de Syllas, Charlotte (British, contemporary)

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Training at the Hornsey College of Art, Charlotte de Syllas is acknowledged as one of the finest artist-jewellers working in Britain today. She has created one-off commissioned jewellery since 1966, creating extraordinary pieces that reflect the originality of the individual. Her principal material is gemstone, superbly hand-carved to create pieces that showcase the ethereal beauty of the stones’ shapes and colours.

Each piece evolves from her own free-hand designs, which are characterised by flowing lines and brilliant colours, yet their sculptural elegance often masks an intrinsic complexity of structure. This is achieved through the ingenious, and highly innovative, 3D approach that Charlotte de Syllas brings to the art of jewellery making.

Colour is an essential element in each piece, as she takes inspiration from the hue, tone and natural qualities of minerals. The forms take their shapes from organic forms of all kinds – a curling leaf, a knotted stem, birds wings, shells, fish fins – that she celebrates through her outstanding skills as a carver. Deceptively simple, the jewels are complex in their symbolic message and reveal the dedicated integrity of their creator.

Charlotte de Syllas’ inspired use of materials, and the pursuit of extremes in shaping them, sets her jewellery apart as a unique synthesis of exquisite craftsmanship and daring creative vision. Her masterly handling of the intricate form has developed an ancient, traditional art into a remarkably modern idiom.

Her unique jewellery pieces have been exhibited widely, including at the Saatchi Gallery, Swiss National Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, where a selection of her works are currently on permanent display.

Charlotte de Syllas has also been the recipient of numerous visiting lectureships, scholarships and awards, including a Lifetime Achievement award from The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in 2020, Goldsmiths’ Company Award in 2007, the Jerwood Prize for Jewellery in 1995, and a major award from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust in 1999.

The necklace on display at Mayfair Gallery as part of London Craft Week is hand-carved from exquisite pearl, white nephrite jade and black nephrite jade. Commissioned for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s ‘Pearls’ exhibition in 2013-14, the necklace sits in a specially made box by Adrian Swinstead.