Joy BC Is The Jewellery Artist Inspired By Neoclassicism And Loved By Lil Wayne

Daisy Murray
·2-min read
Photo credit: Diana Eastman
Photo credit: Diana Eastman


Jewellery artist (don't call her a jeweller) Joy Bonfield-Colombara, aka Joy BC, is finally moving into her own studio. 'After years of pain, it doesn't feel real', she tells me from her central London space she's secured thanks to social enterprise Cockpit Arts.

It's been a rough six years for the Glasgow School of Art and Royal College of Art graduate, who makes jewellery and objects d'art that look like they've been excavated from ancient ruins. But her struggle has culminated in widespread recognition and a capsule collection with Browns.

Photo credit: Diana Eastman
Photo credit: Diana Eastman

The 30-year-old's studio is five minutes from Hatton Garden, the historic centre of jewellery trade, where she buys bullion and meets stone dealers. The proximity is 'magical', she says, but what's even better is securing a studio space during a pandemic: 'It doesn't feel right to celebrate, with what people have been through...But, to have five minutes in my studio, it feels special.'

Joy has reason to be appreciative of her good fortune. A dear friend and 'soulmate' passed away soon after the 2014 Glasgow School of Art fire, which was swiftly followed by a break-up, and a catastrophic bike accident.

Then her luck changed.

Two friends - both goldsmiths - offered Joy a space to work in while she recovered, and taught her the 'classical goldsmithing skills' she uses on her pieces. They recommended the Royal College of Art's Jewellery and Metal MA, for which she scraped together fees - until year two, when she had to find the £9,500 tuition or drop out.

Cue unlikely hero Lil Wayne and his friend on the hunt for a necklace for the rapper's 36th birthday. 'People come to me to commemorate a death, birth or marriage - something to mark the next part of their journey. But this was surreal.' The gold cast of Lil Wayne's face, with diamond details, was enough to pay Joy's fees, and then some.

Photo credit: Diana Eastman
Photo credit: Diana Eastman

Since then, her neoclassical designs, Greek and Roman-inspired, made of gold and tourmaline - have amassed fans including Phoebe Collings-James, and a reputation as an art jeweller. Her USP? Making historical practices (such as the art of wax casting) appear fundamentally modern.

With styles so timeless and carefully crafted, they'll last as long as the artefacts and stories that inspire her work.

This article appears in the November 2020 edition of ELLE UK.

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