Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Honeycomb Brooch, 1969

Gold, Fire Opals, Diamonds
John Donald
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Though much quieter about it than her daughter, Princess Margaret (who, by all accounts, tended to be rather obnoxious about most things), but more out-going about it than her eldest daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, The Queen Mother was always interested in fashion and staying current.

Of course, she had her favorite designers. She even had her favorite jewelers and purchased a good many pieces of jewelry throughout her exceptionally long life. One of her favorite jewelry designers was John Donald.

Here’s an example of Donald’s work. Dating to 1969, this brooch-pendant of gold, diamonds and fire-opals depicts a bee on his honeycomb. This was made during a period when London jewelers were, in many ways, ahead of their time—experimenting with contemporary designs and materials and exploring new ways of interpreting natural elements. As shoppers began to embrace a variety of stones and shapes, Donald found himself eager to offer them unusual new designs.

John Donald's career soared in 1960, and in 1961, he presented his work at the International Exhibition of Modern Jewellery at Goldsmiths' Hall where he attracted the attention of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret Rose. 

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