Hunting for the best

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Rapaport

With a store in London’s most prestigious retail borough, a design partnership with actress Sarah Jessica Parker, and access to some of the world’s rarest gemstones, it would be natural to assume Kat Florence comes from a well-entrenched jewelry family. But that’s not the case. In fact, just six years ago, the Canadian designer was working as a teacher.

During a stretch of educating young children in Thailand, Florence stumbled across the country’s jewelry manufacturing hub and fell swiftly and deeply in love. Not long

The Sex and the City actress has also modeled for Florence via the photographic prowess of legendary photographer Peter Lindbergh, who described his experience with the women as “literally working with two gems.” Now, though, Florence is moving gently away from celebrity partnerships, gradually accepting that she no longer needs a face to sell her jewels — including her own.

Florence has made her home in Thailand, where she lives with her two dogs, although she also spends a quarter of the year at a second home in Rome. In bustling Bangkok, she presides over her own atelier, staffed by 25 craftspeople. These skilled artisans transform her “terrible” sketches into glittering jewels, the majority of which are one-offs. She designs her pieces around unusual gems unearthed by a global network of dealers (she also has an office in Jaipur, India). About 90% of these stones are then recut in-house…

 

This story was originally published in the May 2018 issue of Rapaport magazine. Continue reading to see layouts and download a full-sized PDF of the feature and front cover. (Main image: Kat Florence)

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DOWNLOAD: Rapaport magazine May 2018 designer profile

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DOWNLOAD: Rapaport magazine May 2018 front cover

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