Arguably one of the foremost post-war British jewellers, the work of Andrew Grima is unmistakable both in terms of design, quality and originality. Despite training as an engineer, Grima founded the company in the early 1960s in London after returning from service with the Royal Engineers in Burma during World War II. He quickly became the society jeweller to royals, diplomats and celebrities alike. After receiving a Royal warrant in 1966 there are now over 100 pieces of his jewellery in the royal collection, Princess Margaret and the Queen were both patrons, as was Jackie Onassis.
His pieces are striking for a number of reasons, the highly original designs have a particularly organic and abstract feel. He often worked in semi-precious stones, diamonds were only ever used as accents to enhance the natural form of a gemstone or texture of the metalwork, he was particularly drawn to unconventional or rough uncut stones, and despite this move away from the traditional fine jewellery gemstones, he was determined never to compromise on quality.
“The thing about Grima is that almost nobody has heard of the name, but those who have tend to be the people who matter…” Francesca Grima
His clients played an integral role in the design of jewellery, and along with his wife JoJo and daughter Francesca who now carry on the business, they worked hard to build a personal relationship with their clients, which often lasted for decades. Such was the case with the small collection of Grima jewellery which will feature in our next Select Jewellery & Watches auction on 08 June, 2016 in Edinburgh.
The ring and brooch illustrated here come directly from a true Grima fan. After being wounded during active service in WWII, the original owner of these pieces was flown to Durban for treatment, where he was gifted two rough garnets which he and his wife later had set by Andrew Grima. This was just to be the start of “a splendid, friendly relationship with Mr Grima and his wife,” during which they returned to him for much of their jewellery. Several pieces from this collection will be offered in the next auction, all of which are wonderful representations of Andrew Grima’s quest for quality, unusual design, tactile texture and sculptural form.