Jewellery lovers looking for a clicks-and-mortar approach to shopping for their beloved gems may want to check out Stone & Strand, a luxury e-trailer that launched at the end of April last year in New York.
The site combines fine-jewellery pieces online (the Stone bit) with a concierge and stylist service offline (the Strand bit). Browse by the products themselves – necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings – or explore the range of collections that have been curated by the site (Mother Nature, New York New York and Fourth of July, to name a few). Visitors can also search by designer, and it’s here that Stone & Strand seeks to connect users with both upcoming and established jewellers, providing knowledge about each maker, their background and craft.
Cue the fanciful creations by Amedeo Scognamiglio – whose cameo designs, such as the blue-lapis Monkey ring ($2,750), come with a twist – and those by Toronto-based interior and jewellery designer Holly Dyment, whose bright and whimsical Teary Eye enamel ring ($9,540) and Black Moon gold earrings ($6,230, second picture) are fun and unique. The elegant jewels (diamond triangle earrings, $6,600, third picture) from Halleh Amiralai, who launched her collection in 2008, sit alongside diamond-stud dazzlers (from $440) by Dana Gordon, who debuted in 2007. Meanwhile, the site also stocks the likes of Stephen Webster, whose knock-out pieces, including the gemstone-encrusted Couture Voyage Africa ring ($11,500, fourth picture) and the Crystal Haze Crab ring ($12,500) have long been sought after by clients the world over.
A One of a Kind link reveals some really exquisite finds, such as Ana de Costa’s Ghandi Zambian emerald earrings ($85,000) and the exceptional Shark Tooth necklace ($22,000, first picture) by Anna Ruth Henriques – again with each piece accompanied by detailed information about its creator and their design influences.
Jewellery particulars and trivia are at the heart of Stone & Strand, and a Features section runs stories about ethical mining and red-carpet jewellery, for example, as well as providing fun facts, such as spotting real versus fake gold or tips for the beach (diamonds are safe, but rose gold and silver are not, especially if you’re on a Mediterranean diet – yes, really).
Finally, the online experience is augmented by The Strand, a private, members-only club that essentially acts as a personal jeweller for the site’s most passionate of gem lovers. There are pop-up events (mainly in New York, though Singapore recently played host to one and others around the globe are planned), and various stylists, gemologists and antique dealers are also on hand to offer their expertise – plus membership comes with some delightful touches (flowers on Valentine’s Day, for example). One-off heirloom pieces can also be created in collaboration with designers, and an aftercare service – regular cleaning, polishing and checks – rounds out the non-virtual perks.
“Traditionally, there has always been a relationship between jeweller and client,” says founder and CEO Nadine McCarthy, “someone who understands you and who you would return to for advice. Our goal is to take that personal relationship – that trusted advisor – and bring it into the online world. We didn’t want to lose that human touch.”