After having emigrated and worked for almost ten years as a jewellery maker and designer in Canada and California, I returned to London full of bright ideas and even brighter jewellery. In fact, colour was everything to me and I only really used diamonds as accents to big bold coloured gems.
The Californians at the time, for the length of the 80's, were wearing fine jewellery in a way that suited their lifestyle; outdoors more relaxed and mostly in the sunshine. I found out very quickly that for obvious reasons this wasn't the case in the UK and spent the following six or seven years designing and making collections with my small team of jewellers in London. I would then buy the cheapest possible plane ticket and fly to and from California where my clients lived.
Pre 9/11 many American clients regularly travelled to London, not for the food but for the theatre, Sloane Square and Chipping Norton. They would also make the pilgrimage to our workshop and buy souvenirs. The jewellery we made then was never considered ‘fashionable’, the colours would have to work with a client’s wardrobe and with the current trends - on the whole fashion was just that and fine jewellery wasn't. There were lots of reasons for this, the price being one but also the retail environments where jewellery was stocked. Nothing about a traditional jewellery store connected the products to something worn as part of a fashionable look.
Skyfall Love Knot Bangle
Starting in the mid 90's the luxury industry turned its attention toward jewellery which in turn meant the press started to pay attention. These were good times for designer jewellers such as us. Fine jewellery finally started to become cool. Jewellery designers went from being largely anonymous to being well known and for the first time we were asked to collaborate with people or products outside of the core jewellery business.
Swarovski, one of the largest companies in Austria, were most commonly known for crystal components applied to many products, one of which was fashion jewellery. Thanks to family member, Nadja Swarovski, the company started to connect the best talent in fashion and accessories with Jewellers across all sectors of the industry including fine jewellery.
Our first venture into that world came when Nadja asked us to create a product to be used as part of a spectacle, billed as Fashion Rocks. The biggest acts in music were going to pair up with the biggest names in fashion, including us - because we were by then 'fashionable' jewellers. A spectacle it was, first shown in London then Monaco, where we found ourselves on a yacht with some of the acts including Bon Jovi.
Skyfall Queen Cobra Double Ring
From that time on we have stepped out of our core business to take part in many projects with Nadja and the Swarovski team. Some highlights have been designing the jewellery for the last Bond film Skyfall which was all round a great experience, not least meeting Berenice Marlohe, the Bond girl. This year, demonstrating that we can turn our hand from one extreme to another, Nadja commissioned us to design the tiaras for all one hundred and seventy five debutantes opening the Vienna Opera ball - the grandest of all the balls during the season in Vienna. What a night that was!