Charlotte De Syllas’ unique vision and approach to gem-cutting, while honored and recognized in her native Britain, is rarely seen outside that country. Her work is notable for many reasons, chief among them the lush organic forms she is able to render in hard gemstones, transforming the material and integrating it wholly in its gold setting. In her best pieces, it is as though the gold and the gem has been molded together. As De Syllas works almost entirely by commission, designing and carving each gem and fabricating its setting, these elegant unique jewels shown in the gallery are rare indeed. We are very pleased to present her work for the first time in the United States.
Fusing tradition and innovation in characteristically intricate combinations of carved gemstone and precious metal, De Syllas’s work has been inspired by a curiosity and practical interest in fine carving across time and place, whilst also reflecting a love for all living forms and natural organic qualities.
Initially introduced to lapidary techniques by her tutor Gerda Flöckinger whilst learning enamelling, De Syllas found carving so appealing that, after making her first cabochon, she went on alone to explore new ways of shaping and assembling stone pieces of different colours and textures. Over the four decades as artist-jeweller that have followed, she has gradually refined ways of inlaying and hollowing carvings to make them as light-weight and light-filled as possible, meanwhile bringing a consistently original approach to the handling of gemstones and devising striking new methods for setting them. A willingness to push materials to extremes in pursuit of a desired effect coupled with mastery of a wide repertoire of technical skills has gained her widespread recognition.
Among awards and honours she has received are the Jerwood Prize for Jewellery and the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship. She was made a Liveryman of the Goldsmiths Company in the City of London. Having been a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, she has also taught jewellery courses throughout England & Scotland, as well as India & Finland. She now runs an intensive course on gem carving each year.