All That Glitters, Series 1, Episode 1: Eternal Doom Mistress

I think we can safely guess that Katherine Ryan’s decision to do this show hinged entirely on being able to wave around the bangle measuring tool.

All That Glitters is finally here and it is very much putting my inability to spell the word “jewellery” correctly to the test as well as the fact sawing sounds put my teeth on edge.

All That Glitters has very much been billed as the Bake Off of Jewellery but in actuality it’s more of the Glow Up of Jewellery, with a single host who is delightfully constantly on the verge of an innuendo

I think Katherine is a perfect fit for this show and who doesn’t love it when someone manages to upset a certain ruddy-faced demographic within 20 minutes of a show about making jewellery?

Of course there are our two judges making their debuts and if you were hoping there would be one who cries over a well attached clasp or a perfectly soldered join, you will be VERY disappointed. They are two of the most utilitarian people you could possibly find. The first is acclaimed jeweller Shaun Leane who might well be a James Bond villain

If the sun ever gets blacked out or if all of the diamonds go mysteriously missing I think we can safely guess who did it.
Our second judge is eternal doom mistress and contender for Best Name Ever, Solange Azagury-Partridge

who is very much the leather clad supervillain to Keith Brymer-Jones’s eternally happy, My Little Pony Superhero. She is, in every possible way, The AntiKeith. She does not do jokes and will in fact shoot down any attempt at humour like she’s Simo Häyhä in the Winter War. Nobody is safe, least of all Katherine Ryan.

And of course there is a whole host of utterly delightful contestants

Dan

It’s my favourite thing in the world when someone who looks like they should be on Countryfile talking about how much they love their sheep IN A PURELY PLATONIC WAY is on one of these shows either making lovely tea dresses, baking brownies or in Dan’s case, making very pretty jewellery.

Hugo

An instant fav almost entirely for the jeopardy of him constantly being on the verge of setting his goatee alight. Also a bit of trivia, he’s apparently the partner of Paige from the first series of Glow Up – the connections grow ever clearer.

Kim

Kim is lowkey my favourite just for that shot of her looking over her shoulder and right down the barrel of the camera for just 1 second too long. An absolute angel.

Lee

Lee is just the most utterly delightful dork and I will protect him with my entire life if needs be.

Naomi

As the youngest contestant of the series, it was only inevitable that either time or Solange Azagury-Partridge would devour her in one unhinged bite. She was always destined to be The Porkchop.

Nicola

I’m honestly mostly just jealous of the volume of her fringe, it’s pure goals. I’m still trying to come to terms with her personal style of jewellery. I’m sure we’ll get there by the time she is inevitably in the final.

Sonny

Every series needs chaos and Sonny brings that in bucket loads, whether it be the fact jewellery is his third career choice after football and personal training (I appreciated the long shot of him browsing through pictures of himself looking very hot) or the fact he did manage to get lost in a one room open plan studio. I look forward to seeing him on Sewing Bee when he rebrands as a tailor.

Tamara

It is a well known rule on the blog that we have to stan anyone with an undercut and thus Tamara is now Queen of the Blog. How long will she last? The fact her friends call her Calamity Tam doesn’t bode phenomenally well.

Bestselling Bangles

The first challenge of every episode is called The Bestseller in which the jewellers are tasked with creating an item or items of jewellery that have a marketability to them. It makes sense but it is a somewhat flawed challenge in that everyone kind of ends up making very similar looking things, although there is only so different that 24 silver bangles will ever look and when the prime example is the Cartier Love Bracelet that looks a bit like everything that Argos sells you can hardly blame them all

Those are £5650 each by the way. I imagine they’re just the most Googled item of jewellery because of the bizarreness of the price tag.
Each of the bangles will be made out of silver and must have an internal circumference of 8 inches. “How do you measure the internal circumference of a bangle?” I hear you ask. Well, with a tool that is *not* not a dildo

and if you want your own Aluminium Bangle Sizer (for whatever reason, I won’t judge) you can get your own for £27.10 on CooksonGold.com. I’m sorry, I just found it very funny when someone on Twitter, completely unprompted, gave me all that information.

