Since launching her jewellery line, Annoushka, a decade ago, Annoushka Ducas has become a name to know. We caught up with her to discuss royal customers, empowering women and creating pieces to wear forever
Has fine jewellery changed since you founded Annoushka in 2009?
There is no doubt that the jewellery market has changed enormously. Before I launched Annoushka, I found a lot of traditional fine jewellery quite formal, and everything in me wanted to counteract that. I wanted to design and make beautiful pieces that women actually wanted to wear and that they would buy for themselves.
Have you noticed a change in the way women are buying and wearing your jewellery?
A lot more women are excited by fine jewellery than when I started the business. More than 80% of my clients are women buying jewellery for themselves ‒rather than their husbands or partners buying for them. I love that women are taking these matters into their own hands. It shows a new power and confidence. I design my jewellery to be layered and stacked together, meaning you can always add to your collection.
I recently launched a collection of 18-carat gold and diamond initials studs which can be stacked up the ear or worn alongside other Annoushka hoops and studs. When it comes to jewellery, more is more.
Do you think the appetite for statement fine jewellery is on the rise?
Statement jewellery has always been popular, especially among my Middle Eastern clients who often prefer bigger and bolder pieces. It depends what your style is, but you can’t go wrong with statement earrings. I love to wear the large earrings from my Dream Catcher collection. They are perfect for a glamorous night out, and also come in a smaller size for less dressy occasions.
Do you like to design around a stone or design a piece and source a stone to fit?
I don’t have a set method when designing, but like a storyteller I design by defining the character of the piece I want to make. I like to think of each collection as a story, with a series of objects coming together to define the feeling of a piece. Whether it starts with a special stone I have collected on my travels or with an idea for a specific design, each piece must have its own narrative and tell a story.
What can customers expect when entering your Cadogan Gardens or South Molton Street stores?
My designs are very personal and have a strong sense of narrative and I try to bring this to life in my boutiques. I want to present the treasure-like qualities of my jewellery in a luxurious and magical setting.
Do you find that your customers are mostly UK-based or more international?
Many of my clients shop from the UK, however we have a significant global presence online. We ship our jewellery worldwide. Growing and evolving our ecommerce has been a priority and it has allowed us to touch many more people and to spread my message as a designer. I also have a boutique in Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel which has kick-started a significant Chinese following.
Your pieces are worn by 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 is 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.
Do you design pieces with a particular woman in mind?
When a jewellery business is structured towards men it is less able to innovate in design terms, so I consciously set out to appeal to women who were confident enough to buy their own jewels and to add to their collections over the years. The aim that a client will continue to add to her jewellery wardrobe at Annoushka means we always view new collections in relationship to existing ones ‒ so that they work naturally together.
How important is it to offer a range of price points?
It’s very important to me to appeal to all women. I want to create pieces that will be worn forever and will be passed down through generations. All my pieces are crafted in 18-carat gold with diamonds and gem stones, so naturally some pieces will be more expensive. I like to think there’s something for everyone.
What is your favourite piece?
At the moment I am obsessed with my Mythology Seeds charm necklace, which is part of my latest collection. Each charm is inspired by my favourite seeds – acorn, olive, pea pod, conker and sycamore – some of which I grow in my garden in West Sussex. The charms are tactile and playful and are designed with a diamond set bail clasp, so they can be attached to different bracelets, necklaces and even earrings. Today I have styled a necklace with three or four charms and I am constantly fiddling with it.
Annoushka, 41 Cadogan Gardens, London, SW3 2TB, +44 (0)20 7881 5828