Jewelry Journey - London

Having moved from Canada to the US in 2012, one of the things that I love most about visiting the UK is feeling a sort of kinship of the Commonwealth. There are certain similarities between the two countries that I find oddly comforting. It’s like catching the fleeting scent of an old boyfriend’s cologne on a passing stranger. It makes you nostalgic for a different time in your life in a way that’s familiar, yet foreign at the same time.

There’s just something about plastic multi-colored money with images of the Queen on it, the cultural significance of public broadcasting, the availability of the full glory of Cadbury’s chocolates and the usage of “U” in words like colour and neighbour that reminds me of home. When I’m in the UK, I feel spiritually closer to home than when I’m in the US, even though I’m physically further away. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that I love London so much. Another is the bounty of jewelry treasures that it has around every corner.  

I was lucky enough to visit London again this past August. I made some classically London stops: the Columbia Road flower market on Sunday, followed by Sunday roast dinner at the Marksman. The Saatchi Gallery, Hyde Park, Portobello Market for the vintage (?) gems and Selfridges are always faves, but the focus of this trip was on the jewels. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but here are some of my favorite jewelry stops (and others!) I made along the way.

Shoreditch

Modern Society

33 Redchurch Street

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One of my favorite stops in London is always Modern Society. A fixture on Shoreditch’s notable Redchurch Street, the store is just such a joy to shop in. Alongside it’s jewels, it offers a range of ready to wear, accessories, homeware (and some crystals for good measure!) that range from contemporary to entry designer. Its in-store café with floor to ceiling windows lining its façade is also one of my faves.

For jewels you’ll find London based brands like Alighieri and Anissa Kermiche alongside brands from further afield, like Miansai, MARS, Wald Berlin and Valet Studio. Regardless of the brand, you’ll be sure to find an eclectic mix of all of the key trends, whether that’s the statement earring or the layered necklace, Modern Society is on it. I had the opportunity to talk to them more about what makes their store magic. Read more here.  

Browns East

21 Club Row

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Around the corner from Modern Society you’ll find the East London outpost of Browns, the Mayfair specialty store. Browns is one of my favorite online shopping haunts, so the chance to experience their store in person is always a treat. If you don’t already, definitely get to know them and their selection of women’s and men’s contemporary, designer and luxury ready to wear and accessories, which weighs heavily on the cutting edge, with hints of the classic.

Their selection of jewelry is complementary to their unique aesthetic. You’ll find a global pastiche of jewelry brands including London super star Anissa Kermiche, New York’s mystical Foundrae, Brooklyn based Sasha Samuel, high polish pieces from Paris based Charlotte Chesnais, the ever talented All Blues from Stockholm and the gem based delights of LA’s Lizzie Mandler

Rachel Entwhistle

5A Club Row

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Also not to be missed in Shoreditch is the shop and studio of Rachel Entwhistle, where her modern pieces inspired by traditional amulets, talismans and protective symbols are crafted by hand.

 Zodiac sign signets are a standout, ditto her celestial ear cuffs and jackets. You’ll find the space as inviting as an old friend’s apartment, with Rachel’s pieces mixed alongside designs from friends of the brand.

If you’re a local or in London for an extended period of time, check out their regular event series which offers workshops in magical things like astrology, tea ceremonies, print making and clay firing.

Goodhood

151 Curtain Road

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A hop across Kingsland Road in Shoreditch will bring you to Goodhood, which you won’t regret. The bright space is heavy on pine wood accents and inventive merchandising brings you to a new discovery around every turn. The focus is on ready to wear for sure, with women’s upstairs and men’s downstairs, but they’ve gathered a stand out group of jewelry designers, with many pieces suitable for all sexes.  

Tom Wood, Maria Black Sarah & Sebastian, All Blues, Gabriela Artigas, Lucy Folk, Ojei, Trine Tuxen and The Boyscouts make up their delicious mix and schooled me in some undiscovered brands. A definite must do in the neighb.

