Industry / Pearls

These Are the Jewels That Are Classically British (According to These Brits)


When you think of jewelry that’s quintessentially British, what comes to mind?

That’s the question we asked a number of jewelry designers and jewelry PR consultants, because who could possibly know better than people who not only live across the pond, but dedicate their professions to jewelry as well?

The most common answer, as even a jewelry novice might have supposed: the brooch.

While the first documented metal brooches date back to the Bronze Age, there are a number of moments in the history of the brooch that involve the British Royal Family in one way or another, from Queen Victoria’s mourning and cameo brooches to the more recent pieces worn by the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Lylie pearl Dodola earrings
Dodola earrings in 18k yellow gold with pearls and 0.91 ct. t.w. lab-grown diamonds, $2,962; Lylie

On the topic of the royal family and jewelry, pearls may come to mind as well.

Kitty Joyas A Joyas heart
A Joyas Heart necklace in 18k gold-plated sterling silver with baroque pearls, £275 ($330); Kitty Joyas

“For me, pearl jewelry has always felt quintessentially British,” says British designer Kitty Joyas. “From adorning the necks of British Monarchy for centuries to the use of pearl jewelry as the go-to for British countryside fashion, pearls feel synonymous with British culture in many ways. I love working with pearls, but crafting with them through a modern lens using contemporary forms, and injecting some of my other principal influences.”

GFG Sonia pearl earrings
Sonia drop earrings in 18k yellow gold with golden South Sea pearls and 1.08 cts. t.w. white sapphires, £3,950 ($4,680); GFG Jewellery
Matilde Celestial ring
Celestial ring in 14k yellow gold with 0.181 ct. t.w. lab-grown diamonds, $2,180; Matilde

If you ask Cameron Tewson, PR consultant for Cameron Tewson PR, you’ll get a very modern answer, maybe one that’s poised to be a new classic: lab-grown gems.

“I think the U.K. market is more open-minded and available to use both lab-grown diamonds and lab-grown colored gemstones,” says Cameron Tewson. “I equally believe it lends itself well to savvy consumers who are interested in investing in great jewelry at affordable prices. The British consumer is also knowledgeable when it comes to purchasing and probably over the past few years more so have become deeply interested in the ethics and environmental changes that their purchases can change and pave the way with.”

Lark and Berry Veto necklace
Veto necklace in yellow gold with lab-grown diamonds and white sapphires, $3,420; Lark & Berry

This sounds pretty familiar to the American consumer as well, but Tewson tells JCK he believes the U.S. is more focused on lab-grown diamonds in bridal and wedding jewelry rather than everyday fashion jewelry. While that’s subjective, there are many brands out of the U.K. that have built their businesses solely on lab-grown diamond fashion jewelry, as opposed to other brands we know that started with natural diamonds, and have either switched to lab-grown or started offering their customers the choice.

Much like in the U.S., our community across the pond sees a wide variety of different styles and trends dominating their market—it’s a small world, after all. But history and tradition still dictate some of the most classic styles in demand, with an eye on the future of jewelry as well.

Top: Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with freshwater pearls and white and gray diamonds, £1,480 ($1,760); Ruth Tomlinson

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By: Brittany Siminitz

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