August 18 2010
Lucia van der Post
If you’re looking for jewellery that you can wear anytime anywhere and yet is beautiful enough to go to the grandest ball, I always think William Welstead is the man to go to. He made his name by celebrating the charms of rough diamonds. There was something wonderfully insouciant about wearing a delicate chain of diamonds that didn’t glint showily like their more conventionally cut cousins but displayed a more subtle, less obvious charm.
He still uses rough diamonds (in particular he has a wonderful fine opera-length chain of white gold interspersed with rough diamonds for £7,500), but these days he is fascinated by rose or Indian flat-cut diamonds and he has a marvellous new collection of earrings, necklaces and rings.
He buys most of his stones in India but he is insistent that all the craftsmanship is done in the UK. He designs his pieces around each individual stone, taking, say, a pink sapphire and turning it into the most beautiful triangular-shaped pendant (£8,500).
He is becoming increasingly sought-after for his rings, which feature these flat-cut diamonds set in 18ct rose or white gold, often surrounded by a small ring of pavé diamonds, from £4,500. They sound quite conventional but in William Welstead’s hands the look is always individual and different. (First picture: flat blue sapphire ring set in white gold with pavé diamond surround, £12,925. Third picture: flat diamond ring set in white gold with pavé diamond surround, £14,720.)
His earrings, too, centre around the stones, but because they are flat-cut they are very delicate, weigh very little and yet refract the light beautifully – and quite differently from conventionally cut stones. Earrings start at £6,500. (Second picture: flat diamond earrings in white gold with pavé diamond surround, £8,500. Also shown: fourth picture, 18ct yellow gold and brown nizam diamond bead long necklace, £25,850.)
These days he sells through Harry Fane and Dover Street Market, both in London. You can also check his style and much of his collection online.