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LIVE 24-SEVEN


A BUY E R’ S GUIDE ANDREW GRIMA


Andrew Grima was regarded as one of the 20th century’s most daring and imaginative designers. His London store and studio was the ‘go to’ place for royals, celebrities, socialites and artists throughout the 1960s and ‘70s. During the height of his career his client list was a bedazzling array of the world’s most famous, including Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Bond Girl Ursula Andress.


For a man whose jewellery career began more by accident than by design, Andrew Grima would prove instrumental in changing the face of post-war British jewellery with his bold, audacious and innovative jewellery.


Will Farmer is our antiques & collectors expert, he is well known for his resident work on the Antiques Roadshow, he has also written for the popular ‘Miller’s Antique Guide’. Those in the know will have also come across him at ‘Fieldings Auctioneers’. We are delighted that Will writes for Live 24-Seven, he brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise.


Andrew Grima was born in Rome in 1921 to a Maltese father and Italian mother. Aged five he moved to London with his family where he was schooled at St Joseph’s College before studying mechanical engineering at what is now Nottingham University. He soon put his new knowledge to good use whilst serving as an army engineer with the 7th Indian Division in Burma during World War II. Following the war Grima looked to pursue his passion for art, however many of the art colleges were still closed. Instead he signed up for a secretarial course which is where he met Helène, the woman who would become his wife and whose father would inadvertently open the door to his exceptional career.


Grima joined his future father-in-law’s jewellery business, H J Company Ltd in 1946 working in the accounts department. Two years later he witnessed the opening of a suitcase that was to prove life changing for him. He recalls, “Two dealer brothers arrived at our office with a suitcase of large Brazilian stones – aquamarines, citrines, tourmalines and rough amethysts in quantities I had never seen before. I persuaded my father-in-law to buy the entire collection and I set to work designing. This was the beginning of a career which would see him become the doyen of the jewellery world with the rich and famous beating a path to his door.


With no formal training in jewellery or design and no time ever spent at the jeweller’s bench, Grima allowed his imagination to run free without any preconceived ideas of what was traditionally expected or even what was even possible. This freedom, combined with love of art, enabled him to express his creativity in ways that were truly modern, original and some would say even challenging.


Grima’s jewellery is characterised by the use of large, colourful, bold gemstones, often in their raw uncut state and typically set within yellow gold organic forms using textured gold wire or beaten finishes. His passion for bold colours and unusual stones was characterised by the use of opals dancing with colour, agates and rutilated quartz offset by a sprinkling of the more traditional gems such as


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