All That Glitters, Series 1, The Final: The Wrath of The Loop

Rule One of Jewellery Club: ALWAYS LIE.

It’s final and either Dan, Hugo or Tamara will be taking home the distinctly unaesthetically pleasing All That Glitters trophy after a battle involving more pearls than Vermeer could shake his paintbrush at.

Hey Pearl, Hey

I think we were all a bit surprised that they burnt through diamonds in the semi-finals but I suppose in many ways pearls are slightly harder to work with in that they require very specific setting techniques and are the softest of all the gemstones making them prone to breakages and dulling.
With their pearls the jewellers had to make a pair of pearl drop earrings – I’m sure Katherine was devastated that she didn’t get to make a single pearl necklace joke. There aren’t too many specifications to the earrings other than the fact they can only use gold (either yellow, white or rose) and they must subvert the traditional pearl earrings styles, which I suppose mostly means “don’t you dare just attach an ear hook onto the end of these and call it a day”.

The jewellers had a choice of two types of pearls: the ordinary round ones or Baroque Pearls which are flat and look a bit like they were scraped off the bottom of a school desk

both Hugo and Dan went with the more expected rounder pearls while Tamara embraced the more organically shaped flat pearls and making a harder job for herself as she was drilling through their very delicate bodies so that she could thread through a wire in order to create a 3D gold embellishment. The drilling goes very smoothly, a surprised given this is Calamity Tam we’re talking about and she was using a rather large drill bit

she’s never one to do anything by half, is she?
Her gold disk however caused some mild problems as she briefly lost it while hammering it out and Dan comes to the rescue

which is kind of amazing considering he seemed to lose his pearls within moments of having sat down at his desk

The missing gold wasn’t Tamara’s only metal related issue as she really struggled to attach the ear wires that would allow her pearls to dangle, a tricky process made only trickier by the fact she couldn’t risk her pearls being exposed to the flame for fear of dulling their lustre and so had to cover them in a substance that can only be described as looking like Shrek’s earwax

but hey, at least it protected the pearls because her earrings were anything but dull

there’s something very mystical about them – they have a very light and ethereal look and Tamara does this sort of ancient looking jewellery so well. I think the unevenness of the ear hooks would bug me no end – I’m a very symmetrical earrings kind of girl but I understand it was to make sure that they hung to the same length which shows some very good planning and technique.

While Tamara embraced fluidity and organic shapes, Hugo was going for something a little more structured as he created a mountain shaped frame for his earrings that gave them a look of Gothic style architecture

and I love the contrast between the jagged mountain edges, the smooth pearl and the sort of molten gold cap – like Tamara it has a look of fantasy style jewellery, I could see a regal High Elf wearing these quite easily as famed treasure plundered from the depths of a dragon’s lair. He also received the high acclaim of creating a piece that Shaun felt was truly unique which was putting him in a good little position going into the final Bespoke challenge.

A big component of the brief was to subvert tradition, which I think Hugo and Tamara both managed, Dan on the other hand did it to a much lesser extent as he went with the very tried and true style of setting his pearls within his now staple design of quite fluid, spiralling shapes

they’re incredibly beautiful and you could put them on the ears of anyone walking the red carpet and people would drool over them but beyond the slightly off-set bottom pearl (which I really like) I don’t think they were particularly unique or inspired. He did at least get to redeem himself from the previous episode by perfectly pave setting a row of diamonds along his twisting gold

largely aided by the fact he actually had his microscope this time.
And if you were wondering how the Dan vs Inanimate Objects War was going…

He’s losing the battle.

An Unofficial Pearl Earring Ranking

  1. Hugo’s Pearlescent Mountains
  2. Tamara’s Pearly Whites
  3. Dan’s Red Carpet Ready Earrings

Here Comes The Bride

In a twist of fortune, none of the jewellers find their plinths have been turned off, which I kind of hope makes them realise that the whole lighting of the plinths, the turning off the plinths pomp and ceremony doesn’t really work. Just rank them guys, Love Productions surely doesn’t own numbered lists? If they do… I am in trouble.

For the final challenge of the series the jewellers were tasked by Akash to create a Maang Tikka, a traditional piece of Indian bridal jewellery that hangs on the forehead of the bride. The lucky recipient of this piece would be Nikki

and the only thing she really wants from it is glitter and sparkles – it’s the bridal catchall.

The focus was very much on opulence and grandness, which is a little difficult to achieve when you’re on a BBC competition show budget but the jewellers still had a variety of gemstones at their disposal. With it being a bridal challenge pearls were once again very popular with Tamara going the slightly different route of cutting and shaping a piece of Mother of Pearl into a sort of seashell shape to sit on the forehead at the base of a chain made of gold and pearls

I think it’s beautiful, I was worried that it being made of only white gems would make it look a bit stark, but the lustrous glow of the mother of pearl just gives off a divine ethereal shine. I think I would have left it to just the mother of pearl, I’m not sure she needed to add the white sapphire to the bottom, especially as the emotional connection of the symbolism of the pearl was the main focus, but she got to show off her technique of setting a stone directly into molten gold again, so who could blame her?

