Alex Monroe Selects

Alex Monroe, Creative Director at Alex Monroe Jewellery, selects his highlights from this year’s Fair


How exciting to have a digital Goldsmith’s Fair! The current situation has surely highlighted the importance of craft, where people create for other people with real skill and meaning. I thought I’d miss the physical show, the makers and the objects, but this virtual exhibition has allowed me to browse at my convenience, to research the makers and to consider pieces in my own time. But trying to pick a few favourites is, of course, virtually impossible. Instead I’m thinking of this as an exercise in highlighting just a few of the many objects which make Goldsmiths’ Fair so very special.

There’s no getting around it; rings are the most photogenic of objects so they’re bound to stand out in a virtual fair. Danish born designer Tina Engell has that delicious Scandinavian knack for combining simplicity with glamour. This Popcorn Ring in 18 carat yellow gold is good enough to eat.

Tina Engell, Popcorn Ring

We mustn’t get carried away with the jewellery at the expense of the silversmiths. I had a real problem here because I love Hamish Dobbie’s Quarried Beakers and I wouldn’t trust myself not to steal one of Angus McFadyen’s beautiful vases if I was left alone with it. But I had to mention Jessica Jue’s beakers. I trained as a silversmith and there is something apposite during this time of environmental and political turbulence about the pure beauty of hand-raising. But I’m sorry Jessica, your Tulip Beaker should come with a warning; it’s downright sexy too!

Jessica Jue, Tulip Beaker

But turning back to the jewellery I find I have a problem. Sian Evans has been one of my favorite designers since forever. I have to admit I approach everything she does with a firm determination to love it, and I invariably do. There is a movement afoot to get back to the roots of craft which Sian has been exploring for some time. I’ve chosen her Tilda Ring to illustrate the concept of ‘The mark of the maker’s hand’.

Sian Evans, Tilda Ring

Oh dear… too many rings. Let’s go for something by Christopher Thompson Royds. This Honeysuckle Brooch works part time as a sculpture which is handy. I’ve spent many hours trying to make honeysuckley honeysuckle but Christopher really nails it.

Christopher Thompson-Royds, Against Nature: Honeysuckle, Brooch/Sculpture

I’m getting slightly obsessed with Laura Ngyou’s pieces, but this is where I get frustrated. I want a closer look. I’m going to have to hold a piece before I decide, but her work looks really interesting. Laura, can I come visit your studio some time? I’ve gone for this emerald ring because, you’ve guessed it, rings photograph so well.

Laura Ngyou, Florilegia Geo Emerald Ring

And last but not least (I know, another ring…) I come back time and again to the work of Castro Smith. If I was cool, which I may well be in another life, I’d wear a ring like this. Castro is the jewellery world’s answer to one of those super-cool tattoo artists you’re slightly envious of. And look at his glorious work…yummers!

Castro Smith, Tenoch Ring