Six of the most respected figures in fine jewellery – including Vogue’s Carol Woolton – last night joined forces to launch the Leopard Awards, a star-studded gala in support of The Prince’s Trust, with celebration of jewellery’s exquisite craft at its heart.
SIR Elton John and Daphne Guinness were among the names to win big at last night’s inaugural Leopard Awards for Excellence in Jewellery.
Held in aid of the Prince’s Trust at Goldsmiths’ Hall (where the Goldsmiths’ Company, which pioneered the leopard hallmark for gold and silver, has been located since 1339), the diamond-studded event was kickstarted by the self-styled Leopards of London: Stephen Webster, Solange Azagury-Partridge, Theo Fennell, Shaun Leane, Susan Farmer and Vogue’s own jewellery editor Carol Woolton, all of whom are committed to feting the art, heritage and cultural diversity that fuels London’s jewellery design world.
The Leopard Award for Jewellery in the Arts was awarded to the Victoria & Albert Museum, in recognition of its acquisition of a diamond and sapphire coronet designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria in 1840, the year of their marriage. The Leopard Award for Jewellery in Fashion was claimed by Daphne Guinness, who accepted her trophy from a spotlight-shy Gareth Pugh.
The Leopard Legend Award went to Sir Elton John, currently on tour in Canada. His husband David Furnish accepted the award on his behalf, telling the audience, “Elton is very sorry he can’t be here tonight, he’s touring in Canada – so he can buy more jewellery!” To round off the evening, the Leopard Award for Jewellery on Screen 2017 was awarded to Netflix’s The Crown, and accepted by the English actress Vanessa Kirby, who plays Princess Margaret in the award-winning series.
The evening also marked the launch of a new mentoring programme, supported by the Prince’s Trust, whereby emerging designers and young craftspeople will be given the valuable opportunity to train in the workshops and studios of the London Leopards. To celebrate the mentorship programme, a competition was launched, with a simple brief: to design a piece of jewellery motivated by the spirit of London. The winning designs, by Louis Browning, Katherine Anderson, Mollie Rose Hemming and Hannah Jackson, will be produced under the guidance of the Leopards and sold at their own stores and boutiques. Proceeds from sales will be donated to The Prince’s Trust.