Find out what made this award-winning CSM student a Swarovski NexGem.

As we look forward to the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers and supported by gold partner Ti Sento, we indulge in a bit of looking backwards to the leading lights of the jewellery industry that made it into the Hot 100 2011. Today is the turn of Leigh Cameron, a Central Saint Martins student who secured a place as a Swarovski NexGem despite studying furniture rather than jewellery. Read on to find out why. 

Leigh Cameron is the only person profiled in our NexGems section of rising jewellery design talent who isn’t actually a jewellery designer.


He is, in fact, a furniture design student; although this year the Central Saint Martins student has been doing a very good job of masquerading as a jeweller.

This year Leigh won a jewellery design competition run by the Palladium Alliance and Central Saint Martins that was judged by jeweller Hannah Martin and fashion designer Giles Deacon. His design was an architectural ring in palladium studded with diamonds that Leigh says represents his passion for “proportional space, weight and structured space”.

Later in the year Leigh worked on another jewellery collaboration. This time it was the Street Lights project run by Vogue magazine that invited students to design a window display for a Bond Street jeweller. Leigh worked on two displays for Bulgari for which he installed a concrete-topped shopping trolley dressed with a necklace in the boutique’s window.

“I am very grateful to Central Saint Martins for giving me and my fellow students the opportunity to work on projects with external partners,” says Leigh. “For me, this aspect has been invaluable; it has encouraged me to take risks, which I think is brilliant and shown me that my process is cross-disciplinary.”

2011 has been a big year for Leigh, who has also been working on a couple of major personal projects: the restoration of an 18th century ruin in Nimes, France, and the creation of a contemporary home for his family. And though he has been wistful about future jewellery designs, Leigh’s upcoming internship with Vivienne Westwood suggests that his career in jewellery might just be beginning.

This interview was taken from the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2011. If you or someone you know has had a great business year and are hot enough to be part of the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012 then click here for more information about the nomination process.