Graeme McColm | Contemporary Jewellery

What was the thing that initially made you want to be an jewellery designer?

There was never a plan to become a jeweller. Prior to my time at Art school, I wasn’t even aware that there was such a course as jewellery design. It was only whilst wandering around the different departments that I became fascinated by the work that was being produced by other students. It was like small scale sculpture, some of which was very clean lined and simple and others that were much more free form, textural that reminded me more of paintings. I was also drawn to the tools that were used to make the jewellery, so I decided to try my hand at it and it felt incredibly natural for me to be working with metals and stones and the different tools.

How would you describe your style to someone unfamiliar with your work?

I would say my style is quite simple and bold yet has an inherent, understated elegance.

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Who / what has influenced your work the most?

My work is influenced by anything and everything, although I have always been drawn to the work of German jewellers for their technical precision, often minimal, but always immaculately finished work. I’m intrigued by contrasts so I like to play with different finishes and colours, sometimes creating pieces which have a slightly uneasy asymmetry.

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Which mediums and materials do you enjoy working with the most?

I mainly work in 18ct gold and silver, but also platinum and palladium. Each metal has its own particular qualities which demand certain processes in either its malleability, strength or finishing which can often challenge me, but it is these exact qualities that make them interesting and enjoyable materials to work with. Yellow gold has such an incredible colour, that although it may not be to everyones taste, I find the most enjoyable to work with, especially when it is then combined with gorgeous coloured stones or pearls.

How would you define your creative process?

I rarely draw my ideas on paper first, as I prefer to work directly with the materials. It is this process which can often lead to ‘happy accidents’ which may then take me on a path to creating a new piece. The spontaneous nature of creating different texture on metals, using all sorts of tools, is endlessly fascinating and keeps me interested in what I am making. The play of light on metal can make it appear like glass, or like that of a richly woven fabric and I like to combine the two, as this creates a strong visual image.

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Can you see an evolution in your work from your first design until those of today?

My work has changed quite a lot over the past 20 years and I do go off on tangents at times, but that is just the way that my work evolves. Some days I want to create very simple, elegant and feminine pieces then the following week it changes to organic and raw and textural.

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Which piece has given you the most satisfaction?

One of my favourite pieces which I made recently was for a client, who brought in a stunning 10ct Pear Cut Tanzanite and asked me to create something for her. I set it into one of my signature Double Cuffs along with 3 white diamonds. I had the pleasure of making it in 18ct Gold, which was the first time I had made one of these on this scale. It was slightly daunting but hugely satisfying to take time and get it just right. To be given the opportunity to work with such beautiful materials is a real luxury and hopefully I will get the chance to again in the future.

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Is there any specific moment of the day where you are more productive?

I often feel most productive at the end of the working shop day. I can lock the doors and enjoy the peace and quiet, knowing that I won’t be distracted by anyone coming into the shop to browse. It is this time I can relax and really focus on what I’m doing. Sometimes a couple of hours at that time of day can be as, if not more productive, than the whole working shop day.

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Where can we see more of your work and contact you?

As well as my own store in The OXO TOWER, in London, I also stock Sarah Hutchison Jewellery in Edinburgh and Kath Libbert Jewellery in Saltaire, Bradford.

You can contact me on +44(0) 20 7401 3698  or alternatively info@graememccolm.com

www.graememccolm.com

Pieces:

1. 18ct Gold, Tahitian Pearl and Diamond Cascade.

2. 18ct Gold, Double Band Ring with Aquamarine.

3. Silver and Dumortierite.

4. 18ct Gold and Diamond Orbital Bangle.

5. Silver, 18ct Gold with Blue Tourmaline

6. Palladium Double Tahitian Pearl Drops with Pink Tourmaline.

7. 18ct Gold, Tanzanite and diamond Double Cuff.

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