One of the great pleasures of giving someone a piece of fine jewellery comes from the search to find something truly extraordinary. There’s an art to selecting a favourite brand, homing in on a collection and then choosing exactly the right piece. For the accomplished shopper, the process can be as rewarding as it is for the person receiving the gift.
But there’s another option that takes the experience to an entirely different level – creating the item yourself. In our increasingly consumer-driven and personalised world, there are countless options to customise the items we buy. But having a hand in commissioning and designing a bespoke piece of jewellery is something quite exceptional, especially when you can draw on the skills of a team of master craftsmen and have the whole experience wrapped up with peerless levels of service.
Best of bespoke – design and service
William & Son, based in London’s Mayfair, has been creating exclusive luxury goods for two decades. Its in-house designers specialise in working with gems and the company founder and chairman, William Asprey, draws on an esteemed heritage himself, being a seventh-generation member of the Asprey family. It’s a company synonymous with style, craftsmanship and the finest materials. It is also devoted to the customer experience, which was the inspiration behind offering clients an opportunity to create their own jewellery.
“Bespoke jewellery is a growing trend,” says Nicola Sanderson, head of jewellery design at William & Son. “Having something made that is tailored to you, and that nobody else in the world owns, is the ultimate form of luxury.”
The appeal lies in dreaming up your ultimate piece – whether a ring, necklace, bracelet or earrings – and then drawing on the expertise and experience of master designers and craftsmen. “The service is all about listening to exactly what the client wants and then working with them to transform that into reality,” says Sanderson. “Sometimes it’s reimagining an existing piece of jewellery; other times it means starting from scratch.”
Linking with the experts
So where to start? Sanderson advises first deciding if you want a standalone piece or something to tie in with an existing collection. Next, think about what kind of jewellery fits your personality. Do you want something very dressy or understated? Fun or romantic? Modern or traditional? Knowing what colour metal you prefer is also helpful. “The client’s input is vital,” says Sanderson.
Her team are highly trained in customer service and skilled in translating clients’ ideas – ultimately they have to be able to visualise what the customer wants in order to get the finished piece just right. Sometimes this means working with one client who’s commissioning a piece for themselves – or more usually as a gift – but often it’s a couple sharing the creative process. “It really does restore your faith that romance is still alive,” admits Sanderson.
Regardless of the size of the project, the designers take time to talk through the options, offer advice and produce design ideas. It’s a priority for the client to enjoy the whole experience – to be as happy with the service as they are with the finished product. This rings true whether for a piece that reflects current trends or one that honours heritage styling.
“We have reworked countless family heirlooms so have had to handle all manner of antique and vintage pieces – and also clients’ emotional attachments – very delicately,” Sanderson says. Often, it’s as much about being an expert communicator as a jewellery designer. “It takes expertise to undertake these types of projects, but luckily we have these skills among our team and workshops.”
A further attraction is William & Son’s “gem bar” – a lure for all lovers of precious stones. This array of intriguing, ethically sourced gems means clients can browse and select exactly the stone they want and have it worked into their design.
Design to delivery
A bespoke fine jewellery service may seem like the preserve of the seriously wealthy, but contrary to expectation the in-house designers are happy to look at any project, regardless of size, and will discuss what’s possible for a given timeline and budget.
This devotion to customer service defines the William & Son experience. It’s a company dedicated to client satisfaction and the team genuinely tries to accommodate requests as far as possible.
“We have a unique product offering of the highest quality and we desire to give the customer what they want,” confirms William Asprey. This extends to absolute confidentiality on all projects, so to see the inspired results you’ll simply have to commission a piece yourself.