diamond drop earrings on a purple background
diamond drop earrings on a purple background

For romance, drama and style, look no further than the latest in high jewellery. Compiled by James Gurney

diamond necklace

Deco delight: The platinum Claustra necklace was presented this year as part of Cartier‘s Le Voyage Recommencé collection, which reaches back tot he Art Deco creations of Louis Cartier and Jeanne Toussaint. This brilliant piece is built around white diamonds, openwork spaces and onyx. The Claustra’s geometric perfection makes colours around it more intense under its cool fire.

cartier.com

 

 

 

A gold and orange diamond brooch

Hear me roar: Two of Coco Chanel‘s obsessions, tweed and her Leo star sign, inspired this Gabrielle ring. Patrice Laguéreau, Director of Chanel Fine Jewellery Creative Studio, makes a leonine statement with yellow sapphires adn garnet set in gold and platinum. These, and an intricate woven texture, make for a standout piece from Tweed de Chanel High Jewellery.

chanel.com

 

 

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blue watch with diamonds on the face

Close watch: Pure water inspired Metaphoria, a new Piaget collection. The Undulata, a limited edition of eight watches, matches watery colours with marquetry, gems and an ultra-thin, hand-wound visible watch movement. Cased in white gold, with an alligator strap and set with diamonds, the watch has a straw, wood, elytron parchment and leather dial by Rose Saneuil.

piaget.com

white gold bracelet with Dior written on the inside

Modern romance: new designs for the Gem Dior collection from Dior Joaillerie’s Creative Director, Victoire de Castellane, are unabashedly romantic. Its declaration of love is built on a geometry of irregular shapes, as of mineral strata, creating a tactile rythm. In this bracelet, set in white gold, the surfaces of the diamonds reflect the elemental forces that drive their creation.

dior.com

gold round pendant necklace

Golden year: Chaumet’s Liens collection celebrates connections of love through geometric motifs drawn from the archive, symbolising the joining of destinies that mark true devotion. This Jeux de Liens Harmony engravable medallion features a gold sunburst radiance that highlights the diamond links joining the two halves together – a bond to represent two souls united for eternity.

chaumet.com

Diamond and white gold bracelet half open with flowers on the edges

Fresh as a daisy: The Miss Daisy collection from Bond Street Jeweller, David Morris takes inspiration from the summers of English childhood memory – bright skies, playful games and joyous nature. In this ear cuff, diamond petals and an Akoya pearl, all set in white gold, combine to create an elegant, romantic piece of surpassing charm and lightness of touch.

davidmorris.com

 

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

 
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clothes on a rack
clothes on a rack

Step into Autumn with an edit from personal shopping service luminaire.com. Compiled by Harriet Quick and Isabel Froemming

grey gloves

Elbow room
Opera gloves are the accessory for now, perfectly bringing a touch of haute couture elegance to casual looks. This above-the-elbow pair by stealth-luxury brand The Row are cut from the softest lamb leather and lend a soignée touch to the simple slip dress. Think Audrey Hepburn in breakfast at Tiffany’s and add a cocktail ring on top.

therow.com

A gold necklace with a black flower and diamonds in the centre

Adorn me
Emblematic costume jewellery from Virginie Viard‘s Métiers d’art collection for Chanel creates a strong statement with the Byzantine motifs that Coco Chanel adored. The collection was shown in Dakar, Senegal, celebrating the vibrant culture and craft of the region. Combine and layer chains for a custard décolleté or simply clasp over a plain T-shirt.

chanel.com

a woman wearing a black and white gingham short sleeve shirt and mid length matching skirt

Crinkle cut
Dior’s short-sleeve gingham skirt suit with its mid-calf hem and crunchy techno cotton fabric can be rolled in a suitcase and will solve many a style dilemma. Inspired by chanteuses such as Juliette Gréco and Edith Piaf, Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri‘s AW23 collection tactfully strikes the balance of combining elegance and everyday ease.

dior.com

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A woman wearing a brown blazer, burgundy skirt and boots

A fine vintage
The tailored skirt suit with an echo of pure 1980s glamour comes back into its own this season. Bruno Sialelli delivers a powerful version for Lanvin with a strong-shouldered single-breasted jacket and button-through mid-thigh skirt in rich Bordeaux red. Dare to wear with tonal thigh-high boots to the boardroom and beyond.

lanvin.com

A hair tie with a green ball and blue cube on it

Blowing baubles
Boucheron Creative Director Claire Choisne channelled her love of the playful and unexpected in the new geometric High Jewellery collection, presented in Memphis-era boxing ring in the Boucheron private apartment in Paris. These sapphire and mother-of-pearl hair bubbles are set in lightweight titanium and are a spectacular way to decorate your ponytail.

boucheron.com

A blue lace maxi skirt

Reveal and conceal
Pieter Mulier, Alaïa’s Creative Director, excels in body-glorifying silhouettes and intelligent sexiness. This semi-sheer lace maxi skirt is juxtaposed with a silk-dupion hooded bodysuit for quietly powerful after-dark dressing. This season’s exposure is all about reclaiming the body and putting your physique directly on show.

maison-alaia.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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A raw diamond in someone's hand
people walking in builder outfits through a mine

Petra Diamonds – Cullinan Diamond Mine – Boodles Site Visit

Boodles, the globally-renowned sixth generation family business, is pioneering sustainability in the diamond and jewellery industry, using technology to trace each diamond and working closely with their workers and the mines to ensure a healthy environment for both the community and the land. Here, Honour and Jody Wainwright, descendants of the founders of Boodles, speak to Samantha Welsh about the company’s values and commitment to sustainable practices

LUX: What are Boodles’ values that make you a leader among the ‘best of British’ luxury brands?
Honour Wainwright: and Jody Wainwright: Boodles’ principal point of difference is that we are a sixth-generation family business in operation since our founding in 1798. I am the sixth generation and my twin brother and two cousins also work for the business. We prioritise looking after our clients and host up to 250 events each year for them. Events give us an opportunity to entertain our loyal customers, allow the Directors to get to know them, to give them a lovely day out and to thank them in person for their loyalty. We also value design and currently have six in-house designers, two based in our flagship New Bond Street store, and four at Head Office in Liverpool. We launch a High Jewellery collection each year, this year’s concept being ‘A Family Journey: Around Europe in 10 Days’ inspired by a trip our Chairman, Nicholas Wainwright undertook to buy stones, meet suppliers and gain inspiration for the collection, in so doing replicating the trip taken by his father in 1962.

A raw diamond in someone's hand

Craftsmanship is at the core of Boodles. All Boodles jewellery is designed and hand-finished in the UK at our London workshops. We also use Single Mine Origin gold in all of our jewellery, which comes from the Yanfolila mine in Mali. Boodles know that sustainability and traceability is extremely important. Inevitably, our younger customers value this more and we therefore regard it as something that is essential for our own peace of mind, but also an investment in the future of our business. We also launched a high jewellery collection called ‘Peace of Mined’ featuring diamonds from the Cullinan Mine extracted only weeks before the collection launched.

LUX: You share Boodles’ passion and reputation for offering inimitable stones; what are the primary considerations when selecting a stone?
HW & JW: Boodles are unique as when sourcing stones we usually buy the rough diamonds direct from the mine. At Boodles we are looking for exceptional gemstones, Jody Wainwright, our Director of Precious Gemstones and Diamonds, says a stone has to ‘talk’ to him.

A mine with cranes and scaffolding

© Ben Phillips

LUX: What is your ‘mine-to-market’ process that transforms a rough mineral into a personal treasure?
HW & JW: At Boodles, this process begins with our directors hand-picking and sourcing stones from mines and suppliers, whom we have been dealing with for many generations. They are then taken to our London workshop where they are cut by Boodles’ master diamond cutter, Clive, who we call our ‘5th C’ extending the traditional 4Cs grading system. The stones are skilfully polished, set by our in-house designers, and transported onward to our UK showrooms for display

LUX: How has the Boodles approach to partnerships succeeded in creating an influential U/HNW ecosystem?
HW & JW: From gallery exhibitions to horse racing, Boodles is known for the sheer variety of its events and their number, – we hosted 250 events last year. After a fantastic inaugural year in 2022, our partnership as lead sponsor for the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup was renewed in 2023. At the home of Jump Racing, the Boodles pink logo was omnipresent throughout the Festival’s ITV broadcast. This year’s partnership was launched through a photo shoot with 2022’s Gold Cup Winner Rachael Blackmore on London’s iconic ‘Bond Street with previous Gold Cup Winner, Native River. As the first female jockey to win the Gold Cup and BBC’s World Sport Star of the Year in 2021, Rachael is the perfect embodiment of a Boodles Brand Ambassador. It is no surprise that Boodles will be partnering with the Gold Cup again in 2024 to celebrate its highly anticipated centenary. It provides a special day out for our clients and an opportunity for them to attend a world-renowned sporting event whilst allowing the Boodles team to really get to know their clients and their families.

A rose gold and diamond ring

2023 also saw Boodles present our third garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, in collaboration with esteemed British garden designer, Tom Hoblyn. ‘The Boodles Best of British Garden’ was awarded a Silver-Gilt medal. Post-Covid, sports events resumed: Boodles’ warm-up for Wimbledon concluded its 19th edition within genteel surroundings at Stoke Park, we had a successful pop-up tournament at Quinta do Lago Resort in the Algarve, and The Boodles Boxing Ball returned, raising more money than ever for charity, and the list goes on.

LUX: How did the partnership between Boodles and the Cullinan Mine begin?
HW & JW: The Cullinan mine is very special to Boodles. It was visited by my great uncle, the late Anthony Wainwright, during one of his many expeditions overseas in search of fine stones. He found it magical, laden with mysteries — and shared tales of the jewels in its depths with his grandson, my cousin. When Jody was just a small boy, Anthony died and his son Nicholas followed on in his footsteps, visiting the mine in the mid-1990s. He returned equally enchanted — and his experience of the Cullinan Mine inspired Jody with a new suite of legends.

people standing in helmets and white outfits in a mine

Petra Diamonds – Cullinan Diamond Mine – Boodles Site Visit

I went down the Cullinan Mine with my parents last February and had an amazing experience. They don’t open the mine to anyone other than principal shareholders. My twin brother and cousins have also recently visited the mine and seeing the process of mining a Cullinan diamond has been fascinating.

The story is fantastic and Boodles have a passion for these stones. Each stone is securely helicoptered to the Johannesburg Head Office, then onward to our London diamond cutters, then into our shops, so there is a total chain of custody.

We find that customers love to know that their Boodles piece featuring a Cullinan diamond was mined only 6 months ago. We create a lovely book charting the progress of the stone through all the stages of refinement into the final finished piece of jewellery.

A boiling gold pour

LUX: What can you share about upcoming developments?
HW & JW: We have discussed opportunities for potential international event partnerships in Florida, Texas, Bermuda and Barbados. We are partnering with a third gold mine which opens up in Guinea in Q4, and Jody will attend the official launch. This, together with Yanfolila Mine mentioned earlier in Mali, and Ity Mine in Côte d’Ivoire have each received independent certification to an internationally recognised responsibility standard, so that every ounce of Single Mine Origin (SMO) gold comes with a fully auditable QR code that traces its origins and journey. We are working towards all our diamonds being fully traceable and currently we have a large selection from the Cullinan Mine in South Africa. A number of our larger diamonds now also come from mines such as the Kao Mine in Lesotho, South Africa, and the Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine in Canada. We are also beginning to look at some new mines that uphold high sustainability standards and share their efforts through their respective websites.

Find out more: boodles.com

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Red letters spelling out the word love looking as if they are melting on eachother
Red letters spelling out the word love looking as if they are melting on eachother

‘Crushed Love’. Courtesy of Ammann Aallery. © Gimhongsok

PAD London, the renowned international design fair, reopens celebrating its 15th anniversary this Frieze week in Mayfair’s Berkeley Square

Since PAD London was founded in 2007 by Parisian antique dealer Patrick Perrin, it has remained the only fair in the UK exclusively dedicated to 20th-century and Contemporary Design. Attracting approximately 70 galleries from Europe, Asia, and North America, the design fair draws a diverse audience, from collectors, consultants, interior experts and art connoisseurs to casual browsers and the general public.

A painted plate with a fish on it and knife and fork

Assiette de la mer by Superpoly. Courtesy of Florian Daguet-Bresson

Patrick Perrin commented on the milestone anniversary of the fair: “Over the course of fifteen years, our dedicated efforts have transformed PAD London – the only design fair in the UK – into the popular and vibrant platform it is today: a place of boundless inspiration, dedicated to creativity, quality, learning and discovery for all.”

A beige drinks cabinet that looks like it is melting to the ground

Blonde Drinks Cabinet by Christopher Kurtz (2022). Courtesy of Sarah Myerscough

Eight prominent contemporary and high-end jewellery galleries will also take part in the fair. Elie Top will make his debut at PAD, unveiling jewellery inspired by nature; an emerald crocodile Bouclier ring and a diamond Serpent cuff adorned with rubies are featured. Elisabetta Cipriani presents jewellery by male artist jewellers of Italian heritage, emphasising traditional techniques.

Lose Control Table (2021) by Mircea Anghel. Courtesy of Mircea Anghel © Richard John Seymour

PAD London has always included renowned designers but this year many more new 20th century-designers will be amongst the more familiar names, including Giulia de Jonckhere, who is collaborating with the Belgium-based gallery New Hope and Luiz Kessler who will be presenting a selection of 20th-century Brazilian furniture by renowned designers like Lina Bo Bardi, Jorge Zalszupin, and Jose Zanine Caldas, among others.

PAD London will be taking place from the 10th to 15th October 2023 at Berkeley Square, Mayfair.

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shops with brand flags over the entrances on bond street
shops with brand flags  over the entrances on bond street

Bond Street’s finest. Photo by Gary Knight

LUX selects the best fine – and high – jewellery pieces that are as big on style as they are on bling. Compiled by James Gurney

gold and black sunglasses

Eyes on you: An alfresco lunch meeting demands a soupçon of city cool, and bejewelled sunglasses edge up the glamour. From Cartier to Boucheron to Pomellato, luxury houses offer divine takes on summer shades. Designed around house motifs and with the artistry of the main collections, the crystal-embellished Divas’ Dream by Bulgari are a glittering example.

bulgari.com

a rose gold friendship bracelet with a ladybird and flower on it

Good natured: It takes a jewellery maison with the cultural heft of Van Cleef & Arpels to credibly give way to whimsy, as the Lucky Spring collection demonstrates. Exquisitely crafted, designs include plum blossom, ladybird and lily of the valley rendered in precious metals and stones. This five-motif bracelet is in rose gold, white mother of pearl, carnelian and onyx.

vancleefarpels.com

A heart shaped rose gold ring

Lines of beauty: What constitutes modern romance? Paris-based Italian jewellery house Repossi has a fair idea. This year marks the tenth anniversary of its signature Antifer collection, whose Antifer Heart ring creates a contemporary-classic form. The occasion sees the new Antifer Heart necklace and two hoop earrings, all featuring that iconic sharp tip.

repossi.com

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

A gold ring with a pearl in the centre

Linked In: Japanese jewellery house Tasaki celebrates the never-ending possibilities of gold, pearls and diamonds with new additions to its Fine Links collection. Across seven pieces by Thakoon Panichgul, Akoya pearls rest on yellow- gold and diamond link shapes. Two rings, two pendants, two pairs of earrings and an ear cuff offer plenty of modern styling options.

tasaki.co.uk

A rose gold wavy bracelet

Stem subject: Christian Dior’s passion for roses is reflected in additions to the Bois de Rose collection that includes bracelets, rings and this modern ear cuff, all by Victoire de Castellane. Symbolising attachment, the abstract stem design comes in white, pink and yellow gold, with or without diamonds, and wraps organically skin, solo or stacked.

dior.com

gold cufflinks with the Louis Vuitton logo on a box with coloured logo symbols on a black surface

Ear candy: Earphones become jewellery at Louis Vuitton. Part of the Horizon Light Up collection, the wireless earphones come in a charging case featuring a Connected monogram that animates via LED backlighting. The silhouette of earphones and case are inspired by the Tambour watch case, and the earphones have a polished sapphire top disc. In five colours.

louisvuitton.com

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

 
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A blonde woman wearing a white jacket and a watch with bracelets
A woman working with an older man in a workshop

Carolina in the Florence atelier with her father

She shot to success when Sarah Jessica Parker wore her brand’s Lucky bracelet in Sex and the City in 2002, and she has gone on to fuse playful designs with her family’s fine- jewellery tradition. Carolina Bucci talks to LUX’s Samantha Welsh about creating and developing her own brand vision

LUX: Were you expected to join the family business?
Carolina Bucci: My family has made fine jewellery in Florence since 1885, and my father joined the business in his teens. He was clear there was no obligation for us to join, but that if we were interested he would ensure we had a proper apprenticeship. My brother and sister declined, but I was keen. Even before I studied jewellery design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, I had spent time watching our jewellers work, understanding how precise and physical making jewellery is.

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LUX: How did your vision set you on another path?
CB: Growing up, I was fascinated by costume jewellery: the colours, the shapes and the experimentation. I thought traditional Italian fine jewellery was stuffy and I couldn’t understand how my family heritage could be relevant to my style. In creating Carolina Bucci, I fused these two worlds. Our jewellery is made in the same traditional workshops, but we push our craft to create colourful, unexpected silhouettes that don’t feel formal. We like to say that we make gold do things that it shouldn’t do.

A diamond and sapphire bracelet with CARO weaved into it

diamond and sapphire Color Field bracelet by Carolina Bucci

LUX: How did your brand adapt during COVID-19?
CB: We are small and family owned, so, whether it was the early restrictions in Italy, safety issues or moving business online, we were agile and I am proud of what we did. We closed our London store before there was any mandate from the UK government to do so; we donated to charities; we tried to keep this non-essential item uplifting. Our FORTE Beads seemed to capture the moment, and we found new ways to tell that story.

LUX: Who is the Carolina Bucci woman?
CB: There are so many voices to our brand. That is why we created La Catena [“chain”] on the website. I wanted a place for them to speak. Whether that is filmmaker Reed Morano talking about her creative process or art dealer Sarah Hoover on motherhood, there is an authentic passion, and I hope that is what we convey. I love designing jewellery and I love aligning myself with people who share that spirit in whatever they do.

A woman taking a photo with a camera

Filmmaker Reed Morano for the brand’s website

LUX: Are you involved in content creation?
CB: I design our jewellery, and I am also involved in everything we do: the smell in our stores, the paper and ribbon we use, our digital comms. It is my name above the door, so it is my responsibility to sign off on whatever we send into the world.

LUX: Are you tempted to be more active digitally?
CB: Jewellery is and always will be a tactile category. We have an active, growing online platform, but we couldn’t be a predominantly online brand. Our presence online is just another way for people to interact with our pieces, but it can never replace our stores. We are building a new store in Florence, and one of its most exciting aspects is how it helps us think in a fresh way about our online store. I love how that dialogue happens both ways.

A cartoon of a woman in a multi coloured dress walking up the stairs in high heels with nappies falling out her bag

An illustration from Sarah Hoover’s take on motherhood from the Carolina Bucci website

LUX: What is your social-media strategy?
CB: The word that strikes me when I think of social-media strategy is “fatigue”. I think some people design with one eye on how products will look on phones. I am at the other end of the spectrum. If the design is good, those who buy the pieces are your best ambassadors, and whether they tell friends at lunch or post photos for strangers, I am happy for that interaction to take on its own life.

A blonde woman wearing a white jacket and a watch with bracelets

Carolina Bucci wears her own designs and a watch from the Audemars Piguet collaboration

LUX: What about your collaborations?
CB: Our long relationship with Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet has been phenomenal and brought us to a new audience. It started because I owned a 1970s AP man’s Royal Oak watch. It was perfect and I didn’t think it could be improved on. I redesigned it for women through a chance meeting with the brand’s CEO, François-Henry Bennahmias in 2013. It helped that we had shared values and ideas – both fourth-generation family businesses, focused on craft before anything else.

Read more: Cindy Chao on heritage and emotion in jewellery

LUX: What is your next move?
CB: We make jewellery, and I don’t plan to make anything else. At the same time, I love collaborating with best-in-class manufacturers… we have made glass in Murano with Laguna B, and stationery and leather goods in Florence with Pineider. I love this ability to inhabit other worlds, particularly in the service of Italian crafts.

Find out more: carolinabucci.com

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 4 min

Cindy Chao at the new Cindy Chao The Art Jewel Gallery. Courtesy of Cindy Chao The Art Jewel

Cindy Chao is known for fusing art and jewellery to create unique collectibles. Here she speaks to LUX about the importance of her heritage, emotions and craftsmanship

LUX: How has your upbringing shaped your career?
Cindy Chao: Creating art jewels, for me, is a continuation of my family heritage. My grandfather was an architect who always took me to the construction sites of his architectural projects. I was trained from a young age to see the world in a structural and spatial way. My father was a sculptor. He taught me to take into account each angle, form and expression of what I observe, and to transform observations into well-rounded creations.

