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Charles de Temple was a pioneer in the method of melting and transforming gold into abstract forms embracing shape and texture.

Necklace by Charles de Temple, London, England, c 1969-75, Gold. 

This necklace and bracelet are from a series he called ‘nervous jewels’ - prickly sculptural constructions created from two coloured gold wire.

Bracelet by Charles de Temple, London, England, c 1969-75, Gold. 

Necklace and bracelet by Charles de Temple fact file


c 1969-75

Designed by

Charles de Temple

Made from

18ct Gold

Made in

London, England

Museum reference

K.2016.12, K.2016.13


Who was Charles de Temple?

American born, London based jeweller, Charles De Temple (born 1929) was highly influential during the 1960s and 70s.

Inspired by nature and abstract modernist art, De Temple challenged traditional preconceptions of how jewellery should look. He favoured abstract, unique pieces, designed for the modern woman.

Detail of necklace, by Charles de Temple, London, England, c 1969-75, Gold. 

British Modernist jewellery

The Modernist jewellery movement took longer to develop in Britain. Post-war recovery was slow. A tax on luxury goods and limited access to raw materials meant that production focussed on traditional pieces for the export market. It was almost a decade later before British designers embraced the simplicity of the new movement.

It wasn’t until the early 1960s that a prominent British Modernist style emerged from the jewellery studios of London. Designers such as Andrew Grima, Charles De Temple, John Donald and David Thomas pioneered methods of melting and transforming gold and other precious metals into abstract forms which embraced both shape and texture. Inspired by natural forms, they also drew on the artistic trends in Brutalist architecture and abstract modernist art, as well as popular culture.

Presented by the Art Fund. 

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Header image: Detail of necklace, by Charles de Temple, London, England, c 1969-75, Gold. 

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