In the middle of last year I got a call from my old friend Priyesh Shah; I've known Priy for as long as I have been a professional journalist. When I met him in 1995 I had just graduated from uni and he was fresh from Saint Martins and causing a London fashion storm as Antonio Berardi's business partner. While Tony designed his beautiful clothes, Priy was the more public face of the label. More recently Priyesh has become a brand consultant and one of his projects is a rather fabulous one - namely to build a world of wonder around Palladium, a precious metal from the platinum group and the most recent high value metal to be hallmarked in 2009. The metal, as you can see below, is lustrous and white. What you can't sense is something I have experienced first hand, which is how light and strong it is.
I know that last nugget of information because I was lucky enough to be asked to assist in the pre-judging of a competition set by The International Palladium Board at Saint Martins School of Art last summer, with a second round of meetings and crits with the students early this year. Following that second round of discussion with the students on form, function, inspiration and idea the jewellery world judges including jewellery editor Carol Woolton of Vogue and jeweller Stephen Webster rode in and chose the winner and runner-up, and in February the winning work was put on show at Rock Vault, the new jewellery showcase at London Fashion Week. Working with the students was utterly inspiring.
Here are my favourite pieces, which include the neckpiece from Yuki, the winner and the ring from Vance the runner up. Keep an eye on Palladium, with gold at such a premium, it has room to take hold of a slice of the precious market. To me it looks more futuristic than platiunum and white gold, which fits with the way fashion is going, and the latest designer to work with the metal is none other than Mr Modern himself, Hussein Chalayan.
Yuki Agriardi Koswara's winning Palladium piece "Essentia"
Kate Sibley's brooch "Eye of the Storm": My favourite piece
Juanjuan Hu's sculptural neckpiece "Flying Lines"
Vance Ng Sze Wing "Flower Ring" took the runner up prize
Caroline Esmeraldo "Geometries" cuff
The International Palladium Board and Central Saint Martins’ collaboration is part of the ‘Palladium Visions’ campaign, which will see the International Palladium Board working with some of the world’s most visionary artists, designers and jewellers throughout 2012.