Both my grandfather and father moulded who I am today. Having the mind of an architect helps me to visualise my compositions three-dimensionally, and with the hands of a sculptor, I am able to pour life and emotion into my wax sculptures.

LUX:  How do you bring the two disciplines of jewellery and art together?
CC: My vision is to bring art and jewellery together by redefining how jewellery pieces are created and perceived. If a great piece of art must transcend culture, language and geographical boundaries in order to be widely understood and appreciated, the same should be true for jewellery. Thus, I hold the belief that every piece of fine jewellery should be a miniature artwork in a wearable form.

My jewellery creations are an extension and an expression of my emotions and soul. They carry the thoughts and the mood I experience when I obtain inspiration during the creation process. By combining my creativity with high-quality craftsmanship, I aim to imbue my art jewellery pieces with collectible value.

Cindy Chao The Art Jewel Gallery Gravity-free Showcase.

LUX: Can you share some insights into the process of creating your pieces and the techniques and materials you prefer to work with?
CC: I always view the world from a three-dimensional perspective, so my creations are very architectural, sculptural and organic, and can be appreciated from every angle.

I start every creation with wax sculpting, which is where I sculpt a wax block into a 1-to-1 ratio sculpture of the jewellery piece in my mind. The process is an ancient technique, once widespread in Europe in the 18th-19th centuries. This enables my work to be three-dimensional throughout the project.

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I am particularly fond of crafting my works in titanium. Being one of the lightest types of metal, titanium can effectively reduce the weight of the entire piece; however, its toughness and extremely high melting point also make the forging and setting extremely difficult, and any mistake would cause the whole crafting process to start over again. Using the toughest metal to form the softest curvature has always been an ultimate goal of mine.

Recently, I’ve been working on using unconventional materials in my jewellery pieces. For example, ox horn, maple wood, and golden ebony are applied and combined with titanium, 18K gold, silver, and various precious stones. These organic materials lack malleability and require careful evaluation, selection, and calculation of the joining positions and angles between the metals and unconventional materials.

Sapphire Floral Brooch from the White Label Collection

LUX: Which of your pieces are you most proud of?
CC: I believe that a good work is one that, when you look back, leaves you with no regrets, and with no room to think, If I had another six months, I could have done better.

I believe my latest 2022 Black Label Masterpiece Spring Cardamom Brooch is one of those “no regrets” works.

I created a pair of Spring Cardamom Brooches, inspired by freshly sprouted Cardamom pods, to express the vitality and hope of a new Spring. The brooches feature two oval-shaped cabochon Colombian emeralds of nearly 81 carats each. Next to the emeralds are two glistening hollow diamond spheres that are composed of several fancy rose-cut diamonds. The juxtaposition of a large emerald and the hollow diamond ball is my exploration of the coexistence of the abstract and real.

The brooches were also my attempt to accentuate sculptural aspects with colour science. I truly wanted to create a sense of dimensionality through the undulations, color arranging, gem setting and light. They were set with 28 shades of green gemstones, complemented by yellow and brown diamonds.

2022 Black Label Masterpiece X and XI, Spring Cardamom Brooches

LUX: Can you tell us about your annual butterfly masterpieces and what inspired you to start creating these every year?
CC: My first annual butterfly was completed in 2008, the fourth year after I founded the brand and at a time when I was still establishing myself as a jeweller. It was very challenging for me at the beginning, as an artist and as a brand, and I did not know how long I could persevere. I embarked on this butterfly creation with a feeling that it might be the last piece of work in my life. Even if my creative period ended that way, I wanted it to be special.

The short yet splendid life of a butterfly deeply inspires me. It reminds me that even though human life is brief and fragile, we should constantly undergo metamorphosis, surpassing our limits, and ultimately live a brilliant and meaningful life.

It took me a whole year to create my first butterfly, the Ruby Butterfly Brooch, and I poured all my efforts into it. From the front, you may only notice the pair of rubies on the butterfly, but when turning it over, you discover that the entire butterfly is fully set in a three-dimensional manner from the side to the back. The “side-flying” butterfly with its wings folded together and not yet fully spread, as if it had just emerged from the cocoon and was about to take off, symbolises my state of mind at the time.

From then on, I decided to use the “Annual Butterfly” as a symbol of transformation for both an artist and a brand.

Sweet Violet Earrings from the White Label Collection

LUX: On the note of butterflies and metamorphosis, can you speak about your evolution as a jewellery designer?
CC: My growth as an artist is closely related to confidence, which is crucial for creating good works, but it requires time to accumulate through experience. My increased confidence is reflected in two aspects: first, simplified lines and “subtraction” in my work. Because I have mastered the techniques, I don’t need as many lines to present a piece anymore. Second, there is a breakthrough in colour. Comparing the first “Ruby Butterfly Brooch” with the latest “Aurora Butterfly Brooch,” one will notice that I have become bolder in my use of colour. Just like a painter, the colour tension in early works and later works is certainly different.

The Aurora Butterfly

LUX: In what ways is Asian culture particularly important to you, and how is this reflected in your work?
CC: Influenced by my grandfather and father, I received an education in aesthetics from an early age. My creations are imbued with a traditional Chinese style of “impressionism”, using depictions of nature to express emotions. In my works, I want to showcase a harmonious blend of structural forms and artistic conception, brimming with a poetic and emotive essence.

LUX: You have achieved many accolades in your career, from your pieces being selected for Christie’s auctions to being featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the V&A. What would you say has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
CC: I am grateful for the acknowledgement from esteemed international institutions such as museums, art fairs, and auction houses over the past few years. These commendations have not only been instrumental in building up a firm foundation for my brand, but also instilled within me a profound sense of confidence.

Read more: Veuve Clicquot CEO Jean-Marc Gallot on the spirit of the iconic brand

In November 2021, I received the “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” distinction from the French Ministry of Culture. This is definitely a highlight of my artistic career. France – being one of the birthplaces of jewellery art with its extensive history and cultural heritage – has consistently equipped me with abundant inspiration and nurtured my creative endeavours. I feel deeply honoured to be recognised for my vision and contribution in bridging eastern and western cultures through art, and I am aware of the great responsibility that lies ahead.

Sapphire Dragonfly Brooch from the White Label Collection

LUX: What would you say is the overall message you are conveying through your work?
CC: Our lives are finite, whereas genuine art possesses the ability to withstand the trial of time, transcend time, and be passed on from generation to generation.

LUX: You have broken boundaries as a Taiwanese woman in a male-dominated, Western-centric industry. Are you hopeful for the future of other Asian women in the jewellery, art and luxury markets and how do you hope to see your legacy continue?
CC: I am optimistic about the future of Asian female artists as they are gaining global recognition for their immense talent. The opportunities for women in Asia are vast and promising.

My team and I have created our own unique path on this journey, and we aim to continue the growth in the following decades to come, and to become a truly global brand that embraces its Asian heritage. In order to preserve this craft within the wider jewellery industry, I feel it is important to teach and inspire young talent to embrace this age-old knowledge and savoir-faire of jewellery-making.

The making of the Spring Cardamom Brooches

LUX: What would you say differentiates a jewellery piece which is a collectible from one which isn’t?”
CC: The value of a collectible jewellery artwork includes two aspects: rare gemstones and artistic value.

Firstly, top-grade rare gemstones are the primary element that gives jewellery pieces their collectible value. As a new investment vehicle, the market trend for rare gemstones has garnered increasing attention in recent years.

Artistic value is also one of the elements that contribute to the collectability of jewellery pieces. Collectible art jewellery possesses aesthetic, intellectual, and philosophical value beyond ordinary commodities. Artists dedicate themselves wholeheartedly, infusing their emotions into their creations, allowing their pieces to convey the artist’s unique creative stories and inner world.

All images courtesy of Cindy Chao The Art Jewel

Find out more: www.cindychao.com

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Reading time: 9 min
purple and red background with a model with his finger to his lips in a leather outfit wearing glasses and a man wearing a suit in the background also wearing glasses
deck chairs and a pool on a roof terrace looking over the city of Hong Kong

Image courtesy of Rosewood Hong Kong

Adrian Cheng is a leading tastemaker, founder of cultural-retail destination K11 MUSEA, art collector and investor in innovative companies. Here he outlines brands catching his eye for 2023

Jewellery

A wooden jewellery store with products on display

Image courtesy of K11 MUSEA

Brands that bring creativity and self-expression to the mainstream always attract my attention. That is why I find L’ÉCOLE School of Jewelry Arts interesting. Starting in Paris and now expanding into Hong Kong (at K11 MUSEA, above) and Shanghai, their studios provide amazing courses for people wanting to learn and create jewellery in all forms.
lecolevancleefarpels.com

Fashion

A black and white photo of a model on a catwalk wearing a black vest and large angled trousers

Image courtesy of Keystone Press/Alamy

Like many others, I’m watching Schiaparelli (above, in 1978), to see what happens next. Having met creative director Daniel Roseberry and hearing about his love of savoir-faire and mixing old and new, I’m really excited to see how he continues to evolve the brand. I have a feeling there are many exciting things to come.
schiaparelli.com

A man wearing purple shorts, hat, vest and shirt on a dark runway

Image courtesy of Reuters/Alamy/Benoit Tessier

AMI Paris is a brand to keep an eye on as it rapidly expands. I love its mix of casual and chic – it’s so great for everyday wear. The brand has a mission to make luxury fashion accessible and that really resonates with me, too. I’ve also been very impressed with its collaborations with Moncler and Eastpak.
amiparis.com

Retail

Whiskey on a shelf by a window overlooking the sea

Image courtesy of Stephen Grant/Alamy Stock Photo

I’m a huge fan of Arbikie’s whisky (above), which is grown, distilled and bottled on a Scottish family farm with a 400-year history. The distillery is fairly new, and it is making waves because of its ‘field-to-bottle’ approach. Sustainability is very important to me. Plus, the flavour is second to none.
arbikie.com

purple and red background with a model with his finger to his lips in a leather outfit wearing glasses and a man wearing a suit in the background also wearing glasses

Image courtesy of Keystone Press/Alamy

I’m always on the lookout for what’s hot in the tech industry. I’ve been really impressed with the London start-up VITURE. The brand’s VITURE One are XR smart glasses with a virtual screen so you can discreetly stream and game while wearing. They are super lightweight (and look just like classic sunglasses, which I like). I am a sucker for anything that combines fashion with technology.
viture.com

An entrance with white stone and trees

Image courtesy of AJL Photography Ltd/Rosewood Phuket

Asaya Wellness is a concept by Rosewood Hotels that the group is expanding across its properties, including Hong Kong. It combines therapies, meals and experiences to support physical and mental wellbeing. I may be biased, as Rosewood is family-run, but its Chi Nei Tsang treatment in Phuket, Thailand is mind-blowing.
rosewoodhotels.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX

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A silver metal bar with glasses in it in front of a red wall
A silver metal bar with glasses in it in front of a red wall

Barrha Bar by Yann Le Coadic. Image courtesy of Pouenat

After two years online, PAD returns to its home in Mayfair, and with it brings its eternal reverence to craft and tradition, as well as new faces to the artistic hub – heritage and innovation await

From the 10-16th October, the 14th edition of PAD London, sister to PAD Paris residing annually in the Jardin des Tuileries, returns with its celebration of 20th century and contemporary design, with “a roster of world-class interior decorators and designers”, as the various disciplines of art and design meet again.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Grounded by the history of its founder, Patrick Perrin, a fourth generation antique dealer, the art and design fair coalesce modernist tradition and contemporary works, as 67 galleries bring designers from across 27 countries, with visitors able to walk amongst cachet mid century Italian cabinets and historic names such as Portaluppi, Scandinavian textile compositions, works from Poland to Portugal, only to gloss over the worldly exhibits awaiting. The booths will be sites of collaboration, “sparking a conversation between past and present”, as stated by Perrin, with exhibitors placing retro-futuristic and contemporary metal work alongside Brazilian modernist design; natural, sculptural forms rubbing shoulders with American furniture.

white splattered paint on a black board

‘Jackson Pollock’ Screen Room Divider by Dino Gavina & Kazuhide Takahama. Image courtesy of Portuondo London

“With their distinct approach to collecting, PAD London and PAD Paris epitomise how artistic genres across time and periods interact to reveal astonishing combinations and create the most individual and striking interiors.” says Perrin, “Over the past decades, the two PAD fairs have become a byword for connoisseurship, exquisite taste and curatorial flair, showcasing the very best in modern and contemporary design and decorative arts from the world’s leading galleries.”

green cushioned chairs with bronze metal

Chaise Maurice Armchairs by David Nicolas. Image courtesy of Nilufar, Amendolagine and Barracchia

The week will show returning masters such as Joy de Rohan, a reminder of the unique platform PAD London provides French artistry, and 18 first time exhibitors, such as London’s own Francis Sultana and Beirut based Galerie Gabriel and Guillaume.

Read more: The Special Relationship of Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and Ali Jassim

The most established and emerging of  new voices across art and design are being exhibited, as age old techniques are adopted by young maestros. Equally a beacon of innovation, the fair promises many designers focusing on sustainable practice, with responsibly sourced materials and repurposed waste, reflecting upon materiality as a result.

A bright yellow marble looking light in front of a blue wall

Aqua Fossil Chandelier by Amarist Studio. Image courtesy of Priveekollektie

The artful world of jewellery will be presented by a triad of female gallerists, as women dominate across other mediums too, as PAD continues to deliver unending variety rooted by a deep care for craftsmanship.

PAD London will be taking place from the 10th to 16th October.

Find out more: www.padesignart.com
For tickets: tickets.padesignart.com

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Reading time: 2 min
Fashion campaign for menswear
Fashion campaign for menswear

With recycled materials and artisanal craft, being at home never felt so stylish or so responsible

gold earrings

Inspired by natural forms and imperfections, Carolina de Barros employs traditional craft methods, lending each piece of her jewellery unique characteristics. The Lia earrings are handmade from recycled sterling silver plated in gold with reclaimed freshwater pearls.

carolinadebarros.com

black and white tartan shirt

Mother of Pearl is one of the most sustainable and wearable luxury brands out there. This voluminous Tegan shirt is crafted from responsibly sourced fabric that’s made from natural fibres, with the addition of eye-catching gold knot poppers on the cuffs.

motherofpearl.co.uk

pearl necklace

Ethical jewellery designer Pippa Small works with artisans in Myanmar, Afghanistan, India and Bolivia to create unique, handcrafted pieces. This golden torque necklace is set with rainbow moonstones that were hand-cut by Jaipur-based maker Om Prakash.

pippasmall.com

jumpsuit

Brunello Cucinelli’s tailored jumpsuit is a flattering all-seasons piece, made from camel-coloured twill with a contrasting canvas belt to define the waist. Designed exclusively for Net-a-Porter, all of the sale profits go to wildlife habitat conservation charity Space for Giants.

net-a-porter.com

flared jeans

Pioneer of sustainable fashion Gabriela Hearst recently took over as Creative Director of Chloé and these chic high-rise flared jeans are from her first collection. Cut from recycled denim with a braided waistband, they look great with a tucked-in blouse or cropped jumper.

net-a-porter.com

black watch

Ulysse Nardin shows its commitment to ocean conservation by recycling fishing nets into watch straps and supporting marine conservation. The sleek, functional design of the new limited edition Diver Lemon Shark pays homage to the vulnerable shark species.

ulysse-nardin.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2021 issue.

Featured image: Looks from Brunello Cucinelli’s AW21 Menswear Collection. Courtesy Brunello Cucinelli

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fashion shoot
fashion shoot

Get into the seasonal hues and get out into nature with a clear conscience with these sustainably made treasures

gemstone earrings

De Beers has been increasing its efforts to support responsible practices that are sensitive to both the environment and local communities. These earrings from their Swan Lake collection pay tribute to Tchaikovsky’s ballet with a variety of ethically sourced diamonds.

debeers.co.uk

lemon jacket

London-based brand Rejina Pyo carefully selects materials based on aesthetic, durability and sustainable attributes. This eye-catching, lemon-coloured oversized Tate jacket is made from organic cotton and has a wide collar, cuff straps and horn-effect buttons.

rejinapyo.com

pink handbag

Mashu not only uses innovative, sustainable materials for its vegan bags and accessories, but the brand also plants five trees for every item purchased. This elegant Cassiopeia bag is made from Piñatex, a natural leather alternative produced from fibres in pineapple leaves.

mashu.co.uk

leather cowboy boots

Brother Vellies was founded in 2013 with the aim of preserving traditional African design practices, and supporting artisan makers across the globe. These striking Eve Doodle boots are handmade and hand-painted by artisans in Mexico.

brothervellies.com

watch with green canvas strap

IWC Schaffhausen’s timepieces are made in a state-of-the-art manufacture in Switzerland, designed to minimise its environmental impact. This watch, featuring a sporty textile strap and sturdy black ceramic case, comes from the Top Gun range of their Pilot collection.

iwc.com

wool jumper

Made from responsibly sourced Shetland wool, this chocolate-brown crew-neck jumper from Acne Studios makes a cosy winter wardrobe staple. Designed for a relaxed fit with ribbed cuffs and a wide hem, it can be worn with pretty much anything.

acnestudios.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2021 issue.

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Reading time: 3 min
woman sitting on wall

Portia Antonia Alexis is a leading consumer business analyst, neuroeconomist and mathematician

Portia Antonia Alexis is a consumer goods analyst and researcher specialising in the realm of neuroeconomics, where she uses advanced analytics to determine the thought processes of consumers and how best to appeal to them. Here, the McKinsey alumnus speaks to LUX about the impact of the pandemic on consumer habits and the future of hard luxury

LUX: How do you define hard luxury?
Portia Antonia Alexis: Hard luxury is simply a term that refers to timeless products such as watches and jewellery, while soft luxury refers to products such as leather accessories, bags, and designer clothing. While this may sound a little basic, an easy way to remember the difference is that hard luxury refers to pieces that are physically harder to break, while soft luxury refers to pieces that are soft to the touch.

LUX: What was the relationship between hard luxury and e-commerce pre-pandemic?
Portia Antonia Alexis: Pre-pandemic, hard luxury goods were very rarely sold online. After all, while major hard luxury retailers such as Tiffany & Co., Longines, and Rolex consistently advertised through online channels, the idea behind these advertisements would be to drive people to their in-person stores rather than try to drive online purchases.

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The reasons behind this can mostly be attributed to the price of hard luxury brands. Generally speaking, a high-quality piece of jewellery or a luxury watch will cost over $1,000, and in an online setting, many people were uncomfortable with spending such a large sum of money. Online shopping was also much less conducive to driving sales, as while an in-person salesperson could use sales tactics to condition the brain into making a purchase, the nature of an online shop made it much harder to do so. As a final note, many people enjoyed the experience of shopping for hard luxury in-person, as they get a psychological ‘high’ of sorts due to the increase in perceived status that they felt when shopping for an expensive item in person; however, when online, this reaction was greatly muted.

LUX: How has the hard luxury sector been affected by COVID-19?
Portia Antonia Alexis: As with many industries, hard luxury sales plummeted during the first few months of the pandemic, but by the third quarter of 2020, there was a large resurgence in sales. For example, in the third quarter of 2020, the luxury conglomerate Richemont had a 5% increase in sales that was largely bolstered by its jewellery assets and during that same time period, Maisons had a 13.3% increase in sales, which was largely thanks to a strong performance by its hard luxury brands Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. I expect to see this positive momentum continue in 2022, and I would not be surprised if hard luxury revenues meet 2019 levels this year.

LUX: From a neuroeconomic standpoint, why do you believe this rise in sales occurred?
Portia Antonia Alexis: Given that most hard luxury brands were reliant on in-person traffic to drive sales, the pandemic necessitated a complete revamping of the online experience so that these brands could replicate the same psychological triggers that shoppers felt when they were in-store.

One of the biggest innovations in this field was the advent of personalised online appointments. These appointments involve a salesperson booking a time with a client and then having a video conference where they have their entire collection on offer, and these were great substitutes for in-person appointments for two main reasons. The first was that the salespeople were able to use many of the same sales tactics that they used in store, and from a neuroeconomic standpoint, this generated a more positive response in the brain of the client that then led to a higher conversion rate than a simple online store would have. The second major difference was that the salesperson could physically try on a piece of jewellery, and this was important because it not only allowed the client to analyse the fit of a piece using a real person as a point of reference, but made the client more comfortable with shelling out large sums of cash for an item.

