All That Glitters, Series 2, Episode 2: A Hot Silvery Mess

We’ll be saying this A LOT for the next few years, believe me.

My favourite part of the show came back: the term “Ring shank”!

Spinner? I Hardly Know Her!

For this week’s Bestseller Challenge the jewellers were having to make a spinner ring, which is very much a fidget spinner with a knighthood. They supposedly originated from the same concept as a Buddhist prayer wheel, which is where David was taking his inspiration from – I do wish they had given him the time to elaborate more upon the concept because I’m sure there’s more of an explanation to the two paperclip like pieces he had attached to it than being an homage to Clippy

but the judges quite liked it and appreciated the chunkiness of it without it feeling too heavy.

David may have gone for chunky, but Tianne was going for CHONKY with her ring inspired by her love of motorcycles, which does explain why she loves to tear around the workshop at about 70 miles per hour and given that the jeweller’s goggles are a little bit too big for her, I imagine by the 4th week she’ll be so fed up of having to tighten them she’ll just be sat there with her motorcycle helmet like she’s The Stig going down a new career path

That will be the only Top Gear joke I ever make, it made me feel dysphoric.

In order to evoke the feeling of a motorcycle’s tyre tracks she was engraving a pair of copper spinning rings with a zig-zag pattern and I honestly can’t quite believe how neat and precise she managed to get it

I’m not usually a fan of mixed metal jewellery but this is really stunning and well composed – and yes, the size and weight of it does basically make it a monocle version of a knuckleduster for when you want to give your bloodsport a sense of refinement.

Having only narrowly missed out on Jeweller of the Week last week, Piers was very much out for blood this week

believe me hun, we KNOW, we felt the earth move after last week’s narrow defeat at the hands of Jack. In order to encapsulate his feeling of crushing defeat as a solid second place and hopeful rebirth as a winner, his ring was inspired by every film student’s favourite piece of symbolism: the Ouroboros

the fineness of the detailing is really quite astonishing, and the fact he added the individual scale indentations painstakingly by hand was certainly worth the effort

and it made the fact he only had one spinning band seem less ungenerous given how detailed and refined it was. Despite the fact his ring was a size O and not the desired Size P, he did still manage to come top of the pile, imaginably just to buy the world a little more time ahead of its complete destruction at his hands

I for one welcome our new jewellery overload.

Emma was also doing a lot of fine detail worth with her Magic 8 Ball Ring which would both help you make decisions and help you remember the lyrics to the opening theme tune of Malcolm In The Middle

it’s a great concept for a ring because if there’s one thing we love in this world it’s blaming something else for terrible decisions we make… Although I’m not sure saying “I didn’t steal the entire Krispy Kreme display from Tesco officer, the ring unambiguously told me do it.” is going to help you, but it’s worth a try!

Emma’s creation process didn’t go entirely smoothly as while she flared the edges of her ring the solder join did pop open

and while it is a pretty big flaw, I’m glad they didn’t overly penalise her for it because the concept of the ring is really very good and certainly fills the brief of being a potential bestseller.

Emma was far from the only person to experience some minor inconveniences during the creation of their rings as Bonnie went a little too ham with the blowtorch and melted her ring into a distinctly unfinger-friendly shape

I love that Bonnie is just so cheerful all of the time, while Emma almost dissolved into shame over her ring join popping, Bonnie treated having to start all over again like something had gone minorly wrong while making a birdfeeder out of a water bottle on Blue Peter.
I also just thoroughly enjoyed this cinematic parallel

but ultimately the delay in having to start again did mean that the ring she ended up with just lacked a little bit of detailing and finesse, which I think was only made all the more obvious by the fact Piers had scaled a 57mm snake and Emma had stamped the Google terms and conditions onto hers

it’s a good idea though but as Dinny said, the leaves either needed to be more highly polished or a little more obviously leafy, or add some little silver balls to and you’ve got Spaghetti and Meatballs with a basil garnish. My ideal jewellery is always pasta shaped.

Nyanda had soldering issues of her own, with her joining opening up during the process, but she did seem to get it to close in the end, albeit just a little bit messily

I was a little curious as to what the symbol on the ring was, they didn’t really elaborate much upon it but Dinny did say it was “a warrior’s ring” and I am choosing to believe that Nyanda misheard “a ring for a worrier” as “a ring for a warrior” and thus this somewhat Viking-like ring was born


Lastly we have last week’s Jeweller of the Week and Piers’s prime target, Jack, who was going with a very ambitious geometric design that was designed to look like Emma had broken it

it’s very cool and it certainly stood out amongst the others for the play on negative space.

An Official Spinner Ring Ranking

  1. It’s A Thlithery Little Thnake
  2. Tianne’s Brrm Brrm Ring
  3. Jack’s Purposefully Cracked Ring
  4. David’s Wing and a Prayer Wheel
  6. Nyanda’s Worrisome Warrior
  7. RIP Vine

Put a Hairpin In It

This week’s Bespoke Challenge client was Alice who works as a paediatric nurse and seems a thoroughly lovely person

as she works in a hospital and jewellery has to be kept somewhat simple and small, she was looking for a hairpin with courage as a motif and in order to help the jewellers she had provided them with a shrine for Dr. Aslan

as well as a lion, she had given the jewellers poppies and feathers as they have strong connections to her grandparents – and naturally as soon as everyone heard the word “poppy” they immediately latched onto that because if there’s one thing the British love more than blaming someone else for their misfortunes, it’s Competitive Poppy Wars – ‘Tis nearly the season after all.
I did also love that despite the fact this was being made for a nurse and Dinny Hall desperately trying to emphasise the elegance and sophistication of the hairpin, the go-to reference for most people was Killing Eve

as far as I’m aware, none of the jewellers fashioned a syringe into their piece.

