A quirky, playful offering of jewels made this designer a NexGem.

Nominations are now closed and the Hot 100 photographers are out taking shots for the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers and supported by gold partner Ti Sento at this very minute, but those chosen won’t be unveiled until September. Until then we are looking back to the leading lights of the jewellery industry who made it into the Hot 100 2011. Today we profile up-and-coming jewellery designer Claire English who was one of our Swarovski NexGems.

Claire English is a designer heavily influenced by the playfulness and innocence of childhood – the toys, games and the inquisitive way that children look at everyday objects and, of course, the nostalgia she has for hazy childhood afternoons gone by. And so she chose the quirky location of the V&A Museum of Childhood in London’s East End for her Hot 100 photoshoot as a fitting tribute to her jewellery collections.


The past 12 months have been a rollercoaster for Claire, who first shot into the public eye when she featured in the BBC series High Street Dreams, and was mentored by Stephen Webster on how to make it as a successful British jewellery designer. But her highlights since then have been never-ending.

“Showing my collections at Wolf & Badger, who I met at Treasure, has been an exciting development for me,” she says. “They will be showcasing my new collection designed around things that begin with the letter M, in homage to a scene from Alice in Wonderland. There will be mice, magpies and matches.”

For Claire, her signature design – a bubble blower necklace – has become a must-have design and she recently made them in brass ahead of a stint selling her wares at boutique festival The Secret Garden Party.

This year, Claire plans to extend her collections with a men’s jewellery line based on Paddington Bear and a fine women’s collection that will include embellishments of horn, pearls as a play on Victorian mourning jewels.

And when she’s not busy dreaming up fantastical jewels, Claire knows how to take some time out. “Me and my scruffy Jack Russell go on walks to Hampstead Heath, or we walk the old railway lines, or get trains to the coast,” she says. “Oh, and I love nothing more than going to the old car boot sales at Lewes.”

This interview was taken from the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2011. Nominations for 2012’s edition are now closed and this year’s list and photographs will be unveiled at an exclusive invite-only party at The Freemason’s Hall in London on September 4. To find out how you can get invitations as a sponsor email andrew.martyniuk@itp.com.