It’s time to visit the iconic OXO Tower on the South Bank, says Kohinoor Sahota, as Dazzle London showcases more than 4,000 handmade pieces for men and women from new and established jewellery designers
Head to the OXO Tower on the South Bank for Europe’s biggest contemporary jewellery exhibition, Dazzle London.
The Tower of London is home to the Crown Jewels – London’s most famous gems – but this month they may be outsparkled as Dazzle London opens in the OXO Tower’s
gallery@oxo (from 13 Nov). The exhibitioncum-shopping experience, now in its 35th year, is a staple in the fashion calendar. With pieces starting at £20 and going up to £5,000, it’s a great place to buy a one-off gift.
The exhibition started in 1981 as a way to create more activities in Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre’s foyer. ‘ We had to take £1,000 during the course of Dazzle, but we ended up taking £10,000 on the opening night,’ says Tony Gordon, co-founder and director of Dazzle London. ‘We have helped launch the careers of hundreds of enormously talented designers, and have encouraged some wild experimentation that has contributed to exciting developments in jewellery design’.
Today, Dazzle London is the oldest and largest contemporary jewellery exhibition in Europe. This year’s event includes works by established designers who dress A-list celebrities as well as those who have recently graduated. One of Dazzle’s aims is to promote new talent, so the selection feels fresh and cutting edge. All of the designers have one thing in common: the passion to create handmade goods. There are up to 4,000 pieces for men and women from 80 jewellery designers from across the world.
Designers include Belgian Jelka Quintelier’s brand Black Lune, which produces laser-cut necklaces; Lynne MacLachlan’s vibrant geometric earrings, necklaces and bangles that are made using 3D printing; and custom-made earrings by Lucy Martin.
Flora Bhattachary‘ s fine jewellery is particularly impressive. The gold pieces are inspired by the romance of India’s past. The lotus diamond Lakshmi ring, for example, is inspired by the Hindu goddess of prosperity and symbolises luck and fortune, while the Baoli pavé ring is made to order and imitates the geometry of water across India.
The location of Dazzle London is just as spectacular as the event itself. Three years ago, Dazzle London moved to the OXO Tower, an icon that sits on the South Bank and contains a gallery, craft shops and the OXO Tower restaurant, which provides a spectacular view over the city. Go on, be dazzled! Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House St, SE1 9PH. T: 020-7021 1600. www.dazzle-exhibition.co.uk
This image: Lynne MacLachlan’s 3D-printed Nylonsponge from the Mesh Collection Below: Skyline earrings by Lucy Martin