Annoushka Ducas has always drawn inspiration from nature, which to her is as fascinating as the rarest piece of gemstone one could get hold of.
Hong Kong was your starting point with jewellery. Why did you decide to pursue jewellery design when you stayed in this city?
I was and still am intoxicated by Hong Kong and its extraordinary energy; the craft and industry and the feeling that anything is possible.I have wonderful memories of weekends with my husband John discovering amazing people tucked away behind closed doors crafting wood, fabrics and ceramics − each craft steeped in history and tradition, it was truly inspiring.
We lived in Hong Kong for 3 years and started the plans for our first business Links of London here − expanding the Annoushka brand back into this market now, feels just as thrilling as the first time round − it's a place I find very energising and a city which in my opinion is always a few steps ahead.
Did you have a specific goal when you started Annoushka Jewellery?
Some years ago I inherited my mother's jewellery box, crammed full of pieces she'd accumulated during her life. Admiring the collection I could tell so much about her travels and her life. It was from this jewellery box that my idea of a modern day parure evolved. Traditionally a parure was a suite of jewels, usually based around a set of matching stones and added to through the owner's life as tastes and trends evolved. I loved the idea that I could create a wardrobe for modern women, which could be collected and built on but without the restrictions of a central theme; more a tacit understanding between me and my clients. I love the idea of giving a woman the freedom to be playful, have fun, mix colours, texture and scale, but also feeling as though she is building on her own jewellery box of stories and treasures.
By that time (2006) I couldn't find that kind of jewellery in the market; there was virtually nothing between the big fine jewellery houses and the likes of Links of London, so I decided to start my own eponymous line to bridge that gap. Ten years on I stand by the same principles.
Annoushka Seeds Collection
Annoushka Beetle Collection
Your collections highly showed your love of nature, like Hidden Reef, The Beetle, Seeds. Why is this theme so illuminated?
There's nothing more perfect than nature. Whether it's an exquisitely formed seed, or a perfectly articulated lobster shell, nature has a way of constantly surprising you with its delicate forms and mysterious processes. Hidden Reef was a collection with a very special meaning − having lived by the coast in Sussex for more of my life, the ocean has always had a special place in my heart, so to mark the launch we partnered with No More Plastic, a non-profit ocean preservation foundation − we pledged to donate 10% of sales from the Hidden Reef collection within the first three months in support of their work to keep our oceans beautiful.
What do you think the role each jewel would play in the lives of their owners?
There's a sense of protection and magic woven into all of my jewels, which I think speaks to people. We intuitively seek the light to provide hope and security. When troubled we can bring a sense of calm by simply holding something or someone close. Like the very first talismans dating back to the Stone Age, jewellery can possess the power to charge us emotionally. We wear it on our skin, carry it with us and pass it between generations; by its very nature it can hold a powerful energy. I think jewellery speaks to the wearer, designing something which becomes part of that person's story is a great privilege.