Creating Colorful Pieces With an Artist’s Eye
By Rachel Garrahan
Reporting from London
Dec. 4, 2023
Elizabeth Gage rejected finishing school for art school, turning her love of gold, gems and history into a decades-long career.
While many of her peers are well into their retirement, the jeweler Elizabeth Gage, 85, still comes to her office in the Belgravia neighborhood of London five days a week. She began making jewelry 60 years ago and while she no longer works at the jeweler’s bench herself, she still designs every piece that bears her name.
Her distinctive designs in yellow gold — which marry bold but balanced proportions with ancient goldsmithing techniques and historical inspiration — more often than not start with a gemstone. Drawing from a vibrant palette of brightly colored tourmalines, including rubellites; tanzanites; and mandarin garnets, which reflect her love of gardens, she specializes in statement rings and brooches, which provide the perfect canvas for her exuberant imagination.
“Color is what I’m after, always,” Ms. Gage explained, looking back on her 60-year career during a recent interview in her elegant sales showroom at a Georgian townhouse, the walls of which are covered in paintings by her mother and grandmother.
Because the NYTimes article is subscription only, we thought we would introduce you to Elizabeth Gage’s work through her own words. And then for those of you who have a subscription to the New York Times, you can read the full feature here.
… from Elizabeth Gage’s website
Elizabeth Gage’s approach to design is as unique and avant-garde as the jewels themselves. She combines different elements in her work which she chooses for their individual beauty; exquisite stones, ancient bronzes, beautiful carvings, baroque pearls, anything where the shape and colour inspire her.
She uses these as an artist would use their palette, combining them with brightly coloured enamel and detailed goldwork to create unique and highly personal jewels. It has always been her philosophy that fine and exquisite jewellery can be worn ‘day into night’, and she was first to coin this phrase.
Elizabeth’s journey to high end jewellery design started when as a child she would amuse herself making dolls’ clothes, houses and other items to play with, and this manual dexterity has stayed with her all her life.
Having trained for six years as a goldsmith, her first major commission was for Cartier in 1968. A resounding success, she went on to win many accolades including the prestigious Queens Award for Export, British Jewellery Designer of the Year and the coveted De Beers Diamond Award for her Agincourt ring, described as an engineering masterpiece.
In 2017, Elizabeth was immensely proud to be named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List to receive an MBE. Her unwavering enthusiasm for creating beautiful jewellery continues and it is her unrivalled artistry that has earned Elizabeth and her career this esteemed recognition. Her custom creations are sought-after throughout the world.
Today, Elizabeth no longer works at the bench, instead employing goldsmiths to bring to life her exclusive designs. Elizabeth dedicates herself to her design work and to her business. She still designs every piece that bears her name.