What made you decide to launch Annoushka in 2009?
After I sold my first business, Links of London, in 2006 it didn’t take me long to dive back into the jewellery business. I was unable to find any jewellery that I actually wanted to wear myself so instead I started designing my own. I am very lucky as I really love what I do and Annoushka gives me the perfect excuse to design my own jewellery!
What inspires your designs?
At the heart of each of my creations is my love of storytelling. Playfulness and tactile qualities are central to my design aesthetic, combined with a strong narrative. I have always loved colour and I can’t seem to help myself from buying delicious stones whenever I see them on my travels, even though I don’t always know how I am going to use them.
What does jewellery mean to you?
Jewellery is very emotive and intensely personal for me: it evokes so many memories of a particular time or person and that is what makes it so special. It should be treasured and passed down to someone you love.
What sort of women do you design for – who is the Annoushka woman?
I love designing jewellery for women who buy pieces for themselves! I design my jewellery with inspirational women in mind and I am thrilled that some of the most beautiful and accomplished women in the world wear my jewellery, which makes me very proud.
You’ve had incredible success with celebrities across the world. Who were you most excited about seeing in your jewellery?
I am very lucky that so many remarkable women have worn my jewellery. It is interesting because there are such a variety, from the Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Rania of Jordan to Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, Dame Helen Mirren and Adwoa Aboah. I design jewellery for a modern, independent woman who knows her own style and isn’t afraid to experiment. It’s all about dressing up your jeans, rather than dressing up your cocktail dress!
Which is your favourite piece in the current Annoushka collection?
My favourite piece of jewellery constantly changes: with every collection I launch I find a new favourite. Touch Wood is a very personal collection for me. Inspired by my travels around Russia with my mother as a young girl, each piece of jewellery features a piece of ebony so that you can always be touching wood. I feel it is so important to have a sense of comfort in these uncertain times. My Crown collection is also one of my favourite, as it is so playful and can be worn in so many ways; it has become one of my best-selling designs. I love mixing metals and I think that this collection gives women freedom to experiment with their own style.
Which is the most special piece in your own jewellery collection?
My engagement ring is one of the first pieces of jewellery I ever designed. I thought I wanted an emerald but it didn’t look right on my finger. I ended up with a ruby and its warmth and rich colour really speak to me. The jeweller who helped me with the design is still based around the corner from my boutique in Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental, which makes me feel like I have come full circle.
What can vistors expect when they visit the Annoushka store in Chelsea?
My Cadogan Gardens studio was the first shop I opened and it is where I am based. I love the area and its long-standing connection to art, music and fashion. The boutique is very warm and friendly and I am extremely lucky to have such a fantastic team who are incredibly knowledgeable about my jewellery.
Your brand is so synonymous with London. Where are you favourite spots in the city?
I love exploring London and the smells, sights and sounds of the city. You’ll find me visiting Tate Britain to see an exhibition, exploring the grounds of the Chelsea Physic Garden or wandering down the South Bank on a summer’s evening. I am obsessed with flowers and could easily spend all day in Columbia Road Flower Market.
What’s next for Annoushka?
This year I am really focusing on charms and last month I launched a gorgeous collection of charms in collaboration with the newly launched brand The Vampire’s Wife, which are based on the lyrics of Nick Cave. I love the storytelling of each charm and am fascinated by their talismanic nature. I also want to encourage people to wear charms in different ways. You don’t have to wear a charm on a traditional bracelet – why not wear it on a hoop earring or layered up on a chain?