Read more: Prince Robert de Luxembourg on Art & Fine Wine

Another major innovation was the increased emphasis on customer service. On a basic level, this was done by having more people on hand to answer questions and do sales calls and by making the waiting time for answers either online or on the phone much shorter. This helped give clients peace of mind while shopping, alleviating a lot of the unknowns that come with purchasing while only having a picture as a frame of reference. This customer service also extended to details such as warranties and returns. In the past, many hard luxury companies had strict return policies, but in light of the pandemic, many made it so that you could try a piece on and then return it if necessary. This was crucial as it made people much more comfortable with making a large online purchase. However, since it is generally a bit of a hassle to return something, this barrier would cause many clients to mentally accept sub-par items, leading to items that would have been rejected in store still getting sold so long as they looked good online.

In tandem, these two factors made online shopping far more similar to in-person shopping than it was pre-pandemic, and as a result, sales were able to remain relatively high despite the fact that there were very few physical stores that were open.

LUX: Are there any other major factors that you feel were important?
Portia Antonia Alexis: I’d say that the influence of geographic variation cannot be overstated. While business in the United States was lacklustre, China and Japan, which are the second and third largest luxury markets by annual sales respectively, became especially influential after removing their COVID-19 restrictions earlier than most. That’s because there was a marked rise in ‘revenge buying’, which were shopping sprees driven by a feeling of having missed out during the lockdown, and ‘reunion dressing’, which were surges in demand driven by re-uniting with people after large periods of time in lockdown, and in tandem, this led to a massive growth in sales in these countries. In fact, mainland China was the only region on the planet to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic with higher local spending than it had in 2019, as it experienced a massive consumption growth rate of about 45%. When you further consider the increase in per capita wealth being generated in China, I’m confident that in the next few years, China may overtake the United States as the world’s leading hard luxury market.

LUX: What will hard luxury companies have to do to encourage growth post-pandemic?
Portia Antonia Alexis: I think that one of the single most important changes that hard luxury companies will have to undergo is the shifting of their focus from the American market to the Asia-Pacific one, with China being their primary long term target.

Research has shown that relative to American consumers, Chinese consumers tend to have very different responses to advertisements. More specifically, it seems that while American consumers respond well to brand awareness, which is created by, say, commercials at the Super Bowl, Chinese consumers tend to be far more concerned with intrinsic value, which derives from factors such as the quality of the materials used, how the goods are created, and what the brand’s story or ethos represents.

Chinese consumers also seem to respond poorly to discounted merchandise. Now, during the pandemic, many American brands dropped prices or released lower cost lines of products in order to make their goods more affordable to cash-strapped consumers. However, this often backfired in the Asia-Pacific, where consumers perceived this fall in prices to be a drop in intrinsic value, which therefore made the goods less desirable than they were before the prices were decreased!

In any case, I think that if American brands are to fully take advantage of the Chinese markets, they will have to focus more on building a long term story for their brand and less on simply creating a recognisable logo with flashy advertising. However, given that the Chinese and American markets are so large yet so different, the big challenge here will be to straddle the competing consumer mindsets in both regions. In my opinion, hard luxury brands can achieve this by applying different neuroeconomic principles to their marketing campaigns and brand building on a regional basis, and my hope is that in the coming years, more analysts with a neuroeconomic background will enter the consulting field so that this can be achieved!

Portia Antonia Alexis is a neuroeconomic consumer goods analyst and researcher who works with luxury brands such as L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, and Tiffany & Co. @portiaeconomics

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Reading time: 7 min
jewels hidden in flowers
jewels hidden in flowers

This is the season for classic style with just a touch of whimsy and gold to brighten the days

romantic style shirt

This 70s-inspired shirt by Gucci is made from lightweight organic silk with an oversized collar and romantic, billowing sleeves. The pale pastel yellow tone adds to the vintage aesthetic, while the sheer fabric adds an appealing sense of allure.

gucci.com

pendant necklace

All of House of Benney’s creations are sustainably handmade to order in the UK, using traditional craft techniques. This elegant necklace from the brand’s Constellation collection features three textured gold pendants that evoke the celestial light of the night sky.

houseofbenney.com

grey woollen coat

Founded by Hungarian designer Sandra Sandor, Nanushka creates luxurious wardrobe staples with a focus on conscious materials. The Soa reinvents the practicality and elegance of a classic trench coat with double wool construction for extra warmth and structure.

nanushka.com

woollen trousers

Stella McCartney’s autumn 2021 collection is said to be the brand’s most sustainable to date. Inspired by ‘J is for Joy’ from the designer’s A to Z Manifesto, the pieces embrace soft, sensual, silhouettes. Versatile and timeless, these Kaiya Wool Trousers are our top pick.

stellamccartney.com

earrings

Anabela Chan uses laboratory-grown gemstones to create ethical, unique pieces of fine jewellery. These earrings are set with a vibrant array of emeralds, tourmalines, sapphires and diamonds, with delicately carved mother-of-pearl flowers and hand-painted detailing.
anabelachan.com

anabelachan.com

gold wristwatch

Since 2018, Chopard has used entirely ethically produced and responsibly mined gold across all of its collections. We love the simple elegance of this men’s L.U.C XPS self-winding timepiece with 65 hours power reserve, a chain-link strap and hand-crafted finishes.

chopard.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2021 issue.

Top image: Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery photographed by Japanese photographer Mika Ninagawa as part of the brand’s ‘Florae’ exhibition. 

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Reading time: 3 min
jewellery boutiqe
jewellery boutiqe

Goossens’ flagship London boutique in Mayfair

Parisian couture jewellery house GOOSSENS opens the doors to its first London boutique in Burlington Gardens, Mayfair

French jeweller Robert Goossens founded his eponymous brand in 1950 and is known for making jewellery and decorative objects for some of the most renowned designers of the last century, including Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Cristóbal Balenciaga.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

While the core aesthetic has stayed consistent since its inception, with a focus on tactile, handmade pieces, which combine metal with precious stones, the opening of the first GOOSSENS boutique in London marks a new chapter in the brand’s history under the leadership of Robert Goossens’ son Patrick (Director of GOOSSENS’ Heritage and Know-How) and as part of Chanel (the fashion house bought the brand in 2005).

jewellery display

The store itself is reminiscent of an art gallery with its white walls and minimal furnishings emphasising the bold beauty of the objects on display. Visitors can discover iconic heritage designs alongside new collections and six unique interior design pieces including two mirrors, a couture chandelier made in collaboration with interior designer Anne-Sophie Pailleret, and two wall lights.

The GOOSSENS boutique opens on 12 April 2021 at 3 Burlington Gardens, Mayfair, London W1S 3EP. For more information, visit: goossens-paris.com

 

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man with handbags and watches
man with handbags and watches

Founder of Xupes, Joe McKenzie

Joe McKenzie and his father Frank founded Xupes in 2009, selling a handful of pre-owned Cartier watches from their home in Bishop’s Stortford. The company now sells a curated collection of vintage handbags, jewellery, art and design pieces alongside refurbished luxury timepieces. Here, he speaks to Candice Tucker about sustainable luxury, the rise of the digital marketplace and future collectibles

1. What inspired you to enter the pre-owned luxury retail industry?

I’ve always been interested in and participated in the circular economy. When I was 13, I was buying and selling clothes on eBay. I’ve always had an appreciation for nice things (but couldn’t afford them!) with an interest in engineering. Buying pre-owned gave me the ability to own and enjoy nice clothes for a few months and then, often sell them for double what I paid. When I was 15, I taught myself to repair airsoft gearboxes. Airsoft was an increasingly popular sport at the time and I imported parts from China to offer one of the first repair services in the UK. This was my first proper job that gave me the ability to save up some money. My parents have always taught me the importance of independence and I guess my entrepreneurship started from a young age inspired by my father and grandfather who both ran their own successful businesses.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The mechanics of watches always fascinated me (my great grandfather was a clock maker) and when I was lucky enough to be gifted one, I became immersed in the world of horology. With the knowledge and experience of buying and selling on eBay, I saw an opportunity to redefine a market that was growing and where others were not offering service or quality. I thought to myself: why shouldn’t the experience of buying a second hand (or pre-owned as we call it) luxury watch be the same or better than buying one new? This is how the idea of Xupes began, in my bedroom at university, and I set out to redefine the perception of buying a luxury pre-owned item. I was completing a degree in photography at the time, and I used this experience to focus on creating a brand that could become a leader in the sector.

watches

A selection of pre-owned luxury watches from the Xupes collection

2. Why are vintage watches becoming ever more popular at a time when everyone has a phone that tells the time and also a smart watch?

This is a topic which has been widely discussed. At first, people thought the smart watch would have a significant impact on the luxury watch market. But customers who own a luxury watch appreciate it for many other reasons beyond convenience. Smart watches provide a service and the technology that helps us streamline our lives day to day. A luxury or vintage watch is a work of art, something with history that tells a story and is an extension of our personality, that one day might be passed on to loved ones. They also can appreciate so have become collectable and in today’s world and alternative asset class. Often, for these reasons our customers have both for these very different purposes.

3. Have any watch brands become noticeably more popular since the pandemic?

The pandemic has had one major impact to our sector: it has accelerated a shift towards digital/online channels versus the high street, a shift that was happening already, but is now probably 5 years ahead of where it would have been had the pandemic not happened. At the start of the pandemic this created a rush of brands struggling to re-organise their businesses to be able to sell online, but it is only now, 12 months on, that many of them have managed to set this up properly whilst others are still developing their operations to cope with this change. I also think consumers are more conscious of the impact their purchasing is having on the planet, bringing a wave a focus on more sustainable luxury, within which the circular economy will play a huge part in years to come.

Read more: Uplifting new paintings by Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

This has all meant we’ve seen considerable demand grow across our most popular brands, which people couldn’t easily buy during the pandemic. Examples are Rolex, AP and Patek Philippe, but we’ve seen a new demand in vintage across these brands as well as Cartier, Omega, IWC, and Jaeger-Le- Coultre as customers start to diversify and deepen their interests and collections. Some of the more niche independent brands have also increased in their desirability such as FP Journe, George Daniels, Philippe Dufour, Laurent Ferrier and Moser & Cie. My personal belief is that next year will also be big for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak as it is the model’s 50th Anniversary. I expect prices for vintage Royal Oak’s to increase significantly. Prices in the past 12 months have risen across the pre-owned sector in varying amounts driven by this shortage of supply.

4. What is the decision process when deciding which brands you choose to sell?

We created Xupes through interest and passion for what we do. Our whole service is built around experience and taking time to educate and often learn from our customers. We apply this to the collection we offer and only purchase around 5% of what we are offered. This is because we’re selective about quality, provenance and also the brands and models we select. We believe our collection of watches is one of the best in the industry. Whilst we want our customers to have the right variety, we won’t sell anything and everything and 75% of our inventory is focused across five key brands.

002_Daytona-Stainless-Steel-Gents-6239

A pre-owned Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel watch

5. Is there a clear demographic of the people buying pre-owned watches?

The demographic where we see the largest portion of our customers is 35-50 and 75% male as you might expect. The watches we sell are expensive items often purchased for a special occasion to commemorate a milestone in life or to celebrate a birthday or other event. It’s hard for our team to remember that people often work hard for years to treat themselves to a luxury watch. So many of our customers are professionals from a variety of walks of life. It’s important to add however we have seen an increase in our female customer base; one of our best customers is a female watch collector with over 150 watches in her collection. And we’ve also seen a shift new 20–35-year-old customers buying their first watch with a view to investment, something they can also trade up through our part exchange service.

6. Which contemporary watch brands do you envisage being future collectibles?

We’ve seen Richard Mille sustain huge growth in residual values in the pre-owned market over the past three years. Twelve months ago, we discussed whether this could and would continue, and whether it could be a fad and go out of fashion, but the demand and prices remain strong, and Richard Mille has done well to maintain demand. I believe some of the independent brands could become hugely coveted in the future as the watch market continues to grow. We’ve seen this with FP Journe and Laurent Ferrier as I mentioned as many pieces are made in such small volumes versus say Rolex or even Patek Philippe. We also witnessed the recent discontinuation of the Nautilus 5711 which saw prices spike by 25% in 24 hours in a market where this watch already commanded nearly 3 times premium on the retail price. Lange & Sohne’s release of the Odysseus was another example of a leading brand bringing out a steel “sports” watch which now commands a large premium. Rolex sports watches are always a safe investment and will have future collectability.

Find out more: xupes.com

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Reading time: 6 min
portrait of a woman in a living room
portrait of a woman in a living room

Jewellery designer and philanthropist Tessa Packard

Tessa Packard is the founder of her eponymous fine jewellery brand, and a business mentor for several youth and education-focused charities. As part of our ongoing philanthropy series, she speaks to Samantha Welsh about charitable giving amongst younger generations, the influence of social media and why successful philanthropy requires creative thinking

LUX: How did you first get involved in philanthropy?
Tessa Packard: I grew up in a very philanthropically orientated family. Charity was a forward theme in our household, and because my parents were so passionate about it, my sister and I adopted an interest in the concept of ‘giving back’ at quite a young age.

It wasn’t until I was eighteen, however, that I really understood what charity work actually meant. At my father’s suggestion, I agreed to a three-month volunteer placement at the Amelia Trust Farm in Wales, which is a grassroots charity supporting youngsters who have largely been excluded from mainstream education at the hands of abuse, neglect or neurodevelopment disorders. It was a complete baptism of fire. Despite everything I had been taught by my parents about the ‘real world’, experiencing it first hand was somewhat different. True reality was infinitely more gritty, unfair, shocking, brutal and humbling all in one mouthful. I still consider this experience to be one of my most formative.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Who has been your greatest influence?
Tessa Packard: With regards to philanthropy, my father and my great-grandfather (who I never met, but was instrumental in shaping my own father’s beliefs in charitable giving).

LUX: What sector are you passionate about?
Tessa Packard: Most of my philanthropic involvement to date has revolved around the theme of education and systemic change. Education has always seemed to me to be a sensible place to invest my energy, whatever the end goal. Whether you are looking to eliminate polio or save the rainforest, all roads tend to lead back to education.

painted mural

women painting mural

Here and above: In collaboration with Lyndsey Ingram Gallery, Tessa Packard and her team created a mural based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book The Secret Garden which was later installed in Honeypot House, a children’s charitable home in Hampshire

LUX: Do you think there are any parallels in being a creative and being a philanthropist?
Tessa Packard: Interesting question. I think that successful philanthropy requires creative thinking. It can be a challenge to communicate successfully with your audience, and more often than not, the answer to solving any human-socio-economic problem on a long-term, systemic level is complex. The philanthropist must be willing to take risks in order to bridge the void between sectors – a task that is far too frequently overlooked – and this requires out-of-the-box tactics and a fertile imagination. You have to believe that even the most impossible outcome is possible, and generally speaking creatives are quite good at doing that because their job is to always think about the ‘new’.

Read more: An interview with Brazilian artist Maxwell Alexandre

LUX: At what stage of someone’s life have you seen intervention make the most difference?
Tessa Packard: If you were to approach philanthropy like a business deal, then investing in people at an early age generally yields better results in the long term. In practice, however, it isn’t quite so simplistic. Creating systemic change in any sector requires all the wheels of progress to turn at the same time, and that means transforming everyone and everything connected to the supply chain in unison.

crab-shaped earrings

Tessa Packard’s crab earrings from her Secret Garden collection

LUX: What success story has made you particularly happy?
Tessa Packard: I’m extremely excited about the work of Emmanuel Akpan-Inwang, who is currently building a new generation of children care homes in the UK. The existing model is embarrassingly inadequate and I really think Emmanuel is about to revolutionise a very important sector.

LUX: How do generations Y/Z give compared with generations X and the Baby Boomers?
Tessa Packard: I am by no means an expert here, but Baby Boomers generally tend to have much more prescriptive attitudes to philanthropy. They might begin to think about ‘giving back’ only when they are comfortably installed in steady, well-paid jobs and / or with a little more time on their hands. Baby Boomers also like to be able to justify their philanthropic investments – if you look closely, most of them tend to donate to causes that they personally understand or have experience of. They also tend to be less hands on and more cheque book-forward.

Read more: How women artists are reshaping art history

Generation X philanthropists are a mix of the old and the new. Whilst they also see philanthropy as something to enjoy in their more settled or mature years, they are often less partisan or dogmatic in outlook, meaning the manner in which they look at philanthropy is often more creative than the Baby Boomers. This generation can be credited as the originators of a number of entrepreneurial social programmes, and although Generation X are more hands on, they are generally so in two specific ways. The first is in a visionary capacity, as the founder, trustee or leader of a charity or charitable programme; or physically, by raising money organising or taking part in fundraising challenges, such as marathon running or mountain climbing.

Generation Y or Z philanthropists are probably the most hands on of the groups to date. They tend to be the more likely of the three to actually volunteer or spend time with grassroots organisations. There is often a desire to have a direct, personal relationship with the charities or individuals they support, as this direct line to the charity is integral to the experience of authentic ‘giving’. Giving back, for them, needs to be itself an experience – handing over a cheque is not fulfilling enough. Generation Y / Z philanthropists also tend to be concerned with, or involved with, charities and organisations that deal with large, macro-level problems such as global deforestation, ocean plastics or refugees. Unlike the Baby Boomers, these themes are not chosen as a result of lived experience – they are a reflection of the concerns of the here and now.

rustic looking earrings

‘Forest Glade’ earrings by Tessa Packard

LUX: What issues come up most frequently in conversations about giving that you are having with your network?
Tessa Packard: There are a large number of adults in their 20s and 30s who have the means and energy to fund or support grassroots charities across the globe, yet have no idea where to start or who to fund. They want to be authentically connected to these charities (they like the idea of working with smaller organisations as they can track the impact of their donations or expertise more easily), but also want to feel part of something bigger. Time and time again the question we ask ourselves is how to best connect these dots.

LUX: Does the impact of social media change how things are done or how well they are done?
Tessa Packard: In general, I think charitable organisations have a lot to learn when it comes to making the most of social media. It’s not surprising to be honest – I can barely keep up to speed with it myself when it comes to my own business, and imagine if you are a grassroots charity with limited funding and even less free time… I certainly think a few free branding or marketing tutorials by big agencies for small charities would be a helpful start. The exchange of knowledge and expertise is often one of the most valuable donations a larger organisation can make to those in the charity sector.

LUX: Social impact entrepreneurialism or outsourcing to a third party manager – how do you choose?
Tessa Packard: The best kind of philanthropy is the one that is considered, and encourages the philanthropist to keep giving. Whichever route you choose, I would always start with the same question: what do I want to fix, and what is preventing this problem being fixed now? From there you can do a deep dive to identify where you need to go in the sector to create systemic change, and how best to do it. Sometimes the answer is to create your own vehicle to combat change, and sometimes it is best to support an existing vehicle that knows the ropes and is ready to expand.

LUX: Can you offer some ideas to a teenager wanting to start on their lifetime journey of giving?
Tessa Packard: Do a three-month volunteer placement at a grassroots charity. You might question your sanity at points, but you’ll never regret it.

LUX: What is one thing they should not forget?
Tessa Packard: My great-grandfather used to say: ‘Don’t carve your name in dark and gloomy places; carve your name with pride for all the world to see.’ I think that’s a pretty important lesson: whatever you decide to do with your life, make sure it’s something that you are proud to be remembered by.

Find out more: tessapackard.com, @tessapackardlondon

Samantha Welsh is a contributing editor of LUX with a special focus on philanthropy.

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Reading time: 7 min
emerald ring
emerald and diamond ring

A ring design by Katherine James

Collector and dealer of modern, vintage and antique fine jewellery Katherine James runs her eponymous brand from her home in London. Here she talks to Abigail Hodges about social media, her experiences of working in traditionally male-dominated industry, and creating a nail varnish from crushed gemstones

woman wearing blue ring

Katherine James

1. Do you remember when you first became interested in gemstones?

I grew up in London in the eighties when the jewels were physically bigger, and they completely captivated me. My Dad was pretty terrible at buying presents, so he would give me jewels, and so I was hooked from a young age. I even used to sell mood rings at school. To this day I still get a funny feeling when I look at a beautiful gemstone – jewels draw me in like magnets.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

2. What made you want to deal jewellery and how did your business start?

In some ways, jewellery is like a sparkly bank account; buying it can feel guilt-free because you are investing. Jewellery is also a way to connect. A lot of people come to us when they have lost someone, and that doesn’t necessarily mean buying heavy Victorian mourning jewellery. I had a woman who wanted an aquamarine to match her deceased husband’s eyes. Jewellery is an object that can express a personal feeling, and it can represent important milestones in people’s lives. It’s wearable art that gets passed down through families.

The business started on Facebook and grew to Instagram with some persuasion from my kids. It is usually a male-dominated industry, whereby everyone is very matter-of-fact about things, but I was selling as I bought in, and it gave me the freedom to talk about how much I personally loved a piece. It grew and grew on Facebook, and we are now at about 15,000 people. Before it was heavily a female demographic, but we are now also dealing with male clients, which is very exciting!

3. What has your experience been like working in a traditionally male-dominated field?

The jewellery trade is a funny old place; it is a singular sort of profession. You don’t have a shop as you are mainly trying to source jewels, and as I have been social media-based, I tend to build a relationship with people very quickly, in a personal way.

