IJL Inspired: Interview with Bright Young Gem, Isla Gilham

IJL Inspired: Interview with Bright Young Gem, Isla Gilham

Isla Gilham 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. We caught up with Isla to discuss her delicious jewellery, inspirations, and to find out what you can expect from the brand at IJL 2019.

Bitten Lapis Ring

What made you want to apply to be a Bright Young Gem at IJL 2019?

I thought it’d be a real honour to be chosen as a Bright Young Gem having seen the designers who had previously been selected and where their careers have taken them. I also thought that it’d be a fantastic platform to showcase my work and a really valuable experience.

What are you most looking forward to during your Bright Young Gem experience?

I’m really looking forward to discussing my work and hearing feedback. The day to day reality of being a designer-maker means I don’t get to do this often but I’m excited to use this opportunity to do so in order to push my work. I also think the experience will be really beneficial in helping me find my place in the industry.

Tell us about where you get your inspiration from?

Bitten Pendant

I have always been inspired by jewellers such as Boodles and Van Cleef & Arpels who create the most enticing, mouth watering pieces of jewellery; Igniting the narrative to my own. Whilst my Great Grandfathers handcrafted silver tiara adorned with ‘Jelly Tots’ sparked my imagination of the two worlds intertwined. However, I think the main inspiration for my work is the extraordinary beauty, tempting nature and deliciousness of gemstones.

Tell us a little about the work you will be bringing to IJL 2019?

The work I’ll be bringing to IJL will be tempting, delicious and precious with a playful twist. Traditional forms will be met by the chaos of indulgence and devour.

When did you first discover your love of jewellery?

Bitten Quartz Ring

I’ve always loved jewellery but around eight years ago, I came across a jewellery workshop on the isle of Iona. The pieces reflected and told stories of the island; Celtic patterns, Serpentine pebbles, coastlines and simplistic beauty. Although this is very different from my work now, I loved that jewellery could carry a narrative and it was at this point that I knew I wanted to create jewellery too.

Who would you love to see wearing your jewellery?

I would LOVE to see Grayson Perry wearing my work. He’s an artist that inspires me, using traditional methods and forms with a contemporary twist.

If you had to summarise your brand in a couple of words, what would you use?

Playful and delicious.


Make sure to register for your FREE ticket to IJL 2019 and pay a visit to the cutting-edge talent on the KickStart and Bright Young Gem collective stand in the prestigious design gallery.

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