’s creative director, and fast making it news again, and, as part of the process of engaging with younger customers, he has decided to offer young designers a similar opportunity.
His first choice is Polish-born, London-trained Tomasz Donocik, recently crowned the British Jewellery Designer of the Year, who has previously collaborated with Webster and whose bold, slightly Goth, slightly surreal style aimed initially and primarily at men (some pieces are unisex) is highly sought after - his leather and gold, “button-backed” Chesterfield cuff (from £7,670) has achieved cult status. Despite success, Donocik is not yet at the stage where he can afford a Mayfair showcase, so the pop-up display of his work at the brand’s London’s Albemarle Street store from October 26 for a month is invaluable exposure for him. “I wanted to recreate the platform the brand gave me in 1996,” says Webster. “We'll do it whenever we find the right designer - Tomasz is a real craftsman with true passion for jewellery design.”
Donocik’s style has softened a little. His pieces now go from chunky his and hers wedding rings with diamonds along their edges (from £2,599), through delicate but complex, moving earrings in diamonds and fine white gold chain from the Snowbell collection (from £1,170; second picture: Snowbell Mini Droplet pendant, £5,980), to the slightly sinister Venus Fly Trap, part of his Garden of Good & Evil collection (from £1,170; third picture: Venus Fly Trap Bombay ring, £10,920), with rings and earrings in white gold and diamonds or rose gold with tsavorites and rubies that really look as if they could catch an insect. The Lily Pad ring in rose gold with black diamond and round tsavorite (first picture) costs £2,600. All handmade, many pieces are one-offs, so this is a great chance to invest in the work of a designer who may one day be as well-known as his mentor.