Autumn stories on JewelleryNetAsia

All posts © Written by Rachael Taylor for JewelleryNetAsia

In autumn, I wrote blog posts on global jewellery trends for Hong Kong-based website JewelleryNetAsia. Here are a few of my latest posts.

Why healers and show-stealers are turning to rock crystal

Are lab-grown diamonds trending?

The pin-ups of the animal kingdom

Men are making braver jewellery choices

This sharp new trend has women of all ages heading to the piercing bar

 

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Russian artistry, Irish style, ear cuffs and Paraibas

© Written by Rachael Taylor for The Jewellery Editor

Here are four of my most recent stories for The Jewellery Editor – a profile of Russian jeweller Ilgiz Fazulzyanov, a look at the jewellery stars of Ireland, a trends piece on the most luxurious ear cuffs of the year, and my account of meeting designer Kat Florence and her impressive Paraiba tourmaline collection.

Russian jeweller Ilgiz F’s flights of fancy

The designers who are redefining Irish jewellery

The evolution of ear wear

Kat Florence’s penchant for Paraibas

Ones to watch

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Platinum Resident

During a year in which 70% of investors lost money – this gloomy overview of the markets in 2015 comes courtesy of data mined by investment app Openfolio – there was one hard-luxury asset that delivered a cash return of more than 130% in a matter of days, on an investment of less than £5,000. It was a watch. Omega’s Speedmaster Snoopy.

The amusingly named chronograph was created by Omega to commemorate a very serious event – the failed moon landing in 1970 by the Apollo 13 spacecraft, following a mid-space explosion of an oxygen tank, and the heroic danger-filled return to earth achieved by its team. As memorably dramatised by Tom Hanks in the 1995 film named after the mission, the astronauts had to navigate around the far side of the moon on limited power, and used the Omega Speedmaster watches they had been issued to assist them.

This contribution to the mission was honoured by NASA, which bestowed the Swiss brand with one of its Silver Snoopy Awards; a silver lapel pin of the iconic cartoon character in full space gear, dished out only to contractors that have delivered “outstanding support that greatly enhanced space flight safety and mission success”…

This story was originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of Platinum Resident magazine. Read the full story here (from p88) or continue reading to see layouts.

Diamond life

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Platinum Resident

Wealthy followers of fashion have been flocking to Paris to get a glimpse of the latest in haute couture since the 1800s, and for modern collectors with a taste for haute joaillerie, Paris Couture Week, a luxurious spin-off of the French capital’s Fashion Week, now offers a choice opportunity to dip into the world’s most elite jewellery boxes.

Paris Fashion Week has mushroomed since its early beginnings in 1945, when governing body Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, in an attempt to instigate a military-like post-war reform led by a strict set of rules, demanded the presentation of regular seasonal collections from any Parisian house that wanted to brand itself as haute couture. Now the Week spreads over several, with new ready-to-wear designs unveiled in March and September, men’s collections only in January and June, and weeks dedicated to haute couture, fashion’s most premium offering, in January and July.

About half a decade ago, the jewellery houses of Paris realised that Couture Week, a moment when many serious couture collectors are in town, was an ideal time to present haute creations of their own. Now tens of jewellery brands, including Dior, Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget and Boucheron, host private high jewellery launches, one-to-one appointments and exclusive social events during the Couture Weeks, some officially affiliated with Paris Fashion Week, and others unofficially…

This story was originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of Platinum Resident magazine. Read the full story here (from p48) or continue reading to see layouts.

Perfect symphony

© Written by Rachael Taylor for VO+

Describing the jewellery collections under his control as “narrative, figurative, abstract; like symphonies or sonatas”, Nicolas Bos has perfected the flowing figurative speech you would expect of a creative director of one of the world’s most whimsical brands. But there is steel somewhere beneath the friendly smile too, as Bos has navigated himself to the most unusual position of acting simultaneously as Van Cleef & Arpels’ chief executive.

