In the past two decades, the fine jewellery world has evolved immeasurably. The rise in the number of women investing in significant pieces has coincided with a dramatic design paradigm shift that has made fine jewellery cool, covetable and infinitely more colourful. At the heart of this is vibrant trend is London’s Robinson Pelham, founded by Vanessa Chilton, Zoe Benyon and Kate Pelham Burn in 1996 as a bespoke studio with a fearless approach to bold hues.
“Our customers expect colour when they come to us,” says Benyon. “Yes, we make fine jewellery, but our use of colour gives it an irreverent angle and an innate wearability.” Thus bespoke commissions (from £6,000) have included a rich yellow-gold knuckle duster centred on a luscious mandarin garnet and surrounded by art deco-esque rows of vivid pink and orange sapphires, and a ring inspired by the 1982 science-fiction cult classic Tron, which translates the film’s virtual reality, The Grid, into a gloriously graphic swoop of green tsavorites and blue, yellow, orange and pink sapphires – the five colours also representing the five members of the client’s family. As well as designing pieces from scratch, the studio can reimagine old pieces (from £2,000) with innovative new settings. “We recently transformed a small unworn bracelet into a pair of highly striking earrings,” says Benyon of a design that reset eight oval emeralds with diamonds and green tsavorite garnets into a base of black rhodium.
The brand’s latest concept combines its custom offerings with its ready-to-wear designs – and a good dose of fun. Build Your Own is a four-step process to create an earring design either online or at Robinson Pelham’s Chelsea boutique. First comes a choice of metal (yellow or white gold) and gemstones (there are nine options including diamonds, rubies, and pink and purple sapphires) for the hoop earring (from £183 in plain gold), in one of three sizes; followed by the addition of dangling charms (from £150) – or “EarWishes” – in the form of apples, arrows and lightning bolts, clouds, crescents and crosses, flamingos, bats and scarab beetles.