General Gallery Reviews

Yorkshire Evening Post, 7 August 2001

Yorkshire Evening Post, 7 August 2001

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About Us

7 AUGUST 2001

Jewels in the mill
CAREER changes do not come much more dramatic than the one executed by Leeds woman Kath Libbert.
Kath, 42, of Chapel Allerton, has swopped working as a mental health therapist in the inner city to showcasing glamorous designer jewellery by some of the most innovative designers in Europe.
Now she is surrounded by gorgeous rings, bracelets, brooches and necklaces and has developed a reputation for showing and selling exciting work by both established and newly-discovered contemporary jewellers at Salt's Mill in Saltaire, Bradford - but until a few months ago was based at a mental health centre in Belle Isle.
She finally quit a few months ago to concentrate completely on her new role but for several years had been living a double life, combining her therapeutic work with her entirely different existence seeking out affordable, handcrafted pieces of modern jewellery. She said: "I have always loved jewellery, even when I was doing my psychology degree I also attended an evening class in jewellery-making which gave me a great respect for the skill involved, so in the end I took a deep breath and just did it."
Kath, a chartered counselling psychologist, began turning her passion into a fledgling business several years ago after a long relationship ended. She said: "I went walking in Southern Spain and was thinking about what to do with my life. I knew a bit about jewellery because for several years I had been visiting a trade fair in Harrogate with a friend, so I decided I would get together a thousand pounds, buy some pieces and then sell them." She chose unusual, handmade pieces and sold them wherever she could - on a stall at the Corn Exchange in Leeds, at jewellery parties and to friends and acquaintances.
Kath was so successful that the thousand pounds was the only time she had to plough her own cash into the business. After that, her reputation grew so quickly jewellers would loan her pieces to sell on, rather than asking her to buy them. Five years ago she began selling pieces at Salt's Mill, the Victorian textile mill transformed by Jonathan Silver into an attraction which draws 10,000 visitors a week, but continued to work part time as a therapist before finally making a complete break last November. Kath is now showing the work of eight designers at her shop and gallery in an exhibition called Flights of Fancy. The jewellery featured includes silver and 22ct gold rings set with aquamarines by Mark Nuell, men's jewellery by Karen Jobnson and 18ct gold and silver insect pendants and rings by Chris Hawkins Designs are also produced in unexpected materials such as rubber, steel, resin and even paper as well as the more usual metals and stones. Prices range from £15 for a pair of sliver earrings to £400 for a gold and silver necklace. Kath said: "Prices are not as high as people expect for something that is individually designed and crafted."
Customers can also commission individual pieces from wedding rings to tiaras and cufflinks.
KaIh Libbert can be contacted on 01274 599790.

Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery, Salts Mill, Saltaire, Bradford BD18 3LA. Tel/Fax 01274 599790. For directions see About Us
Open Monday - Friday 10am - 5.30pm. Weekends 10am - 6pm.