Charlotte De Syllas

Brooch

1963–66

Rectangular silver brooch set with tourmaline crystals.

The sculptural setting of this brooch plays on the dichroic qualities of the translucent stone and its inclusions, which means that different colours can be seen when it is viewed from different angles. De Syllas sees here the formative influence of her parents: “Although I still like clean-cut lines, they have in many ways been left behind as I explored a different aesthetic from the 1930s architecture favoured by my parents… Integrating stone and metal started with this brooch, and it’s still important in my designs for the stone and metal to form a single unified shape rather than have the stone on top of metal which is merely acting as a frame. The simplicity of the piece still pleases me, as does the stained-glass effect of rough crystals smoothed down to a flat surface”. It was acquired for the Collection by Graham Hughes in 1966 with other student pieces, when De Syllas decided to establish herself as a jeweller. She had studied stone-cutting at Hornsey College of Art with Gerda Flöckinger; having cut a cabochon she then taught herself. She concludes: “my own strange ways of solving problems to achieve the art I wanted makes the work very particularly mine.”

Just as the Goldsmiths’ Company supported Charlotte de Syllas from the earliest days of her career as a jeweller, the Company is today instrumental in supporting many other early-career makers through the Goldsmiths’ Centre. In this short film first-time Fair exhibitor Ella Fearon-Low discusses her individual, layered approach to making and designing brooches, and her journey to Goldsmiths’ Fair 2020. Ella describes how taking part in the Shine and Getting Started programmes at the Goldsmiths’ Centre helped her produce and refine a collection for the Fair.