St Albans jeweller to exhibit for the Queen

Goldsmith Fiona Rae at work in her studio

Goldsmith Fiona Rae at work in her studio - Credit: Photo supplied

A CORONATION Festival to be held at Buckingham Palace will see the official launch of a range of jewellery crafted by a goldsmith who lives on the outskirts of St Albans.

Fiona Rae, who has held a Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales since 2001, is featuring designs based on the “Queen’s beasts”.

The term originates from a series of 10 heraldic statues depicting the family ancestry of Queen Elizabeth II, commissioned to mark the Queen’s Coronation in 1953.

The 46-year-old jeweller has chosen to feature interpretations of the White Lion of Mortimer and the Griffin of Edward III with a series of cufflinks featuring a 2013 Hallmark to commemorate the Queen’s 60-year reign.

Fiona said that she was very excited about exhibiting her jewellery at the festival and that the Queen’s beasts – the original sculptures stood outside Westminster Abbey for the 1953 Coronation - had been “a great source of inspiration”.

She explained that she had to gain approval from the palace to go ahead with her designs.

She works with vitreous enamel, an ancient art involving fusing ground glass to precious metals in a kiln, and enamels onto gold or silver.

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The goldsmith has a studio and shop in a courtyard at historic Hatfield House where Elizabeth 1 found out that she was to become Queen over 450 years ago.

Fiona, whose two daughters attend St Albans High School for Girls, started the business in 1990 with a loan from the Prince’s Trust.

However it was a chance meeting with Prince Charles, after winning a competition for best product at an international event, that further helped Fiona.

He spotted some cufflinks she had made and invited the jeweller to discuss her creations at St James’s Palace. Following that meeting, Fiona was commissioned to create various pieces for the Prince of Wales - and has continued to do so since 1994.

She has been supplying hand-enamelled silverware to the Royal Household and also made items for the Queen, such as enamel and silver gifts to take on state visits.

Fiona said: “I have met the Prince of Wales several times and he is really lovely. He has been very supportive of us over the years.”

She has been a trustee of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) for seven years. QEST is the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, which enables outstanding craftspeople to further their skills.

The Coronation Festival, hosted by the association and open to the public, is being held at Buckingham Palace gardens from July 11-14.

It is the first such event to bring together over 200 companies which hold Royal Warrants.