Fun Fact: this is the most expensive bowl of cereal to have ever been sold.
It’s Gold Week which means Katherine Ryan gets to finally use that gold digger joke she’s been sitting on ever since she got cast as the host.
Apparently between last week and this week’s episode they had to break for filming which they really play down compared to Drag Race who did a whole special about their filming break and Pottery Throwdown’s Null and Void Week – the only evidence of a lapse of time being Lee’s new and luxurious lockdown hair
And the fact Sonny’s son, Rudy, was born
A hearty congratulations to both Lee and Sonny for the new additions to their families.
At least they’re all able to come back and get on with the show and Shaun doesn’t even take half a filming day off to give a critique from his hotel room while pretend coughing every 40 seconds
He was also *essential* to the episode because he is the foremost designer of hoop earrings, a claim I cannot prove nor deny, and he was the only person willing to put on and take off 5 pairs of earrings in the space of about 40 minutes – the thought alone makes my earlobes throb in sympathy.
We have of course reached the moment that everyone has been waiting for: GOLD WEEK! But this is a BBC budget show so they will only be working with 9 carat gold meaning it’s about 37% gold – so don’t hold your breath for Sapphires and Diamonds Week. Out of this Not-So-Mostly-Gold they will have to create a pair of hoop earrings and if you were hoping for something big enough for a little dog to jump through, the jewellers only have 12 grams of the stuff to work with, so the target audience is less Jenny From the Block and more Jennifer from Accounting.
The jewellers had three types of gold to choose from: gold sheeting, gold wire or gold grain. Sonny of course opted for the grain because it’s the more traditional, old history style of doing it. In order to get the grains into a workable state he created a gold ingot and I could watch the molten gold instantly solidifying in the mould all day
This is the side of jewellery making that fascinates me and is kind of the best part of the show, which is why Sonny is such a good contestant to have on. I wish they had shown more about how he then got the ingot into the sort of lyre shape that it ended up being as he decorated it with a few golden baubles
I really loved it in this mottled state, I think the burnished blue and dull gold are a colour match made in heaven but he did polish it off to a very good finish
Solange thought they invoked a very pirate ship like feel, I personally see more of a condensed Viking longship – either way they’re very cool and I would buy them in a heartbeat.
Tamara was the only one to opt for the gold sheeting to create, in her words, “a fat, puffy moon” to give her earrings the effect of being a solid lump of gold that had all the grandeur of a wealthy ancient Egyptian. Or as wealthy as you could be in ancient Egypt with 12 grams of gold – you’re not exactly going to be Nefertiti but maybe a very well payed scribe. She was under a considerable amount of pressure because in order to create the 3D effect she had to create 4 halves of the moon with a grand total of 4 sheets of gold
even Tamara seems slightly surprised that she managed to pull it off – although Tamara seems surprised that anything she does goes well after the first two weeks in which she didn’t finish a single Bestseller Challenge.
The jeopardy was certainly worth it for the final product though
there is a slightly visible soldering line that I really don’t think the average jewellery buyer would even notice – they’re just a very appealing and ergonomic looking shape. Solange thought they were a little generic and I don’t agree, I don’t feel like you could go into your average high street jeweller and find something like these.
The rest of the jewellers all opted to work with gold wire and were mostly creating more ordinary hooped shapes… mostly. Lee was hoping to create a pair with each earring consisting of 2 hoops that crossed over one another to create a sort of celestial-esque look
I get more atomic vibes but science-y nonetheless.
Things unfortunately didn’t really go as planned for Lee as his soldering wouldn’t play ball – they were using gold solder which has a very similar melting point to 9 carat gold, it’s roughly a 200 degree difference which can be a matter of seconds too long with the blow torch. Lee did have a bit of a blow out with his soldering and then this went on to affect how pronounced the overlap of the two hoops were
they’re still very cute earrings that I’d happily wear but they’re missing that distinctive quality to them. However while the design of the earring maybe feel slightly short, he did make the most incredible hinge
which did give us one of the best moments of the series when Sonny asked Lee if they had given them pre-made latches and Lee told him that he had actually handmade his and Sonny very much died inside
Sonny then went on to justify his lack of a hinge latch by claiming they were less saleable AND DEFINITELY NOT BECAUSE HE COULDN’T MAKE ONE.
Dan was a little nervous about the challenge because while he has experience making earrings, he mostly makes studs because they’re kind of the easier ones to sell, and imaginably take less metal. He was sticking to his usual aesthetic of quite fluid, natural shapes by creating a pair of rippled hoops that had an almost Baroque filigree quality to them
out of all the earrings they feel the most modern, Shaun thinks they’re a little bit big but I personally feel like if he had had the material he could have gone even bigger and they’d look even more impressive. I do get a slight festive vibe from them and I think it’s because from certain angles they almost look like holly leaves – they’re just a very versatile set of a earrings! They’re the Lisa Rinna’s dusters of the jewellery world. (Ariadne, stop making niche references.)
Lastly we have Hugo who absolutely just wanted to make a dragonfly and was going to make it fit the challenge come Hell of high water so he basically made two dragonflies and perched them on somewhat of a gold hoop
I’m astounded at how far he managed to make 12 grams of gold wire go because there is A LOT of work there, just the fact he finished the segmented tails alone is impressive. Shaun is right in that they needed just a touch more texture to them to better differentiate certain parts. They do also seem maybe a touch uncomfortable to wear
although, they’re so pretty I can deal with a dragonfly lightly tickling my cheek for a day.
