Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mastery of Design: The David Thomas Necklace and Chain, 1967-8

Pendant/Brooch and Chain
David Thomas, 1967-8
The Victoria & Albert Museum

In 1960s London, fashions were changing in dynamic and dramatic new ways.  This contemporary style found its way to the world of jewelry as well and launched a visual philosophy amongst modern jewelers which focused on asymmetrical contours, splintered surfaces, textured gold and unusual gemstones often left rough or in crystal form.

One of the most prominent proponents of this new London style was David Thomas (born 1938).  Thomas studied at Twickenham School of Art and the Royal College of Art, and was one of the several innovative young jewelers who were included in the “International Exhibition of Modern Jewellery 1890-1961”held at Goldsmiths' Hall in 1961.

This magnificent necklace was commissioned from him by the celebrated model Ann Mollo, who is pictured wearing this pendant as a brooch in her portrait of 1969 by photographer Michael Seymour in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

We can see Thomas’ aesthetic with this pendant with a raised central cluster of irregular topaz crystals.  From these radiate individually-applied gold wires, some with granular decoration, which are scattered among narrow rectangular garnets.

On the back of the pendant is a hook to attach the chain, and, also, a pin allowing the piece to be worn as a brooch. The chain is comprised of long alternating links in two distinct patterns.

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