Whilst no one could ever complain of being bored at the prospect of ‘plain old diamonds’, a visit to Theo Fennell’s atelier in London is most definitely more ‘OMG’ inducing than most. A kaleidoscopic array of jewels and curiosities glimmer at you from every wall whilst a collection of solid silver marmite lids and Tabasco cases twinkle cheekily from their glass cases….and why not? Whilst I have always been on the opinion that jewelry should reflect both personality and taste, I increasingly find that women are keener to snag the ‘It’ pieces than invest in something truly unique. Theo Fennell is very much on my page.
Last week, over a wonderful champagne breakfast at their London store, situated on the Fulham Road, I previewed Theo’s new collection to announce and celebrate the partnership with Glorious Goodwood. We had a riveting tour of the workshop led by Theo himself, an incredibly charming and charismatic man, who gave me a whole new outlook on jewellery.
“Spending thousands on costume jewellery is absurd. Women throughout history would take great pride in designing jewellery, which was personal and said something about their character. It was a form of expression in a medium that would stand the test of time. As fashions become threadbare and irrelevant, jewellery lasts forever.” I couldn’t agree with this more. Whilst the culture of bespoke and couture has become increasingly popular, so many of us have shied away from it, believing it to be unattainable. As we take a tour around his beautiful workshop, he explains that his bespoke services can start as small as you like. “Up until 50 years ago, it would have been unthinkable for a woman to be seen with the same piece of clothing, let alone jewellery, as another. Everything would have been bespoke and made by hand with meticulous fervour.”
Any reader of my blog will know that I’m more than partial to a gold bangle or three but what Theo believes has really resonated. There’s something so special about the shimmer and shine of any piece of jewelry, but (without being too much of a Marxist here!) I think we need to take more time to celebrate craftsmanship and artistry that’s both British and traditional.
I was transfixed by some of his more specialised pieces. A pendant of a Bedouin tent containing a micro-sculpture of three camels. Another piece of note was a stunning ring I could have stared at for hours. It was intricately and painstakingly sculpted to resemble the coliseum, containing two armoured gladiators at 2mm high. Both took nine expert craftsmen to create!
Diamonds are always a girls best friend, but the art of jewelery isn’t limited exclusively to emeralds and pavé diamonds. Whilst I think I’ll be leaving the bejeweled broaches to Marie Antoinette, Theo has inspired me to rethink my personality through precious materials. Now all I have to do is think what represents me best!
Roxie Nafousi x