Swarovski couture challenge for CSM students

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Sculptural piece by Tiffany Baehler scooped the overall prize.

Swarovski has collaborated with Central Saint Martins BA jewellery design students for the 12th year, challenging them to push the boundaries of crystal and gemstone use in their designs.

Third year students were asked to create couture jewellery pieces, working to the theme Reflection, Refraction, Repetition, and focusing on the inclusion of Swarovski crystals and gemstones.

The final designs were judged by a panel including Nadja Swarovski, jeweller Fernando Jorge and Indtl.com blogger Beanie Major.

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The overall winner was 22-year-old Tiffany Baehler from Switzerland, who created a playful, sculptural and surprising bracelet, pave-set with Swarovski Gemstones.

Baehler said: “With this bracelet, which takes the geometric form of Cubism, I wanted to break the rules of fine jewellery, where gemstones are highlighted and metal is an encapsulating structure that appears subtly in the background. Here, the metal is a camouflage, with Swarovski Gemstones hidden between hinged cubes, waiting to be revealed when the jewellery is worn.

“Participating in this competition was a great professional experience for me. I loved working with Swarovski, because it has an amazing product range that allowed me to develop an interesting fine jewellery piece with lots of creative freedom. I also really appreciate all the support Swarovski gives to young designers throughout their studies. Winning this competition is an honour and a nice reward to begin my career.”

Ionna Souflia was named runner up for her marble neckpiece inspired by the shape of a handheld mirror and set with Swarovski Crystal, while Nadya Fedatova was awarded Best Use of Crystal for a pair of laser-cut plywood cuffs set with Swarovski Crystal, inspired by natural formations.

Nadja Swarovski, member of the Swarovski executive board, commented: “We are delighted to continue our collaboration with Central Saint Martins, which has been challenging and supporting some of the UK’s most talented jewellery design students for over a decade. We’re always excited to see how young designers are inspired by our product, and Tiffany Baehler’s creation demonstrates the versatility of Swarovski Gemstones in a wonderfully innovative way.”

Course leader of BA Jewellery Design at Central Saint Martins, Caroline Broadhead, said: “This annual design project with Swarovski is one which demands fresh and ambitious ideas from our students. It extends and expands the students’ area of research and allows a freedom of scale and interpretation, which is perfect for this stage of the course and their learning.”

The winning pieces will be on display at the Central Saint Martins Jewellery Degree show until Sunday June 22. 

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