Andrew Grima

Brooch, made by H.J. Co. Ltd.

1962

A “desert rose” or crystallised agate, mounted in 18 carat textured yellow gold and white gold fronds with pavé-set diamonds. 

Though self-taught, Grima became one of the world’s leading artist jewellers with a royal, international clientele for his exquisite, one-off pieces. He served with the Royal Engineers in Burma in World War II, honing his mechanical engineering skills in improvising repairs to his jeep. In 1946, he briefly worked in his father-in-law’s jewellery firm, H.J. Company Ltd, then sold the business to set up on his own, staying on as lead designer. The firm executed the prize-winning designs by painters and sculptors for the 1961 exhibition at Goldsmiths’ Hall. This brooch was among one of the Grima pieces to win the Duke of Edinburgh’s Prize for Elegant Design in 1966. It demonstrates Grima’s appreciation for unusual semi-precious stones, roughly-cut or used as crystals. He set them in textured gold, “experimenting with all the techniques available at the time to make gold look like a material which nature might have produced.” The mount hugs the asymmetrical form of the agate as an exercise in micro-engineering, perfectly balanced for wear.