In the 1960s and 1970s something special was happening to British jewellery. Catherine Mannheim used the first lockdown of 2020 as the perfect opportunity to trace the origins of her enduring ethos of design.
At home in west London Catherine is flicking through boxes of old photographs and postcards going back to the 1970s. “People used to say to me – why do you want to make jewellery? There were so few of us doing it back then, it just wasn’t something people did.” She selects a photograph, from the pile in her lap, of a brooch that she designed; it depicts an etched parrot and a real silver feather, edged with gold corners, which sits under a fine Perspex sheet. “I think this piece one was bought by Wendy Ramshaw and David Watkins,” she muses – “I do often wonder where much of my work is today, who is wearing it, and if I can learn anything from its past.”