Commission | Boulder opal and diamond pendant


Boulder opal and diamond pendant

Our collection of gemstones often provides the inspiration for design, but there are occasions when we require stones of a specific colour, shape or size, and for that we look to our stonecutters.

For this special commission, we were seeking a boulder opal of a particular colour to complement the stone in a ring that we had previously made. We liaise with our stonecutters, to-ing and fro-ing until we’ve selected a small parcel of stones that we feel may work well.

Nature being nature, and boulder opals being the character packed individuals that they are, the sourcing of a specific colour isn’t necessarily a quick process. There’s no ‘off the peg’ result; it’s a case of seeking and searching until the ideal stone is revealed. It’s important that we are able to offer a selection of stones at consultation: even if none are perfect, it helps us narrow down the characteristics we’re looking for, enabling us to focus the search.

For this commission though, there was one stone that leapt out. A vibrant boulder opal with a blue/green base and intense flashes of red. It was a very good match to the original ring, but more importantly, it elicited enthusiasm and excitement. The design was kept deliberately simple: the elements of the design, the two shaped arms, the small sparkling diamonds, all working to make sure the focus is on that one perfect shimmering opal.

DFJ Gallery and Studio | Advance Notice


With effect from 18th April 2017 there will be some changes to our normal opening hours.
We will no longer be open on Sundays – We have studied the footfall within the courtyard and this is the most sensible decision to allow the team some time off each week.
On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays we will be open as normal from 10am until 5pm.
On Thursdays and Fridays however, we will work on an appointment only basis. This will allow those with an appointment the opportunity to discuss their project with the workshop team in relative privacy.
The gallery will be closed to the public on these two days, however if you do have a specific enquiry but no appointment, please do knock on the door, and we will be pleased to discuss your requirements.
These changes are designed to improve our lead times and to allow full concentration on the work we create. We sincerely hope this doesn’t unduly inconvenience anyone too much. Our intention is to provide dedicated appointments when we can guarantee sole attention to your needs. After all, jewellery is so personal, and this should be reflected in the attention it receives.
Hey – if it doesn’t work, we can always change it. Let us know!


Commission | Tanzanite ring

Speciality-cut tanzanite in white and red gold

Speciality-cut tanzanite in white and red gold


Tanzanite: the blue/violet gemstone from Tanzania.

And tanzanite: the blue/violet gemstone from Tanzania.

One name, yet so many variations in colour and clarity make it a gemstone of many guises.

The rich deep colour of the tanzanite in this ring however, combined with its exceptional clarity, mark it out as a truly outstanding example of the gemstone material.

A relatively recent gemstone discovery – 1967 – tanzanite is an incredibly rare stone found only in a small area of Tanzania, in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Examples of this size, colour and quality are rare. Smaller, paler material with natural inclusions is much more readily available.

The latter aren’t the stones we choose to work with. David views a huge amount of gemstone material, yet it is only material of intense colour and perfect clarity that David selects to become part of the gemstone collection.

So, back to this ring. A heft of white gold with a flash of red gold complements the size and colour of the tanzanite. An asymmetric band mimics the asymmetric facets of the gemstone. And the five tapered indentations in the ring band mimic the intricate cuts within the stone. Simple. This exquisite stone demands nothing more.

To see further examples of this rare gemstone material please do get in touch, or pop in to see us.

Road closure | 20th – 31st March


Netherfield Lane will be closed between Bothamsall roundabout on the A614 and Thoresby Courtyard entrance from 07.30 on 20th March until 17.00 on Friday 31st March.

Access to the Gallery and Courtyard will be via the signed diversions and the Budby mini-roundabouts for the duration of the road closure. 

In addition, an earlier shorter closure will take place on 3rd March between 07.30 and 16.00.

Please telephone us at the gallery on 01623 823 969 if you require further assistance.

The making of | Skean Dhu

Skean Dhu 1

For those of you without either Scottish heritage or an encyclopaedic knowledge of Scottish objects (spurtle anyone…no, new to me too, but every household should have one), the definition of a skean dhu may not be familiar. It is the small knife traditionally tucked into the stocking of men’s ceremonial Scottish dress.

Having had a special brooch/neckpiece designed and made by us some time ago as a surprise gift for his wife, our client approached us with the idea of making a skean dhu full of the personal symbolism that centred around the first item.

This was not an everyday challenge, which made the project all the more exciting. Each part of the design was meticulously thought out by our client and ourselves, a real collaboration. Including all the symbolic elements was the main challenge; making them flow seamlessly, ensuring the finished item was richly decorative yet wholly functional and ergonomic.

The personal iconography running though the design of the piece makes it a truly unique piece of craftsmanship. And craftsmanship it is. We sourced blue agate of a very specific shade of blue, carved it by hand to exacting dimensions before setting it into the handmade silver framework of the knife’s hilt. Two boar sit atop the hilt – intricate wax models carved by hand and then cast into red gold – a boulder opal set in red gold nestled between them. The history of the Saltire, elements from the family crest, traditional Scottish iconography and symbols of personal significance all intertwine.

This was a hugely inspiring project, complex and rewarding, many months in the making – a real indulgence for us, and test of our creativity and skill. We are thankful to our client for his enthusiasm throughout, and willingness to share the details of his project here.