It is a long written law that “Not a Single Series of a Reality TV Competition Series Shalt Pass Without an Indeterminate Person Being Inspired by Bees” and immediately stepping up to the plate and filling the quota was Somerset Dan who created a very pretty trio of bee inspired bangles

I think the engraved bee is adorable, I don’t love the honeycomb cut outs and would have just preferred more concentration on engraving but it’s also good to showcase your abilities in the first episode. And you will be seeing that twisted bangle design A LOT this episode, apparently the market is all about twisty bangles at the moment.
He also needs to be applauded for getting the circumference correct on his hexagonal bracelet because Hugo tried the same thing and ended up making a bracelet fit for only the most privileged toddler

I’m amazed that he managed to twist the central bangle so much without it snapping and keeping it so even. I’m not sure the honeycomb one fits in with the fluidity of the other two but at least it was very even, if entirely too small. But I’m very excited to see what Hugo can do in future challenges, especially if we get anything close to the evil wolf pendant he made

I will now be writing a screenplay about a Werewolf Succubus who stores the souls of her conquests in her massive wolf head pendant.

It was inevitable that in a jewellery competition that someone would be go full Live. Laugh. Love and Naomi was our girl, although she was keeping it simpler by just inscribing “Hope” with a heart attached

It’s just not my style or taste, the inscription is well done but it’s not entirely legible, I think it all gets a bit too loopy around the O and the P which look like… a face… let’s just say a face.
As for the other two bracelets they’re very basic, which she freely admits that in reality her concept was just hoping to finish on time, what a Queen of Honesty

They kind of have the look of the sort of things you’d buy in a crafts fair set up in a village hall – there’s an endearing quality to them but they do fall just that little bit short in terms of ambition.
She also struggled the most with the soldering with the bracelet being perfectly lovely on the outside and kind of ugly in the inside

Honestly? Very relatable content.

Tamara and her undercut also had a run in with time management as she started on her ambition to create a trio of convex and concave bracelets inspired by the opulence of Cleopatra. Shout out to the restraint shown by not playing Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles during this part.
The idea of doming her bangles very swiftly went by the wayside as she fell behind and started to have a little bit of a panic and Katherine Ryan gave the sort of rousing speech that only Katherine Ryan could give

It’s not I Dreamed a Dream but I think we could rank it alongside We Shall Fight On The Beaches.
I actually liked Tamara’s final trio of bracelets, they are absolutely all the same bracelet, but I still like them

I love the weathered quality she gave them and I think the central scribble does evoke a sense of hieroglyphics and ancient societies. That being said, the edges look like they’ll cut you to ribbons and at the end of the day they’re not the design she intended.

Nature was a very popular source of inspiration and I imagine will continue to be throughout the competition. Kim’s bracelets were inspired by British trees, there’s nothing particularly identifiably British about her designs, but she really wanted us to know that they were British Trees – none of those Canadian maples!

The two on the left are absolutely nondescript – they’ve got some subtle engraving on them but it’s the statement, chunky big boy that’s doing all the talking. Even with the leafy cut outs it still looks a little bit big and barren, some of the leaves are also a little bit dodgy but it’s not bad.

Lee, my Dorky King, was inspired by the seaside and I have to say I think his starfish bangle is incredible

A lot of seaside inspired things tend to be very literal and kind of kitschy but his manages to avoid that and the different textures on the other two blend in very well with it and have that water-like finish to them. I think out of all the bangles his work best as a trio.

Completely sidestepping nature (WHO NEEDS THE BEES ANYWAY?) was Nicola who was creating a trio of architecturally inspired bangles

I’ll admit, I do not get these. I don’t understand why the massive one that looks a bit like a kitchen utensil as “Valued” inscribed on it, I’m in awe of the how fine she managed to get the other two but I think they’re overwhelmed by the brutalist behemoth. They’re just not for me, but Solange liked them and that in itself is an achievement.