Read more: Château Mouton Rothschild’s artistic collaboration with Xu Bing

It was initially daunting for me at the fairs. People always assumed that I was part of the public rather than a dealer. I am lot younger, and most of the people I deal with in the industry are men. It was necessary for me to be taken around and given an introduction, and it was from there that I was able to build relationships.

4. Do you think your position as a younger woman accounts for your online success?

A lot of the old guard don’t use the internet at all, and it is the kids that are taking social media on, and doing really well. Unfortunately, I have heard that recently quite a lot of the old trade has had to shut up shop. The internet is taking over, but at the same time, it gives women a safe space in the jewellery world. So you could argue that going forward, women are going to have an advantage over men in some ways. As a woman, I wouldn’t want a shop as you inevitably put yourself at risk; I don’t know anyone in the trade that hasn’t been robbed in some way.

5. Have you noticed any jewellery design trends emerging recently?

Yellow gold is coming back with a bang! Whilst there has certainly been a big demand for platinum in the modern day, it is almost impossible to work with as it has to be heated to such a high temperature. There is also a trend towards minimalism in terms of materials; contemporary consumers want the thing to be the thing that it says it is.

6. What’s next for you?

For years, my nails were always shocking because I couldn’t see beyond the ring I was wearing and so we decided to make a nail varnish. We are going to crush up gemstones and use them to make a nail varnish which also doesn’t chip. You can have nails to match your ring and vice versa. It also means you can get an emerald on every finger for way less than the price of an actual emerald. We are trying to recreate that magnetism that comes from being in the presence of a great gemstone, but with nail varnish.

View the collection: kjj.rocks

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Reading time: 3 min
women on the red carpet
women on the red carpet

Caroline Scheufele (left) and actress Julianne Moore at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival wearing Chopard.
Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

Chopard’s Artistic Director Caroline Scheufele speaks to Torri Mundell about the Swiss company’s new Magical Setting range, aimed at creating a whisper-light collection of jewellery to be worn anywhere, anytime

diamond necklace

emerald ringWhen Chopard’s artistic director and co-president, Caroline Scheufele, developed an innovative technique to render the setting of gemstones nearly invisible, magnifying their light and lustre, she knew she wanted to apply the technique to everyday pieces as well as show-stopping designs. “I imagined this collection for a chic day-look and easy-to-wear style,” she says. “Chopard pieces are works of art that come to life when they are worn; I want women to feel as free as the light of the diamonds, and to be able to wear their jewellery with an evening dress as well as with a pair of denim jeans!”

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

blue diamond ringThe custom of saving something for best may have fallen out of favour and after several months of lockdown and the tedium of staycations and leisurewear, it holds even less appeal. Created around traditional clusters of diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds with a modern, ‘barely there’ setting, Magical Setting necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings add a dash of sparkle to the most ordinary of days.

woman wearing red lipstick

model on the red carpet

Lea Seydoux (top) and Natalia Vodianova at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival wearing Chopard

Read more: Halloween thrills on the slopes in Andermatt

Scheufele knows that versatile design is the key to conceiving fine jewellery that can be worn every day. She even designed pieces such as earrings that convert from “long earrings for special occasions” to “stud-like cluster earrings for a more day-to-day basis”. She also advises her clients to follow their instincts when it comes to choosing jewellery that will stand the test of time. “Some women are ‘emerald people’ while others are ‘exclusively diamonds’,” she says. “When I am with a client buying a piece, I want to make sure the jewellery she is buying is true to her, that she can see herself wearing it tomorrow, as well as in 10 years, for any kind of occasion.”

View the collection: chopard.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2020/2021 Issue. 

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pink diamond

The Spirit of the Rose pink diamond, will be auctioned by Sotheby’s on 11 November

In celebration of an upcoming sale of an ultra-rare Russian pink diamond known as The Spirit of the Rose, Sotheby’s invited fashion editor Carine Roitfeld to style a contemporary ballet performance of the Ballets Russes’ acclaimed 1911 Le Spectre de la Rose. On the eve of the auction, Sotheby’s jewellery specialist Benoit Repellin discusses the historic relationship between jewellery and dance

‘Dance is an art and I think jewellery can also be seen as a form of art. As I generally say to clients, there are three things to look at when admiring a jewel or thinking of buying one at auction: nature, art and provenance. Nature being the quality of the stone; art being the jewel and the craftsmanship involved in the cutting of a stone or the making of a piece of jewellery; and provenance being the history of the piece.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

There are several links between the different worlds of art, fashion, dance and jewellery. Between 1909 and 1929, the Ballets Russes really engaged all the disciplines and brought together artists from the different fields to work on a ballet. It was a social phenomenon, and jewellery designers attended ballet performances and took inspiration from the movements, the costumes and the decors to bring new vocabulary and motifs into jewellery.

women in changing room

three women

Carine Roitfeld (middle) with ballerinas Bianca Scudamore and Naïs Duboscq from Opera National de Paris

Charles Jacqueau, the main designer at Cartier, attended ballets, took details from the performances, inspiration from the dancers, the costumes, the colours, and translated them into amazing jewellery pieces. Van Cleef & Arpels took the motif of the ballerina and made brooches set with gemstones, in the late 1940s, and it is still one of their most popular design. I think the beauty and poetry of dance and jewellery are meant to be linked and it appeals to a lot of connoisseurs.’

rough pink diamond

The rough diamond was originally named Nijinksy after the ballet dancer. It was later renamed ‘The Spirit of the Rose’

‘The rough diamond mined in Russia in 2017 was named Nijinksy, a testimony and homage to one of the most famous Russian ballet dancer from the Ballets Russes company. The best-known performance and the one that’s most strongly associated with Valslav Nijinsky is Le Spectre de la Rose (The Spirit of the Rose), which premiered in Monte Carlo in 1911. This is the name Alrosa, the diamond company which mined and cut this exceptional, ‘fancy vivid’ purple-pink diamond, gave to the faceted stone.’

Read more: The Art of Listening with the APERIO Headphone System

‘The occurrence of pink diamonds in nature is extremely rare in any size. Only one per cent of all pink diamonds are larger than 10-carats and only four percent of all pink diamonds are graded ‘Fancy Vivid’ and display a rich, vivid colour. Having the opportunity to offer a large polished pink diamond of over 10-carats and with the richness of colour and purity of The Spirit of the Rose is, therefore, truly exceptional. The diamond’s character and immense presence is further enhanced by its oval shape. It is a truly mesmerising stone; a natural wonder, steeped in Russia’s century-long diamond tradition and cultural heritage.’

‘We’ve been wanting to work with Carine Roitfeld in some capacity at Sotheby’s for a while. A fashion icon and visionary creative, her voice was something that we wanted to bring to Sotheby’s in a way that would be disruptive and new. With this in mind, when the Spirit of the Rose came to us, we thought of Carine instantly. Not only is she half Russian, but she herself was once a dancer and her favourite ballet is in fact Le Spectre de la Rose, which was a favourite of Karl Lagerfeld’s as well. Bringing her eye and visual sensibility, we asked her to style Le Spectre de la Rose as a tribute to The Spirit of the Rose and to bring this magnificent diamond to life. It has not disappointed!’

Watch the teaser video of the ballet performance below:

The Sotheby’s live auction of ‘The Spirit of the Rose’ takes place on 11 November at 8:30 PM CET. To register and for more information visit: sothebys.com

 

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fashion shoot

Build your autumn wardrobe from the collections of ethically and environmentally minded designers

Mara Hoffman’s Catalina jacket evokes a tropical mood in a vivid red hue with lightly padded shoulders and a flattering plunging V neckline. The jacket is crafted from a blend of linen and a sustainable rayon fibre, and it features a tie at the front for a customisable fit.

net-a-porter.com

In 2020, Rosh Mahtani of Alighieri became the first jewellery designer to win the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design for her poetic, ethically produced, handmade pieces. These Infinite Song earrings in gold-plated bronze are inspired by Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’.

alighieri.co.uk

Stella McCartney has long championed sustainable design through the use of innovative processes and materials. This stylish saddle-shaped bag is made from the brand’s signature vegetarian leather with a woven canvas strap that sits cross-body or on your shoulder.

net-a-porter.com

French brand Veja has a strong focus on social and environmental responsibility. All of the brand’s trainers are made from organic or recycled cotton, wild rubber and recycled plastic bottles. We especially love this pair’s striking navy blue and white colour palette.

veja-store.com

Crafted from a recycled wool mix with a slim-fit cut, these gender-neutral tailored trousers by sustainable brand Riley Studio make an elegant and versatile wardrobe staple. As with all of the brand’s products, they are designed to last years of wear.

riley.studio

These Kallio sunglasses by London-based brand MONC are crafted in a workshop in Italy using bio-acetate frames and mineral-glass lenses, both of which are highly durable as well as bio-degradable. The design for this pair is inspired by an artistic district of Helsinki.

monclondon.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2020/2021 Issue. 

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Reading time: 2 min
woman wearing black dress and diamonds
woman wearing black dress and diamonds

Penélope Cruz at the 2018 Cannes festival wearing Atelier Swarovski jewellery. Courtesy Swarovski. 

Penélope Cruz brings her renowned energy to philanthropic and charitable work – and now she is designing jewellery for Swarovski. LUX speaks with the Spanish-born Hollywood superstar

LUX: Where do you call home?
Penélope Cruz: Madrid. I grew up in a place called Alcobendas, a suburb of Madrid, with my sister Mónica and our parents and after with my brother Eduardo. My earliest memories are of being in my home every Sunday, everybody cleaning the house. There was always music, and everybody was dancing. My mother ran a hair salon, and between the ages of five and 12, I would go to the salon and listen to the women. I don’t know why but women in a hair salon share their deepest secrets. They would share everything with everybody. That was the first acting school for me.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Tell us how your collaboration with Swarovski came about?
Penélope Cruz: The whole process evolved very naturally. I had worn some beautiful Atelier Swarovski pieces at various events. But it was when I met Nadja Swarovski and she spoke in depth about Swarovski’s work with sustainability that I became inspired to work on a collection with her. I really care about having a positive impact on the planet, and Swarovski has a rich history of putting sustainability at the heart of what it does.

LUX: What interested you in working with Swarovski Created Diamonds in particular?
Penélope Cruz: Before speaking with Nadja, I didn’t realise that it was possible to create stones in a lab with a low impact on the environment. As soon as I became aware of Swarovski Created Diamonds and other lab-grown precious stones, I wanted to start designing pieces and use them.

woman in diamond necklace

Courtesy Swarovski.

LUX: Your jewellery designs seem to have a vintage Hollywood feel. Have you always been drawn to the aesthetics of the era?
Penélope Cruz: My fine jewellery collection has a classic red-carpet aesthetic and I always go back to that – they are timeless pieces that I would always choose to wear. I think there is something for every woman in what we have created.

Read more: How we created the Ruinart Frieze lounge experience at home

LUX: What is the most important thing you learned from this collaboration about how to bring a design concept to life?
Penélope Cruz: It has been an amazing learning experience. I’m very lucky that Nadja and the team have given me such creative freedom. I begin the design process by pulling together images and references of things I love, and then spend hours with the designers to distil the clippings from movies, novels, paintings, ballet dancers and vintage markets into a jewellery collection that tells the story.

party picture

Cruz with Vogue editor Edward Enninful and Nadja Swarovski, 2019. Photograph by Nicholas Harvey

LUX: Would you encourage a young person to pursue a career in acting?
Penélope Cruz: It has been an incredible honour and pleasure to build a career as an actor, and to be surrounded by so many brilliant artists in theatre, film and television. Sometimes it can be a huge challenge, but I would encourage any young person to follow their dreams, listen to their heart, work hard and stay away from drugs – whether that is in the creative industries or beyond.

LUX: When you aren’t working on a film, what personal or creative projects do you focus on?
Penélope Cruz: From the age of seven I loved redesigning the clothing and jewellery from the pages of my favourite fashion magazines. So, working on jewellery design projects is a big passion for me and I have been honoured to have the chance to fulfil my childhood dream with Atelier Swarovski, season after season.

Read more: American artist Rashid Johnson on searching for autonomy

LUX: How does your family help you to stay grounded?
Penélope Cruz: I have always kept my personal and professional lives separate. Being with my family gives me so much happiness and it is my priority.

LUX: What inspired your activism, such as your involvement with the Time’s Up movement?
Penélope Cruz: I feel very strongly about the causes I support, and I have noticed a difference in Hollywood since the Time’s Up movement created a sweeping dialogue about the treatment of women. It is already having an impact on the kind of questions we get asked in interviews. Previously, you would be in a press conference and the women would mainly be asked very rude or superficial questions. People are more careful now. It’s symbolic, but hopefully we are understanding how to treat each other with more respect. And these are issues which affect women in all industries and everywhere in the world. If we don’t all do this together, it’s useless.

Red carpet photograph

Cruz with Antonio Banderas, 2019. Photograph by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Somerset House

LUX: Do you have a dream film or television project you would like to direct yourself?
Penélope Cruz: I’ve always wanted to direct. I have directed commercials and a documentary before but hopefully I will be able to do a full-length feature film someday.

LUX: What is it like working with a director such as Pedro Almodóvar, someone you’ve worked with for years?
Penélope Cruz: Pedro is like family; he is very important to me and holds a special place in my heart because he was the reason why I became an actress. I’m excited that we are making a new movie next year.

LUX: What type of music do you enjoy? Is there a track that makes you want to dance?
Penélope Cruz: I’m a big fan of everything that Pharrell Williams does. He’s an amazing producer and songwriter. I also love Eduardo Cruz’s work. He is my brother and we are very close, but I admire his work as a composer and producer so much. He just did the soundtrack for the film Wasp Network.

LUX: Has the past year changed your outlook on life?
Penélope Cruz: We are experiencing a huge moment of social change and I am still processing the transformations that are occurring around us. However, I believe that the values I hold closest – truth, justice and equality, respect for the planet and kindness towards others – will grow in strength. We truly are all one and we have to commit to creating a better tomorrow.

View Penélope Cruz’s designs for Swarovski: atelierswarovski.com

This article features in the Autumn Issue, which will be published later this month.

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shop interiors
shop interiors

Loquet’s London shop located at 73 Elizabeth Street, SW1W 9PJ

London-based jewellery brand Loquet is renewing the concept of a keepsake locket with sustainable, modern designs that consumers can personalise and pass through the generations. Here, Abigail Hodges speaks to co-founder Sheherazade Goldsmith about the brand’s ethical ethos, her love of vintage fashion and collaborating with the Wild at Heart Foundation

1.How does your environmentalist background inform your approach to making jewellery?

women portrait

Sheherazade Goldsmith

I’d say it informs everything. Environmentalism isn’t something you frequent; it’s a way of life and seeps into everything you do. Once you understand the repercussions of not protecting our future and that of our children, it’s impossible to ignore. As a fine jewellery collection, Loquet is part of a luxury world and to me, luxury is sustainability. Our process informs that message by taking the time to source the very best materials, crafted with care and implementing practices that create longevity. Our jewellery is for the generation that makes the purchase, the next generation and the generation after that. It’s about preserving someone’s story to be told, treasured and passed on. At Loquet we are preserving what is important to an individual, without sustainability there would be no point in what we create.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Our first port of call is the office itself, we use recycled or recyclable materials wherever we can, and we create a product that has no existential timeframe, it is recyclable and has no waste. The problem with so much of what we consume is the waste, but in jewellery there are no seasons and the sentimentality of the pieces make them heirlooms.

2. What inspired you to reinvent the classical locket form?

I already had a classic photo locket and a charm bracelet. My locket was an Indian antique made in 18kt yellow gold with elaborate coloured enamelling on the inside. I love Indian jewellery for this reason. They believe that everything should be as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. My charm bracelet was fun and gregarious, full of charms that patted against my laptop keyboard. On a visit to a fairground my son bought me a present, a pendant made with dried flowers, something I use to do with hedgerow flowers when my children where little. It inspired the idea of being able to combine the two and personalise it myself.

locket necklace

The hexagonal locket with a selection of charms

3. Is there a particular piece that you feel best expresses the story you set out to tell through your work?

Our sapphire crystal lockets are our signature. They allow our customers to be there own designer and create a piece that tells their story, in essence a unique talisman of everything that brings them luck and makes them smile, to be worn close to their heart. We’ve recently relaunched our 14kt collection to include some of my favourite pieces to date, that elegantly translate from day to night. Each of these geometrical shapes is hand cast in 14kt gold encasing a clear faced sapphire crystal facade and can be opened to personalise with our endless selection of meaningful 18kt charms.

charms

A selection of charns

4. How do you ensure that the elements of your design process are ethical?

I spent a lot of time visiting jewellery studios all over the world before deciding to work with our current ateliers. This was to insure that the working conditions where healthy and vibrant, and to also talk through the designs with the artisans that were selected to make our jewellery. The companies I ended up choosing are all members of the responsible jewellery council or similar organisations and are, therefore, required to adhere to certain workers rights and high environmental standards.

Read more: British-Iranian artist darvish Fakhr on the alchemy of art

The human connection behind what we do is paramount to the Loquet design. Our pieces are emotional and as such need to be made that way. So many of us jewellers won’t work with a company unless they have the same ethos and it’s important to champion those that have worked hard to campaign for their workers and implement high standards that look after both their employees and the environment.

Locket necklaces

Loquet’s pear and hexagonal locket necklaces

5. Besides purchasing from you, how would you advise a consumer looking to shop more sustainably?

Sustainability is about longevity and well-designed things don’t have seasons. Whether that be furniture, clothing, accessories or jewellery, if something is worthwhile it will last through time and trends. With luxury items, less is most definitely more and that is my philosophy both in the way I decorate my house, my jewellery and wardrobe. Admittedly, I wear mostly designer clothing, but much of it is purchased from secondhand websites such as Vestiaire Collective, Hardly Ever Worn and The Real Real. I love vintage fashion, but you can also find all kinds of past-admired items for a quarter of the price. The buying and selling aspect makes you feel part of a community, almost like an exchange and gives your clothes a limitless life.

6. What’s next for Loquet?

We have a very exciting year ahead with some brilliant collaborations. The first launches in October with Nikki Tibbles and the Wild at Heart Foundation. We have put together a charm collection of Nikki’s favourite flowers chosen for their association with her beloved dogs, each epitomising the way we feel about our pets. A percentage of all sales will be donated to her very special dog charity that was set up a few years ago after rescuing a stray from the streets of Puerto Rico, who became her beloved Rose. The charity is now global and works tirelessly to end the unnecessary suffering of these much-loved pets.

Find out more: loquetlondon.com

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fine jewellery
fine jewellery

L’Arbre aux tourmalines (1976) by Jean Vendome © MNHN/F. Farges.

The heritage of Parisian jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels is being honoured by an exhibition at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, in which their gems from across the years are being shown alongside the raw stones that such jewels are made from. On the eve of the show’s opening, LUX meets with the maison’s CEO, Nicolas Bos
Red carpet photograph

Nicolas Bos & Cate Blanchett. © Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty.

LUX: How does seeing the raw beauty of stones extracted from the earth affect your appreciation of fine jewellery?
Nicolas Bos: The aim of this exhibition is to show alongside each other the raw minerals, faceted gems and finished jewellery creations. This juxtaposition really emphasises the stones’ journey from the depth of the Earth into the craftsmen’s hands that will reveal their beauty. In front of raw minerals, we cannot but be humble and admire what nature can create. It is also with great pride that we can see what we are able to accomplish today with these treasures through our know-how.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: The exhibition shows that humans have always been drawn to adornment. Is the lure of jewellery today different to ancient times?
Nicolas Bos: Since ancient times, both men and women have enjoyed adorning themselves with precious and rare materials. Over the centuries, jewellery and lapidary techniques have evolved, new materials have been found and new sources of inspiration and artistic movements have forged new creations. Society has also significantly evolved, with changes in how jewellery is perceived.

blue and diamond necklace

Cravat necklace, 1954. © Patrick Gries.

Jewelled bluebird clip

Bluebird clip, 1963. © Anthony Falcone.

LUX: Jewellery companies seem to be doing ever more exhibitions – why is this?
Nicolas Bos: Exhibitions are a great way for a centenary maison such as ours to reveal the evolution of its style across the decades. Furthermore, for Van Cleef & Arpels, transmission, education and culture are fundamental values. That is why we conceive or participate in exhibitions (be it patrimonial or even contemporary). We display creations not just by the maison; we also focus either on the spirit of a particular era (the 1970s and Alhambra, for example), or on a source of inspiration, or on a particular material such as gems. The maison has over several years initiated relationships with great cultural institutions such as the Musée des Arts Décoratifs or the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, both in Paris, to encourage thoughtful and pertinent dialogues between jewellery and other fields such as mineralogy or the decorative arts in general. The collaboration with the American artist Bob Wilson, in 2016, with a scenography based on Noah’s Ark’s highlighting a high jewellery collection, also expressed this wish to link our creativity with other arts. Another example, in 2017, at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, paralleled traditional Japanese craftsmanship and Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery expertise in the exhibition ‘Mastery of an Art’.

