Goldsmiths’ Fair has announced it will present a special exhibition of jewellery by pioneering British designer-maker John Donald, which coincides with the launch of his autobiography, Precious Statements. 

Showcasing 24 pieces crafted between 1958 and 2002, the display of brooches, rings, necklaces and a centre piece provides a glimpse into John Donald’s creative expression and distinguished career.

John Donald studied at the Royal College of Art, London and formed part of a select group of designers who revolutionised British jewellery in the 60s and 70s. Reacting against the austere style that followed the end of the Second World War, a renewed focus on the wearer heralded a modern era of glamour and luxury.


John Donald’s abstract textures in gold and silver as well as adventurous, sculptural forms were facilitated by his use of a vacuum cylinder to induce atmospheric pressure when pouring molten gold. This period also saw his introduction of uncut stones mounted on precious metals, a characteristic that reflected stones the organic and crystalline qualities of the stones.

A Liveryman of the Goldsmiths’ Company, John Donald featured in the seminal International Exhibition of Modern Jewellery 1890-1961 at Goldsmiths’ Hall (1961) and his work rapidly gained critical acclaim. He went on to establish successful jewellery businesses in the City of London and Geneva, and attracted the patronage of HRH The Princess Margaret. His work can be found in numerous collections including the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Museum of Scotland. John Donald’s relationship with the Goldsmiths’ Company is as strong as ever and his influence on the new generations of jewellery designers is clearly evident.

In addition to jewellery design, he is also renowned for making badges of office, ceremonial regalia and presentation silverware.

John Donald’s autobiography Precious Statements, published by McNidder & Grace, is for sale at Goldsmiths’ Fair.

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Editor, Professional Jeweller