Soho

Alex Eagle

6-10 Lexington Street

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Moving on over to Soho, where Alex Eagle Studio is Mecca. The luxury concept store was launched by its namesake Alex Eagle (girl crush alert) in 2014 after she had collected experience at Harper’s Bazaar and Tank magazines as well as the British clothing label Joseph.

There are so many little gems to discover here, from ready to wear, to accessories, jewelry, homeware, stationary, books, furniture and art you could spend the whole day exploring, or you could just move in. (Maybe they wouldn’t notice?)

While you’re playing fantasy dream home, you may as well drape yourself in jewels, yes? Start with the fluid delights of Fernando Jorge, layer on with a few little gems from Otiumberg, add an artful touch with Joanne Burke’s pieces and don’t be shy with a statement earring from Annie Costello Brown.

The sculptural pieces of Completedworks are another swoon worthy fave, Catherine Noll’s works are major standouts and the trio of jewelry crush worthy Sophies (Buhai, Bille Brahe and Keegan) make Alex Eagle a jewelry lover’s haven. There are many more to experience, so definitely see for yourself.

Dinosaur Designs

35 Great Windmill Street

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A hop and a skip down the street from Alex Eagle you’ll find the cozy nook of Dinosaur Designs. The small space makes a large statement though. Its shelves are filled from floor to ceiling with the brand’s signature resin designs, that cover both jewelry and homewares.

The Sydney based brand was launched by Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy and despite having multiple outposts across Australia, this London location and another in New York, each piece is still handcrafted in Australia, giving them a unique and organic form. In fact, their stated philosophy is centered around color and form, and it absolutely shows in their designs. 

Chunky, marbled resin bangles are their specialty, but their sculptural, statement earrings shouldn’t be overlooked either.

Liberty London

27-28 Great Marlborough Street

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I bought a special ring for myself at Liberty a few years ago, so this enchanting emporium holds extra meaning for me. From its majestic Tudor style architecture, to its floral covered entrance and its wood paneled interiors and signature central light wells, it really is like retail theater.

Renowned for their floral printed fabrics, the store offers everything from women’s and men’s ready to wear, to accessories, beauty, children’s, homewares, stationary, fabric and beyond. But the jewelry. Oh, the jewelry! Central on the ground floor, the jewelry offer is such a joy. It uses a sort of concession set up, where each brand has its own vitrine or corner, allowing each brand to offer a comprehensive assortment.

There’s a whole room devoted to New York piercing goddess Maria Tash, and in the adjacent room you’ll find a bevy of brands, including Astley Clarke, Annoushka, Maria Black, Polly Wales, Monica Vinader, Sia Taylor, Larkspur and Hawk, Agmes, Annina Vogel, Dinny Hall, Melissa Joy Manning, Simon Miller, Shaun Leane, you get the idea… And for the piece de resistance, venture upstairs for their collection of vintage. Cartier, Chanel, Graff, need I say more?

Piccadilly

Dover Street Market

18-22 Haymarket

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If I had to choose only one store to shop in for the rest of my days, Dover Street Market London would be the top contender. You probably already know that it’s the masterpiece of Comme des Garcons designer Rei Kawakubo and her husband Adrian Joffe.

You probably also know that each DSM store (there are now six, the London flagship, Tokyo, New York, Beijing, Singapore and the newest location in Los Angeles) is like a fingerprint, with its own unique flow and installations from the most relevant and energizing brands of the day. A veritable luxury playground for adults.

Like most of their offer, DSM’s jewelry collection is one of the best I’ve seen. Each brand offers a unique perspective, but as a whole, it’s a harmonious mix from classical to fantastical and everything in between.

The beguiling gems of the French-Lebanese designer Selim Mouzannar caught my eye when I was last there. Ditto those of Ana Khouri, and Delfina Delettrez. And their collection of Lia Di Gregorio’s pearls is my kryptonite; likewise those of Dauphin, Suzanne Kalan, Repossi and Raphaele Canot to name only a few. While all are names you’ll find elsewhere, DSM’s offer of each brand is so unique you’ll feel like they’re brand new to you all over again. Also be sure to visit them at their new jewelry space in the accessories hall at Selfridges.

