The IJL 2017 Bright Young Gems Winning Designers Announced!

The IJL 2017 Bright Young Gems Winning Designers Announced!

The IJL five 2017 Bright Young Gems have been named as Kristina Ferenchuk, Ishtar Liljefors, Holly O’Hanlon, Annabel Large and Leanne Yau. 

This IJL initiative, now in its thirteenth year, is a unique opportunity for emerging designers, providing them with an outstanding commercial platform and excellent exposure at IJL 2017 this September, as well as pre-show mentoring to ensure that they all maximise their IJL experience and capitalise on the benefits of exhibiting at the UK’s premier jewellery industry show.

The BYG’s are selected from final year students and students who have graduated from UK colleges and universities in the past two years by a prestigious judging panel – comprising Hilary Alexander, OBE, Editor at Large Hello! Fashion Monthly Magazine; Annabel Davidson, Editor of Vanity Fair on Jewellery; Alice Edwards, Jewellery Editor for Sunday Times Style and The Times LUXX magazine; Charlie Boyd, Executive Fashion and Jewellery Editor at both Harper’s Bazaar and Town & Country, and Shaun Leane, the award-winning British luxury Fine Jewellery Designer.

All were very impressed with the high standard and diversity of work presented, with competition so fierce that three additional designers were named as Highly Commended by the judges. This year The Benevolent Society will be providing each winner with a £200 travel and accommodation  grant.

Caroline Broadhead, Course Leader of BA Jewellery Design at Central St Martins, says: “Initiatives like IJL Bright Young Gems to help young designers get started are really important. They create a welcome bridge between the college structure and professional life.”

“Trail-blazing jewellers such as Tomasz Donocik and, more recently, Beau Han Xu, underscore the importance of the Bright Young Gems platform as a launch pad for the newest and brightest in the industry. This year’s winning designers once again demonstrate the high degree of technical virtuosity and creative skill that the jewellery industry needs in the 21st century,” explains Hilary Alexander.

Sam Willoughby, Event Director, concludes: “These five talented young designers follow in the footsteps of the previous 60 Bright Young Gems  – a Hall of Fame that includes jewellers Pippa Small, Tomasz Donocik, Daisy Knights, Imogen Belfield and Fernando Jorge.  Many thanks go to their universities and colleges for their support, to our judges  who have invested a great deal of time  in making their selections and also to The Benevolent Society for their grant support. We wish this year’s Bright Young Gems the success they deserve at IJL.  Good luck and enjoy the show!”

This year’s Bright Young Gems are:

Kristina Ferenchuk

A graduate in Jewellery Design at Central St Martins, Kristina has developed her own style and way of working with precious metals. She handcrafts all her pieces herself, enabling her to technically develop moving parts and mechanisms and opening up possibilities for future designs. Kristina gets great personal satisfaction through overseeing  the design development through to the final piece that has weight, meaning and a future life.

Her jewellery is a romantic interpretation of the universe and how it is interconnected and continuously changing. All her pieces are articulated and move in an interconnected manner.  Whether on or off the body, her aim is to engage the wearer in the magical process of playful creation with each piece, sparking curiosity and a fascination with the unknown.

Annabel Large

Annabel, a jewellery design graduate from Birmingham School of Jewellery, has a passion for precious metal and gem set fine jewellery. Having previously studied fine art she has a creative flair for the design process and is inspired to design and create fine jewellery that challenges the traditional aesthetic, offering a timeless alternative to women who’s style is as unique as they are; adornments that become future heirlooms and are crafted from precious metals and hand selected gemstones.

Ishtar Liljefors

Ishtar Liljefors is a contemporary art jeweller who has recently completed her degree in Jewellery & Silversmithing at Plymouth College of Art. Ishtar works predominantly with precious metals and gemstones using traditional bench techniques. She designs and creates conceptual pieces of jewellery that explore her interests of the natural, historical and fantasy worlds.

Her inspiration for her sterling silver stacking rings with cast and set sapphire was born from fairy tale narratives. These rings are part of her ‘Once upon a time’ collection, and echo the theme of encapsulation and amulets. Here the stone was cast within and then set.

Holly O’Hanlon

Holly recently graduated in Jewellery Design at Central St Martins. Her aim is to give priority to the overlooked, utilitarian or mundane, and in particular to elements that remain from a practical task. The minimal and finely detailed brooches of slate, steel and precious metals from her graduate collection reflect her observations of excess layers of decomposing posters and fragmented signs on walls. Deceptive, playful and engaging, the jewellery aims to still a moment between a purposeful action and it’s lasting remains.

Leanne Yau

Leanne is a graduate of Central St Martins. As a Chinese student born in Britain, her perspective as a young designer considers the clash and harmony between these two cultures and how they have affected her as a citizen. Leanne’s  focal point has always been her curiosity of what it means to be considered a British citizen.  Her collection is a playful yet powerful illustration of difference between the two cultures she lives in, taking stereotypical objects and making them more valuable than they should be.

The three designers whose work was Highly Commended by the judges are Olivia Creber (Royal College of Art), Hannah Viner (University for the Creative Arts Farnham) and Susanna Gogarty (London Metropolitan University).  Examples of their work will be on show at IJL 2017.

Free registration for IJL is now open. Visit to ensure you receive your Essential Guide to the show and badge in the post.

IJL is #withyou supporting young and emerging design talents as they pursue a career in the jewellery sector. Meet this year’s KickStarters and Bright Young Gems here

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