An Unofficial Gold Hoop Earring Ranking
- Dan’s Baroque Hoops
- Hugo’s Hoop Discoursing Dragonflies
- Sonny’s Viking Dreadnoughts
- Tamara’s Fairly Wealthy Ancient Egyptian’s Hoops
- Lee’s Not-so-Twisted Hoops
Coming into the Bespoke Challenge, the jewellers who have had their plinth lights turned off are Tamara and Lee – the latter of which is on his third time in this position and has earned enough stamps on his loyalty card to get a free giant cookie at the local café.
For this week’s Bespoke Challenge the jewellers will have to create a locket for Zeynep to give to a woman named Annette who donated her bone marrow to save Zeynep’s mother’s life – specifically the locket is celebrating the fifth year anniversary. It’s an incredibly touching story and very much deserving of something special.
On top of the obvious emotional significance of the locket, Solange and Shaun want the jewellers to incorporate a hinge, a clasp and enough room to contain a keepsake – which are basically the defining features of a locket, aren’t they? It can be any shape or size they want, or at least any shape and size that the 2 gold sheet limit will allow them – so everything is pretty small and delicate.
Having just worked with gold sheeting which landed her in the bottom 2 and with no experience making a locket I imagine Tamara was feeling a little at sea at the start of this challenge. She was going for a spherical locket with a starburst pattern on the front
The starburst never really materialised and instead she gave the face of it a planished effect to add texture and interest
It’s very sweet, I think the bail might be a touch too big and somewhat dwarves the actual locket but it is still big enough to hold the concertinaed note. I did love that Solange went full GCSE English Lit student and observed that it looks somewhat like a pomegranate which is a common symbol of love – they feature heavily in most ancient myths,the meanings varying wildly between love and tragic death but notably they were supposedly first planted by Aphrodite (and consumed by Persephone thus dooming her to a marriage to Hades – we’ve all been there.) This was all very much accidental, as you can tell by Tamara’s delight of a reaction
We’ll add her to the Reaction Gif Hall of Fame.
Sonny was also going for a spherical locket, although making it more of an ovoid as eggs are a very obvious symbol of new life. I do love that in place of illustrations of the jewellers’ final products they just show us their own sketches and Sonny’s little egg doesn’t really capture the whimsical delight that Tom Hovey’s Bake Off illustrations do
Unlike everyone else’s designs, Sonny’s opens on the horizontal which meant that if his locket had the slightest gap in it then the forces of gravity were going to make it very obvious that it did, which unfortunately was kind of the case
It’s not *that* noticeable, certainly not as bad as it was when he first realised there was an issue. It’s a lot daintier than anything Sonny has ever done before – it really reminds me of the bracelet charms that you see advertised on the back of TV magazines, which sounds like a read but those things always cost upwards of £100 and look phenomenally well made. The judges were slightly concerned about the loose hinge but the fact it looked so good and had such a large interior kind of outweighed what I imagine is a fixable issue. His prayer to the Soldering God sure payed off
The other jewellers were keeping their lockets very minimal, maybe a touch of engraving or carving here and there but nothing over the top. Hugo had other plans and was creating a sort of flower overlay that he placed over his locket and gave a hammered finish so that it caught the light and looked truly dazzling
It verges on looking gaudy but I think it’s allowed to given the sheer amount of work that went into it, like cutting out the stencil-like flower was painstaking work
I can’t even imagine working on that scale – it’s insanity!
Lee’s locket went less to plan. He, like Tamara, had planned on embellishing his with a star burst design but in the doming of his sheets, the cutting and attaching of the hinge – an agonisingly precise task – he just fell quite a bit behind meaning his final locket was sadly not complete
The locket itself doesn’t look to bad, it has kind of an old world look to it in the quite dark gold, grainy look but the lack of extra engraving into the star burst make it look a bit flat. However it’s the absence of the bail and very hurried quick fix that makes it look like a farmer tried to repair a fence that’s really pulling the focus and Lee knew where this was heading
SOMEONE HUG THE MAN PLEASE.
While the others all opted for circular lockets, Dan was leaving his organically shaped wheelhouse to make a very geometric design
I personally don’t like it, I think it’s a little jarring and maybe a bit too close to the shape of a coffin. I do however like the fact the bail mimicked the shape of the locket and it is very shiny and well made, which is always a bonus. The fact it even manages to open and close is a little bit of a miracle considering the amount of times we watched Dan knock his hinges off the side of the locket
A truly infuriating 2 minutes of television but worth it for his utter delight when it came together
It was also a very nice touch that he added the Buddhist symbol for gratitude into the inside of the locket
It’s not exactly correct, it’s meant to be more of an eye shape in the centre but the thought was there!
An Unofficial Locket Ranking
- Hugo’s Dazzling Flower Locket
- Sonny’s Sentimental Pear
- Tamara’s Accidental Pomegranate
- Dan’s Dabbling in Geometry
- Lee’s Unfinished Business
With the judges having said their bits it was up to Zeynep to make the decision and the locket that Annette will be receiving is…
A very good choice and I believe this means that everyone has either had their piece chosen by the Bespoke Challenge client or won Jeweller of the Week (or if you’re Dan and Hugo you’ve done both). However, Jeweller of the Week is this week awarded to Hugo which is putting him in a very good position going into the quarter finals!
It was pretty obvious where the elimination was going to land but it doesn’t make the fact it was Lee any easier
He just seems like the nicest guy in the world and just thoroughly in love with jewellery making. We’ve seen him grow tremendously from one week to the next so if you’re interested in seeing what he’s been up to, follow him on Instagram at JewellerLee – he remade the locket and it is PHENOMENAL and if you liked the 3D “bubbled pendants” from the first episode he’s made a bunch of those too. Also the lockdown hair is going strong.
and so, 4 Jewellers remain…