Covent Garden

The Shop at Bluebird
29 Floral Street

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The light filled aerie that is the recently relocated Shop at Bluebird is another special stop on the London jewelry tour. With a decidedly feminine mix of ready to wear and accessories, their jewelry is just as pretty. The multi-level shop (complete with an internal solarium) is impeccably styled and offers a real sense of discovery, where indie brands mix with big designer names.

For jewelry, Alighieri, Anissa Kermiche and Isabel Marant round out the usual suspects, but the fringed creations of Katerina Makriyianni and crocheted pieces from Lucy Folk add saturated colors to the mix. Top it off with the whimsical little gems of Maha Lozi and there is a piece for every jewelry hunter.

 

When in London…

TO STAY

TO EAT

TO DO

TO SEE

The Ace Hotel Find it in Shoreditch - Loads of quirk, great restaurant and rooftop bar. I lived off the potions and smoothies at their East London Juice Co. window. Rooms are reasonably priced.

Brawn Find it in Bethnal Green - Great for a substantial prix fixe, meandering Sunday lunch after a stop to the Columbia Road flower market. Attractive food, attractive crowd.

Tri Yoga Find it in many locations - I’m a big fan of walking as much as possible while traveling, so I needed a good stretch and Tri Yoga was the answer. I hit up the Shoreditch location - nice and light filled yoga rooms with teachers who are not afraid to get you sweaty.

Columbia Road Flower Market Find it in Bethnal Green - This is a must do in my books. Wander through the flower stalls to find the flower merchants hawking their wares and then visit the shops and vintage markets that surround. Only open on Sundays 8-3ish. Go early to avoid the crowds, or go near close to get the best deals.

Artist Residence Find it in Pimlico - Buzzy hotel, beautiful decor. You may feel like you are staying in a Pinterest board.

Farmacy Kitchen Find it in Notting Hill - The place to be scene. Also insanely good vegan food. Get the Protein “Omlette” you will not be sorry.

Hampstead Swimming Pond Find it in Hampstead Heath - One of my favorite (and the most charming) neighborhoods to just wander around. Head over to the swimming pond and take a dip if you dare.

Saatchi Gallery Find it in Chelsea - Perfect for a rainy day. Contemporary art by young artists or by international artists who are new to showing in the UK. Great flow, easy to navigate.

Boundary Hotel Find it in Shoreditch - Boutique hotel in a converted Victorian warehouse. Charming cafe and high end grocery, Albion, on the ground floor.

Marksman Public House Find it in Bethnal Green - Awarded Michelin pub of the year for good reason. Great Sunday roast. Sit at the bar and chat to the friendly staff.

Borough Market Find it in Southwark - Another fave spot. London’s oldest food market. Stroll the stalls for everything from cheese, to deli, meats, bread and baked goods, produce and beyond. Or find your favorite take away and sit amongst the bustle and people watch.

{Hidden Gem!} Rochelle Canteen Find it in Shoreditch - Technically also a restaurant, but so much more it has to be seen. Housed in an old converted school bike shed on the ground of the Rochelle School, you have to buzz at a nondescript gate to get into this charming courtyard delight. Great food too.

The London Edition Find it in Fitzrovia - Restrained glamour in the heart of the city. The hotel’s dining and amenities almost make you want to never leave the hotel. Until you realize that everything you want from London is right outside its door.

Lyle’s Find it in Shoreditch - This airy, light filled space is what minimalist dining dreams are made of. Oh and the food is pretty amazing too, earning chef James Lowe and GM John Ogier a Michelin star. Dinner is great, but a long lunch at the bar is a personal fave.

Tower of London Find it across from tower Bridge - While we’re on the topic of jewelry, why not make a trip to the Tower of London to see the working collection of crown jewels. In case you hadn’t heard, the castle is famous as the location of the imprisonment and execution of Anne Boleyn.

The Shard Find it in Southwark - Gratuitous tourist alert but so worth it. The famous Renzo Piano designed building offers views on views of Tower Bridge and the city below. Choose from one of the many restaurants for a drink, or high tea with a view.