The colour of your money

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Rapaport

With a return that outstrips white diamonds, rare top-quality examples of coloured diamonds are proving to be an attractive alternative investment for buyers with an eye on the future – and pockets deep enough to compete.

Research released last month by the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII) claims the price of coloured diamonds has risen 89% in the past decade, while white diamond appreciation over the same period has been slower at about 30%. The decade’s worth of data that Knight Frank has compiled shows that colour matters when it comes to a return on investment. Between 2010 and 2015, pink diamonds delivered the highest growth at 189%, blue diamond prices rose 89%, and yellows were up 17%. Over the past year, however, blue diamonds have taken over as the stone to invest in, delivering a 5.5% increase; average prices of pink diamonds have actually dipped in the past 12 months.

Look a little more closely at the KFLII data and you can spot a slowing in the colour diamond boom. Average prices of coloured diamonds increased just 15% in the past five years and were flat in the past 12 months. Thomas Gelb of the Natural Color Diamond Association isn’t worried though…

This story was originally published in the October 2017 issue of Rapaport magazine. Continue reading to see layouts and download a full-sized PDF of the feature and front cover. (Main image: Fancy intense blue diamond sold at auction house Bonhams)

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Jewellery trends

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Tidlrs

From mismatched statement earrings to the tightest luxury chokers, these are the essential fine jewellery trends to see you through the season.

360° glamour

A beautiful earring can so easily lose points when it is flipped over to reveal an ugly patchwork of stone settings and undecorated metal. With sleek pony tails being one of the key hair trends this season, and big earrings the must-have jewellery look, the backs of your earrings need to be as opulent as the front.

Look for designs that consider the aesthetics of the earring from every angle to create 360° glamour. Luxury houses will often pay special attention to the backs of earrings, adorning them with pretty enamel artworks, extra gemstones or instructing their goldsmiths to create intricate etchings in the metal…

This story was published on Tidlrs in October 2017. Click here to read the story in full

British Academy of Jewellery

To help the students of the British Academy of Jewellery get a broad insight into the industry they will soon be entering, I create a weekly round up of the most interesting jewellery news from around the globe, which you can find here in the BAJ Digest section of the website. I also write a weekly column on a topic that has emerged in the news that week. You can find some of my recent columns below.

BAJ Insight: At the bench with Van Cleef & Arpels
BAJ Insight: What is conceptual jewellery?
BAJ Insight: What do world events have to do with the price of gold?
BAJ Insight: There is no such thing as an original idea
BAJ Insight: My 10 favourite jewels from Paris Couture Week
BAJ Insight: Extra-curricular reading for magpies
BAJ Insight: 10 jewels that will change the way you think about pearls
BAJ Insight: 10 ways to work with emeralds
BAJ Insight: Celebrities and their jewellery lines
BAJ Insight: A glimpse into the future with Swarovski Gemvisions
BAJ Insight: Are We Over Super-Influencers?
BAJ Insight: All My Single Ladies
BAJ Insight: Drum roll, please… the winners of the Fairtrade Gold Design Awards 2017
BAJ Insight: Six innovations and trends from Baselworld
BAJ Insight: Bejewelled objects – the weird, and the wonderful
BAJ Insight: Where does inspiration come from?
BAJ Insight: Ethics are no longer an option in jewellery
BAJ Insight: Bespoke is the new branding
BAJ Insight: Digital DIY – where to sell your jewellery online?
BAJ Insight: Jewellery competitions: stop moaning and just do it.
BAJ Insight: Did Tiffany & Co get too cool?

 

 

Hot right now

© Written by Rachael Taylor for ROX Magazine

The temperature may be dropping, but things are heating up at ROX this season as we take a look at some of AW17’s hottest jewellery trends. Rachael Taylor shines a spotlight on our winter collections and she’s got everything covered, from warm autumnal tones to frosty white diamonds.