Read more: How Gaggenau is innovating the ancient art of steam cooking

LUX: How would you summarise the brand or aura of Van Cleef & Arpels to a new client?
Nicolas Bos: I would say that the maison puts poetry and enchantment at centre stage in all its creations, be it high jewellery or jewellery or timepieces. Over the years, Van Cleef & Arpels keeps reinventing itself while always staying faithful to its original DNA. Its sources of inspiration range from nature and couture to dance, astronomy and imaginary worlds.

vintage jewelled brooch

Eucalyptus seed clip, 1968. © Bertrand Moulin

LUX: The ‘Gems’ exhibition includes modern recreations of significant historical jewellery, such as the Toison d’Or worn by Louis XV. What does a piece of historical jewellery tell you about how the wearer once lived?
Nicolas Bos: I’m not a history expert and the maison did not participate in these recreations but it is true that they are impressive. The Toison d’Or underlines the magnificence in which French monarchs used to live and it highlights their taste for exceptional stones and adornment in general. I would like also to mention a special piece that belongs to the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle collection and is of real interest – the tourmalines mobile/tree created by Jean Vendome. This is a real masterpiece that exemplifies the fine work bringing together jewellery, sculpture and design.

LUX: Are lab-grown gems a threat?
Nicolas Bos: We do not consider them as such at Van Cleef & Arpels. They are another type of material which has nothing to do with our idea of jewellery. They are industrial objects which don’t have the rarity, the preciousness or charm that natural stones gain after spending millions of years in the depths of the Earth.

vintage decorative jewellery

Gladiator clip, 1956. © Anthony Falcone.

LUX: Does learning about the origins of gemstones in an exhibition such as this teach us about the earth from which they came? Does it influence Van Cleef & Arpel’s attitude towards provenance and sustainability?
Nicolas Bos: Sustainability is a core value of Van Cleef & Arpels: we are a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) which has the strictest standards of responsible practices for the jewellery industry. We also ask our suppliers to be certified with the RJC in order to promote good practices in the supply chain and we audit them as well. All diamonds purchased by Van Cleef & Arpels are compliant with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme which has worked since 2003 to put an end to the trade in conflict diamonds. We also work with multi-stakeholder initiatives on responsible sourcing and supply-chain due diligence, in particular for coloured gemstones.

LUX: Can you describe the Van Cleef & Arpels high jewellery piece that is inspired by the exhibition?
Nicolas Bos: In order to fit in with the central theme of the exhibition, the maison imagined a unique high jewellery object comprising stones, gems and jewels, some faceted, some polished, some raw. Through the work of craftsmen’s hands these stones speak with each other, adding a highly original piece to the history of Van Cleef & Arpels. It provides a fittingly precious and poetic conclusion to this exhibition.

The exhibition ‘Pierres Précieuses’ runs until 3 January 2021 at Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris 

View the collections: vancleefarpels.com

This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 Issue, out now.

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Artist desk with lamp, paintings and paints
Artist desk with lamp, paintings and paints

L’École, School of Jewellery Arts, is housed within the Van Cleef & Arpels headquarters in Paris

L’École is a school of jewellery arts based in Paris and supported by Van Cleef & Arpels, offering a luxurious learning experience led by industry experts. Digital Editor Millie Walton signs up for a class

Based one floor of Van Cleef & Arpels‘ headquarters in Place Vendôme in Paris, L’École was established in 2012 with the aim of introducing the wider audience to the world of high jewellery and its significance through the ages. Whilst the school was founded and is supported by Van Cleef & Arpels, it is not, as one might assume, an elaborate marketing stunt (during my class, for example, the only mention of Van Cleef & Arpels is via small-print on the slideshow), but rather a genuine centre of learning albeit a luxurious one. Classes take place in a palatial room which was once the office of Van Cleef’s President and CEO Nicolas Bos, with a break for tea, coffee and Parisian pastries in a stylish lounge filled up with glossy coffee table-books, whilst the teachers themselves are leading industry experts, which allows the classes to cater to every ability.

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The classes fall into four main categories: ‘Introductory’ (which offers a general overview), ‘The Universe of Gemstones’ (with two classes exploring diamonds), ‘Savoir Faire’ (featuring hands on workshops in which you get to actually try out various jewellery making techniques such as Japanese Urushi Lacquer) and ‘Art History of Jewellery’ (which investigates jewellery aesthetics of different time periods). On this trip, I’m signed up for an art history class on ‘Gold and Jewellery, from Antiquity to the Renaissance Princes’, which begins with Ancient Egypt and ends with examining portraits of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

Classroom set up with students sitting at round tables

Classes take place in the original office of Van Cleef’s President and CEO Nicolas Bos

Whilst the prospect of four hour lecture on jewellery is daunting, our teachers Inezita Gay-Eckel and Léonard Pouy are energetic and brilliantly knowledgable with infectious enthusiasm for their subject matter. The class itself mainly follows a standard lecture format, but we are encouraged to jump in with questions, and specialist terms are noted down on the whiteboard for us to copy into our L’École branded notebooks.

Read more: Founder of Nila House Lady Carole Bamford’s guide to Jaipur

Woman holding open a book with pictures of silver pendants

Halfway through, Léonard appears, gloved and bearing a tray of delicate jewellery pieces. We’re encouraged to apply our new found knowledge to locate each piece to its time period, and whilst it’s still largely mystifying, it’s satisfying to even know what kinds of things we should be noticing.

The point of these classes, Inezita tells us, to provoke curiosity so that students feel compelled to take their learning further. At the end of the class, we’re each given a tote bag with a certificate and reading list of books, websites and museums across the globe.

Find out more: lecolevancleefarpels.com

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Historic jewelled brooch

Model wearing large jewelled necklace

The creations of quintessentially Parisian jewellery maker Chaumet may have been fit for an empress in the late 18th century when the company was founded. But the jeweller aspires to be equally at home with the modern woman around the world. CEO Jean-Marc Mansvelt tells Irene Bellucci how they make the new out of the old
portrait of a man in a suit wearing glasses

Jean-Marc Mansvelt

“For me, luxury is about craftsmanship and excellence. But it’s more than functionality – it’s also about emotion. And luxury transcends fashion, too; it takes time to invent, create and make.

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“Chaumet’s founder Marie-Etienne Nitot trained under the jeweller to Marie Antoinette, and after the Revolution became Napoleon Bonaparte’s official jeweller in 1805. This led to numerous commissions from the great and the good, including jewels for Empress Joséphine, after whom one of our most iconic collections is named. The brand’s tiaras went on to be worn by queens and rulers across the globe.

Vintage diamond tiara

Laurel Leaf Tiara by Joseph Chaumet (1920)

“Yet, our history isn’t enough to sustain us in the 21st century; consumers’ tastes have changed as has the function of jewellery itself. Nowadays, a tiara is not really worn beyond special and rare occasions, so in 2010 we reinvented them by moving them from head to finger for our Joséphine ring collection. Once they were crowns expressing power, but now we have brought them into the modern era in a more delicate and wearable form.

“But not all of our pieces are reinventions. We try to mix tradition and contemporary art; we also like to look to the world of music for ideas. In referring just to the past, the risk is that we will repeat ourselves – we need to inject new elements into the process.”

View the collections: chaumet.com

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 Issue

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Cara Delevinge in jewellery campagin
Model wearing jewellery pieces

Cara Delevinge stars the ‘Oui’ collection campaign for Dior Joaillerie

Dior Jewellery’s Creative Director Victoire de Castellane continues to take inspiration from the language of love for the brand’s latest additions to the Oui collection. Chloe Frost Smith reports

Simple in sentiment and design, the latest additions to the iconic Dior Oui collection continue Victoire de Castellane’s tribute to the maison’s couture with two new romantic French phrases – Je t’aime and Toi moi – adorning a series of rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

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elegant french earrings with gold writing

The Toi moi earrings

Available in white, pink, and yellow gold, the letters ‘i’ and ‘j’ are dotted with solitaire diamonds in a whimsical handwritten font reminiscent of the signature Christian Dior stitching. The Je t’aime ring stretches across two adjacent fingers, whilst the Toi moi ring comprises two separate bands for each word. For an asymmetrical look, the Je t’aime and Toi moi earrings are made up of one word per piercing, allowing the wearer to mix and match.

 

 

Gold ring with diamond

The Je t’aime ring from Dior Jewellery’s Oui collection

The delicate necklaces and bracelets lend well to layering, alongside the finely threaded rings which can be stacked together with multiple messages on each finger. Whether combined or worn separately, the pieces make for an elegant statement accessory.

View the collection: dior.com

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Model wearing layers of pendant necklaces
Model wearing layered necklaces

Necklaces from the ‘Jeux de Liens Harmony’ collection by Chaumet

This month, we’ve got our eye on Chaumet’s new playful collection of medallion necklaces. Chloe Frost-Smith discovers

Whilst layering jewellery is no new concept, the ‘Jeux de Liens Harmony’ medallions by Chaumet play with length and shape to offer a refreshing take on the trend. Available in three sizes with adjustable chains, the necklaces are designed for layering, but each version also makes an elegant standalone piece.

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The medallion itself is split into two asymmetrical parts connected by crossed links – a romantic symbol which has become ubiquitous throughout the Parisian maison – and comes in variations of diamonds, onyx and mother-of-pearl set in rose gold and hanging on a delicate rose gold chain.

Necklace shown on a hand

Rose gold with brilliant-cut diamonds and mother-of-pearl from the ‘Jeux de Liens Harmony’ collection

Each necklace also offers the opportunity for engraving on the reverse side of the pendant, adding a personal touch to an already customisable collection.

View the full collection: chaumet.com/en/news/jeux-de-liens-harmony

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Model wearing drop earrings
Model wearing fine jewellery pieces

Jordan Alexander’s signature marquis chain necklace with 18K gold and pave diamond earrings and a cushion cut morganite ring. All pieces designed by Theresa Bruno

Theresa Bruno established her jewellery brand Jordan Alexander in 2013 and since then, her designs have been worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts. Here, the designer tells us about her commitment to sustainability, creating bespoke pieces and channelling her grandmother’s elegance

Portrait of a blonde woman

Theresa Bruno

1. How was Jordan Alexander born?

I was originally a musician and studied music at The Juilliard School where I learned an appreciation for the essential balance between free form and disciplined art. I suppose it’s true to say that craftsmanship was essential and noticeably present in my everyday life.

I was inspired to be a jewellery designer from an early age by heritage pieces, most notably, my grandmother’s pearls. When I had to stop piano because of an injury to my hand, I needed to find a new creative focus, and this seemed a natural progression given my long running interest in the beauty and craft of fine jewellery pieces.

My official breakthrough came when I was approached about First Lady Michelle Obama wearing some of my pieces, and everything flowed from that extraordinary honour. The company was formed, and the name Jordan Alexander is for my two gorgeous sons.

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2. Do you design with a particular woman in mind?

I have always been inspired by my grandmother, her Southern elegance and the ease with which she moved through the world. I channel her often when I’m designing.

Model wearing drop earrings

18K gold and diamond signature star cradle earrings with cushion cut rhodolite garnet and pear shaped morganite drops 

3. What inspires you to start a new collection?

I am often sparked by my travels; particular colours, and the different ways women adorn themselves. I love photography and visual art and it is all a constant source of inspiration. I was recently in New Orleans and wandered into this tiny little photography gallery. There was a stunning collection of photography by an Italian photographer that had so much movement and soul in the way he photographed. Those experiences are so motivational.

Long necklace worn on model's back

18k gold and diamond signature peace chain lariat with leaf wrapped tanzanite accents and Jordan Alexander logo clasp

4. As a relatively young company, how do you compete with heritage brands?

My jewellery represents my own elegant but free-spirited style. I am an independent designer who carefully hand-crafts each piece, using 18K gold, diamonds and precious hand-selected stones from trusted suppliers who can prove their credentials when it comes to sustainable sourcing. My style is a balance between everyday pieces and ceremonial rings and heirloom, bespoke collectibles. There are many other brands whom I admire enormously, but the truth is that I walk my own road and we are in no rush as a company to expand fast. My bespoke work is my passion and, in my opinion, Jordan Alexander’s point of difference.

Read more: Betye Saar’s ‘Call and Response’ exhibition at LACMA

The first step is starting the dialogue, asking the right questions to better understand the context of each piece and the personal style of the wearer, including sometimes the specific wardrobe with which the pieces will need to coordinate. Once the concept is determined, the client will work with me through every phase of the creative process: concept to sketch, design detail, stone sourcing and finally, production. I have created many bespoke pieces for ball gowns and special events.

Model wearing bracelet and ring

18k gold chain wrapped champagne moonstone ring and bangle

5. Can you tell us about the brand’s sustainability efforts?

Social responsibility is a vital thread that runs through the Jordan Alexander business, which is why I have aligned the brand with A21, a global anti-human trafficking organisation. After travelling with the group to work personally alongside victims in rescue and rehabilitation efforts, I have collaborated to launch a line of jewellery with 100% of proceeds going directly to A21. In general, we re-use gold, repurpose stones and ensure that waste is built out of the creative process.

6. Have you made any new year resolutions?

I don’t really make resolutions, but my thoughts about how I want to live this year are about balance: the balance between being brave and being vulnerable. About being strong, but living with a soft heart. It is a political year in the US with lots of energy about the Presidential election. Everywhere you go people are really heated about it. My hope is to be open enough to accept, and even listen to those who sit on a different side than me, while being true to my beliefs and values.

View the collections: jordanalexanderjewelry.com

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Woman wearing a bowling hat wearing jewellery
Woman wearing a bowling hat wearing jewellery

The Cleopatra alexandrite and diamond set by Hirsh

Founded in 1980 by Anthony and Diane Hirsh, luxury jewellery brand Hirsh is now under the creative direction of Jason Hirsh with his wife Sophia as Managing Director. Here, Chloe Frost-Smith speaks to the second generation Creative Director about designing, selecting gemstones, and the relationship between art and jewellery

Man wearing a blue jumper in front of ads

Jason Hirsh

1. Is it true that you designed your first piece of jewellery when you were 10, and if so, what was it?

Yes it is, I used to sit in my father’s office, looking for things to do. My father used to have me draw the jewellery on stock cards (before digital cameras and film was too expensive). I loved the colour gems more than diamonds and drew out a suite of jewellery (necklace, earrings, bracelet and ring) using a pattern of emerald, ruby, sapphire, diamond set in 18k gold, very 80s! My father humoured me and made it. In those days Hirsh, used to manufacture jewellery for other retailers, our first store was still 2 years away, so he took the suite to the Dallas Jewellery show. I went with him and my mother and the suite sold on the first day. It was purchased by a prominent jewellery chain in the U.S. that had 16 stores at the time, so my father needed to make a few more! My father paid me $1 commission which I spent on a coca cola and cracker jacks (American popcorn), let’s just say my taste and remuneration has changed somewhat.

Precious stones shown on work bench inside a studio

Inside the Hirsh London atelier

2. What is the inspiration behind your new Autumn/Winter collection?

I’ve always been inspired by nature and the beauty of the different colours found in nature – be it in gemstones or in the changing of the seasons. My father also shared this love of nature and began a tradition of designing a unique snowflake pendant every winter. This is a tradition that Sophia and I have continued and really look forward to every year. As the Hirsh 40th anniversary is soon approaching, we decided to create three beautiful snowflake pendants this year; an emerald, sapphire and a ruby piece. Just like snowflakes found in nature, each snowflake we design is completely one-of-a-kind and very special. Our new spring 2020 collection also takes inspiration in nature and features natural colour diamonds – definitely one to look out for.

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3. Which gemstones are you drawn to work with in particular and why?

I am drawn to work with anything unusual, I try and seek out gems that are hard to find other examples of, be it the rarity of colour or the combination of shape and colour. It is especially why I like round natural colour diamonds such as the 7-carat round, colour changing chameleon diamond I parted with last year. With the amount of rough you lose, natural colour diamonds are rarely cut in round which is what makes them all the more special when they are. In colour gemstones, my favourites are those with an emerald cut. The reason for this is that, emerald cut gemstones leave no place to hide inclusions in the gemstone. However, my personal favourite gemstones of all are Alexandrites and sapphires, mainly for the colour change in the Alexandrite and the range of colours found in sapphires. My wife Sophia has an amazing bi-colour sapphire (half yellow, half blue) that I thankfully get to see on her every day. We also have an amazing selection of Alexandrite jewellery at Hirsh that I’m very proud of.

Image of a necklace in the middle of a christmas cracker

The snowflake pendant set with pink and blue diamonds

4. How would you describe the relationship between jewellery and art?

Well, art is subjective and whilst in the past artists like Seurat would spend four years on a painting, some artists today create art in a day, in some cases multiple pieces in factories. You can find the same thing in the world of jewellery. There are many jewellers who mass produce their craft either to satisfy their clientele who want the same pieces, or to fill their many stores. At Hirsh, we individually produce each piece by hand so we consider everything we create to be a piece of wearable art. In addition, the vast majority of our pieces are the result of a collaboration with several artists, from my creative direction  through to the design team who draw and refine each piece and then on to the mounters who turn our dreams into reality, and finally, the setters, who refine the claws on each stone.

Read more: Why we love TAG Heuer’s Monaco anniversary collection

5. Do you ever consider trends when designing your pieces?

Whilst remaining quite timeless in style (the majority of our jewellery is made to be worn season after season), I always feel like we are right on the pulse. When we were creating our “Cloud” collection, 9 months after the initial design, I was walking down Bond Street and saw Anya Hindmarch’s window displaying her latest bag collection featuring clouds which made me smile. Three or four months later, Hermès launched new windows with cloud bags and a cloud theme. The difference is that, unlike high fashion and just like London’s ubiquitous rain clouds, our collection is set to stay.

rings on a woman's hand shown dipping biscuit into tea

Ruby and diamond trio, ice and duet ring

6. Which piece of iconic jewellery from past or present do you wish you had designed?

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Andrew Grima– a British jewellery designer based in Mayfair during the 1960’s and 1970’s. I feel he truly transformed the world of jewellery at that time, by creating intricately designed pieces of jewellery using textured gold and unique stones. My wife and I love watermelon tourmalines so I specifically love and would have loved to design his ‘gift’ ring featuring a beautiful watermelon tourmaline and a gold bow. I really enjoy his use of colour and texture in his creations and find is work highly skilled yet playful which is something we always aspire to in the creation of our jewellery at Hirsh.

To view the brand’s collections visit: hirshlondon.com

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Luxury fashion installation
Luxury fashion installation

Vintage Dior haute couture by Gianfranco Ferré, from the late 1990s

In Rome, history, style and a captivating jewellery collection come together in an engrossing new exhibition by home-grown global label Bulgari. Its brand and heritage curator Lucia Boscaini takes LUX on a personal tour

Jewels can tell many different stories: one is the glamorous story linked to their provenance, as is the case of the jewels that belonged to movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor or Anna Magnani.

precious diamond and sapphire necklace with pendant

Bulgari sautoir, 1969.

But we delved into their ‘behind the scenes’ stories too – for instance, Elizabeth Taylor often received jewels as gifts, namely from Richard Burton, but she was also a passionate collector from a young age thanks to her father who was an art dealer – she shared his discerning eye for beauty.

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Anna Magnani also bought jewels for herself, a self-indulgence that perhaps made up for a less-than-happy romantic life. Despite the humble characters she played on screen, she loved to buy and wear very elegant jewels as a life-affirming act. She had a child outside of marriage, which, in her era, would have been a difficult situation to face – both as a woman and as a celebrity. She had a difficult personal life and I think the jewels gave her some energy and ‘sparkle’.

Diamond brooch

Bulgari tremblant brooch in platinum with yellow and cognac-colour diamonds, 1959. Formerly in the Elizabeth Taylor Collection

Woman wearing haute couture dress

As well as Bulgari jewels, the exhibition also features vintage haute couture from the collection of Cecilia
Matteucci Lavarini

diamond, sapphire brooch

“Giardinetto” brooch, 1960.

I believe that jewellery can be transformed by the personal style of the woman who wears it. When they are matched to a charismatic persona and style, all jewels undeniably take on a personality of their own.

Read more: Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar on his upcoming exhibition ‘Extremis’

We’ve also designed the show to capture the way in which the jewellery reveals some of the social and fashion trends from different epochs. For example, the eclectic and sometimes fun sautoirs from the 1970s remind us that it was a decade of experimentation, with a drive to change in many social aspects. The same is true of the sumptuous chokers from the 1980s, with their compact shape that immediately recalls the teased hair, loud make-up and puffed shoulders of that period.

