Heritage Crafts and The Royal Mint have announced the finalists of the inaugural Precious Metalworker of the Year award, including a silversmith, a silver spinner and a watch dial enameller.
This new award celebrates a heritage craftsperson who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of precious metalworking over the past year. It recognises a contribution that is far beyond the ordinary, based on a proven dedication to a precious metalworking skill.
The three finalists for this year’s award are (in alphabetical order):
- Rauni Higson – Rauni’s silversmithing commissions include the Goldsmith’s Cup for HMS Prince of Wales, a wedding gift for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the processional cross for Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. She currently has her first solo exhibition at The Makers Guild Wales, titled ‘Illuminating Silver’, supported by the Arts Council of Wales.
- Warren Martin – Warren is one of the few remaining silver spinners in Sheffield, a craft that has been listed as critically endangered. He spins for a number of silverware companies and designer makers. He has spun trophies for top flight sporting competitions including football, Formula 1 and horse racing, including the Champion Stakes at Ascot.
- Sally Morrison – Sally is a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Arts jewellery course and specialises in engraving and enamelling watch dials at the watch company anOrdain. Her interest in champleé enamelling, the art of applying translucent enamel over a usually textured and precious metal background, has made her the best of a very small and elite group of craftspeople.
The winner will be announced on Wednesday 15 November at a Winners’ Reception at Vicars’ Hall, St George’s House, Windsor Castle. A Young Metalworker of the Year will be announced at the same time.
Heritage Crafts is the national charity set up to celebrate and safeguard traditional craft skills as a fundamental part of the UK’s living heritage. It launched its partnership with The Royal Mint earlier this year, announcing four bursaries at an event held at the House of Lords. Since then, five bursaries have been awarded to those wanting to train or further develop skills in precious metals, along with expert support from the team at The Royal Mint. As an exemplar of British craftsmanship, The Royal Mint is committed to protecting and celebrating craftspeople and developing skills wherever possible.
The winner will be selected by a panel of judges made up of renowned advocates of craft skills:
- Paul Morgan, Head of Coin Design at The Royal Mint;
- Dr Rebecca Struthers, watchmaker and author of Hands of Time;
- Leighton John, Head of Operations at The Royal Mint.
About The Royal Mint
The Royal Mint’s expertise in precious metals spans over a thousand years. Known as the home of precious metals in the UK, The Royal Mint offers products including gold, silver and platinum commemorative coins, bars for investment, and a digital gold saving option, backed by metal held in their vault.
As part of their commitment to sustainability, last year they announced plans to build a factory to recover precious metals from electronic waste, currently active at lab level. Recovered metal is being used to create beautiful jewellery pieces in their latest business venture, 886 by The Royal Mint.