The hunt is on to find the next jewellery star

Tuesday: All That Glitters: Britain’s Next Jewellery Star; (BBC Two, 9pm)

By The Newsroom
Monday, 12th April 2021, 5:00 pm
Shaun Leane, Katherine Ryan and Solange Azagury-Partridge
Shaun Leane, Katherine Ryan and Solange Azagury-Partridge

As with many crafts, there has been a boom in homemade and handmade jewellery making during the pandemic.

“Growth in our industry makes perfect sense during these difficult times,” Emma White founder of The Jewellery Makers said last year.

“Jewellery is all about empowering ourselves with confidence and showing off our personality or giving gifts that have sentimental meaning or show we really care. Nothing encompasses these ideas better than handmade jewellery. It’s unique and precious while also making a statement and showcasing who we are as an individual.”

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The idea for six-part jewellery making contest All That Glitters: Britain’s Next Jewellery Star, which begins tonight, was first announced by the BBC in summer of 2019.

Various things got in the way of its release, but now appears to be the ideal time to launch the show.

Unfolding inside a specially built workshop in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, All That Glitters will see eight talented jewellers from all walks of life aim to prove they are a cut above the rest and claim the All That Glitters crown.

The series follows a format similar to The Great British Bake Off and other challenge shows, and has contestants designing items to a brief each week – one for the mass market and a second custom item for a specific client.

Tonight’s first test, the bestseller, challenges the contestants to make three silver bangles. Then they face the bespoke challenge from a real client, Ben, who wants a pendant necklace for his mother to wear to Buckingham Palace when she collects her MBE.

Over the next six weeks, the challenges will explore the wildly different styles and aesthetics that can be found across different types of jewellery and some will even be inspired by the world’s most famous and coveted pieces

Every episode is bursting with science, history, and culture: from molecular structures and ancient Egyptians to red carpet styles.

The BBC says: “The materials they are working with are some of the most valuable objects on earth: gold, silver, diamonds and sapphires. And they will be doing so in the heart of Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter, home to the highest concentration of jewellery businesses in Europe and some of the UK’s best diamond cutters, gold bullion dealers and gemmology labs.”

Katherine Ryan, famous for appearances on panel shows such as Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and more, has been brought in to host.

“I am so delighted to be a part of the beautiful show that is All That Glitters,” the Canadian comedian says. “I’ve always loved wearing jewellery and it’s fascinating to learn about the intricate process of making these pieces. I’m in awe of the skill and artistry of our eight jewellers, who manage to transform the client’s emotion into objects of beauty that last forever.”

Katherine will be joined by two of the biggest names in the business as judges.

Firstly, there’s Solange Azagury-Partridge, who owns the brand Solange, has had displayed in the V&A London and the musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and even designed jewellery for blockbuster films.

Plus, there’s Shaun Leane, who is best known for designing iconic sculptural pieces for Alexander McQueen and has been named UK Jewellery Designer of the Year four times.

They will decide which contestant has sparkled enough to be named Jeweller of the Week, and who has inspired them the least, and will be heading home.

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