Model wearing diamond jewels

The exhibition also includes displays from a 1920s French haute couture atelier

Diamond and ruby bracelet

Bulgari bracelet in platinum with rubies and diamonds, ca 1934.

Bulgari’s modular jewels from the 1980s also reference career women, the number of whom grew during those years, as they looked for affordable, stylish and distinctive jewels to be worn either in the office or at cocktails after working hours.

The exhibition, ‘Bulgari: The Story, The Dream’, is showing until 3 November in the Palazzo Venezia and Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome. Find out more: polomusealelazio; beniculturali.it

This article was originally published in the Autumn 19 Issue.

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Installation shot of exhibition with display cases and photographs
Installation shot of exhibition with display cases and photographs

Installation shot of the ‘Autrement’ exhibition in Chaumet’s Paris boutique

Maison Chaumet’s latest exhibition Autrement reimagines selected jewels through drawings from its Parisian archives and a series of transformative photographs by Swedish photographer Julia Hetta

Showcasing heritage pieces alongside contemporary creations, Autrement offers an alternative take on how to wear Chaumet high jewellery through individually styled reinventions of each jewel.

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The Jeux de Liens sautoir necklace, for example, featuring the brand’s signature linking design set in rose gold with mother-of-pearl, becomes an intricate bandeau reminiscent of the iconic Chaumet tiaras. The same necklace is also photographed in a balletic pose, wrapped daintily around the leg to form an anklet.

model wearing head jewellery

Portrait of a girl wearing tiara

Image by Julia Hetta

A peacock feather bodice ornament from 1870 with a dazzling sapphire encircled by rubies and diamonds is remodelled as a delicate hair-pin, whilst a crescent moon brooch fashioned with fine pearls is worn as an aigrette with deep blue plumes. In perhaps the most innovative remodelling, L’Épi de Blé de Chaumet brooch and earrings are used as a pair to bind a braided hairstyle in place.

Read more: In conversation with Belgian painter Luc Tuymans

The smallest yet most sophisticated transformation, however, is made using the L’Épi de Blé de Chaumet white gold cocktail ring as a scarf ring, highlighting the large tanzanite and its surrounding diamonds in a more prominent position.

Model poses wearing a precious scarf ring

Image by Julia Hetta

Drawing inspiration from styling details and poses depicted in Renaissance art, Julia Hetta’s photographs modernise the more traditional jewels whilst contributing to the historical dimensions of the exhibition from the 19th-20th century sketches to the 15th-19th century LeBrun frames.

Chloe Frost-Smith

‘Autrement’ runs until 2nd November 2019 at Chaumet 165 Boulevard Saint Germain, 75006 Paris. For more information visit: chaumet.com/en/autrement

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Model leaning over a mirror wearing a red dress and diamond jewellery
Model wears tribal style jewellery

The ‘Black Hawk’ high jewellery collection by Messika

Valérie Messika grew up playing with precious stones. Her father, Andre, was renowned in the diamond industry for decades, but at the age of 25, Valérie discovered a niche in the market: everyday, wearable diamonds. She founded her eponymous brand around this ethos and Messika has since become a favourite amongst celebrities with stores across the globe. Here, we speak to the designer about fashion, Parisian style and designing for men

Portrait of a woman smiling in diamond jewellery

Valérie Messika by David Ferrura

1. What’s your most cherish piece of jewellery?

When I was young, my grandmother, who is one of the most amazing women I have ever met, gave me one of her rings. It is a pear shaped 9.30 carat diamond, it is my favourite piece of jewellery.

Follow LUX on Instagram: the.official.lux.magazine

2. How much attention do you pay to trends?

I am a real fashion lover! I get my inspiration from a lot of things, at all times– but fashion and haute couture are one of my biggest sources of inspiration. I find inspiration by walking the streets in Paris and looking at people’s attitude and style. I admire the Parisiennes; they look so chic but always in a very minimal and trendy way.

Model leaning over a mirror wearing a red dress and diamond jewellery

Pieces from the ‘Desert Bloom’ high jewellery collection by Messika

3. What makes a piece of jewellery timeless?

To be timeless, a piece of jewellery must be a mix between classic and contemporary, but always with a twist of modernity.

4. Do you approach designing for men and women differently?

I get my inspiration from people that surround me such as my two daughters, my husband and my father. I also take into consideration feedback from my clients, this is important to me.

Creating for men was about how I see men. Forging a bond between men and women’s jewellery was a real challenge. I have created a masculine interpretation of my iconic collection Move, that combines both power and lightness. The motif of the three moving diamonds is deeply imprinted in me and lies very close to my heart, it stands for the ‘love of yesterday, today and tomorrow’.

Read more: 6 mountain restaurants to stir your soul this summer

5. When you get dressed in the morning, which do you choose first: clothes or jewellery?

I am very lucky as I can change my jewellery every day. I always associate my jewels with my clothes. What I like is stacking bangles by mixing my signature collections, Move and Skinny. I adore wearing jewellery as fashion accessories.

Messika pieces are created to be worn on an everyday basis. Diamonds can be worn every day with a pair of jeans, your favourite sneakers or your favourite jumper!

Diamond earrings hanging on a branch of a tree

‘Wild Moon’ earrings by Messika

6. What’s your favourite jewel other than a diamond?

This is a tricky question as diamonds are in my DNA. This passion is my heritage. But I always have my Audemars Piguet watch that I consider to be like a piece of jewellery.

Discover Messika’s collections: messika.com

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Backstage image of a model wearing a tiara
Backstage image of a model wearing a tiara

Backstage image of a Chaumet tiara being fitted on a model

Tiaras are the cult jewel of maison Chaumet, and their latest exhibition ‘Chaumet in Majesty’ at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco offers a rare insight into the iconic jewel’s history

Since 1780 Chaumet has been the jeweller to sovereigns. This latest exhibition at Grimaldi Forum recounts the lives of the brand’s royal customers and delves into the history of the jewels themselves, highlighting tiaras as symbolic of timeless feminine power.

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Antique photograph of a woman in evening dress wearing a tiara

Portrait of Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, last Vicereine of India, wearing her Chaumet tiara for George VI’s coronation. Photographie de Yevonde, 1937. © Madame Yevonde/Mary Evans Picture Library

As Chaumet demonstrates, a tiara is not just a decorative jewel, but one which has an important functionality, specifically designed to imbue its wearer with virtuous qualities and authority. For example, The Briar Rose Bud tiara (1922) features fauna motif referring back to the power and prestige of classical laurel wreaths whilst the material qualities of the pearls evoke wisdom and diamonds are traditionally associated with timeless elegance and strength. The Pearl and Mircomosaic Parer (1811) also projects an image of its imperial court. The tiara depicts scenes of Roman landscapes through mosaic techniques to lend the piece and its wearer an air of romanticism and grandeur.

Product image of a diamond tiara against a black background


‘Chaumet in Majesty’ exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco: displaying the tiara with florets of Edwina Countess Mountbatten of Burma, last Vice-Queen of India created by Marcel Chaumet (1886-1964) in 1934 in the workshop of Maison Chaumet. The tiara was entrusted to another Maison who sold it to Lady Edwina Mountbatten. Private collection

Read more: Why we love Cartier’s high jewellery collection ‘Magnitude’

The exhibition brings together 250 pieces of jewellery, some of which are being seen publicly for the first time, sourced from the collections of Prince Albert II of Monaco, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and museum collections from all over the world. In the exhibition we see the heritage of the maison’s forms and the quality and beauty of their pieces, but more importantly, we can begin to appreciate jewellery’s role in signifying women’s power throughout the ages.

‘Chaumet in Majesty’ runs until 28 August 2019 at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. For more information visit: chaumet.com 

Rosie Ellison-Balaam

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Model posing with large contemporary artworks
Model wearing a large necklace with blue stones

The Équinoxe necklace with an octagonal yellow sapphire at the centre

Move over minimalism, Cartier’s latest high jewellery collection is an adventurous exploration of magnified dimensions

Magnitude by Cartier is as much a statement of size as the collection’s name suggests. At the centre of each piece sits a remarkably large stone in its original form, showcasing unconventional, semi-precious crystals alongside more traditional jewels and diamonds.

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The most striking example of this adventurous new design approach for the French maison is the Zemia cuff bracelet, featuring an immense 77.27-carat matrix opal circled by violet sapphires, spessartite garnets, and brilliant-cut diamonds. The 68.85-carat rutilated quartz of the Aphélie necklace possesses similarly impressive proportions, set in a pink gold pendant with cascading morganite beads, orange and white diamonds, and flashes of coral and onyx.

Model posing with large contemporary artworks

Model wearing the Zemia cuff bracelet from Cartier’s Magnitude collection

Cut out image of an elaborate necklace with a huge stone centrepiece and beads

The Aphélie necklace

Whilst working with a variety of sizeable and seemingly unrefined stones, the collection retains the subtlety and elegance of the wider Cartier portfolio in the smaller, surrounding details of contrasting yet complementary colours and textures. For example, electric blue beads of lapis lazuli are interlaced in an openwork constellation design of the Équinoxe necklace with an octagonal yellow sapphire at the heart.

Read more: Ruinart x Jonathan Anderson’s pop-up hotel in Notting Hill

An overall talismanic effect is achieved through the earthy tones and natural aesthetic of the rudimentary colouring of each centrepiece, reminiscent of Cartier’s earlier work with ornamental stones in decorative objects during the Art Deco period.

Chloe Frost-Smith

For more information visit: cartier.co.uk

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Luxury dining room area with contemporary stylish furnishings
Luxury dining room area with contemporary stylish furnishings

The Penthouse kitchen and dining room designed by Roksanda. Photography by Michael Sinclair. Styling by Olivia Gregory

Fashion designer Roksanda Ilinčić has curated the interiors of a penthouse apartment inside Gasholders London, a new residential development in Kings Cross. We get the grand tour

The trend for designer home-wear has reached its pinnacle. The new penthouse apartment curated by fashion designer Roksanda Ilinčić shows not only her designs, but how they integrate with art and iconic pieces of design history. The apartment is about how we can live with art and how all arts engage with each other; fashion crossing into ceramics, furniture and architecture. It is a unique space, which encompasses her artistic vision through unifying and contrasting colours, textures and luxury materials.

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Roksanda’s own home-wear collection, naturally, takes centre stage. In the apartment’s whimsically named ‘Sun Room’,  a ‘Roksanda X Linck Ceramics’ vase stands next to a stylish velvet chaise in red and orange with a coral curtain backdrop. The vase’s monochromatic shades are striking against the vibrancy of its surroundings.

Still life image of a contemporary flower vase against a bright pink blind

A Roksanda X Linck Ceramics vase in the penthouse’s ‘Sun Room.’ Photography by Michael Sinclair. Styling by Olivia Gregory

Here and throughout the apartment, we see the designer using colour and form in an unexpected way, just as she does with her clothing and accessories. The sculptural shapes and distinctive cuts associated with her clothing lines are translated into her choice of furniture; in the sharp angular Pierre Jeanneret chairs (1950s), the sleek, almost weightless Guillerme and Chambron oak desk (1960) and the organic, rounded form of the ‘skin lamp’ by Eny Lee Parker.

Read more: Kuwait’s ASCC launches visual arts programme in Venice

Stylish contemporary living space

The living room with curated furniture by Roksanda. Photography by Michael Sinclair. Styling by Olivia Gregory

Coat and bag hanging on contemporary style zigzag coat hanger

Roksanda’s creations are dotted around the apartment. Photography by Michael Sinclair. Styling by Olivia Gregory

The link between fashion and art is further emphasised by the designer’s own pieces, which are dotted around the apartment. A deep red jacket hangs in the hallway, a dress is draped across a bedroom chair with a pair of matching slippers, giving the impression that the designer is living in the space. This, of course, is the desired effect. The pieces are positioned so as to reveal just how liveable the space is, allowing viewers to picture themselves in the scene.

Rosie Ellison-Balaam

The Penthouse sits over three floors, with a double-height sunken courtyard garden and staircase providing access to a private roof garden with views of Coal Drops Yard. The apartment is available to buy fully-furnished for £7,750,000. Find out more: gasholderslondon.co.uk

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Model stands looking out of blinds wearing multiple jewels
Model stands looking out of blinds wearing multiple jewels

Bvlgari’s Cinemagia High Jewellery collection is inspired by old age Hollywood glamour

Bvlgari brings back Hollywood decadence with their latest high jewellery collection inspired by 1950s cinema

Long defined by its unconventional colour combinations of precious stones, Bvlgari’s latest collection reimagines the brand’s colour palette in statement pieces that pay homage to various aspects of cinema.

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The highly unusual monochromatic Action! necklace, for example, celebrates the invention of celluloid roll film with thirty-two carats of pavé diamonds and black zirconium, the latest innovation from the Roman maison which is surprisingly practical in design. A complex spring construction is incorporated to ensure the perfect fit whilst allowing the necklace to return to its original shape after each wear. When rotated, the round film element centre reproduces the sound of old movie projectors, adding an intriguing sensory dimension to this unique piece.

Read more: In conversation with the world’s oldest model

Model poses in director's chair wearing a silver and black choker necklace

The Action! necklace features thirty-two carats of pavé diamonds and black zirconium

Still life image of a diamond necklace on a red carpet

The Fairy Wings necklace with coloured gemstones and diamond butterflies

The Emerald Affair necklace is a contemporary reworking one of the brand’s most iconic pieces, featuring a brilliant green, octagonal step-cut jewel, whilst the Fairy Wings necklace playfully mixes eight coloured oval gemstones, each set on a delicate diamond butterfly.

Blonde model poses in evening outfit wearing an emerald necklace

The Emerald Affair necklace features a brilliant green, octagonal step-cut jewel

Sparkly necklace with multiple jewels pictured in the model of a swimming pool

Other pieces in the collection incorporate vibrant shades and a variety of gemstones

Other pieces in the collection feature varying shades associated with the days of La Dolce Vita, including pink sapphires, mandarin garnets, and citrine quartz. For a more versatile look, selected pendant pieces can be turned around and styled backwards for wearers to fully embrace Bvlgari’s rule-breaking approach to both colour and design.

Chloe Frost-Smith

Find out more: bulgari.com

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Installation shot of an art fair with guests walking around a sculpture
Installation shot of an art fair with guests walking around a sculpture

Installation view of Tony Cragg, Bust, 2014 from Jerome Zodo Gallery at Masterpiece London 2019, photography Ben Fisher, Courtesy Masterpiece London

Ahead of the public opening of Masterpiece London’s 10th edition, we ask the fair’s chairman Philip Hewat-Jaboor for his exclusive recommendations of what to see

Art fairs can be overwhelming, especially when they’re on the scale of Masterpiece London which, this year, brings together over 150 galleries and specialists with displays of contemporary artworks, antiquities, rare books, objets d’art, furniture and jewellery.

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‘Rather than grouping our exhibitors by the kind of objects they present, we integrate them so that an antiquities dealer may sit side-by-side with a jeweller or a contemporary art gallery. We have seen how juxtaposing different works of absolutely encourages collectors to learn about and buy works of art they may not usually have the opportunity to discover,’ says Philip Hewat-Jaboor.

Below are his top recommendations of things to see at this year’s edition:

The sculpture series

‘This year, we introduce Masterpiece London’s Sculpture Series. Our inaugural curator is Jo Baring, who is the Director of the Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art. She has selected dynamic modern and contemporary works made from different and sometimes unusual materials to encourage visitors to challenge their perceptions about sculpture. This includes works by Gary Hume, Susie MacMurray and Bryan Kneale amongst others.’

Close up shot of pom pom art installation

Phyllida Barlow, ‘untitled: GIG’ (detail), 2014, ‘Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women 1947-2016’. Installation view at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, Los Angeles CA. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.© Phyllida Barlow, Photo: Fredrik Nilsen 

Phyllida Barlow’s installation

‘Not to be missed is Phyllida Barlow’s sculptural installation for Masterpiece Presents, in conjunction with Hauser & Wirth. Masterpiece Presents provides a platform for innovative, immersive works of art at the entrance to the fair. The artist is known for using found materials, and her installation follows the supersized ‘pom pom’ works she first developed in the 1990s.’

Read more: JD Malat Gallery opens psychedelic anniversary exhibition

Antiquities

‘See exceptional works of art at the fair like Edward Hurst’s rare Roman British mosaic, Augustine Rodin’s famous The Thinker (on offer at Bowman Sculpture), and the recently discovered lost work of Sir Anthony Van Dyck at Philip Mould & Company.’

Partial wall mosaic

Edward Hurst: Romano-British Mosaic, attributed to the Durnovarian School, early 4th century AD. From the Roman Villa at Dewlish Dorset. Courtesy Edward Hurst

Curated booths

‘Enjoy carefully curated booths that epitomise our cross-collecting ethos, such as Daniel Crouch Rare Books and Les Enluminures’ shared booth inspired by Harari’s best-selling book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Axel Vervoordt, Godson & Coles and Rose Uniacke also work in this vein, presenting works of art across a range of materials and eras.’

Low coffee table photographed under spotlight in a dark room

Axel Vervoordt: José Zanine Caldas, Sculptured Dining Tabe, Brazil, 1979, Juerana and Pequi wood, Courtesy Axel Vervoordt

Canadian Inuit art

‘Our Principal Partner, RBC, will be presenting a curated exhibition of Canadian Inuit art in their lounge. This will include works by Shuvinai Ashoona, Annie Pootoogook, and Tim Pitsiulak, who are all artists from the Kinngait Studios Inuit art community.’

Masterpiece London 2019 sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada runs from 27 June to 3 July at Royal Hospital Chelsea. For more information visit: masterpiecefair.com

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Models pose with lips puckered at fashion designer backstage
Models pose with lips puckered at fashion designer backstage

Mary Katrantzou (second from left) backstage at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York

With a decade of successful collections behind her and a penchant for outside-the-box collaborations, Mary Katrantzou is a designer not only bursting with creativity but also with the business acumen to go truly global, as Carolyn Asome discovers

Don’t underestimate the agility required to keep up with Mary Katrantzou’s boundless curiosity, the ever-inventive ways she pushes herself out of her comfort zone, the rat-a-tat-tat of her myriad collaborations (more of which later) and fundamentally, her desire to never sit still.

Does Katrantzou, who for the past decade has wowed us with her own strand of quirky maximalism, breathtaking decoration techniques and architectural shapes, ever worry that her body may struggle to keep up with her mind? The Greek-born fashion designer (and veritable power house), who read architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design before studying for a BA in Textile Design at London’s Central Saint Martins, howls with laughter at this. “It’s true, I’ve turned 36… it probably doesn’t.”

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Few designers are able to confront the obstacles of growing their own business. Fewer still are able to articulate them quite as clearly as Katrantzou can – although one senses that she has always relished the challenge. Her voice lights up: “Growing your business is the ultimate in creativity. It forces you to have an understanding of the business of fashion. I don’t think you can have a company without that interest or without the ambition to be involved.”

In an increasingly volatile retail climate, what are the challenges she faces? “There are several, but one of them is having a voice that really stands out against the noise. There are lots of heritage brands with a rotation of designers at the helm. You need to really know what you stand for. I challenge myself to do that each year. You might think you have an idea of who your woman is, but it isn’t always as easy as you think it is. I am not designing for a romantic warrior…” she laughs. “Sure, she is bold and daring and she uses fashion as a tool of expression. What I design has an element of uplift, but it also has links to art and design – that is very much part of it, too.”

Model on the catwalk wearing a large multicoloured coat

A look from Mary Katrantzou’s AW19 collection

The conundrum of dealing with an ever- whizzier hamster wheel of production also looms large. Thankfully, Katrantzou explains this is far less of a taboo subject than it was in the past. “Three years ago, no one wanted to talk about it and you almost closed your eyes and hoped for the best, but now other designers talk and you realise we are all in the same boat. Because obviously it is going to affect your creativity.”

Her solution? “While we have four drops annually, there are only two thematic collections a year so that means we have longer to talk about something, but we still have the newness.” Another challenge she mulls over is how to move outside ready-to-wear and use her design talent in other areas. Given that Katrantzou trained as an architect, she enjoys the challenge of looking at things from different perspectives and the creativity that comes with designing in different realms.

“We’ve tried to shift the brands in both directions: at one end offering shows at a demi- couture level and building on our customer relationships so that they can buy from us as made-to-measure or bespoke, but also, to do collaborations with much bigger global brands which allows us to reach a far wider audience.”

Read more: Photographer Thomas Demand on abstract perspectives

Katrantzou enjoys the fact that collaborations force her to think in a completely different way. “It’s an entirely different end use of a product. You can be democratic in a way that as an independent brand you just can’t be, because you can’t reach those price points or your minimums and production runs are so different. The modern brand of today needs to be reaching out to all different price points and different tiers. You are communicating with your customer but offering her a very comprehensive way of being able to buy your brand. We are doing a tenth of what we can do as we are still largely a ready-to-wear brand, but we’ve created jewellery with Swarovski, and done a small homeware range with a friend, Brigitta Spinocchia Freund. We’re also doing a ballet at Sadler’s Wells with Russell Maliphant and music by Vangelis, which is obviously so different from what you get when creating the costumes for the Victoria’s Secret show.”

