Joys of Spring

 

I love this time of the year, after the clocks have gone forward, the extra hour really makes a difference and seeing the daffodils in bloom gives you that springtime lift.

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Trollbeads have managed to capture the essence of Spring with their new Daffodil Tassel bead, ‘a symbol of new birth and beginnings, the daffodil lets us know that spring is here’. It’s part of the mythical, magical Easter collection from Trollbeads which also features two new silver beads and a lock.

A silver Easter Dragon bead, ‘a dragon as a freind means joy, magic and adventures’ and a Dragon Lock, ‘guard my treasures with courage and fire’.

The Dragon Egg bead, ‘The egg cracks and out comes new life, luck and magic. A baby dragon is born’

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Here at Argent we’re all looking forward to series five of Game of Thrones on the 13th April, the Dragons Egg bead reminds us of the eggs guarded by the character Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons.

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If you know a Trollbeads collector the beads in the Dragon Egg bead would make a great Easter gift.

We have quite a few other Easter and Spring themed pieces in stock at the moment. One of my favourite new collections is Linda Macdonald’s quirky illustrative jewellery.L McDonald BunnyThe cute rabbit necklace is part of her Enchanted Collection, ‘inspired by nature and animals frolicking in the sun’, she uses flower, heart and bird motifs in all her work.

 

Continuing on a Spring theme we also have lots of new work in from Reeves & Reeves including the animal sillhouette necklaces, the stags head pendant was very popular at Christmas and it looks like the Hare and Hen are going to be top sellers this season. Perfect for Easter, their beautiful egg pendants on long chains are bang on trend with the fashion for layering necklaces. I do love the layered look!R&R Eggs2R&R HareR&R Hen Egg

 

Looking ahead to the next few weeks I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of new collections from some of my favourite designers including Shaun Leane and Chlobo……..watch this space!

Happy Easter!

Designer of the Month – March

Originally training as a smith 50 years ago, our ‘Designer of the Month’ for March, John Garland-Taylor has spent the last 30 years focusing on designing his handcrafted jewellery collection.

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John works from a rural Warwickshire workshop, which, with the help of his two sons has developed a growing family business spanning two generations.

His trademark ‘GT’ armourers’ mark features on all of his jewellery pieces and was originally developed to distinguish pieces of armour that John had restored or produced for the National Trust and Warwick Castle.GT-Hallmark-no-border-100px-close-crop

 

Using traditional techniques such as forging and plannishing each piece of jewellery is individually handmade and finished by one of the team.

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I love the way the hammered texture, once polished, really catches the light and the cuff bangles are real statement pieces, great for evening wear but equally as effective reflecting the sunlight during the daytime.

 

Designer Of The Month – February

After a busy festive season February sees the return of our ‘Designer of the Month’ feature. Starting with Julie Pratt, a designer with close links to Argent, she worked with us here in the shop for over ten years and now concentrates on designing and making jewellery from her workshop in Barnsley.Julie pic

Julie graduated from Barnsley College in 1998, her love of architecture and the natural environment along with her passion for travel provide constant inspiration for her work.

 

February is the ideal month in which to feature Julie’s work, coinciding with the launch of a new collection for us here at Argent, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Julie’s ‘Hearts’ collection consists of little silver nugget pendants with heart detail, on silver chain or colourful ribbon along with a matching ring, bangle and stud earrings, we think this new collection will be a great addition to her existing range.

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Julie’s core collection is based around the classical themes of the line and the circle, using a combination of polished and matt finished silver, occasionally contrasting with gold, Julie creates simple, elegant designs. I love the fact that many of her rings are made up of multiple pieces, allowing the wearer to create their own look and making them a firm favourite with our customers.

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Julie’s work will be showcased, centre stage in our window throughout the month of February so come along and take a look for yourself!

 

Designer of the Month – November

Shaun Leane, four times winner of ‘UK Jewellery Designer of the Year’ is our ‘Designer of the Month’ for November!images

Shaun is internationally celebrated for pushing the boundries of jewellery design.Trained in Hatton Garden, London’s jewellery quarter, his idea of fusing fashion with tradition introduced an exciting element to fine jewellery.index

Working alongside his good friend, the late Alexander McQueen, Shaune Leane is responsible for creating some of the most iconic catwalk pieces we have seen to date. Spanning a period of fifteen years this collaboration with McQueen brought him international recognition.

