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"I have tried to remove the feeling of reverence that so often surrounds the whole experience of buying and wearing fine jewellery, I want our pieces to be worn every day; to encourage women to wear their huge, glamorous cocktail rings to a party, but also to dress up their jeans"
Annoushka was founded by Annoushka Ducas MBE in 2009. The founder and creative director of her eponymous jewellery brand, Annoushka grew up in London, later studying French language and civilization at the Sorbonne. From Paris, she moved to Hong Kong in the late Eighties and began to work with local artisans, designing jewellery for herself and her friends and family. Three decades on, she continues this passion and exploration with Annoushka.
Inspired by her extensive travels, and fuelled by a collector’s passion for the exotic and unique, Annoushka is the culmination of a lifetime’s obsession with the timeless romance and sensual magic of jewels. “My design philosophy is very personal,” Annoushka explains. “I create what I like to wear. It must be comfortable, versatile, unfussy, yet also tell a story. I love colour and my jewellery reflects this.”
Travelling the world to discover extraordinary stones and inspirational production techniques, her designs exude an irreverent sense of fun juxtaposed with a timeless elegance. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, for example, frequently wears her Annoushka Baroque Pearl Earring Drops to complete her ‘classic contemporary’ daytime wardrobe, and Rihanna and Gwyneth Paltrow are loyal supporters of Annoushka’s layered style.
Annoushka is an intuitive designer; she has an instinctive sense of the role she hopes each jewel will play in the lives of their owners. Her superior flair for interpreting colour, her ability to render texture, illuminate colour, lend movement and mood to jewellery is the result of spending 25 years working alongside master craftsmen plying age-old and innovative techniques at the jewellery bench. She works closely with her design team to ensure that superlative craftsmanship and a spirit of modernity defines every piece she conceives.
“Everything is made to be cherished and handed down,” says Annoushka. “The aim is to create collections that sit happily alongside heirloom jewels but which are fresh and contemporary. My work encourages experimentation.”
Her studio at the flagship boutique in Chelsea is a cornucopia of photos, mementos, fragments of colour and ancient jewellery, ensuring Annoushka is always close to her sources of inspiration and can add to her collections as and when she likes. Her Russian heritage has given her jewellery a very particular flavour, inspired by fable and fairytale, and tinged with colour and opulence. This combination of spontaneity and narrative lends newness and integrity to her collections, and a particular sense of discovery to the experience of visiting her boutiques.
In 2012, Annoushka was awarded Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for her services to British jewellery industry, which spans three decades and began with Links Of London, which Annoushka and her husband John Ayton founded in 1990. She has been named Jewellery Designer of the Year, Gift Designer of the Year, Brand of the Year (twice), and she was short-listed for the Veuve Cliquot Businesswoman of the Year. She has also taken an active role in nurturing creative talent, initiating a very successful annual jewellery design project with students at Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design and working alongside a small number of handpicked guest designers, mentoring them and exhibiting their collections at selected Annoushka stores. She and John live in Chichester, Sussex and in London, with their four children, Marina, Oliver, Chloe and Oscar.