The designer’s interesting collaborations – ones which challenge the well-trodden formula of designer/highstreet unions – are what caught the eye of Chinese investor Wendy Yu, the 28-year-old who has earned herself the reputation as China’s unofficial fashion ambassador.

Two women posing in front of a green wall at an exclusive event

Mary Katrantzou with Wendy Yu 2017

Two years ago, Katrantzou took investment from Yu. “I’d noticed and loved Mary’s capacity and talent to expand into different product categories along with her infectious energy and drive,” says Yu. “She’s built a brand with a strong and unique identity. I can see the potential of Mary Katrantzou homeware and beauty… I think the Chinese consumer would really buy into the brand at this lifestyle level too.”

Yu was one of three who came in on a ‘family and friends’ round of investment. For Katrantzou, the idea was also to look at what investors could offer aside from the financial support. “Wendy has been helpful with expanding in China. She is someone who understands how to help build a brand between east and west, between fashion and the arts.” Katrantzou has also learnt that in order to create awareness in China, it takes much more than just visiting once a year. It’s visiting regularly and initiating activations that really engages.”

Despite following a wholesale model, Katrantzou finds that clients come to her, season after season. “It’s rare these days to have a really loyal client. I don’t know what it is about the brand that elicits that loyalty but whatever it is, I don’t take it lightly.” This modesty is typical of Katrantzou. Such is her talent that she has clients who own so many of her clothes, they might easily stage a retrospective of her collections. It is telling that one of her most devoted fans is also one of the biggest collectors of Phoebe Philo’s collections at Celine – “our aesthetics couldn’t be more opposite” – and yet, there is something about the power of Katrantzou’s craft, the detailing and point of view that elicits such fandom.

Women pose backstage in front of a rail of clothing

Katrantzou and friends at London Fashion Week, 2016

Last September, Katrantzou celebrated her tenth anniversary, filling Camden’s Roundhouse with a collection all about collecting and collectables. Instead of a ‘best of ’ tribute to the preceding decade, she riffed on philately and entomology. One gown resembled a Fabergé egg gleaming with crystals, while a bustier dress revealed an array of coloured stone rings within a jewellery box.

Read more: Why LUX loves the New Perlée creations by Van Cleef & Arpels

Her most recent collection was based on the elements – earth, air, fire and water – and how they exist within us. “I wanted to explore the fire – when you have that energy and passion; or air when you feel that sense of being light and free. And it was interesting to distil all of that into a collection as it was so abstract and unlike my previous collection, which was more literal and very object driven.”

Model on catwalk wearing large orange coat

A look from Mary Katrantzou’s AW19 collection

For water and air, Katrantzou explored silhouettes that were weightless, either in organza or tiers of ruffles, which “bounced in a cloudy way, or else we used feathers”, experimenting with materials and techniques that haven’t been explored before.

Today, there are 25 people in Katrantzou’s London studio and her label is sold in 50 countries. “Our strongest markets are in the US, the UK, southern Europe, the Middle East and now China,” she says. “You know you appeal to a certain type of woman, and while I’m not saying an archetypal woman, they do have something in common. And we don’t have to be big in the Nordic countries if we are not selling there.”

Increasingly, Katrantzou is thinking about how she fits into the world around her: what she stands for and how that extends to bigger topics. “Luxury for me is knowing you are not harming your environment, knowing that the pieces you create will last in someone’s wardrobe for ever. I find it interesting that clients increasingly come to me and say they want to spend x amount on this one dress rather than buy 20. There’s a return to craftsmanship, pieces that are made by hand. With demi-couture, you are supporting a more analogue approach to fashion. It isn’t a big percentage in terms of how many commissions we get, but it is a sizeable part of the business… and it’s growing.”

Find out more at: marykatrantzou.com

This article was originally published in the Summer 19 Issue.

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Reading time: 7 min
A gold ring on a pink surface with half pink circles in the background
A gold ring on a pink surface with half pink circles in the background

Working with several designers, Van Cleef & Arpels have breathed new life into their classic collection

This season, we’ve got our eye on the new, youthful additions to Van Cleef & Arpels’ Perlée collection

Perlée is one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ long-standing, classic collections so-called after the maison‘s signature style of beaded jewels. The newest additions offer a fresh twist on the traditional and have been visualised in youthful graphic campaigns created in collaboration with designers such as Santi Zoraidez and Oscar Pettersson, both of whom are known for their playful, pastel aesthetics, digital geometric formations and sizeable Instagram followings.

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This might mark the first steps to a more millennial approach for the traditional French jewellery brand as does the focus on bespoke design. For example, the transformable long beaded necklace allows wearers to swap in the central ring with a variation of three colours (onyx, turquoise and coral) to better suit their mood, outfit or the occasion.

promotional image of a woman's torso in a white top wearing a long chain necklace with a beaded circle pendant

The transformable long beaded necklace with a coral inner ring

Diamond studded watch bracelet pictured on a pale blue background

One of Van Cleef & Arpels’ new ‘secret watches’ in bracelet style with rose gold and diamonds

Even the more grown-up pieces such as the secret watches have been made-over with contrasting gemstones and precious metals – rose gold paired with diamonds, deep green malachite and orange coral, yellow gold studded with diamonds and lapis lazuli. It’s an effortless, refreshing new look for the collection, and the brand.

Find out more: vancleefarpels.com

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Campaign for Alsara by Damiani jewellery collection inspired by Kazakh traditions
Jewellery campaign for brand Damiani starring Aliya Nazarbaieva

An image from the first Alsara by Damiani campaign with Aliya Nazarbayeva wearing earrings and ring with turquoise and black-and-white diamonds

How does a historic Italian jewellery brand come to dedicate an entire collection to the traditions and culture of Kazakhstan? Through a little bit of serendipity, and some inspiration from one of the world’s ancient nomadic cultures, as LUX Editor-at-Large Gauhar Kapparova discovers
 Guido, Silvia and Giorgio Damiani of Italian jewellery brand Damiani

Guido, Silvia and Giorgio Damiani

Italian fine jewellery brand Damiani first opened stores in Almaty and Astana in 2005, following the brand’s strategy for global expansion under the leadership of third-generation Damiani family members, Guido, Giorgio and Silvia. The brand’s sensuous Italian style and commitment to hand-crafted detail quickly captured the attention of Kazakh women, whilst the Damiani siblings, who travel frequently to the country on business, became increasingly fascinated and enamoured by the culture and traditions there. A deep and mutual affection grew organically between brand and country, leading to the idea of a cross-cultural collaboration.

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To create Alsara, a collection inspired by and dedicated to Kazakhstan, the President’s youngest daughter Aliya Nazarbayeva teamed up in 2011 with Zhanna Kan, the owner of Damiani Kazakhstan and the driving force behind the new line. The name Alsara is a portmanteau combining Aliya and her mother’s name Sara, and pays tribute to the influence of not just them but also all the Kazakh women the jewellers have met.

Traditional Kazakh style necklace by brand Damiani

Unique necklace ‘Tumar’ with blue sapphires, rubies, diamonds and semi-precious stones

The collection began as a conversation between Aliya and Damiani’s Italy-based designers, during which Aliya educated the brand on ancient Kazakh ornament, such as the traditional tumar necklace and bilezik cuff. These styles were reimagined and transformed by expert craftsmen in Damiani’s historic ateliers in Valenza, where Enrico Grassi Damiani opened his first goldsmith’s laboratory in 1924. The result was a collection of intricate gold and precious stone pieces, marrying refined Italian craftsmanship with Kazakh heritage. Following a sold-out range, the collection broadened to include silver and semi-precious stones, such as onyx and turquoise, typical of Kazakh jewellery.

Read more: Meet the new creative entrepreneurs

Bridging two distinct cultures, the Alsara collection melds tradition with contemporary fashion. “Alsara pieces became not only stylish accessories for modern Kazakh women but also perfect gifts for weddings and kudalyk, which are the engagement ceremonies,” comments Zhanna Kan. “They are regarded as family jewels to be preserved and handed down.”

Campaign for Alsara by Damiani jewellery collection inspired by Kazakh traditions

The Alsara by Damiani campaign with Gulnara Chaizhunussova wearing silver earrings and a bracelet and ring with green agate, citrine and diamonds

Alsara’s most recent designs reveal a striking modern look for the collection, reflecting the evolving cosmopolitan culture of Kazakhstan. Colourful gemstones have been replaced with black and white diamonds, producing a pared-back aesthetic with hints of Art Deco and oriental motives. The Kazakh heritage has not been lost, however, and neither has the craft; the collection continues to be entirely handmade in Italy whilst the influence of traditional Kazakh jewellery remains in the threads of delicately curved silver, drawing on artisanal methods of filigree.

Discover the collections: damiani.com

This article was first published in the Winter 19 Issue.

Luxury fine jewellery earrings by brand Damiani

Earrings with wings motif in white and yellow gold with smoky quartz, garnet and icy diamonds

 

 

Ornate necklace by Italian brand Damiani

Jewellery from Damiani’s Alsara collection, including necklace in white and yellow gold with black and white diamonds and pearls, inspired by Art Deco and Kazakh ornament

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Actress Lupita Nyong’o spinning in a silk pink dress in front of Chopard board on the red carpet
Chopard's co-president Caroline Scheufele on the red carpet in a floor length navy blue and lace dress

Caroline on the red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival closing ceremony in May this year

Caroline Scheufele is co-president of Chopard, the Swiss jeweller and watchmaker that has been run by her family for more than 150 years. As head of the women’s collections and fine-jewellery range, she has made the Cannes Film Festival a dazzling stage for the brand’s showbiz ambassadors to display a new range of bespoke creations every year. Her time running the company has seen the rise of the Chinese market and the emergence of social media. LUX Editor in-Chief Darius Sanai visits her at Chopard’s Geneva HQ to discuss doing business in Beijing, how to keep innovating and how the best ideas come in the rain

LUX: We just looked at the atelier where you create your individual pieces, and what struck me was the creativity and ‘anything goes’ style of these one-offs. Is Chopard becoming more creative or has it always been like this?
Caroline Scheufele: I think Chopard has always been known for being one of the most creative in the watch and jewellery market. But over the years there has been a big evolution – especially over the past 10 years when I started to introduce the Red Carpet collection that we release annually in Cannes. We started with the 60th anniversary, so crazily enough I said we will make 60 special pieces, and every year we add one, so we are now up to 71.

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cut out image of a diamond choker necklace set with purple stones

A Red Carpet Collection necklace

It’s a big challenge for the workshop. Over the past 10 years there was a big evolution and maybe even revolution within high jewellery because we started to work a lot with titanium and even now ceramic and aluminium, and you get a completely different finishing look than if you only work with gold. Personally, I love to wear big earrings and that’s why we started a lot with titanium because normally big earrings are very heavy because of the gold, and the worst thing is when you sit at a dinner and you see a woman taking off her earrings on the table because they hurt.

That’s also the practical side of it, if you use titanium – like on the big orchids in this year’s collection – they are like feathers. And now we can colour the titanium, which we can’t do with gold. When we started my father said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘It’s not written anywhere that diamonds have to be set in gold.’ It’s just historically always been done like that.

LUX: You were inspired by your recent travels?
Caroline Scheufele: Yes, I travel a lot. I just came back from two weeks in China which is always very inspiring. And there are a lot of things you can pick up in ancient architecture or colours or music. But there is not a given moment when you say, ‘OK, today I’m going to sit down and be creative.’ It doesn’t happen like that. But it often happens when I travel which is good because I always come home with ideas and you always need new ideas. I love architecture. I think if I would not have been doing what I do with the family I probably would have gone into architecture.

Emerald and diamond earrings laid on a wooden slate

An emerald and diamond necklace draped across hands

Emerald and diamond earrings (above) and necklace from Chopard’s Red Carpet collection

LUX: When you are travelling, do you have to force yourself to go out of the usual itinerary to get to the inspirations?
Caroline Scheufele: I fight with my team because this time, for example, I was two days in Xi’an, an old capital of China where they had the first Emperor, and very close to the Terracotta Warriors. I said, “No matter what, I am going there. Please put these two hours into my programme.” And like always my team say, “Ah no, no but you have to do this…”. I mean, I was in China five times last year and I still haven’t seen the Great Wall.

Read more: Entrepreneur Adrian Cheng & landscape architect James Corner are redesigning Hong Kong

LUX: For the Cannes unique pieces is it really carte blanche? You create whatever you want and clients will buy them?
Caroline Scheufele: It’s pretty much carte blanche. We do have a theme, but otherwise anything goes.

LUX: Do you worry they won’t get sold?
Caroline Scheufele: No… we have a very nice group of clients who are very attached to the brand and they get to see them pre-Cannes. And then we may have other customers who want the pieces but we only make one of each.

Chopard's co-president Caroline Scheufele sketching in a workshop

Caroline sketching the palme d’or design

A cut out image of a diamond, sapphire and emerald cuff

A Red Carpet Collection bracelet

LUX: China has gone from zero to biggest market in the world in the past 15 years. How have you established yourselves as the brand with the power that you have over there? Because they didn’t know Chopard previously.
Caroline Scheufele: We started with some agents and now we run China ourselves, we have our own office in Shanghai and another in Beijing and a big one in Hong Kong. First it was more about watches but now the Chinese have discovered branded jewellery. We have our Chinese ambassadresses and when they wear something, the next day it can be sold out. They are very celebrity-driven so it’s a lot about social media. China is also so big. When you go to a city like Beijing, it’s 22 million people, almost three times Switzerland. The dimensions are so different. Last time I met a very nice successful lady, who runs a family business, but they have 320,000 employees – that’s the whole city of Geneva!

LUX: You have to visit China in person, right?
Caroline Scheufele: Yes, they appreciate meeting the family. They like the personal interaction. We had an exhibition at a luxury fair in Hainan, and we printed a book in Chinese. I gave it to a lady and the next morning she knew everything in the book, she had read the whole thing, which probably wouldn’t happen in America.

LUX: Is the perception of luxury changing in China?
Caroline Scheufele: Certain brands were very popular in the beginning when China opened up, and now certain people in the Chinese elite are going for smaller brands because it’s more chic or less widely seen. I met a very interesting professor from Beijing University who was giving some background on China, about how things change quickly. Within the past three years, 100 million people moved from poverty into the middle class but in the next six years it will be 300 million more. They set themselves goals and visions and they really do them.

Actress Cate Blanchett on the red carpet in diamond emerald earrings and a black lace dress

Cate Blanchett wearing Chopard creations at this year’s Cannes Film Festival

LUX: Are consumers around the world less loyal to brands and is that a problem?
Caroline Scheufele: It’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity. It’s also stimulating for us to be more innovative and more creative. And fast.

Read more: Parisian designer Jacques Garcia on creating spaces for seduction

LUX: Is speed an advantage because you’re a family company?
Caroline Scheufele: It’s an advantage because if something is urgent we can make things quickly because everything is in-house. Also we can stop something and say, ‘Now we make this engagement ring because their engagement is the day after tomorrow.’ Which in other companies is more complex. They have [to get] 10 people’s signatures before they even start the design, and we’ve already made the piece.

LUX: Have tastes changed around the world in the past few years?
Caroline Scheufele: Yes, jewellery has become more democratic in a way, how women wear it. So, mixing colours, mixing shades of gold. With a beautiful diamond ring you can also wear it with jeans, you don’t need to have only the long dress to go with it. So I think yes, it has changed.

Actress Lupita Nyong’o spinning in a silk pink dress in front of Chopard board on the red carpet

Lupita Nyong’o in Chopard at this year’s Cannes Film Festival

LUX: I might have this completely wrong as an outsider, but it seems to me that jewellery used to be made by men and bought by men for women, and you’re a woman and your customers are women.
Caroline Scheufele: Women and men. Both. I sometimes call men and say, ‘Your wife’s birthday is coming up, I hope you didn’t forget it!’ But yes, previously jewellery was always something that you expected to be given as a present. Whereas certain women spend easily, they go shopping for designer clothes and they spend $10,000, $20,000 without a problem, but to buy yourself a beautiful diamond ring was not so much on the menu. I think now a lot of women are independent, they make their own money, they also buy their own jewellery, they might still be married but they sometimes go, ‘Ah, this is new?’ ‘Yes, I just bought it for myself.’ The behaviour of buying has changed, also with the advent of e-commerce.

Actress Celina Jade posing on the red carpet in a diamond necklace and pale pink dress

Actress Celina Jade also wearing Chopard at this year’s Cannes Film Festival

Colour portrait of Caroline and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele with Jacky Ickx

Caroline with Jacky Ickx and her brother Karl- Friedrich Scheufele at Cannes

LUX: Is that going to become more and more important?
Caroline Scheufele: We have to work with both. I still like magazines, I’m not somebody who can read a book on iPhone. I still like the touch of paper, but maybe I’m not this very young generation… I still think there is a difference. A lot of people get information first online and then they go to the destination, physical shopping. So, the digital side is important. How you present your company. I think there will always be stores. But the stores today have to be much more of a lifestyle experience. The people who sell have to be better. It’s not good when the client knows more about diamonds than the salesperson.

render of a bright blue choker style necklace with an elaborate colourful pendant

A Red Carpet Collection necklace

LUX: Do clients care about your decision this year to only use Fairmined products?
Caroline Scheufele: I think it definitely appeals a lot to the younger generation because they are much more alert, today, about the planet, about sustainability and responsibility. The other day I had lunch with a friend and the son came in. We were talking about tennis shoes and he said, “Mummy no, no, no, you cannot buy this brand. It’s not good because they use kids.” And the mother said, “Ah.” The little one is six years old. So there is much more information and I think we all have to take care of the planet, we cannot just wait for the next generation to clean up.

LUX: You met the miner who mined the diamond you bought from Botswana, the Kalahari Diamond. Is the female empowerment element important for you?
Caroline Scheufele: It is important. And what was the beauty of the Kalahari is that a woman found it and it was on a Sunday. For me this was a unique experience, because I really followed everything from A to Z – from the mine to the cutting to the design. And then obviously we presented, we made the presentation in Paris and we invited the lady who found the stone to the presentation. And she had never been out of the village, so they had to get passports and visas, and she came with her son and then they went to Versailles. They were there one week, and in Versailles the son said, “Is this ice?” because it was the first time he had seen snow. So that, it was nice, it was actually nice.

LUX: Do you get inspiration for your next ideas in unlikely places?
Caroline Scheufele: Yes, I do. Once, we had rented a boat and we were very unlucky because it basically rained for the whole week, so what do you do? You watch movies, you read, you go and eat, you read more, you listen to music. And I was looking around, thinking, ‘How important the sun is!’ And your mood is down, and that’s when I had the idea of doing the Happy Sun collection. I designed it in the rain.

View Chopard’s collections at: chopard.com

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Reading time: 10 min
necklace with gold torso of a woman Anissa Kermiche
necklace with gold torso of a woman Anissa Kermiche

Pit Power Pendant

Parisian jewellery designer Anissa Kermiche takes inspiration from everyday objects and situations to create wearable pieces of art that are as bold and quirky as they are sensual and delicate. Since the launch of her first collection in 2016, Anissa continues to challenge the conventions and restrictions of traditional jewellery; her most recent collection in collaboration with Rejina Pyo draws on Alexander Calder‘s iconic mobiles with curved golden lines and hanging pearls. LUX asks Anissa 6 questions.
black and white portrait of Parisian jewellery designer Anissa Kermiche

Anissa Kermiche

1. Who do you design for? Describe the Anissa Kermiche woman.

I wouldn’t say that my designs are just segmented to women, there are a lot of men that have worn my pieces before. Men love wearing the Precieux Pubis pendant! If I had one criteria though, it would have to be someone fun! In terms of my female customers, I am inspired by many women around me, women who are funny, successful and independent, it’s not just one. Lately, I have found that many of my customers feed me with inspiring thoughts too.

Follow LUX on Instagram: the.official.lux.magazine

2. You originally studied engineering and computer science – what led you to change career paths?

I got into the jewellery world quite late. After 5 years of working as an engineer for a big consultancy firm, I was about to be promoted, but I just couldn’t see myself becoming one of my managers and the lack of creativity made me sad. I then decided to ditch everything to move to London and study jewellery design at Central Saint Martins. I dreamt about creating my own label one day, but I didn’t know that it would be so soon after graduating.

3. As an independent designer, how do you compete with bigger jewellery brands?

Right from the start, I wanted to create jewellery that wasn’t seen anywhere else before. I felt like there was demand for cool, quirky and edgy pieces, but still in precious and fine materials. I have  been fortunate enough to work with some of the best known worldwide retailers including Net-a-Porter, MatchesFashion etc. who have provided me with a great platform for my brand.