Dan was also using exclusively white gems with his pearls and melee diamonds, and you’ll be unsurprised to learn that he was once again making umpteen golden waves

he then had to connect these all together using chains to create a less conventional take on the maang tikka

it’s very Lord of the Rings Elves, which isn’t entirely surprising given that he had previously made an elven circlet for his wife to wear on their wedding day.
The final design came together the very well, the shape of it is stunningly delicate, if perhaps bordering on being an entire chandelier. I just think it could have used a little colour, while Tamara’s had the boldness of her mother of pearl shape, Dan’s doesn’t have one focal point to draw the eye and I think a coloured gemstone would have looked really pretty in place of one of the central pearls. But I do think Dan needs a lot of recognition just for how well the whole piece hangs, getting the chains correct must have been painstaking work.

Hugo was the only one going for anything more colourful by setting a pink ruby into the centre of a very intricately cut golden flower

I can’t even fathom how he did that, let alone within the time limit of the challenge. He did have a slight disaster in that there was meant to be a bezeled rutilated quartz featured somewhere but during the bezelling he mildly chipped the corner and wasn’t willing to risk the wrath of the loop so rethought his design just a touch, showing some very quick thinking under quite a bit of pressure.

An Unofficial Maang Tikka Ranking

  1. Tamara’s Mother of the Pearl
  2. Hugo’s Flower Power
  3. Dan’s Elven Headpiece

One of the funniest parts of the series has been the reveal of the chosen piece of bespoke jewellery, whether it be Amrou clutching a blanket to their chest to hide a bib necklace or the dramatic lifting of a locket that the jewellers were all a bit too far away from to discern who had won, but I think Nikki walking in cloaked in one of her many wedding day outfits looking like she was playing a game of peek-a-boo with a baby might have won this battle

Truly iconic television.
The piece they ended up choosing was of course Hugo’s ruby and diamond flower and she looked divine while wearing it

and points for perfectly matching the lipstick to the ruby, an actual Queen.

And now we come to the point where me must announce a winner and I have to say, I think this was one of the closest run races in these sorts of talent competitions we’ve had in quite a while, I think any of them could have won and it would have made sense. Alas, there can only be one and the winner of the first series of All That Glitters is…

I’m very happy for him, he’s been pretty much at the top of his game throughout, I think his penguin brooch is maybe my favourite piece of jewellery to come out of the entire competition, lest we forget

and if you want to see what the three finalists are up to, check out their Instagrams here:

Dan: DanielMusselWhiteJewellery
Hugo: HugoLuisJewellery
Tamara: TamaraGomezJewellery

The BBC have since announced that they are casting for a second series, which is very exciting and I’m glad they’re giving it a shot. I do think there’s a couple of changes that need to be made though:

  1. A couple of weeks ago I would have said they needed to replace Solange and Shaun but in these last two episodes they really came into their own and started having a bit more fun with it, so I’d give them another series before replacing them with any one of the antiques experts from Bargain Hunt.
  2. My biggest thing is with the challenges: do away with the “Bestseller” and rename it The Signature, it frees up their creativity a bit more and might prevent everything from all looking a bit too similar. I also think they need three challenges, with it being only the two the stakes are just that little bit too high. I think they need a third, middle challenge, in which they have to repurpose something into jewellery – taking a bit of a lead from Sewing Bee – it would really show off their creativity and flair. Or even do something silly like Pottery Throwdown and see who can pave set 16 diamonds in only 10 minutes – make that a Face Off challenge if you have to, there just has to be more chance for a redemption.
  3. The Workshop needs to be tidied up, or made more clear. I really struggled to work out where anything was, where they all work and that frustrated me no end!
  4. Get rid of the plinth system and just rank them. The lights are a little bit too clunky and unclear.
  5. Include the jewellers in the judging assessment of the Bespoke Round – it’s very strange to me that they’re sat outside of the little judging conservatory and can’t explain their piece.
  6. Dull the sawing noises, this is a personal one – my teeth are on edge CONSTANTLY.

Other than that, I think it’s a show with a lot of potential and I personally loved the insight into the jewellery making processes and I hope there’s many a jeweller who is keen to showcase their talents.

But once again, well done to Dan and Tamara for a well fought final and one last congratulations to King Hugo, the First of His Name.

TOP: Dan, HUGO, Kim, Lee
Bottom: Naomi, Nicola, Sonny, Tamara

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