Designer Interview

By: Fashwire
Oct 22, 2021 04:26 PM

What is your earliest design memory for your brand?

I have been captivated by gemstones for many years; gemstones can capture one’s heart with their color and sparkle and can be a deeply personal thing. My earliest design memories are of choosing exquisite gemstones to bring my hand-drawn designs to life, something I had been dreaming of for a long time.


Do you have a favorite piece that you have designed? 

There have been so many, but I have to say my favorite piece is probably a platinum bespoke ring created for a client last year, with the most beautiful sparkling morganite. Morganite is one of my all-time favorite gemstones - it was discovered in 1910 and named after the financier J. P. Morgan. It comes in a range of lovely pink hues from peach to salmon to baby pink - this one was a gorgeous bright pink which sparkled beautifully. I kept the design simple and classic with white diamonds but added double prongs and a split band for a modern twist.


Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in exotic destinations that I visit on my travels. I am inspired by the colors, the shapes, the landscape, the history, and even the sounds and scents - these experiences come together to form jewelry collections. Each of Augustine Jewels’ ready-to-wear collections are formed by my experiences in a different beautiful destination, for example, the South of France Collection, which features pastel-hued gemstones inspired by the colors of the landscape.  The Parisian Collection incorporates elegant designs inspired by the architecture of the romantic city.


What is your favorite part about designing?

I love hand drawing designs: the attention to detail, the quiet and the time to reflect on my ideas results in a much more exquisite piece of design than can be achieved with CAD (Computer Aided Design). I hand draw designs for our bespoke clients, then when their piece is finished, they can take the design home with them to keep.


“I like to keep things refined and elegant, but with a strong element of originality.”


How would you describe your personal style?

Classic, but with a contemporary twist. My personal style is very much reflected in my designs for Augustine Jewels; I like to keep things refined and elegant, but with a strong element of originality.


What sets your brand apart from the rest?

At Augustine Jewels we are set apart by our knowledge and passion for gemstones. Each gemstone we use is hand-selected by our expert team for its uniqueness and beauty, or to suit the specifications of a bespoke client. We also work with the finest craftsmen to create the most exquisite jewels by hand, using only fine metals and real gemstones, to make classic jewelry pieces that will last for generations, setting us apart in a world of increasingly popular ‘fast fashion’.


What do you envision for the future of your brand?

In the near future, we would like to increase our global reach, particularly in the USA, spreading our love for extraordinary gemstones and exquisite designs to more people across the world. We are also planning to open a second shop to supplement our Notting Hill flagship store.


What were some hurdles you had to overcome in your business?

There have been many obstacles, particularly at the beginning! Getting taken seriously by gemstone dealers when I first started Augustine Jewels was a real challenge, as I was new to the gemstone world with minimal credibility, and most of these dealers have generations of experience and knowledge behind them. It has been very rewarding to overcome such hurdles - we now enjoy established relationships with the most respected dealers in London.


How important is social media to your brand?

Social media is hugely important for us, as it is to most brands in this day and age - the visual aspect of jewelry makes it especially important, and we love sharing photos and videos of our pieces for our customers to engage with. We have a presence across the spectrum of social media, from Instagram to Facebook to Linkedin. This year we are also branching out to TikTok!


How did your brand navigate and overcome the pandemic in 2020?

The pandemic forced us to redirect our marketing strategy to focus on online sales. Under normal circumstances, we enjoy hosting and attending events to meet new clients, from private events in our flagship store to crowds of thousands at luxury fairs. Unfortunately, we had to miss out on these in 2020. We made new additions to our team of people that specialized in online marketing skills, and we have reaped the rewards of this investment.


What is the most important thing you would like your brand to be recognized for?

I would like Augustine Jewels to be recognized as a British brand that sells all over the world. I would like it to be a British success story in this difficult time for our country.


“We hope to bring a bit of color to people’s lives at this difficult time and remind us that brighter days are on their way!”


What can consumers expect to see next from your brand?

We will be launching our newest ready-to-wear collection this month, the Como Collection, inspired by the landscape and colors of Lake Como in Italy. The collection features a range of unique colorful gemstone combinations, and we hope it can bring a bit of color to people’s lives at this difficult time and remind us that brighter days are on their way!


Where is your favorite place to travel? Why?

I enjoy traveling in Europe and America because of the diversity of natural landscapes, from sandy beaches to lush woodland to beautiful mountains. These marvelous landscapes inspire me in my design work.


What inspired you to name your brand?

Augustine Jewels was developed from Augustine Studios, part of the Silver Studio group, a London based design practice that was active between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries. Collections from the Silver Studio are curated at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture in London. I bought Augustine Studios in the 1990s with the dream of reviving it as a jewelry design studio in the future, and now Augustine Jewels is the realization of that dream.


If you could visit one place in the entire world, where would it be and why?

I would like to visit Peru to see the ancient sites and Incan architecture. I have always been fascinated by ancient cultures; I studied History at Cambridge University before beginning my career and have continued to be fascinated by the diverse cultures of ancient societies ever since.