Gold statement earring by Anissa Kermiche, Parisian jewellery designer

Mobile Doré earring

4. What’s inspiring you at the moment?

Paris has always inspired me, because it is home. When I lived there, I took it for granted, but whenever I go back I get an inspired by everything and spend the journey home sketching. Paris is an open museum, everything has artistic value to me, from the rich architecture to the food to the luxurious boulevards.

5. Can you tell us more about the 3D printing process you use to create your jewellery?

CAD allows me to see the precision in my design, creating attention to detail. It helps me to under-stand the practicality: how to create not only  beautiful jewellery but also durable, functional pieces.

Read more: Geoffrey Kent on responsible and sustainable travel

For example, rings and earrings need to be durable and wearable, as they can easily get knocked. CAD allows you to see how heavy an earring will be in advance, so you will know that it will fit comfortable and look beautiful before you make them.

Models posing in Anissa Kermiche's earrings

Manipulee Black Onyx Citrine earring

6. We’re very excited about your collaboration with Rejina Pyo. What was the creative process behind that particular collection and do you have any more collaborations in the pipeline?

Thank you! Working with such a talented designer like Rejina Pyo was such an honour. Myself and Rejina were both fond of each other’s work and working together came naturally.

We were both inspired by Alexander Calder’s mobiles and Bertoia, one of my favourite architects, and created pieces that can be worn as wearable art that coincide with both our design aesthetics.

anissakermiche.com

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Reading time: 3 min
Michael Wainwright boodle fine jeweller

Michael Wainwright is Managing Director and co-owner of Boodles, the British society jeweller, which has nine stores in London and its heartland of northwest England. Soon after the opening of the brand’s spectacular new flagship on London’s Old Bond Street, he spoke to LUX  as part of our on-going Luxury Leaders series, about Britishness, the retail experience, and possibly going to America.

Michael Wainwright co-owner of British brand Boodles

Michael Wainwright

LUX: What is the state of play for the luxury industry?
Michael Wainwright: Our business is less tied to the economy than you might think. We are more dependent on wealthier people who don’t lose their wealth overnight. My thinking these days, after years of economic crises, is fairly optimistic. The prognosis is pretty good for the luxury goods and jewellery sector. The world is a richer place than it has ever been and people will continue buying.

LUX: Boodles is the only significant British jeweller and one of the only family-owned ones anywhere. How important is that?
Michael Wainwright: Britishness is important to our business. British people like to deal with a British brand and our overseas clients love to deal with “Britishness”. British clients account for 75% of our business. Telling the British story is important for us, and also the family story: we are a family business, and maybe we don’t tell that story enough.

Read next: LVMH and Hublot’s leading man, Jean-Claude Biver on personalising luxury 

Refurbished Boodles store on bond street

The Boodles boutique on Bond Street

Mayfair Boodles store interiors

Inside the newly refurbished Boodles boutique

LUX: Are there disadvantages to being British?
Michael Wainwright: There are disadvantages to not being overseas. Lots of brands have presence in Hong Kong, Dubai and Paris. Clients see their brand everywhere; it’s a huge head start. But now there are quite a few Middle Easterners looking for more localized niche brands, which is an advantage for us. They don’t want a brand that is in every mall in the Middle East. Asians still are more about following the herd, but that will change.

Ring from the Raindance collection by Boodles

Raindance Ring

LUX: What are your views on e-commerce?
Michael Wainwright: Only one percent of our sales are e-commerce at the moment, which is not high, but it is growing fast. I think it has potential to reach four to five percent. Most people will want to experience the story, to touch and see things. Online is a very cheap sale, which is very profitable. But in a shop, you have the chance of making an add-on sale, you build a relationship. If a customer buys online, you may never see them again. It doesn’t build the brand experience. Relationships are absolutely fundamental to business.

Read next: British businessman, Javad Marandi talks investment philosophy and strategy

LUX: What’s the greatest challenge you face?
Michael Wainwright: The Walpole Group (the British luxury association) recently noted there are two hurdles to growing a business: one at £20m (annual turnover) and one at £80-100m. We are now at the second hurdle, we are a £80m turnover business. We don’t feel we can build to the next stage just by being in the UK. We are very involved in our business as a family and we have not yet really learned the art of delegation, which is what is required if you are overseas. We would need to pick the right partners for, for example, opening in New York or the Middle East. We would need to acquire those skills of delegation. It’s an interesting stage. These are big hurdles.

boodles.com

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Reading time: 3 min
Fair-mined gold jewellery by Chopard

As artistic director and co-president of Chopard, Caroline Scheufele sees it as her duty not only to keep the famed jewellery house’s A-list clientele happy, but also to have a vision of the consumer of the future. She tells LUX why provenance will be everything

Chopard's leading lady

Caroline Scheufele

The ultimate luxury is when you really know how your product was produced. I met Livia Firth (Colin Firth’s wife) in Los Angeles, where she was representing Eco-Age, and she asked me, ‘Where do you get your gold from?’ I said, ‘from the bank’, but the minute I answered, I knew what she was really getting at and I admitted that we don’t really know where the banks get the gold from. It is obviously from mines, but the set-up is not at all transparent or regulated, and it made me think.

We started working with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), who certified the first mine in Colombia as fair-mined – not fair trade, there’s a big difference. From A to Z the process is transparent; there are no kids working; the workers have a fixed salary; they have insurance. The mine is secure, and although they are still using mercury, they are doing so in very small volumes, always following the guidance set out in the fair-mined standard, which ensures that they’re not putting it in rivers or the earth when separating the gold from the stones, which is the most important issue. As a result, the village where the mine is located is clean for people to live in. It’s a really beautiful project. Recently, a second mine has been certified in Bolivia and there will be another one in Colombia, so things are moving forward. For three years now Chopard has been engaged in what we call ‘the journey’ to reaching our ultimate aim of using only fair-mined gold, but it’s not something you can accomplish in one day.

Read next: Interview with Javad Marandi, global investor 

Fair-mined gold jewellery by Chopard

Palme Verte pendant and earrings

Clients like the story behind the gold. The first piece that we were able to produce was a cuff worn by Marion Cotillard on the red carpet in Cannes, and immediately it was a tremendous success with the media and clients. We sold it the next day. Of course, it is also a beautiful design – that has to come with it. We then made additional pieces, one of which was worn by Cate Blanchett when she won the Golden Globe for Blue Jasmine in 2014, and my brother has recently unveiled the first fair-mined gold mechanical watches. The whole company is behind the project and has to be because we cannot mix fair-mined gold with the other gold – I like to say it goes through the company like a VIP customer.

The younger generation, in particular, seems to be more sensitive to where their products come from. It’s the same as food – when you buy a piece of beef you want to know that it’s really a piece of beef and nothing else. You want to know the whole story. This is a huge problem in fashion, of course, because workers are dying just so that a T-shirt costs five cents less. Fortunately, being more alert and aware of the planet, nature and saving energy seems to be on trend now – or, as we say in French, du temps.


Jewellery in general has become more democratic in the way you wear it and the way you mix colours and stones. Even men are wearing more jewellery now. The influence of social media definitely has a part to play in this – fashion bloggers and faster ways to communicate make it more of a movement. We’ve brought a lot of colour, for example, into the boutique collections like Happy Hearts, and there are lots of different shades and semi-precious stones set together. I think a lot of women like to have something colourful and light. It is so much more liberated than it used to be.

That said, at the highest price level I think people are still looking for something purer. The diamond will always be at the core. The high-end jewellery market is less affected by social media trends in that way. It is more intimate, people want to go into the store and see the quality. Whereas at the lower level, lots of pieces are now getting sold through online boutiques. For real luxury, people still like to get a physical feeling of the brand and be consulted, but when you’re living in a city where you don’t have a boutique and you want to buy a present, for example, that’s when online shopping becomes really useful and practical. Take China: the cities are so huge and there’s so much traffic that online boutiques save a lot of time. Also, people often go to the internet to get information first, visiting different websites of different luxury brands before they choose where they really want to go in person. We’ve got an online boutique in the US now and have just started one in the UK.

We are moving forward as fast as we can. My aim is ultimately to produce all the high jewellery pieces with fair-mined gold, and my brother wants to do the same with all the Luke Chopard watches. The ultimate goal would be for everything to be fair-mined gold.

chopard.com

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Reading time: 4 min
The business model proves how important close bonds are to achieving success

The business model proves how important close bonds are to achieving success

For family-run objet d’art purveyor and producer Lotus Arts de Vivre, it is all about relationships – and not just within the family. YUEN LIN KOH catches up with the von Buerens

Their sprawling family home, hidden in the high-rise jungle of Sukhumvit 23 district of Bangkok, has for decades been a sanctuary for travellers from near and far. Rolf von Bueren, now 73, a prominent industrialist who arrived in Thailand from Germany in 1962, and his wife Helen – also of the same age and of Thai and Scottish parentage, are the hospitable couple who lavished dinners and parties on friends visiting Thailand from around the world. Witnessing and interacting with a cosmopolitan mix of guests passing through their doors as young children, elder son Sri and younger son Niklas von Bueren – the second generation of the family – perhaps understand better than anyone else that the world, huge with different and divergent cultures, can also be very small.

After all, the von Buerens were as cosmopolitan as it gets for a family living in Thailand during the sixties. Despite being seen as foreigners, given their European blood, they embraced traditional Thai culture with fervent passion. Their home, sitting on grounds purchased by Helen’s family close to a century ago, is a vision of classicism. Nine hardwood houses with soaring peaked roofs and generous wooden decks rise from the verdant 1.5 acre plot, and are connected by a maze of wood and stone paths meandering across a garden lush with tropical flora. When locals were looking to shed that heritage while they were moving forward with times, Rolf embraced it as someone enthralled with this new culture he was experiencing. The Catholic later even converted to Buddhism. His passion for Thai culture – which is passed on to his children and distinctly showcased in Lotus Arts de Vivre pieces – makes the von Buerens perfect ambassadors of the graces of the Thai culture. Yet at the same time, they are also familiar with the fashions and aesthetics of the European culture.

Sri and Niklas’ cosmopolitan views and tastes were also nurtured through their many journeys around the region. “We were always travelling to Indonesia, India and other destinations all around the Asian region even before they were fashionable,” recalls Niklas, now 41 years of age. “Father of course, was the disciplinarian. But the most valuable thing he taught us was curiosity. He has a curious mind and is always interested in art and culture, and would constantly be making us learn and enjoy other cultures, be it trying new things, eating new foods, visiting temples… All that learning was quite boring when we were young, you know, but today we know that this curiosity is the root of all of Lotus Arts de Vivre’s new developments.”

This galuchat (stingray leather) elephant stool has a touch of silver sterling to make it shine

This galuchat (stingray leather) elephant stool has a touch of silver sterling to make it shine

For the benefit of the uninitiated, Lotus Arts de Vivre – though with a history of just 30 years – is one of the most revered names in the niche jewellery business of producing one-off pieces. In fact, it is one of the largest producers of single-piece jewellery in the world. Their statement pieces, adorned by members of high society and royalty alike stretching from Palm Beach and New York to London and Cannes to Beijing and back to Bangkok, are sought after worldwide. Elizabeth Taylor, Gore Vidal and even Gianni Versace are just some personalities who have fallen under its spell.

Each unique piece is inspired by nature and crafted from a fantastical combination of wonderous materials – from humble coconut shell to innovations of gold-fused glass, from sparkling diamonds, rubies and emeralds to iridescent scarab wings. Sumptuously textured, riotously colourful, outrageously glamorous and exquisitely graceful, they are pieces not to be carelessly worn by all and sundry. With the pieces from Lotus Arts de Vivre, you have to carry it with all your personality, lest it outshines you.

They are also producers of fantastical homeware – ranging from gold-leaf and lacquer-lined ostrich egg containers and black onyx and silver toothpick holders in the form of a miniature porcupine, to stools clad in stingray skin and a magnificent mahogany eagle that took 17 artisans and more than a year to carve and cast with 99 pounds of sterling silver.

For all its sophistication, Lotus Arts de Vivre has amateurish beginnings. It was set up as a mother’s way of keeping herself busy when her children had left the country to study abroad. Though of course, the von Buerens didn’t just set up a shop at any place; they placed themselves strategically at what is now the Four Seasons Bangkok. It was 1983 and the hotel, then the Bangkok Peninsula, was the place for anybody who is anybody to see and be seen. “My father encouraged my mother to start the first shop through selling pieces that have been purveyed and collected through their travels. But my mother is not a businesswoman – if anything, she didn’t want to carry on with this!” reveals Niklas.

Abalone Shell Bowl - The sterling silver grasshopper features onyx stones for eyes

Abalone Shell Bowl – The sterling silver grasshopper features onyx stones for eyes

Even though he and his brother were sent to boarding school in the United Kingdom when they were about 10-years-old, it is clear that unbreakable bonds with the family have been fostered even in their tender ages. Without the slightest bit of pressure from their parents, both Sri and Niklas eventually joined the company, in their own time. Sri, now 45, went on to study gold and silversmithing after his studies in the United Kingdom. “It was after I returned that we started our own jewellery workship; it then slowly morphed into a retail business. It was really run very much as a hobby until about 10 years ago, but a lot of the philosophy still stands, in that it is inspired by travel around the region, by places such as China, India, Japan, Indonesia and of course, Thailand.”

Niklas himself went to business school and entered the banking industry upon graduation. Spending four years in the finance industry, he saw the family operation very differently. Where others saw exoticism, he saw Unique Selling Points. Joining the company in 1998, after the economic crisis, he made it his mission to market the brand globally in a time when Asian aesthetics were not widely appreciated.

Together, the brothers injected new vigour into the company and created a brand – a name known today for its inimitable style that applies delicate, time-honed traditional craftsmanship to bold, innovative designs from a distinctly young spirit.

Through exhibitions, events, dinners – each month sees an average of two events, one held in Bangkok and another internationally – and naturally, their personal connections, the von Buerens keep their global audience enthralled with their unique sense of style. It’s a work that sends the entire family to different parts of the world: as Niklas speaks to us from their home office in Bangkok, Sri is at Mozaic Beach Club, one of the two boutiques in Bali where their pieces are sold – and attending Jeremy Irons’ Indonesian screening of his environmental documentary, “Trashed”. In the meantime, Rolf and Helen are in Europe talking to a carpet purveyor for their other retail business, Theatre of Indulgence, before moving off to London for an exhibition with Couture Lab, an impossibly chic retailer of exquisite luxuries, founded by Carmen Busquets, previously a major investor and board member of Net-à-Porter.

Dragon Ring - A key symbol of Chinese mythology, this dragon features diamonds, citrine and pink tourmaline

Dragon Ring – A key symbol of Chinese mythology, this dragon features diamonds, citrine and pink tourmaline

But their work is not just about spreading the word. It is really all about the pieces they produce. “Over the last 30 years, we have probably created some 10,000 pieces,” shares Niklas. “We are in the midst of doing a large format coffee table book, and in the process have spoken about our favourite pieces – as it turns out, some of the pieces dearest to each of us are custom orders for our clients. These pieces are special to us because there is a sentimental story behind each commission, and each piece holds a profound meaning for them. To us, the profound meaning comes from the fact that these people have entrusted us to create this for them.

“Our pieces are predominantly one-offs, 50 to us is a big number. Each piece – even those that are not bespoke – has a story behind it.”

And it’s not just a story of the wearer that it tells. Working with Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s SUPPORT Foundation, Lotus Arts de Vivre collaborates with silk embroiderers of Thailand. The von Buerens family also takes years to cultivate relationships with master craftsmen such as a Chinese cinnabar lacquer artist based in a place five hours outside of Beijing; maki-e painters in Noto, Japan; and even Indonesian ivory carvers, now preserving their skills through carving coconut shells. Each meticulously crafted piece is a many-fold story of traditional craftsmen from Asia, each lending his unique touch to the piece, and in turn, leaving a little piece of his own story in it.

Each piece also tells very much a story of the von Buerens – their taste for Old World charms, their rich globetrotting life, their all-embracing spirit, their sense of wonderment. Their principle of being true to themselves extends to beyond the immediate family, now expanded with Niklas and Sri becoming fathers themselves. This is because every patron, every craftsman and everyone from the team of over 200 is considered family. Niklas for one is quick to declare that theirs is not a closed operation limited by blood ties – kindred spirits who hold the same values are also welcome to join them in Lotus Arts de Vivre’s journey into the future.

“It is the network that we created over the 30 years which has opened us to business opportunities – it’s an interesting way to move forward. We never really plan to go into something, we just naturally go into it because our customers were looking for these services or products.”

And perhaps therein lies the beauty of keeping things in the family. The brand isn’t developed – it is nurtured; the company isn’t developed, it grows organically. Certainly there are challenges to working with family members – even staying under the same roof can be a trial for some of us – but for the von Buerens, the pros outweigh the cons. “And it allows me to spend more time with my kids!” beams the usually-stern Niklas. And that alone, for anybody who understands the joy of a family, is priceless.

lotusartsdevivre.com

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Reading time: 8 min

Red is autumn’s punchiest colour so surround yourself with bright flashes at home and out  and about to keep your spirits lifted. View the slide show above.

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Reading time: 1 min

Chinese jewellery designer Dickson Yewn combines contemporary chic with rich historical references – and is a favourite of Michelle Obama. Karys Webber meets him

jewel-1 “It’s akin to asking if one likes a pretty girl with no soul”, says Hong Kong-based jewellery designer, Dickson Yewn, in response to my asking about the importance of symbolism in his designs. “It wouldn’t be a piece of Chinese jewellery if it doesn’t represent something auspicious, important designs need to have a story and I have plenty of untold stories.” Jewellery that is designed simply to be pretty to look at, this is evidently not. And it’s really rather refreshing. Each of Yewn’s unique and exquisitely designed pieces aim to tell a story, his collections are lessons in Chinese history and culture, told via the medium of jewellery.

jewel-3Born and bred in Hong Kong, Yewn started drawing when he was just nine; “since then I haven’t stopped learning about art nor seeking beautiful things,” he claims. His fascination with all things oriental also took a hold of him in his early years. “I was top of my class in Chinese history and literature,” says Yewn, “What’s more, I was in a Catholic school where only two subjects were taught in Chinese, the rest were in English, so Chinese became something of a rare gem to me.”

Despite this, Yewn went on to study elsewhere, in Vancouver first, then Ottawa, and ended up in Paris at the Sorbonne studying French literature and civilisation. Once his studies were completed, Yewn first channelled his creativity into the world of film and advertising; “I’ve always had a burning desire to express myself in some sort of medium, as a teen, film was my first love.” But after four years, it was his self-confessed “poor verbal communication” that prompted a change in direction. “Film and advertising demanded a lot of communication, so I withdrew to something more personal, some form of expression that didn’t require me to work with others. I picked jewellery design and fine arts.” With that, Yewn went off to study again, this time in New York, at the Fashion Institute of Technology where he completed two courses to master the art of jewellery design. By 2000, Yewn’s conceptual jewellery store, Life of Circle, had opened in Hong Kong’s trendy Tsim Sha Tsui district and swiftly acquired a dedicated and elite clientele.

Yewn gained the ultimate seal of approval from the first lady herself, Michelle Obama


Since then, Yewn has gone on to receive impressive worldwide acclaim – Life of Circle was named one of the top 25 stores in the world by Forbes magazine in 2005 (alongside fashion forces, Hermés, Manolo Blahnik and Ralph Lauren) and a collaboration with Sotheby’s in 2008 saw Yewn’s jadeite, diamond and melo pearl (extremely rare due to its vibrant, apricot orange hue) collection sell for a whopping HKD$5.32 million at auction.

jewel-2

More recently, Yewn gained the ultimate seal of approval from the First Lady herself, Michelle Obama, when she wore his Jadeite Diamond Wish Fulfilling Lattice Ring to a high profile dinner at Buckingham Palace in honour of the British Royal Family. “I didn’t know about it until a month after the event” Yewn declares, “a Danish jeweller congratulated me at a trade show and showed me a gossip magazine of her wearing it. I found out later that she bought it at Bergdorf Goodman in New York.” Despite not being one for celebrity endorsements, Yewn admits that he was thrilled; “to have Michelle Obama wear my creation at such a major event is definitely an important milestone and an influential one, given that she is probably the most powerful woman any woman could aspire to be.”

Still drawing inspiration from the rich culture of the Orient, Yewn’s recent Imperial Cage collection portrays the ancient craftsmanship of bird cage making and China’s long-standing tradition of breeding birds for display, a symbol of wealth, social status and power. Yewn’s homage to this ritual incorporates black and white diamonds to depict a birdcage and traditional Chinese flowers, chrysanthemum and plum blossom. The equally stunning Fragrance Locket collection tells the story of the fragrance pouch, stuffed with aromatic herbs and worn around the neck in ancient China, thought to ward off evil and bring good fortune.

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