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Alongside his collections and catwalk jewellery he also produces bespoke pieces for private clients including Sarah jessica Parker and Daphne Guiness.

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His work has been described by London’s prestigious auction house, Sotherby’s, as ‘antiques of the future’. Darkly romantic and beautifully crafted, Shaun Leane’s signature style is strong refined and elegant.shaun-leane-boucheron-queen-of-the-night-necklace-openring

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A firm favourite of mine, in fact the only earrings I wear, are Shaun’s Signature Tusk long earrings (I’m embarrassed to say I have them in every colour!). They are constantly admired and truly come alive when worn, the sculptural shape of the tusk catches the light with every movement and the classical elegance of the design makes it a winner day or night, whatever the occassion.signature tusk

October – Designer of the Month

Jez HeberThe classic combination of silver and gold in Jeremy Heber‘s designs makes his jewellery a very popular choice for gifts and as many people have already started shopping for Christmas I have chosen Jeremy as ‘Designer of the Month’ for October.

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Jeremy Heber has been making jewellery, more or less by accident, since 1988. Over the years he has gone full circle from working alone in a bedsit to employing “a range of luckless staff” and then back to working on his own again. His style is classic but with distinction, he wants his jewellery to be worn everyday but feels that it should still feel special and look stunning.

 

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JHeber1Jeremy was one of the first designers I started working with back in 1989 and I still love his jewellery today.

 

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Spend over £50 on Jeremy Heber jewellery in October and receive an Argent gift voucher.

September – Designer of the Month

We have just received a delivery of Lesley Strickland’s  jewellery, I’m really pleased with the new colours I selected, they have a lovely autumnal feel, perfect for this time of year so have decided to choose Lesley as ‘Designer of the Month’ for September.lStrickland4

Lesley is a British jeweller specialising in the use of cellulose acetate (derived from cotton oil) combined with sterling silver. Lesley’s passion for designing and making jewellery started in 1976 at the City Literary Institute, London. Her inspiration comes from weathered natural formsand sculptors of the 1950’s.

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For more than thirty five years Lesley has continued to evolve and develop her personal style and manufacturing techniques. Each piece is hand formed and very carefully finished, this is important to Lesley as she likes the wearer to have a tactile relationship with her work. The two guiding principals that Lesley applies to all her work are to strive for elegant simplicity and empathy with the wearer.

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August – Designer of the Month

With August 1st being Yorkshire Day I thought it would be appropriate to choose one of our Yorkshire based jewellers as ‘Designer of the Month’. Amanda Cox is based in Hebden Bridge, we have stocked her work in Argent for over six years and it is always very popular with our customers. Her timeless ‘Lily Collection’ is a favourite, featuring delicately beautiful flower shapes and fresh water pearls, drawing inspiration from nature, the designs are modern yet classical with a hint of vintage style that reflects current trends.

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Amanda Cox’s Lily collection

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Having previously lectured in Jewellery and Metalwork at Plymouth College of Art and Design, Amanda has returned to her original passion – designing and creating contemporary jewellery at her studio in Yorkshire.

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Amanda’s work has developed from and been inspired by a combination of the exploration of metal’s tactile properties and the visual qualities of simple organic forms.

July – Designer of the Month

The month of July sees the start of Argent’s 25th Anniversary celebrations. To mark this occasion we will be showcasing a different designer each month for the duration of the celebratory year.

Alex Monroe will be our ‘Designer of the Month’ for July, his work will be displayed centre stage in the shop window throughout the month and every customer spending £50 or more on jewellery from the ‘Designer of the Month’ will receive an Argent gift voucher.images (3)

I decided to choose Alex as our first featured designer because, aside from him being one of my personal favourites, he is fast becoming one of Britain’s most talked about designers and I am proud to represent his work in Argent. With the Grand Depart taking place in Leeds on 5th July how fitting that one of Alex’s designs features a wonderful interpretation  of a bicycle, complete with moving wheels, a diamond headlight and a ruby rear light!Bianchi About Alex Monroe

 

It wasn’t all that long ago that Alex Monroe was celebrating his own 25th Anniversary, he designed the beautiful ‘Hooray’ necklace to commemorate this achievement. Fans of Alex’s work may also be interested to know of his recently published book ‘Two Turtle Doves – A Memoir of Making Things’ which is available to buy in store (one signed copy left!).book_featured_blogam2012d-gp4

