John Franklin works out of his small home studio in Great Shelford just outside Cambridge, crafting intricate sterling silver set with boldly colourful gemstones such as Topaz and fancy Garnets.
He graduated with distinction from Birmingham school of jewellery in 2019, won the Julia Ushers Memorial Award, and reached the UK final of the world skills jewellery competition. He exhibited his final collection at the London New Designers Fair.
This has been a big change of direction from a long engineering career. John originally qualified with a PhD in Physics from Cambridge, then designed and managed silicon chips on board spacecraft, to 4G and Bluetooth.
However, he has always been interested in the decorative arts and sculpture - first carving animals in stone, such as a bear, swan and parrot. He began to study jewellery in local evening classes in 2014 and found that he loved producing a decorative form from raw material, and feeling connected to an artisanal world of traditional tools and techniques.
Artistically, John is passionate about the connections between decorative arts through culture and time - from Islamic tiling of the Ottomans, through arts and crafts, to Nouveau and Deco. This informs his use of elegant curves through plant and flower motifs, to stylised forms.
He is also excited by the use of colour, using a wide palette of fancy coloured garnets, topazes, tourmalines, and unusual stones such as chrome diopside. John enjoys adding style to the piece by finding ways to use less common shapes of gemstones such as marquise and baguette to complement and integrate with the form, often inventing unique methods to set the stone.