Shopping is investing because adorning yourself is an act of love. Diamonds aren’t necessarily a girl’s best friend but like chocolate and flowers, they are most likely firm favourites.
Here’s my literary reverie inspired by an intimate preview of one bespoke and fine diamond jeweller at the Royal Exchange, a preview to AW19 at undercoverscrib.com: Garments and Gold.
Bubbles, gemstones and precious metals. It was a frightfully, frightfully, sparkly start to my evening. I was relieved of my coat and scarf in hushed tones and ushered in by the beautifully made up hosts, to hear what one of the designers had to say about Wonderland. These are not everyday pieces of jewellery, unless you happen to be a coveted couture model. Even royals have no need to wear colourful gem-laden, diamond-encrusted, metallic brocades on a daily basis. Not quite everyday luxury, but that’s the point of the Wonderland collection; there’s “Always a story,” to be weaved from each piece, whether you “Make your own story” or learn about the creation of the piece, as I did that evening. The collection is meant to inspire and enchant, to herald an occasion, celebrate the wearer and the designer. Each piece is a monument and testament to the stories that can be told by computer-aided design in some cases, craftsmanship and the precious stones this jeweller is fortunate enough to have in its possession. Hear ye, hear ye, come and see what we can do.
Speaking of possession, there are occasional references to the former colonial foliages where the stones were forged; the “Ashoka” diamonds used, for example, “named after an ancient Indian emperor”. This is the only British jeweller to offer these rare cut gemstones. Then there’s the fact that this quintessential jeweller was born in 1798, the year a Mr Kirk opened a jewellery shop in Liverpool, a city known for its focal point in Britain’s trade of precious metals, spices and people. A heritage which melded, naturally, to become the culturally rich city it is now. Jewellery does that, you see. A piece of jewellery: tells the story intended by its designer; holds the stories of its wearer; inspires the unfolding story between the giver and the lucky recipient. And the jewellery industry is forged from long-standing relationships and the stories that make them.
Like the relationships between the successive generations of Mr Kirk’s family and the Wainwright family, who joined half a century later. Like the story of Gina, who works in Boodles’ Royal Exchange store, the most recent generation of her family embedded in the jewellery industry, alongside her sister, who works for Tiffany’s. And like my grandma, who graduated from selling jewellery to trading bars of gold before setting up with my step-grandfather, a goldsmith. She moved on to real estate when business got dangerous owing to the Lebanon war, and less reliable as she could no longer trust people to keep to their word, business critical in this trade. Ask her even now, though, what the current price is for gold or the best place to trade it, to galvanise and elicit accurate data, at any time of day. “Always a story”. Wonderland. That’s Boodles, but it’s also jewellery and what makes making it, buying it, giving it, wearing it so special.
This event was an intimate preview to the Wonderland collection, and to AW 19 at undercoverscrib.com: Garments and Gold. Write me a line to be featured in AW 19, an ode to material and metallic adornments.