When we meet in the brand’s Place Vendôme boutique, which has been recently expanded with a 280sqm two- storey extension masterminded by architects Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manju, Bos looks rested and relaxed despite being midway through Paris Couture Week and the taxing schedule that must accompany it. “The good thing with good things is that you never get bored of them,” he laughs good naturedly, as he talks animatedly and in great depth about the Émeraude en Majesté collection on display in a cosy showroom beneath us…

 

This article was originally written for the September 2016 issue of VO+. Read the full story here (from p106) or continue reading to see layouts.

Ancient techniques, modern brooches and traditional pearls with a twist

© Written by Rachael Taylor for JFW

For the Autumn 2016 issue of JFW magazine I edited three jewellery pages. The theme of the issue was ancient arts and retro trends revisited, and so I curated a selection of modern jewellery that has been created using centuries-old techniques, a page dedicated to modern brooches, and classic pearl jewellery styles that have been given subtle twists to bring them up to date. Click the links beneath the images for full-sized PDFs.

The Jewellery Edit

© Written by Rachael Taylor for ROX

I joined the editorial line up for the AW16 edition of ROX magazine, a title produced for the British jewellery retailer of the same name. The publishers commissioned me to write a new section for the magazine titled The Jewellery Edit.

Within this, I created two features – one on AW16 jewellery trends and the other on new styles of diamond engagement rings. You can see both features by clicking on this link and heading to page 58.

Modern pearls, birthstone engagement rings and yellow(ish) diamonds… September on The Jewellery Editor

© Written by Rachael Taylor for The Jewellery Editor

September was another busy month on The Jewellery Editor, so here is a round up of my stories published on the site during the month.

How to shop the personalised jewellery trend

The hard truth about birthstone engagement rings

Earn style points this season with a tennis bracelet

The surprising alternative to yellow diamonds

How to wear pearls in 2016 

Dior à Versailles: an opulent carat-heavy nostalgia trip

Pippa Middleton, London Fashion Week and chrysoprase… late summer stories on JNA

All posts © Written by Rachael Taylor for JewelleryNetAsia

Over the summer I have continued to write blog posts on global jewellery trends for Hong Kong-based website JewelleryNetAsia. Here are a few of my latest posts.

Jewellery with hidden extras at London Fashion Week

A jewellery trend that is written in the stars

Younger shoppers swing Chinese jewellery market towards 18ct gold

Politics, skin and Spriographs inspire jewellery students

This glowing green gem is the latest jewellery darling

Will Pippa Middleton’s engagement ring cause a frenzy like Kate’s?

Skull jewellery makes a summer blockbuster comeback

Colour blocking jewels at the MTV Video Music Awards 

 

“I never thought way into the future”

© Written by Rachael Taylor for The Financial Times

Ask a jeweller of a certain age about a career-defining moment and they may well tell you about the International Exhibition of Modern Jewellery of 1961.

Held at London’s Goldsmiths’ Hall, the exhibition of nearly 1,000 jewels from 33 countries showed new designs from international houses such as Harry Winston and Cartier, but it also showcased avant-garde jewellery. There were pieces by artists including Picasso, Salvador Dalí and René Lalique, as well as specially commissioned items by modern artists like Henry Moore.

For many budding designers, uninspired by the jewellery of the postwar era, it was a moment of revelation. And some of the jewellers who were young then are still working today, in their seventies and eighties…

This story was originally published in the September 3, 2016, edition of The Financial Times. Read the full story here.

Chokers, fantasy jewels and a holiday romance

© Written by Rachael Taylor for JFW

For the Summer 2016 issue of JFW magazine I edited three jewellery pages for the magazine. The theme of the issue was fantasy and escape, and so I curated a selection of jewellery perfect for hazy summer holidays, one of fantastical, whimsical jewels and dedicated a third to this summer’s hot trend for luxury chokers. Click the links beneath the images for full-sized PDFs.

Who made my jewellery?

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Retail Jeweller

In the fashion industry this April there was a very powerful sentence floating around social media: Who made my clothes? Tens of thousands of consumers have taken part in this socially motivated campaign led by organisation Fashion Revolution by posting a picture of themselves on sites like Instagram and challenging the brands they bought their clothes from to show them who made them…

This article was originally published in the June issue of Retail Jeweller magazine. Read the full story here

Diamond deals

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Elite Living Africa

To the untrained eye, a scatter of transparent stones on a table can look much alike. Even if you are sharp enough to single out the real diamonds from the white sapphires and cubic zirconias, it can be hard to judge why one diamond varies in price from another of the same size…

 

This article was originally published in Volume 2 of Elite Living Africa magazine (from p28). Read the full story here

Why so serious?

