Cult film actress and vintage enthusiast, Virginia Bates, talks us through her lifelong affinity for anything that sparkles and her favourite Annoushka deigns, including the diamond counterpart of her beloved tortoise, Daniel.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Whilst out of work as an actress (Virginia Wetherell) I rented the Old Dairy in Holland Park for two weeks selling bits and pieces I’d find when touring. I completely fell in love with the area and two weeks became 43 years. Once a little village became a hotspot, with Julie’s Wine Bar, the original Cath Kidston, Summerill & Bishop and The Cross.
Describe your jewellery style
Eclectic in that I have no fixed style: some days it’s very simple and others
completely over the top.
When did your love affair with jewellery begin?
I have always been spellbound by anything which sparkles.
As a little girl one of my first memories was of playing with my mother’s pearls which I adored until I inevitably broke them!
Your love of vintage clothing lead you to opening your eponymous boutique in 1971, if we could transport you back in time, which era would you chose and why?
Probably the 1930s because it’s the most glamorous and sexy era: just think of all the wonderful movie stars like Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo and Marlene Deitrich.
How and when did you discover Annoushka and what do you love about the brand?
Annoushka came to the shop looking for something amazing to wear to a special party. I loved all of the jewellery that she was wearing. She invited me to the opening of her
South Molton Street
flagship boutique and that was it - I ‘oohed and ahhed’ at all the jewels and I’m still completely in awe of everything she does.
What tips do you have when it comes to styling jewellery?
Let your statement pieces do the talking, but equally don’t be afraid to layer. Mix your metals; clash your colours; whatever makes you happy.
I think it’s important to wear what you like.
What is your go-to destination in London for sourcing hidden gems?
I always think Gray’s Antique Market in Mayfair is good for finding hidden gems.
What is your favourite Annoushka design?
The Mythology Turtle Pendant, of course, in homage to my gorgeous tortoise Daniel, who is somewhere between eighty and ninety years old. I also have totally fallen in love with
the Conker from Annoushka’s new Seeds collection. I’m enchanted by all the little secrets behind her designs: they truly are her passion. Every piece of jewellery she makes comes from her heart and soul.
If you were a charm what would you be?
I’d like to be the morning star: a magical time if you’re up early enough.
Whose jewellery collection do you covet the most?
Cleopatra! She is legendary and her collection of jewels were spectacular.