//Words: José Berrocoso//
“When you have such a rich heritage to look back on, there are many ways you can continue to bring it to life. Every Garrard jewel is a balance of tradition, versatility and timeless design. The result is that quintessentially British hallmark of custom, detail and craft.”
The House of Garrard is the longest serving jeweller in the world. Its origins can be traced back to 1735, when Frederick, Prince of Wales became its first royal patron. His order marked the start of a long relationship with the British royal family, formalised in 1843 when Queen Victoria appointed the House as the first official Crown Jeweller. Iconic jewels have been created for each successive generation, including the Duchess of Cambridge’s sapphire cluster engagement ring. Silverware and trophies have also been commissioned over the centuries, among them the Royal Ascot Gold Cup. This rich past informs a creative present where heritage and design combine to bring out the beauty of the precious stone or metal. From tiaras to trophies and rings to regalia, every Garrard creation bears the quintessentially British hallmark of history, craft and quality.
Sara Prentice, current Creatived Director of the House of Garrard, joined in September 2012 bringing 20 years’ experience of luxury brands and high jewellery design to the House. Under her direction, Garrard has seen a renewed focus on its heritage and fine craftsmanship, now celebrated in beautiful new designs and signature motifs.
Sara’s career had an auspicious start when she was snapped up by Cartier on the conclusion of her studies. Six months’ intensive training with leading designers in Paris gave her an in-depth knowledge of high jewellery techniques – skills she still uses today to ensure Garrard designs are both distinctive and wearable.
Positions at Cartier, Graff, Fabergé and now Garrard have seen her lead teams, develop collections and work with clients to create unique bespoke jewels. In 2015 her achievements were recognised when she won the Professional Jeweller’s Hot 100.
Recent highlights include working with HRH Prince Harry on medals for the Invictus Games and creating the 118.88 carat Jubilee sapphire brooch, marking Queen Elizabeth II’s 65th anniversary on the throne.
CityPages Magazine: You’re clearly a jewellery lover. Tell us a bit about your jewellery journey?
Sara Prentice: My first jewellery memory was a box of treasures that my mother inherited when I was a child. It was filled with intricate antique pieces that fascinated me from a very young age and fuelled my passion for jewellery design. By the time I had finished my studies, I knew that I was destined for a career in fine jewellery. To my delight, I was immediately taken on by Cartier, with whom I received my high jewellery training in Paris. Following several positions at high-profile jewellers in both London and Paris, I joined Garrard in 2012. As creative director, I am responsible for coming up with new ideas for collections, unique pieces and signature motifs, overseeing the all-female design team with whom I work and collaborating with the workshop to realise our ideas. I have also brought a renewed focus on the House’s heritage and the wearability of our jewels. It is very important to me to understand the mindset of modern women and how our jewels can fit seamlessly into their lives.
CPM: Can you tell us a little bit about Garrard’s latest high jewelry collection, Jewelled Vault?
SP: The Jewelled Vault is where our most precious stones reside – coloured gems of distinction, selected for their extraordinary rarity and beauty. Each new Jewelled Vault creation starts with the stone, placing them centre stage, and is testament to the lengths we go to at Garrard to hunt out the rarest and most renowned gems, such as Royal Blue sapphires and Pigeon’s Blood rubies.
CPM: What sets Garrard’s high jewelry apart other than the extraordinary balance of tradition, versatility and timeless design?
SP: Weaving in design details inspired by our rich and storied history, reimagined for the woman of today, our high jewellery is an opportunity to challenge ourselves to create jewels that excite with their craftsmanship, design and gemstones. The timeless element is central to each piece of high jewellery. Designed to be worn, admired and treasured for today, tomorrow and forever, each jewel showcases the very best of Garrard.
CPM: Which stones and materials do you prefer working with?
SP: I love working with rubies, emeralds and sapphires – regal gemstones that continue to be central to the identity of the House. Each stone has its own personality and individual nuances, and it is my job to design jewels that highlight and enhance these innate qualities. In recent years we have also started to experiment with hardstones, which has opened up a whole new colour palette.
CPM: Each stones has its meaning. Each combination tells the story. What would be the most poetic combination in your opinion?
SP: Coloured gems paired with diamonds is a classic combination that has been used throughout our history. There is real poetry in contrasting the colourful with the colourless: diamonds with emeralds, rubies, sapphires and aquamarines. Diamonds are the perfect accompaniment to a coloured gem. It’s a pairing that immediately captures the attention, with their purity and brilliance creating a dramatic contrast alongside a vibrant centre stone.
CPM: How would you describe the House of Garrard woman?
SP: The Garrard woman is confident and self-assured. She knows exactly what suits her and is looking for jewels that accentuate her innate sense of style and which she can wear on different occasions. Versatility and wearability is important to her, which is why many of our jewels at Garrard are designed to be adaptable to different occasions. The new Aloria collection is the perfect example of this. With interchangeable elements and multiple options for mixing and matching, it opens up a world of possibilities, enabling the wearer to tailor their jewel to the occasion, outfit or mood.
CPM: What does luxury mean for the brand today? What are next generation of luxury shoppers looking for?
SP: The definition of luxury at Garrard has evolved over the years. Today, authenticity and heritage are central to the luxury experience at Garrard. Our clients are keen to discover the wonderful stories that are so much a part of our history and how they continue to inspire our designs today. With their purchases, our clients become part of our story.
CPM: What’s next for House of Garrad?
SP: We are renowned for delivering the very best service at our flagship store in London and opening this up on a global scale is central to our vision for the brand going forwards. We have recently partnered with leading regional luxury online shopping platform Ounass and in Spring 2021 Garrard we will be present in Ali Bin Ali’s new luxury watch and jewellery showroom in Kuwait City.
CPM: How important is the GCC market for House of Garrard?
SP: We have established a loyal, interested and engaged client base in the GCC region and are therefore thrilled to be expanding our presence here – digitally with Ounass and physically in Kuwait. The new opening means that our Kuwaiti clients can now shop locally as well as visit us when they are in London.