WINNER I Love a Lassie, Hard-Wear: It took 12 months of experimentation and patience for I Love a Lassie designer Arlene Katorza to perfect the textured lace effect for the brand's bestselling Antique Lace collection. But, in a bid to avoid being labelled a one trick pony, I Love a Lassie put aside its signature feminine aesthetic in 2014 in favour of the less glamorous world of nuts, bolts and screws. The result was Hard-Wear, a collection launched at International Jewellery London in September. The range proved a hit with the brand's 40 stockists across the UK, including Green + Benz, Element Jewellery and Love from Skye, with the Hex Nut necklace and Nail stud earrings proving the most popular pieces. According to I Love a Lassie co-founder Lisa McMyn, Hard-Wear is flying off the virtual shelves of its online boutique and garnering similar attention at buyer's meetings and trade shows. At this year’s Inhorgenta the brand secured its first sales agent for Europe, ensuring its growth will continue on the continent throughout 2015. Having also bagged themselves a spot in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2014 NexGems category, it's safe to say the future is bright for this Edinburgh-based duo.
HIGHLY COMMENDED Boudici, New Leaf: Spearheaded by its creative director and Professional Jeweller Hot 100 Trendsetter Ivonna Poplanska, Boudici is a new brand steadily building a reputation for fine jewellery designs with a floral, feminine aesthetic. The brand is focused on affordable luxury, ensuring its delicate pieces crafted in 9ct yellow, rose and white gold can be worn every day and not just for special occasions. The brand's name references Queen Boudica, who defended Britain from the advance of the Roman army. Taking inspiration from British summer gardens, it is gaining traction in the UK market with sales increasing 85% month-on-month. It is now on track to secure 100 doors by the end of its first year of trading.
HIGHLY COMMENDED Phoebe Jewellery, Antler: Having achieved success with her animal and acorn-inspired Woodland collection, Phoebe Sherwood- Moore developed her style to form Antler - a collection of reclaimed mahogany wood and sterling silver pieces with an old-English feel. Antler was quickly snapped up by seven existing accounts and a number of new retailers, including Gill Wing in London and Tundra in Wiltshire. Popular pieces include the Sacred Hart ring and the Shield necklace, pictured, which can be laser engraved with customers' own messages or names. Phoebe Jewellery will continue its market push in 2015, using social media and a new PR company to promote its collections.
HIGHLY COMMENDED Alexandra Alberta, Baroque: Alexandra Alberta Yeo is the London-based Singaporean designer behind fine jewellery brand Alexandra Alberta, busy carving herself a niche in contemporary, colourful and art-inspired jewels for the fashion-focused consumer. The brand's Baroque collection, which includes this lapis lazuli and diamond Starry Night ring, pictured, has proven particularly popular since its launch this year, harking back to a time when fine jewellery represented an object d’art to be treasured. Having also presented her designs ay JCK Las Vegas, Yeo is taking her designs global to attract an elegant and empowered female clientele.
HIGHLY COMMENDED Esoteric Luxury, Luna Estrella: Inspired by ancient Mayan civilisation, Esoteric Luxury's jewellery combines fashion-led designs with highly developed collection stories; from the powers of the mother goddess Ix Chel, to the significance of the Mayan pyramids. Luna Estrella is one of five interrelated yet distinct ranges, part of Esoteric Luxury's Yucatan collection. The designs are crafted in sterling silver and gold vermeil, set with pearls, onyx and cubic zirconia. Having made its debut at Jewellery & Watch Birmingham, Esoteric Luxury has secured six UK doors, including Wave, House of Hoye and Johnny Rocket. The brand has also launched a colourful, pictorial e-tail website, boasting striking campaign imagery and a dedicated lifestyle blog.