* Fairtrade gold and silver jewels on show
* Rare gems include Brazilian Paraiba tourmalines
* East Europe, Middle East conflicts turn off luxury buyers
By David Brough
LONDON, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Goldsmiths’ Fair has kicked off in London, providing a showcase for innovative jewellery designs and precious objects, revealing tastes for ethical jewels and rare colour gems.
As private collectors drank champagne and milled around the historic Goldsmiths’ Hall on Tuesday evening, standout pieces included abstract sculptural jewels from Ute Decker, made from recycled and Fairtrade gold and silver.
“My jewels are a conversation piece,” said Decker, wearing a huge twisted wiry necklace that can be transformed into different shapes.
The Fairtrade and Fairmined gold, from Colombia’s Oro Verde mine, is extracted using sustainable processes that respect the environment.
Catherine Best presented an exquisite 241-carat opal, set in red, white and yellow gold, which she calls “The Flight of Dragons”, and in line with a current industry vogue.
Jewellery journalists who visited the September edition of Vicenza fair and the Paris Biennale des Antiquaires identified a trend for jewellery designs set with big opals.
But trends are not a big deal for Best.
“I don’t get fussed by fashion,” she said. “I have worked in opals for a long time, because I love the colour.”
Fabulous natural colour gemstones abounded at the show.
Best presented a pendant in a rare, green Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline, for 15,000 pounds($24,600).
James Fairhurst showed off a ring he had crafted in natural green zircon with yellow sapphires, hand-made in 18-carat white gold, for 3,600 pounds.
Karina Gill, who uses silver for her brooches and decorative bowls, said she had not benefited from a slide in silver prices to four-year lows this week, adding she was more worried by any volatility in prices of precious metals.
“It can take six months to chat with a private client about a bespoke piece, and it is a concern if in that time the cost of precious metal varies a lot,” the Dorset, England-based craftswoman said.
Tomasz Donocik unveiled his “Black Star” jewellery collection, featuring black diamonds and reflecting the romanticism that defines his work.
Donocik used to work for celebrity jeweller Stephen Webster, who visited Goldsmiths’ Fair on Tuesday night.
Webster told Reuters that the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East had complicated sales of sumptuous jewels in London to ultra-wealthy East European and Middle Eastern clients.
Goldsmiths’ Fair runs until Oct. 5. (1 US dollar = 0.6101 British pound) (Reporting by David Brough; Editing by Michael Roddy and Tom Heneghan)