 

 

 

Having trained at the Sir John Cass School of Art in London, Alex started making his own jewellery in 1986, out of a small workshop in South London. To this day all of his jewellery is still hand made by a team of highly skilled jewellers in that same picturesque studio.DSDHAAlex_Monroe_StudioSnowsfields11cDennis_Gil_0Alex Monroe Shopfront137Snowfields-041012-017-500x750

 

Growing up in the Suffolk countryside surrounded by plants and animals, Alex has a great love for nature and it has become a strong theme throughout his work. He has the wonderful ability to translate the attributes of delicate natural objects into precious mepcn10-gp1tals.mgn10-gp1ss11alex130100799-assorted

 

 

 

Alex makes all of his original designs by hand, using traditional jewellery making techniques he works directly into silver as opposed to wax, a method which allows him to achieve the high levels of detail and texture that are such a feature of his jewellery. The intricate detail in the ‘Bumblebee Necklace’, one of his most popular pieces, is amazing and having coveted the ‘Baby Bee’ necklace I finally gave in and am now sporting the gold vermeil version. I wear it daily and it is constantly admired.am_earcrysanthemum2osn1-gp1BrC6rX3IUAA0gNJ

 

 

 

 

I am looking forward to the launch of Alex’s new Autumn/Winter collection, with everyone returning to the ‘make do and mend’ mentality and the success of the recent TV programme ‘The Sewing Bee’ it seems appropriate that it should be called ‘The Haberdashery’. The collection consists of charming representations of key sewing box accessories that only Alex could interpret in such meticulous detail.hab am

 

 

In the holiday mood

Having just returned from a lovely break in Tenerife I’m definitely feeling the chilled out holiday vibe.

I was thrilled that the new ‘Let’s Dance’ Chlobo collection arrived at the shop just in time to help me put together my beach look. I loved adding a pop of colour to my gold Chlobo stacking bracelets.

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As designer Chloe says, “The ‘Let’s Dance’ collection captures the fun mood of the summer season and brings to mind beach holidays, lazy days by the sea and long summer nights dancing under the stars.”

I love the way Chloe has introduced the neon look with tassels in coloured thread. In the core collection the silver tassel is used as a symbol of protection, translated into neon colours it gives this new collection a more casual and funky feel and the vibrant colours bring a fun, fashion element to the summer collection, reflecting this seasons trends.goldturqnkhearthamsa

 

 

 

Another favourite for summer holidays is the Lucky Eyes collection, their ‘Monaco’ friendship bracelets come in a variety of semi-precious stones with contrasting silk cords, representing on trend summer colours. The diamanté set rose gold vermeil adds a sparkle which allows you to take the look through to the evening.lucky eyes

 

It was great to come back to sunshine, and with a bit of a tan! I can finally ditch the black boots and winter woolies and feel at one with my new collection of Chlobo neon brights.

Happy Easter!

I can’t believe it’s Easter already, a great excuse for me to go shopping for Easter eggs in the gorgeous chocolate shop across from us in Thorntons Arcade though. I always notice their fabulous window displays and could easily be tempted to buy their chocolate treats all year round……. however if you’re looking for an alternative to chocolate, Alex Monroe’s ‘Fat Hen’ necklace in rose vermeil is one of my favorites and this year’s Easter collection from Trollbeads is a winner!

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The Bunny is already a firm favourite with us all here at Argent. The Precious Easter Eggs are available in three stunning colours, they are beautiful and a little bit more affordable than the famous precious eggs designed by Carl Fabergé! I read an article recently about an intricate golden egg, 2927824encrusted with diamonds and sapphires, which was bought for £8000 from a bric-a-brac stall in the US. The buyer had intended to melt it down for scrap until he discovered what he actually had was a long lost Fabergé egg worth £20 million! Carl Fabergé designed a total of 50 precious eggs, the first one was produced for Tsar Alexander III in 1885, the Tsar gave his wife an egg every year during the Russian Orthodox Easter festival.

 

The tradition of giving eggs has been associated with Easter for centuries, representing new life and fertility they were originally linked to Pagan spring festivals and later adopted by Christians to symbolise the resurrection.

Happy Easter! I hope you enjoy your Easter gifts whether they’re precious or made of chocolate!