Lovers ofcharacterful contemporary jewellery that’s as much art as adornment (intricately engraved brooches with bold narratives, rings that glint withplayfulness) will be delighted by the touring exhibition that touches downthis month at London’s Contemporary Applied Arts. This solo show of work by jeweller Barbara Christie presents a truly amazing collection ofpieces – new and old – that the low-profile artist has been quietly creatingsince moving to London from her native Amsterdam in 1969.
Christie’sdistinctive style and techniques are showcased in this retrospective, whichbrings together for the first time key pieces from private collections and herown archives, while displaying entrancing new designs for sale. Sculptural shapes,tactile surfaces and a sense of movement characterise designs that repay closeinspection to unearth their stories. Dramatic new pieces focus on the naturalworld. A magnificent citrine ring is carved into a lioness’ head, with threebrown diamonds set in her collar (first picture, £5,800). A carved opal eagle peers out froman 18ct gold and sterling-silver ring, closely guarding an oval boulder opal(second picture, £5,500). An 18ct gold peacock decorated with a Mexican fire opalperches on a gold and sterling-silver brooch with a faceted tourmaline(third picture, £2,800).
Theshow’s curator, Karen Sarkissian, co-director of Contemporary Applied Arts and sister venue Electrum Gallery, is particularly taken by the personality of these exquisite creations. “BarbaraChristie’s work defies description, as each piece is crafted with a uniquelysourced stone from some far-flung destination and beguiles you with wit andcharm from the moment you glimpse it.”