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Titanium Morpho butterfly brooch by Selini wins industry award

PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 September 2017

The titanium Morpho butterfly brooch from Selini

The titanium Morpho butterfly brooch from Selini

not Archant

A bespoke jewellery business in Mawdesley has won a prestigious award for its latest creation.

Rob Girling receives his gold award at the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council from Boodles managing director and judge, Michael Wainwright (credit: Julia Skupny)Rob Girling receives his gold award at the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council from Boodles managing director and judge, Michael Wainwright (credit: Julia Skupny)

Taking over 175 hours to make and painstakingly handcrafted from titanium, 18ct gold and traditionally pavé set with over 600 diamonds and sapphires, the titanium Morpho butterfly brooch is perhaps Robin Girling’s crowning glory in a collection of many stunning pieces.

For those already aware of his intricate, bespoke jewellery business, Selini, you won’t be surprised by this superior level of craftsmanship.

The former precision engineer has built a solid reputation for hand crafting luxury pieces of jewellery from his state of the art workshop at Cedar Farm in Mawdesley. Using laser technology, microscopes and computer-aided design software alongside traditional tools, Robin has spent the past 12 years creating exceptional one-off pieces.

However the brooch isn’t just a pretty thing to look at. It’s recently become the winner of what many in the jewellery world would equate to an Oscar. Entered into the Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council awards for its innovative, creative and technical difficulty, the brooch took home a gold award for setting and a bronze for conceptual design.

Rob in his Mawdesley workshop (credit: Steve Sharp)Rob in his Mawdesley workshop (credit: Steve Sharp)

‘I’d never entered any awards before this. I usually to keep myself to myself but I want to break into the titanium industry so need to get some exposure on a bigger scale,’ said Robin. ‘I really didn’t expect to win gold as they’re tough awards where you’re up against the best in the country.’

The awards are considered to be one of the most prestigious and difficult to win in the international jewellery industry. So the win speaks volumes about the Lancastrian’s talents, especially when you take into account that titanium is one of the most technically challenging materials. Only the finest artistic jewellers and a handful of workshops worldwide are capable of manufacturing a piece such as the brooch.

‘I’ve been experimenting in titanium for a few years, working up to the brooch with a few smaller, trial pieces. This is my first big piece using the material. Titanium is currently the “in” thing in the international high art jewellery industry. Wallace Chan in Hong Kong really brought it to the forefront. There’s no-one really in the UK in high end jewellery working with it apart from me.’

Robin has already begun work on his entry for next year; a bracelet that he says makes the brooch look like a walk in the park. These ambitious projects can take six to seven months to bring to life due to spending majority of his time working on his commission work.

The titanium Morpho butterfly brooch took over 175 hours to make (credit: Steve Sharp)The titanium Morpho butterfly brooch took over 175 hours to make (credit: Steve Sharp)

‘The thing that we have over everyone else is that I do everything – from start to finish it’s me. It’s limiting in terms of how many items I can produce but it means that the customer gets that personal experience, as many people are making a considered purchase. The design process is just as important as it being made, so it’s special that people can come in and see things like the diamonds being set – you wouldn’t normally get to see that.’

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