Last night was the final for the BBC2 show, All That Glitters: Britain's Next Jewellery Star. If you have been watching but missed last nights episode you may want to stop reading for now as there will be a spoiler!
If you haven't been watching, the set up is similar to that of the Great British Bake Off and The Great Pottery Throw Down. Each week the jewellers had to complete two challenges, The Best Seller and then The Bespoke, hoping to be named jeweller of the week and avoid being sent home.
And last night we saw (here's the spoiler ...) Hugo being named the winner. And what a deserving winner he was. Incredible skilled jeweller and I'm excited to see his personal style evolve. That much skill in your early 20's, there's nothing but great things ahead for this incredible jeweller.
Now excitingly, I know a little bit about this show, as my little secret is that I was invited to audition back in 2019 after unbeknown to me, a friend recommended me. And I'm incredibly proud to say that I got throw 3 rounds of interviews/auditions to make it to the final 20 which meant that I auditioned alongside 10 other jewellers and spent a long winters day in Birmingham doing a mock up of the show. There was such a lovely air, buzz, excitement and everyone being supportive of each other I can only imagine the friendships they have made via the show. It was then just the nervous weeks following waiting to hear if we had made it on or not. Its been wonderful watching 4 jewellers I got to meet at our audition.
I have to be truthful, when I heard the time frames to make 3 bangles on the first episode my stomach did a flip for them, and I felt a bit anxious. It's an incredibly short time frame to make 3 bangles and got me thinking how I would have felt being there with them. I also wasn't a lover of the tasks to begin with as I didn't think it was showcasing the jewellers true skills, based on the briefs and the limiting time frames, Its very different to say making a cake. An example of this is the week that the jewellers did enamelling to add colour. This isn't something all jewellers can do, its a specialised skill and I felt that it didn't fit and was somehow misleading to none jewellers and goldsmiths watching. Same with the alternative materials week. I love Tamara's ring made from the nut, this was beautiful. But the brief felt college work like to me, this again is nothing against the jewellers but its not a typical style brief for a jeweller to be asked to work with no precious materials to this degree. There are jewellers that specialise and make jewellery from none precious materials such as Tatty Devine But this isn't something the typical jeweller/goldsmith would make and I felt it didn't fit right with the show. But as they weeks have gone one i've enjoyed watching more and more and seeing each jewellers personal style and take on briefs appear.
I love the bespoke briefs and seeing each jewellers personal take, and have enjoyed seeing what the customers choose. Its then been interesting to see what the jewellery designer judges Shaun Leane and Solange Azagury think compared to what the Customer chooses.
As a jeweller, its been wonderful to have our skills, our craft showcased and highlighted in this way. Many people haven't realised how much goes into making jewellery And so as an independent jeweller its been wonderful to direct people to the show as a little reference point. Its been wonderful seeing none jewellers talk about the show and reading their comments and seeing what they have enjoyed most.
Applications for the next series has opened, and for any jewellers visiting my blog heres a link to apply. I have to say, even getting to the final 20 gave me a huge confidence boost and new belief in myself and my work and what I can offer to my customers. I say what have you got to loose. Me, I'm undecided yet if i'll apply again, who knows...
Congratulations again Hugo and to every jeweller that took part.