A style icon

The choker was the jewellery icon of the summer, with stars like Beyoncé and Cara Delevigne keeping neck adornments high on the style agenda. But don’t expect this trend to disappear with the final festival of the season; chokers were a major feature of the AW17 catwalk shows at Chanel, Givenchy, Elie Saab and more. For a wintery twist, swap the hippy black bands of summer for a refined diamond solitaire choker necklace that will transform your clavicle into a delicate twinkling display on dark nights…

This edition of The Jewellery Edit was originally written for the AW17 issue of ROX Magazine. Continue reading to see layouts and read the feature in full here (starts page 75).

Secrets of a jewellery journalist

© Dazeera

Jewellery journalist, Rachael Taylor, gives us the inside scoop on what it’s like to write about jewellery professionally, how she got into it, and what her secret indulgences would be if she could choose any jewel in the world to own. Hear her thoughts on the topic of jewellery as art at our next exhibition in South Kensington.

HAVE YOU ALWAYS HAD AN INTEREST IN JEWELLERY?

I have always had an interest in jewellery, although I would not say I’ve always had incredibly good taste in jewellery. My early introductions to precious metals were straight out of a Littlewoods catalogue – leaping gold dolphin necklaces, curb-link chains, signet rings. I was a bit of a tomboy and my tastes reflected that. Although, all this is really trendy now, so perhaps I was just a (very) early adopter! My appreciation and understanding of jewellery truly developed when I landed a job at industry magazine Retail Jeweller in 2008, which was more by chance than design. I was already working for the publisher at the time, and someone suggested me for the role. It turned out to be a great fit, and I was soon completely immersed in the jewellery industry and totally enamoured by everything I was learning and seeing, and the colourful characters I met. It was a whole new world, and one that I still enjoy a decade after my first encounter.

WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING THING YOU HAVE DISCOVERED ABOUT JEWELLERY SINCE YOU STARTED WRITING ABOUT IT?

Other than the people – and that really has been a huge part of why I’ve stayed reporting on jewellery – I would have to say that I’ve become totally fascinated by gemmology. This came to me slightly later in my career. In the early days, I was very much focused on the people and businesses driving the industry, but when I started to write for Maria Doulton’s website The Jewellery Editor in 2015, when I started freelancing, I was commissioned to write a series of stories that delved deeply into different gemstones – how they are formed, the chemical compositions that create their colour, the history of their discovery, how they are best used. Perhaps because I hadn’t written too much about the specifics of the stones themselves before this, I did a lot of research into each, reading GIA reports, talking to experts on each stone. It really fired something in me, and I felt like after years of writing about jewellery, I suddenly had found a whole new vein of exploration and discovery. A few years later, and I’m still learning about and discovering gemstones I hadn’t heard of before. It keeps it interesting…

Read the full interview I did with Dazera about my career as a jewellery journalist here.

 

Lab-grown diamonds

© Written by Rachael Taylor for VO+

Lab-grown diamonds have been in production since the 1950s, used commercially for weapons and machinery, yet only now are these man-made gemstones starting to gain traction in the consumer jewellery market, with the US taking the lead. While the traditional jewellery industry finds itself confused by their arrival, tech companies in Silicon Valley like Diamond Foundry are throwing money and influence at these alternative diamonds.

While they have never been near a pit, these gems should not be confused with synthetic stones. Made in labs using technology that mimics the same geological pressures that create diamonds beneath the earth’s surface, they are nearly gemmologically identical to mined diamonds. The retail price, though, is 30% less.

Within Diamond Foundry’s headquarters in California, it uses proprietary technology to grow diamonds up to 9cts in size within weeks, and has an annual production capability of 24,000cts. The company was started in 2012 by Martin Roscheisen, founder of the solar power company Nanosolar, and engineers Jeremy Scholz and Kyle Gazay. In November 2015, it officially launched with an initial batch of 160 diamonds that sold out in two weeks…

This interview with Diamond Foundry chief executive Martin Roscheisen was originally written for the Fall 2017 issue of VO+ (starts page 224). Continue reading to see layouts.