Carving the boar heads from wax, using small hand tools to achieve the fine detail required

Carving the boar heads from wax, using small hand tools to achieve the fine detail required


Detail of the top of the hilt: two red gold boar either side of a boulder opal

Detail of the top of the hilt: two red gold boar either side of a boulder opal


Adding surface texture to the Saltire cross using hand-held burrs

Adding surface texture to the Saltire cross using hand-held burrs


Polishing the hand-cut blue agate

Polishing the hand-cut blue agate


Polishing the silver luckenbooth

Polishing the silver luckenbooth


In progress: showing the blade sitting within the silver hilt framework

In progress: showing the blade sitting within the silver hilt framework


The original project (brooch/neckpiece – right) alongside the skean dhu, displayed on a background of family tartan

The original project (brooch/neckpiece – right) alongside the skean dhu, displayed on a background of family tartan

DFJ Gallery | Revised Christmas opening hours


To all our clients:

As another year draws to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your custom and loyalty. It has been an extremely busy, and at times challenging year in an uncertain financial climate.

After thinking long and hard, we have collectively decided that due to the quietness of the Courtyard during the lead up to Christmas, we would be better served in taking a well-deserved break and returning refreshed and excited about the already full on year to come. We will now remain closed until the New Year, opening as usual (10-5pm) on Tuesday 3rd January. This is obviously a change to previously advertised opening times, and we sincerely hope that no-one is unduly inconvenienced by this decision. We have amended the information on social media links, on our website and here at the gallery in an attempt to avoid any undue disappointment.

Finally, it remains for us to wish all of you a wonderful festive break, and we look forward to meeting many of you at our varied events during the coming year.

DFJ Gallery 26th/27th November | Mulled wine and gingerbread house prize draw

Image: Andrew McCallum - 'In Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire: Winter Evening after Rain'

Image: Andrew McCallum (1821-1902) – ‘In Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire: Winter Evening after Rain’

Come and join us for a warming glass of mulled wine and gingerbread biscuits on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th November.

Our Thoresby gallery and studio will be open as usual during both days – Saturday 10-5pm and Sunday 10-4pm – so do pop in for some festive niceties.

Over the weekend we will be offering 10% off selected items from our gallery. Back by popular demand is our gingerbread house prize draw, with the lucky winner becoming owner of the gingerbread house, and the fabulous treasure box hidden inside…

And dear reader, if that’s not enough to get you marching over to Thoresby on a crisp November weekend, the annual Thoresby Courtyard Winterfest will also be taking place in the Riding Hall. A magical setting, the Victorian Riding Hall will play host to a number of local artists and craftspeople, offering their creations for sale.

The perfect start to winter festivities. Hope to see you there. Give us a wave and pop in for a tipple.

DFJ @ Goldsmiths’ Fair | 4th – 9th October, Goldsmiths’ Hall, stand 71

Spaciality-cut amethyst and diamond ring

Speciality-cut amethyst and diamond ring

Autumn is most definitely starting to nip at the heels now, which means that the annual Goldsmith’s Fair is yet again just around the corner. Goldsmiths’ Hall, a stone’s throw from St Paul’s Cathedral, is the perfect setting for the show; its gilded interior providing a sumptuous backdrop for the jewellery and silverware on display.

David will be in attendance during week two of the show, Tuesday 4th – Sunday 9th October, on stand 71, exhibiting newly finished pieces of jewellery and speciality-cut gemstones.

A new range of jewellery currently in development is the Menswear Collection, to be launched in 2017. At Goldsmiths’ Fair this year we are planning to exhibit a taster of pieces from this exciting new collection.

Our Thoresby gallery will remain open for the duration of the show. Whilst most of our jewellery will be on display at Goldsmiths’ Fair, a visit to our Thoresby Gallery is never a wasted experience and we are planning to fill any gaps in our gallery showcases with delicious gemstone pieces from our loose gemstone collection.

Finally, we would like to wish our very own Sanni Falkenberg the best of luck, as she has also been invited to exhibit at Goldsmiths’ Fair, showing her wonderfully imaginative hand-cut gemstone pieces during week one of the show.

For more information about Goldsmiths’ Fair please visit

Visit David at Goldsmiths’ Fair, week two, 4th – 9th October 2016 (stand 71)

Opal event | 10th – 11th September, DFJ Gallery

Recent commission: boulder opal and diamond ring

Recent commission: boulder opal and diamond ring

We are delighted to welcome our opal cutter back to our Thoresby Gallery on the 10th and 11th September.

He will be in attendance throughout the weekend – offering the rare chance for those visiting our Thoresby Gallery to learn more about these intriguing gemstones. Not only is our opal cutter happy to share his knowledge and passion for these beautiful gemstones, he has promised to bring with him a tempting array of beautiful opals, specially selected for the visit.

We hope you’ll enjoy this rare opportunity to meet and talk with him, gaining an insight into the fascinating world of opal mining and cutting.

The ring pictured above was a recent commission piece and features a wonderfully vivid boulder opal set in 18ct white gold, with a random scatter of white diamonds flush set into the band on both sides. Our client fell in love with the loose opal whilst looking at our gemstone collection and asked us to design and make a ring using the opal as the centrepiece for the design.  

Our Thoresby Gallery will be open as usual for this special weekend event. Please pop in any time on Saturday 10th (10-5pm) or Sunday 11th (10-4pm) to have a look at the opals on display, or for anyone wishing to view stones in the privacy of our adjacent design studio we will happily pencil a day/time in the diary.

For more information, please contact us on 01623 823969 or

We’ll look forward to seeing you there.

Charity cycle ride | Macmillan Cancer Support


Newcastle to London. 310 miles. In 24 hours. On a bike…?

That’s the challenge our goldsmith Giles has entered into. It sounds impossible, and will certainly be an incredible test of endurance; Giles, we wish you the best of luck.

Cycling for a good cause, Giles is well on the way to reaching his target of £600 for Macmillan Cancer Support. To pledge your support, do pop into our Thoresby gallery, or visit here.

Visit our Facebook page to check on Giles’s progress.

Giles charity bike ride