Lastly we have Sonny who was going for a trio of bangles inspired by the Bauhaus movement. Bauhaus being an artistic movement started in Germany in the wake of their World War I defeat and is predicated on essentially bringing art back to functionality and is usually typified by quite geometric, very balanced and often quite stark designs. He could easily have used the style to go very simplistic and while his designs weren’t exactly outlandish there were definite, very cool design choices made

I adore that middle bracelet, it’s delicate and bold at the same time. The finish on the left hand one isn’t *great* but nor is it distractingly bad. There is also the slight issue of the fact that two of them are sadly just shy of 8 inches. Ain’t that always the case?

An Arbitrary Bangle Ranking

  1. Lee’s Beachy Bangles
  2. Sonny’s Bauhaus Trio
  3. Dan’s Obligatory Bees
  4. Tamara’s Identical Egyptian Triplets
  5. Nicola’s Brutalist Big Boy and Sons
  6. Hugo’s Toddler’s Bangle
  7. Kim’s Red Tractor Certified VERY BRITISH Bangles
  8. Naomi is Desperately Hoping for the Best

Who, MBE?

This is when it becomes very obvious that they just copied and pasted the Glow Up format into this show because as everyone re-enters the room there are a series of plinths with their bangles on them and each plinth is either lit up to show you impressed the judges or unlit to show you are in danger. Due to the fact they’re filming under studio lights though, it’s not very obvious whose is lit up and whose isn’t as well as which plinth belongs to which jeweller

I will be entirely unsurprised if this dropped for the next series, if not the next episode. I think it’s clunky and doesn’t work nearly as well as it does in Glow Up with the chairs. But anyway, the at risk jewellers are: Naomi, Hugo, Tamara and Kim.

For the last challenge the jewellers are given a brief from the member of the public, in this case it’s to make a pendant fit for foster mother extraordinaire, Andy to wear when she is awarded her MBE. In the words of her son, Ben, she is “an aging hippy” – way to roast your mother on national TV Ben! But he’s also not wrong because she does love walking around barefoot and I imagine collects those fairy ornaments you seem to only find in giftshops in towns with a historically significant cave.

Due to Andy’s love of fairies, three of the jewellers are making pendants that feature wings: Dan, Sonny and Hugo. The biggest of the lot is Dan whose design is described as “a copper-lined mystical cave with wings”, which is bizarre but also exactly what you got and the wings are immaculately made

It also more than slightly resembles Navi the slightly annoying fairy guide from The Legend of Zelda series. The back is also engraved with a series of stars on the back which does mean it can go both ways

Dan really said Bisexual Pendant Rights.

Hugo’s take on wings involved creating a humanoid pendant inspired by a lunar goddess of nondescript origins

I think it’s a divisive design, I personally love it because it looks like the sort of enchanted necklace you might find in a MMORPG that gives you a +5 magic boost, which as an online mage, I deeply appreciate.
Once again the symmetry in Hugo’s work is phenomenal and he really came back with the largest necklace after making the smallest bangle. What a redemption arc, we love to see it.

Lastly in the Wings Off we have Sonny who had grand ideas of creating a pendant that could flap its wings via a hinge which would give it the 3D element that Shaun wanted from the challenge. Unfortunately for Sonny he very quickly ran out of time after seemingly spending an hour of trying to make the cursed hinge work and barely managed to put his pendant on the bust because he got lost in a 1 room studio

I will be spending roughly 3 weeks constantly defending Sonny, The Headless Chicken Prince. Although he isn’t going to make that task easy because his pendant was… not great or finished

It’s like a 5 year old tortured a butterfly. In fact it’s very Bauhaus which has me slightly worried that Sonny might only have 1 aesthetic up his sleeves, but stark German functionality is one hell of an aesthetic to have.