IJL Trend Editor: The 2017 catwalk

As IJL Trend Editor this year, I curated the trends that shaped the catwalk shows at London jewellery trade show IJL in September. The four main jewellery trends and the bridal trend that I identified for the spring/summer 2018 season were: Chase the Rainbow, The Artisan, The Next Frontier, True Romance, and High Spirits (bridal).

Continue reading to find out about each trend in depth, see photos from the IJL catwalk shows and see a video of the catwalk.

Dazera art jewellery competition 2017: the winners

This summer, I was asked to judge a design competition run by the jewellery exhibition Dazera, which celebrates artistry in jewellery design. Continue reading to find out more about the winners and what I thought of each design in the winners press release. I will also be attending the exhibition to take part in a panel discussion on jewellery as art alongside jewellery designer Theo Fennell, jewellery blogger Katerina Perez, Goldsmiths’ Company jewellery historian Eleni Bide, Jewellery Historian editor Lucas Samaltanos-Ferrier and art curator Vestalia Chilton (Thursday 30th November, 6.30pm). 

Dazera, the London exhibition dedicated to artistic fine jewellery, has revealed the winners of its inaugural design competition. Innovative jeweller Max Danger took the top prize, while Kayo Saito won second place and Beth Gilmour beat stiff competition to claim third place.

Entries for the competition opened this summer, and Dazera founder Domini Hogg said there was an incredibly high level of jewellery submitted. Joining Hogg on the judging panel were high-profile jewellery blogger Katerina Perez and jewellery journalist Rachael Taylor. Designs were judged according to three criteria: originality of design, ability to express and communicate an idea, and quality of craftsmanship.

As the Dazera competition’s first winner, Max Danger has been awarded a cash prize of £400 to help support his business as an artist-jeweller. Runners up Kayo Saito and Beth Gilmour will both receive a copy of Fine Jewellery Couture: Contemporary Heirlooms by Oliver Dupon to serve as inspiration for future works.

New direction

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Retail Jeweller 

In the plush surrounds of Lime Wood Hotel, set in the magical pony-populated New Forest, sits Nicola Andreatta, dressed in a crisp, white open-neckled shirt and jeans. The charismatic laughter and congenial hand-waving that only Italians can truly master is on pause, as he considers a question – a question he does not like.

“It was a dark part of our history,” says Andreatta, referring to the blip on Tiffany & Co.’s timeline when Swatch Group struck a licensing deal for its watches. A 20-year arrangement was agreed between the two companies in 2008 to give Tiffany & Co. a greater reach in the watch market, but it ended in bitter divorce just three years  later. The Swiss watch giant accused the American brand of “systematic efforts to block and delay development of the business”; Tiffany retorted that Swatch had failed to honour the terms of the agreement. Both sued.

A legal battle began in 2011 and continues to this day. While initial arbitration in 2013 suggested that Tiffany & Co. should be the one to pay out, to the tune of CHF402m (£315.4m), a Dutch court later overturned the ruling. Swatch Group appealed the decision and, in April of this year, the Court of Appeal of Amsterdam reinstated the original damages calculated by the arbiters. Tiffany then issued a statement that read: “We have the right to appeal the Appellate Court’s decision to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands and are evaluating that option.”…

This story was originally published in the September 2017 issue of Retail Jeweller magazine. Continue reading to see magazine layouts and click the link beneath for full-size PDF.

Ahead of their time

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Rapaport

Vibrant fashion accessories, often asymmetric or solo earrings, were a key look at recent runway shows by Miu Miu, Diane von Furstenberg and Sonia Rykiel. While colour is easy to inject into costume jewels – bright silk cords, leather, feathers, acrylics, silicone – it can be more challenging in fine jewellery, but advances in science and consumer tastes have led to a rainbow of experimentation.

