Mark Nuell (b. 1961)

TWO RINGS

2019

18ct gold, green sapphire (4.72 carats), yellow sapphire (2.04 carats)

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Nuell’s rings are made from two Australian sapphires from Rubyvale in the Central Highlands region of Queensland, Australia. They are faceted in a freeform style which respects the natural beauty of colour and shape in each stone. He has sapphires in his blood, as he grew up near the Queensland Gemfields and his father was a sapphire miner. “My work is handmade using gold and silver and coloured gemstones, which have always been the main focus of my pieces. Recently I have gone back to my original training as a gem cutter to combine this skill with my goldsmithing work.”
When his rings were acquired at the Goldsmiths’ Fair 2019, Nuell also gave us his working drawing for the faceting of the stones which records the changing angles as he cut them—a fascinating insight into the making process. Commending this acquisition from the 2019 Goldsmiths’ Fair, Joanna Hardy, jewellery expert and member of the Contemporary Craft Committee, noted: “So often gem set jewellery is set in traditional cluster mounts where principal stones are oval mixed-cut in shape and in the case of sapphires are often heat treated to make the colour uniform. What I love about these rings is their honesty, for the sapphires have been left displaying their natural colour and Mark has cut the stones in unconventional shapes to show off the natural beauty of the stones, and then their shapes have inspired the setting. It is very rare to find a goldsmith who can cut his own stones and especially to this high level of craftsmanship and skill.” There is a direct line of succession in the mastery of cutting and setting from Gilian Packard’s engagement ring with its trapezoid citrine of 1964, to Mark Nuell’s two connecting rings from 2018.