The only jeweller to go strictly with feathers was Jack who was creating a trio of feathers – an eagle feather, a hummingbird feather and a dove feather to symbolise Courage, Joy and Hope respectively

I know he was obviously limited by the materials they had been provided with but I wish he had found a way to differentiate the feathers a little because I think the motif doesn’t quite come across well enough with them all looking the same and as Shaun pointed out, the join is a little clunky, but the craftsmanship on the feathers was really great.

In their avoidance of wading into the inevitable Poppy Showdown, Emma and David themselves trapped in their own Clash of the Lions – David going with a much more literal portrait of a lion because, in his words, “Alice looks like a real animal lover” and she is children’s nurse so… kids, stray cats that will over run a village in a matter of days, there’s only so much difference.
His lion was very well rendered but did look a bit like it was intended to be a piece of football memorabilia

Emma’s was a slightly more abstracted lion, with her pin just being a representation of the mane, which very smartly meant she didn’t have to worry about drawing a lion’s face

as well as engraving it with markings to give it some movement, she was also tipping the edges of it with the 9 carat gold they had all been given – I did have hopes that this would make it look like she had accidentally made a 90s Mark McGrath hairpin

but unfortunately the frosted tips did not read quite as obviously 90s boy band as I was desperately wishing them to

or at least they didn’t on TV, it might have been like Justin Timberlake was in the room if you were actually there.
I do think that given the hair-like texturing that she had done on it that it did somewhat get a little lost when it was placed in the hair

which you could call subtle or insignificant depending on your inclination.

Now for the meat of the challenge: POPPIES AT DAWN! between Piers, Bonnie, Nyanda and Tianne. Bonnie had the most to prove coming in and her pin being a less obvious poppy certainly set her apart from the rest

there’s something very Chinese about the symmetry and detailed piercing work that she did, as well as the tiny little pendant flower she had added to just one of the top sprigs which gave her pin a literal sense of movement that I’m a little surprised nobody else tried to do. I can see why this one would have caught Alice’s eye.

The other three went with very literal poppies, Nyanda coming out the least successful because while she had added the cross in the centre of the poppy as a nod to Alice’s profession, it was kind of just a poppy

it’s a very well realised and rendered poppy but it could have used just a little more whimsy or personality – and it didn’t help her chances that hers was the only hairpin that wobbled slightly when placed in the hair.

Tianne and Piers were both also incorporating feathers in their designs, with Tianne using hers in place of a leaf which added to the fluid, rounded shapes of her hairpin

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the centre of the poppy, I find it a little too bulbous but I can appreciate that it’s incredibly well made given the perfect dome she achieved and it does suit the petals that she chose to make.

Lastly we have Piers whose feather motif was going to be engraved on the pin, which meant that unlike everyone else who was merely bending their silver wire into shape, he was melting it down along with some offcuts, which wasn’t going swimmingly at first as he was mostly just making a hot silvery mess

but he did get there eventually, only to run into further problems when it wouldn’t fully go through the machine that I’m just going to call a Metal Mangle, which I did find quite amusing because it looked like it was doing a little “blep”

and in order to achieve the snaking shape that he wanted, he had to then beat it into shape, making a lot of noise and absolutely no friends

and I adored that the entire time he was doing this, he was frantically running around with three streaks of grease on his face like war paint

if I felt like my chances of Jeweller of the Week were slipping away, I wouldn’t be able to guarantee that I wouldn’t have gone full Apocalypse Now on everyone else either – it’s a Jeweller eat Jeweller world out there

there’s a lot to like about his hairpin though – the actual poppy head is really beautiful and her certainly had the best petals of the bunch. Given its size, the larger pin was probably necessary but it does add a clumsiness to it, however the pin was hidden when worn and the pin looked lovely in Katherine’s hair

I do hope that Piers spends the rest of his time on the show wearing all of the unchosen hairpins in his bun.

An Unofficial Hairpin Ranking

  1. Bonnie’s Redemption Arc
  2. Tianne’s Very Round Poppy
  3. The Lionesses 2022 Victory Pin
  4. Emma’s 90s Boy Band Pin
  5. Piers’s Chunky Stem
  6. Jack’s Feather Fall
  7. Nyanda’s Very Poppyish Poppy

I do think everyone did really well and this might have been one of the most successful Bespoke Challenges we’ve had on the show, which is impressive for a week 2 episode. I very much wasn’t surprised that given the intricacy and less on-the-nosedness that Alice chose Bonnie’s hairpin

I am very much enjoying the Bespoke clients causing absolute chaos with their choices – it’s giving me Sewing Bee when Farie would do terribly for 2 challenges and then win Garment of the Week for her Made to Measure Challenge meaning they couldn’t eliminate her.

Given Bonnie’s bottom place in the first round though, Jeweller of the Week was once again pretty up in the air and while Piers seemed primed to get it coming in to the Bespoke Challenge, it was Tianne who rose up from her initial second place to claim it

it’s only the second episode but I’m fine with calling the rest of the series The Tiannessaince.

There also had to be an elimination and given the fact they couldn’t eliminate Bonnie after her success in the Bespoke Challenge, unfortunately it was Nyanda who got the chop, which is a real shame because she was such a joy to watch

and if you want to see more of her jewellery, you can follow her on Instagram at SoulVisionary_Jewels – she has some really gorgeous stuff.

And then there were 6…

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