© Written by Rachael Taylor for JFW

The quirks of modern life may be of nugatory interest to the old guard of fine jewellery, but through a new generation of designers keen to see themselves in their work, the humour, wit and playful irreverence of youth is working its way into luxury jewellery…

This story was originally published in the Spring 2016 edition of JFW magazine. Read the full story here: Why so serious, JFW Spring 2016

In this issue of JFW, I also edited three trend pages, which you can see below. Click on the links beneath the images for full-sized PDFs.

Rise of the Millennial watch investors

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Platinum Resident

If you are unfamiliar with the terms #watchporn or #womw then you are obviously not spending enough time perusing tourbillons and chronometers on Instagram. There are millions out there who do, however, and this accessible online platform, coupled with endless digital streams of technical watch data available on the web, is opening up a once high-brow world to the next generation of serious watch collectors…

This story was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2016 edition of Platinum Resident magazine. Read the full story here (from p68).

Style: Is The Skull Motif Dead?

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Man London

Gothic. Edgy. Tacky. Which of these three adjectives you would apply to skulls in men’s jewellery design very much comes down to what sort of man you are. Are you the type to wrap up in leathers and hit the biker bar? The sort to start a conversation with a cheeky cufflink? Or are your tastes just far too minimalist to entertain such a piratical style statement…

This story was originally published on the May 3, 2016, on Man London. Read the full story here.

Hatton Garden: the untold story of the jewellery heist

© Written by Rachael Taylor for The Financial Times 

For those who work in Hatton Garden, London’s historical jewellery quarter, last April’s £14m heist was more than a blow to bottom lines: it was a bitter prompt to reassess the area’s fortunes, which are not what they used to be. When some of the jewels were later found in a cemetery in north-east London, it seemed appropriate for a community that many fear already has one foot in the grave…

This story was originally published in the March 17, 2016 edition of The Financial Times. Read the full story here.

Rock stars

© Written by Rachael Taylor for 71%

The last time The Historic Pink Diamond was allowed to sparkle freely in the natural light of day, the Second World War was in full swing. It was the 1940s and certainly not the climate in which to be trading an 8.72ct rock believed to have been owned by Princess Mathilde, niece of Napoleon I.

2015, however, is the perfect time. And as such the classically cushion-cut gem was liberated from the bank vault it had been stored in since the war for just long enough to dazzle a room full of bidders at Sotheby’s Geneva in May and achieve a final hammer price of CHF14.81 million.

The success of the Historic Pink Diamond is no fluke of clever long-term investment. Its strong sale comes off the back of a buoyant few years for coloured diamonds auctions, fuelled by jewellery buyers’ rediscovery of the rainbow of alternatives to the traditional achromatic sparklers. “Coloured diamonds have always been sought after, but in the past five to 10 years that growth has accelerated as more people have become aware of their extreme rarity and appreciative of their unique beauty,” explains Graff Diamonds chief executive Francois Graff.

What I Learned About Lab-Grown Diamonds

© Written by Rachael Taylor for JewelleryNetAsia

I had come across lab-grown diamonds before, but I have to admit that I knew little about them when I went to meet with a company called Anata over lunch at Kensington Roof Gardens, and there were some surprising things to emerge from the table that day.

The execs explained how they had a strong foothold in the memorial market – making diamonds using the carbon from loved ones’ ashes – but were now taking the same principles and pushing into the celebratory market; using carbon from living loved ones, such as locks of a baby’s hair or the mane of a horse.

White diamonds are hard to make

The most interesting fact I discovered was that white is the hardest colour of diamond to create artificially. This struck me as particularly ironic, as in the jewellery market white is the most common colour. The advantages to this, Anata said, are that it can focus on creating some of the more rare colours of diamonds – reds, oranges, yellows, blues – for a fraction of the price you would pay for one dug out of the ground.