Kaleidoscopic sapphires will definitely create the burst of colour this trend demands, but chromatic metals – particularly titanium – are where the real excitement lies. This non-precious metal is now in use at nearly every haute joaillerie house, from Chopard to Giampiero Bodino. Stronger than gold and lighter than platinum, it is ideal for setting diamonds, though it is tricky to work with.

While titanium’s natural colour is a silvery grey, the application of heat can transform it into a chromatic chameleon. Blues, greens, pinks, purples or a mixture of these shades are all achievable, and the metal can serve to contrast or blend in with gemstones. More commercial options are also emerging from the likes of Diane Kordas…

This story was originally published in the September 2017 issue of Rapaport magazine. Continue reading to see layouts and download a full-sized PDF of the feature and front cover. (Main image: Chopard)

Watch the diamond

© Written by Rachael Taylor for VO+

Each morning, Nicola Andreatta, vice-president and general manager, Tiffany & Co. Swiss Watches, takes a 20-minute drive from his hometown of Como and crosses the Italian-Swiss border to reach Chiasso, where the headquarters of Tiffany & Co.’s Swiss watch business can be found. Though the heart of the Switch watch industry lies further north in the chillier Jura mountains, the Italian watch boss has broken with tradition, swayed by the south’s lakes and nice weather, for which he credits the happiness of his team.

Andreatta was brought into Tiffany & Co. a little more than four years ago, tasked with rebuilding the American brand’s watch business. Though its watchmaking pedigree stretches back to 1837, this side of the business had lost its way, following a messy (and expensive) split from Swatch Group in 2011, just three years into a licensing agreement.

Since its revival in 2015, Tiffany & Co. Swiss watches has been developing its own manufacturing capabilities as well as building partnerships with a litter of horological ateliers across Switzerland. When it comes to diamonds, though, Tiffany remains the expert, and its latest watch collection Metro confirms it…

This interview with Nicola Andreatta was originally written for the Fall 2017 issue of VO+ (starts page 202). Continue reading to see layouts.

Seminars at IJL 2017

I was asked to lead a number of seminars at British trade show International Jewellery London in September. These included live interviews with Maria Doulton of The Jewellery Editor and Liza Urla of Gemologue, moderating a panel discussion on experiential retail, and giving a presentation on the trends I had selected for the IJL catwalk as part of my role as IJL Trend Editor. Continue reading for more pictures of the seminars.

Jewel purpose

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Retail Jeweller 

Experiential retail is an industry buzzword, but beyond making sure customers have a good time while shopping, how many jewellers actually know what it means? In a beautiful spot of prime retail space in the vibrant seaside town of Brighton, two friends are finding out – having opened a jeweller-cum-restaurant.

Retail jeweller Jonathan Pressley and chef Jake Northcote-Green met socially through a friend, but two years ago, their relationship took a professional turn, when Pressley, the owner of the eponymous jewellery store, asked Northcote-Green to cater for a customer event. It was an intimate affair for a select circle of 20, held at Pressley’s home, and it struck a chord.

“We served 15 small plates [a modern and more substantial take on tapas], each paired with a wine, and I cooked in front of the diners,” Northcote-Green remembers, sipping coffee in a cafe in the city’s Kemptown district that is owned by a friend – he is immersed in the local food scene, having cooked at Plateau and The Forager, as well as at establishments in London, Paris and the Alps…

This story was originally published in the September 2017 issue of Retail Jeweller magazine. Continue reading to see magazine layouts and click the link beneath for full-size PDF.

Jewels in his crown

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Bentley Magazine

In the historic English town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, an hour by train from central London, you’ll find the personal jeweller to Her Majesty the Queen. As the man in charge of the world’s most famous jewellery collection, and with a workshop in Buckingham Palace, it begs the question: why is Harry Collins not in the heart of the capital?