Kim was kind of an honorary members of The Wings Club (You can have that idea Tena) with her design featuring forget-me-not flowers, an oakleaf and what might be a single butterfly wing from one of Sonny’s previous victims of lepidopteric torture

It’s not very 3D, but the flowers are wonderfully dainty and I think she could have just done more with them rather than the oak leaf and the wing because they don’t have the same level of finish as her flowers, which judging by her previous work are her bread and butter

She really is a very talented sculptor.

In an attempt to redeem herself from the bangles, Naomi was hoping to create a piece of jewellery featuring a rotating flower set on a coral inspired centrepiece, which sounds a little incongruous to me and I’m not sure her coral was successfully reading as coral

It should have been a little more spindly but the engineering of the flower is perfect and she does manage to create a moving piece. I also really love the black, burnt finish she gave it, I think it gives it a lot of personality, I’m not sure it fits the brief but I liked it. It is also the smallest, most modest piece which does kind of it make it a shrinking violet amongst pieces like Hugo’s pendant that likely holds a human soul and Tamara’s full on church bell

I LOVE this, I wouldn’t wear it, but it’s the sort of thing I could see on an Award’s Show red carpet being worn against a very slinky, beautiful black dress and costing an insane amount of money. I think it’s really beautiful and Tamara absolutely nailed it and the chiming sound it made was the cherry on the cake.

Nicola was slightly at odds with the more, natural, fluid brief as her stuff tends to be more structured and if her bangles are anything to go by slightly Soviet. I did really like her approach though of being inspired by Kintsugi – the Japanese artform of repairing pottery with gold dusted lacquer. I for one cannot wait for The Great British Kintsugi Off.
Her final design featured a geometric pattern set inside a ring pendant, with some of the shapes making up a house

I like this a lot more than the aforementioned bangles it’s still not my favourite and seems a touch half baked, especially when it comes to way the chain attaches – it just looks a little rudimentary, which is not like Nicola’s stuff at all.

Lee was also going with a design featuring a house and creating a domed pod with an interior featuring a quaint, almost pastoral cottage scene

I think Lee is SEVERELY underrated – it’s been 1 episode, cool your jets Ariadne. It is a little cluttered, cut two of the bushes out and I think it’d be a much cleaner and clearer. It could also have just been made larger in general but the colours of it are so beautiful.

An Arbitrary Pendant Necklace Ranking

  1. Tamara’s Rainbow Church Bell
  2. Dan’s Copper Navi
  3. Lee’s Cluttered Cottage Scene
  4. Hugo’s Trapped Soul
  5. Nicola’s Broken Home
  6. Kim’s Probably Very British Oak Leaf and Flowers
  7. Naomi’s Rotary Flower and Misplaced Coral
  8. Sonny’s Butterfly Torture Device

Ben decides to pick Dan’s bewinged cave for Andy to wear, which she did and she looked bloody amazing

What an icon. I can only dream.

On top of winning the Bespoke Challenge Dan is also awarded the Jeweller of the Week award

and we might as well make him the new Duke of Edinburgh while we’re here.

It’s never nice to be the first person to go home on the first series of a show but alas someone has to. It’s pretty much a decision between Sonny and Naomi with Solange eventually dealing the deathly blow to Naomi

if you’re interested to see what she makes when left to her own devices I thoroughly suggest checking out Noami’s Instagram page out as Miss_NaomiJewellery. She made an incredibly intricate clover recently.

It was a good first episode, I think there are some obvious teething issues, which you can only expect from a first series but as always the magic lies in the contestants and they’re all lovely people – it’s just nice people making nice things.

And so, 7 potential Jewellery Stars remain

One thought on “All That Glitters, Series 1, Episode 1: Eternal Doom Mistress

  1. Aileen Robinson

    If any one rounds off the pleasure of a competition , you do Ariadne ! You clarify thinks I don’t quite get and you comments are a riot of fun . I applaud you .

    Like

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