Everyone remembers the first piece of jewellery they truly cherished. Whether a gift from a loved one or something special from you to you, what it represented then and stands for now, is something that can’t be equalled. So strong is this feeling that it propels some jewellers to travel to the corners of the globe seeking unique, precious materials, to explore ancient symbols, talismans and time-honoured processes, and to create meaningful, distinctive collections made to be treasured. We spoke to the designers behind four leading jewellery brands that do just that to find out what jewellery means to them and what sets their craft apart.
Since creating her namesake label in 2009, Annoushka Ducas MBE has gone on to unveil collection after collection of utterly dream-like adornments. Taking inspiration from her world travels, the designer creates pieces of art using only the most extraordinary stones and materials that she discovers along the way, making her jewellery at once enchanting and completely unique.
"Women should be wearing their jewellery daily and enjoying it, rather than saving it only for their cocktail dress or ball gown."Annoushka Ducas
I used to just design jewellery for myself, and would get it made by a local when I lived in Hong Kong. My mother then asked me for an idea for a gift for 60 chefs in London for whom she supplied fish and I thought of designing a pair of fish cufflinks… and that’s how it all began.
Working with precious stones and gold was something I’d always wanted to build up to. When the right time came along, my brand Annoushka felt like the natural progression – not only in terms of business, but for me personally as a woman. I’ve always designed the jewellery I want to wear.
The tradition used to be that men bought jewellery for women, but women are finally starting to buy jewellery for themselves. It’s such a personal thing for a woman and my motto is: 'dress up your jeans'. Women should be wearing their jewellery daily and enjoying it, rather than saving it only for their cocktail dress or ball gown.
For me there are no rules. With Annoushka jewellery, I can mix all three golds and wear as much or as little as I want and it never looks over the top because the pieces are so versatile. It’s personal to every woman; we should all be able to create our own rules.
Dramatic, innovative and breathtaking – these are just some of the words that could be used to describe Suzanne Kalan’s mesmerizing collections. Launched in 1988, the brand has ignited the jewellery industry, developing the 'Vitrine' concept – whereby gemstones are cut flat on top and bottom to reveal a classic diamond panel behind it – which has become a design signature and garnered a devoted A-list following that namechecks Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston and more.
When I was about three or four-years old, I had a bangle bracelet in 22kt gold. It was handmade with seed pearls weaved into the gold and with little flat hearts hanging all around. I used to love, admire and play with that bracelet. I would also chew on the little hearts and my mother wouldn’t let me wear it after she saw this – she was worried I would swallow one of the hearts. But guess what, I still have that bracelet with the teeth marks on the hearts!
I find inspiration in anything and everything. I think about what I’d like to wear, or what I feel is missing from my own collection. The idea for a new design usually comes to me in the middle of the night.
I design my jewellery for classic yet modern women. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many of my customers all around the world and they are all so special and different in their own way. One thing they all have in common is their appreciation for something unique.
Launching Bee Goddess in 2008 with a jewellery collection that featured 12 powerful symbols inspired by ancient civilisations from around the globe, Ece Sirin is on a mission to share the transformative influence of symbols with the world. Honing a vision to redefine why and how we wear jewellery, that vision is shared by the likes of Rihanna, Alicia Vikander and Cara Delevingne.
"Jewels are the most intimate treasures with which we have a very special bond."Ece Sirin
I wanted to create a brand that would take women on an adventure to the core of their being, to inspire them to shine their light a little brighter. We start truly living when we are awakened to who we really are. A talisman, amulet, or charm is an object that stores and radiates a magical energy to create change. Each Bee Goddess collection is designed around a powerful talisman; from the bee – which symbolises feminine power – to the arrow – which offers direction and guidance – and beyond.
Jewels are by nature spiritual. Precious stones like diamonds and rubies represent powers and qualities of the spirit, its wisdom and timelessness. Jewels are the most intimate treasures with which we have a very special bond.
I work with diamonds because they represent the journey of the heart from darkness into light. Having no colour of their own, they reflect most light which represents transformation and the journey towards enlightenment. I also love rubies; for me it is all about fire and vitality, courage and strength. Blue sapphires express the perfection of the heavens, gifting us serenity and energy to express our soul. ‘Less is more’ is key to our collections, mixing the bright reflection of diamonds with minimalist, contemporary designs.
As a symbol of awakening, enlightenment and rebirth, the eye connects us to the light of our soul. As we are in touch with our truth we are gifted with new insights for vitality, growth and opportunities. The Eye Light collection is very special to me; its intention is to bring a new vision and lead to new insights that are truly visible to the eye of the soul. The eye is a symbol of spirit and wisdom; it represents a source of new life and potential.
A childhood love of jewellery led Rosanne Karmes to found her brand in 2001, its name a tribute to her children, Sydney and Evan. With each collection infused with spirituality, sentiment and personal expression – Love Script says it all – it’s little wonder Sydney Evan has become a favourite among contemporary jewellery collectors.
I’ve always loved jewellery. When I was 11, I started taking the bus with my friends to the bead store and I made necklaces and bracelets that I still have today; I created them with puka shells, silver, heishi beads and mother-of-pearl charms. My parents never really gave me any pocket money, so I would sell the necklaces for a dollar or two and that marked the beginning of my entrepreneurship.
I get my inspiration from my late mother. She was very French, very classic, and that’s where the classic part of the line comes from. The edgy part, which is really the other half, is from the 17 years’ experience I have of being an accessories representative. Sydney and Evan, my children, and my super-creative husband are also huge inspirations to me.
I make what I want to wear. If I make something and I don’t like it, then it never goes into the line. I have celebrity clients who buy my from my collections organically; I love that Diane Kruger loves my pieces, and I love that Rihanna wears my jewellery. Bar Rafaeli is one of my favourites to wear my collections, though.