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Scarab Antiques

The Scarab Antiques Blog

Jean Wilkinson Enameller & Silversmith par excellence

We first became aware of and loved Jean Wilkinson’s work a couple of years ago but we did not meet her until the beginning of 2016. We attended a local fair and came to a stand selling wonderful silver and plique a jour pieces – we immediately recognised them although we did not recognise Jean and her husband Gordon! (Dealers always recognise goods rather than faces!)
It was impossible not to recognise the innate skill and quality of the pieces, their beauty and the vibrancy of the colours all of which shone out. This time we were determined not to miss an opportunity to introduce ourselves to Jean and after an initial exchange of details went on our way. Several months later we found ourselves sitting in Jean’s workshop looking at her work and sketches, discussing the techniques and her journey and generally chewing the cud. It was a wonderful morning that spilled over into the afternoon. We were hooked and left Jean feeling energised and full of wonderful ideas & new enthusiasm. We knew that we wanted to carry her work and help bring her to the attention of a wider audience. Further discussions and meetings ensued and we are now very proud to offer her work to you. You will see a number of her pieces together with a short bibliography on the website and you will be able to see all these wonderful pieces from 20-23 July 2017 at the Antiques for Everyone Fair at the NEC . Pictured here is her award winning “Water Lilies” silver & plique a jour bowl.
So what was Jean’s journey? Her path to becoming an award winning enameller was not a straight one inspite of her early dreams. She tells us that:-

“From the age of twelve I knew I wanted to be a silversmith. My mind has always been filled with ideas and designs, and the possibilities have intrigued me. Like many young people of my generation, my parents influenced my career choices and so circumstances did not allow me to follow my destiny until my thirties.
Despite a successful career in I.T., designing and programming computer systems, I realized that I would never be truly happy or at ease with myself until I began to make my thoughts and ideas real. However, this career enabled me to finance my training, build up my workshop and realize my ambition. I wanted to have the ability to make all aspects of each piece myself and so the process of achieving this has been quite a voyage. Having arrived here, I know now that the journey and the possibilities are endless.

Not only is Jean a silversmith jeweller & enameller, being the only person in this country making large pieces of this type of plique a jour, but she is a woman of many other award winning talents - but that is a story for another day! In Jean’s words she tries “to be the best that she can be” at whatever she does and that certainly shows in her beautiful silver & plique a jour work.

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