“We are definitely a destination and the local hotel loves us,” says a smiling Harry, whose store G. Collins & Sons, which he named after his father Gabriel, attracts an international clientele who are happy to make the pilgrimage to see this royal jeweller. “When we received the Royal Warrant in 2005, it was natural to look at London’s Bond Street, but the rents were so high.”

Instead, Harry has stayed in Tunbridge Wells, where he has built up his business over the past 31 years in an enchanting, timber-framed building, some parts of which date back to 1746. And like the shop, Harry is a traditionalist at heart. He cares about honest, lasting relationships and his commitment to quality and value has won him a string of regal accolades…

This story was originally published in the Autumn 2017 issue of Bentley Magazine. Read the full story here (starts on p82). Continue reading to see magazine layouts.

Bright as a pin

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Rapaport

No longer reserved for the dowager, brooches are once again in vogue as part of a wider trend of personalisation. So where is the next generation pinning its precious statements?

Business suits can get an eccentric feminine uplift with a brooch on the lapel or over the top shirt button. For off-duty hours, smaller brooches or pins (not necessarily matching) can tip collars or huddle in clusters on the breasts of jackets, shirts, knitwear and coats.

At the very top of the market, larger brooches remain a key component of highly desirable transformable jewellery that breaks down into smaller pieces. Once freed from designs like colliers or tiaras, brooches can be affixed to gowns, worn as pendants or even used as hair decorations…

This story was originally published in the September 2017 issue of Rapaport magazine. Continue reading for a full-sized PDF of the feature and front cover. (Main image: Oscar Heyman)

Stacking up

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Rapaport

Repeat business, easy gifts, engaged shoppers: stacking is a retail dream, and new-season collections make it clear that the industry isn’t due a rude awakening just yet. In fact, the trend is expanding as new experimentations with neck wear, ear stacks and bridal towers take it far beyond simple rings and bracelets.

The bridal-band trio is the original stack, and the tradition of building a collection of diamond rings throughout a marriage has continued. It has expanded, even, as the zeitgeist for stacking makes its mark on matrimonial jewels.

Loading multiple jewels on the ring finger is an emerging trend. While some brides add rings through the years – often thin full or half eternity bands – to mark anniversaries or children, others want the look up front. This is a market to which Anna Sheffield caters by selling pre-stacked sets of three “ceremonial rings”, each different but complementary…

This story was originally published in the August 2017 issue of Rapaport magazine. Continue reading for a full-sized PDF of the feature and front cover. (Main image: Ole Lyngaard Copenhagen)

Invaluable’s In Good Taste

All posts © Written by Rachael Taylor for In Good Taste

I have been contributing to the In Good Taste blog run by Invaluable, a website that collates auction previews from houses all over the globe. I’ve been writing for the site about watches and jewellery, often tied in to upcoming auctions. Here are some of those stories.

Time to trendset: Four watch styles inspired by SalonQP

Five brilliant jewellery styles to flaunt this winter

Five classic jewellery styles steeped in history

Five fresh jewellery styles to flaunt this spring

 

Rox SS17 edition

I contributed three features to the latest issue of ROX magazine, published by the independent jeweller of the same name. Within The Jewellery Edit section, I wrote two trends pieces – one on SS17 jewellery trends (p66), and the other on celebrity engagement rings (p86). I also wrote an in-depth feature on Chopard (p70), tracing the brand’s history and exploring some of its new jewellery collections.

Continue reading to see layouts of the pages. To see a digital edition of the magazine click here.

IJL Trend Editor

I have been appointed as the Trend Editor for IJL, an international jewellery exhibition held in London in September that has more than 500 exhibitors and attracts over 10,000 visitors from 63 countries.

As part of my role, I have selected the key trends for the 2017 edition that will theme focus areas at the show, including the catwalk shows held during the event which are a major focus for visitors.

I will also be writing trend updates for IJL’s blog. The first of these is live on the website now and gives an overview of the key jewellery trends from the AW17 fashion week catwalks. You can read it here.

Watch a video of highlights from last year’s show below.