If you wonder what it takes to sell Your Fine Art Jewellery in Harrods, or to build a global brand that stands out, you have to unleash your creativity, become creative with your own creativity and deliver authentic value. Lesley Calvo
Have you ever felt transformed when putting on a statement necklace, a beautiful diamond piece, or a strong amulet? You know it goes beyond the pretty looks, or body adornment, it can make you feel attractive and powerful, takes you into a deeper joy and allows you to shine within. Since before recorded history, humans have been adorning themselves with pieces of jewellery designed to become somebody’s treasure. Every piece of jewellery has a meaning and a never ending story and each time you wear it, it sparks an emotion; it is an expression of spirituality, reflecting wealth, being a tool of trade or a priceless talisman to heal, cherish and protect loved ones.
As a little girl, I had a deep fascination with jewellery. I remember sitting with my grandma playing with her jewellery box, seeing the rainbow lights twinkling in the diamonds as I moved them round. I felt its magic. To my young mind these beautiful works of art held so much beauty and unwavering strength, the power to transform the wearer into a queen, a goddess or a warrior.
When I first started studying jewellery design I carried years of research into the spirit of adornment which inspired our ancestors into the art adornment, fashion and jewellery. What fascinated me back then and mesmerizes me now is the human imagination, the ability to create treasurable beauty of lasting worth.
Going back 100,000 years to the Nassarius shells, from the iron age to today’s generations of excellence, a jeweller is breaking the limits of craftsmanship, becoming an alchemist transforming metal, gemstones, diamonds and leather into messages of love and beauty for eternity.
Research helped me delve into different cultures through the ages and I learned how jewellery became a way to validate status and wealth, a symbol for spirituality and strength. If the art of adornment was always used to send out sophisticated messages of love and beauty, the wearer has a magical chance to experience confidence and self awareness.
The process of creating a piece of jewellery is nothing short of magic. I have always been in awe admiring generations of excellence in fine art at Boodles or Dior, each one of these masters being a true visionary, unlocking their own creativity and developing the science of jewelry-making and the technology behind the scenes. One of the latest exciting innovations like lab-created diamonds, are expected to become much more common in the next few years but nothing will take away the priceless mastery of ancient jewelry.
Playing host to the world’s of Cartier and Bvlgari, De Beers and Boodles, Boucheron and Christian Dior and the “the most heavenly creation after women”, being home to the most spectacular fine art in the original Gem Rooms since 1911,Harrods was an awe-inspiring moment in my carrier but little I knew that one day I will become a reference in their archives…
Inspired by generations of excellence of fine art who brought their own story along while gracing the shelves at Harrods, I took a deep breath and began creating my first jewellery collection. I knew that each piece of jewellery I will create will uplift the wearer, make them feel confident and fabulous. Needless to say that I was terrified of entering the luxury jewelry market, but I couldn’t help myself. I was asking myself while dreaming with my eyes wide open: “Am I ready to create something unique, something of beauty and value that had never been seen before?
I wanted to create magic. I started to think that a piece of jewellery is not just another object, there is more to it. What if people wearing my creations would feel there is a heart beat to it?
So, I began the first steps on the journey that led to building a global brand. The interesting thing was, that was not the driver for me. The driver was to create something completely unique and to push the boundaries of what was already there…I wanted to work with the delicacy of lace and the strength of metal, creating something new and authentic, something memorable and priceless.
If you wonder what it takes to sell in Harrods, or to build a global brand that stands out, you have to unleash your creativity, become creative with your own creativity and deliver authentic value. You need that and the passion and self-belief to follow your dreams, no matter how crazy they seem. If you have a gut feeling that you are onto something then you need to grab hold of that feeling and not let go until you break new grounds.
At the time, I was doing my work experience for Erickson Beamon in Belgravia, the owner Vicki Sarge came to see my graduation collection and asked me to create a collection to put in their store. The first of a set of dominos lining up for me.
The second domino was that the buyer for Harrods came into the store and my collection caught her eye. I remember so clearly as my clammy palms held the jewellery case while I rang the bell of her Knightsbridge home. My heart thumped against my chest. I walked into her immaculate home, my hands shook as I lay out the beautiful filigree pieces before her. She studied them carefully, punching numbers into her calculator and picking up each piece individually as it twinkled in the light. “I will take it all” she said after an age of quiet deliberation. My stomach somersaulted as I knew what this meant.
To have Harrods as my first stockist was the biggest seal of approval I could ever imagine! Over the next few years many more dominoes lined up, I had the honour and privilege to work amongst some of the greatest names in fashion. I became a design consultant to many of the fine jewellery and fashion houses in Paris and my life was a whirlwind of collections.
Through all the ups and downs and twists and turns that life threw at me, the one thing I knew was that I had to follow my passion. Sometimes in life we have an idea, a spark inside of us. A tiny seed that needs us to breathe life into it. And that is my advice to anyone who is starting up now, follow your passion! Your soul knows what you are here to do. You and only you have that unique gift that could bring something authentic, valuable to others. If you have a whisper in your heart that you are here for more, then listen to that whisper until it becomes a roar of courage. Put one foot in front of the other. Look ahead. You don’t need to see all the dominoes lined up before you start. Know this, if you already have the desire to be more, all the resources, knowledge and abilities will align with your desire.
Remember, I would love to hear from you! I am here to listen to your story, which like any diamond will spark an emotion in our readers heart and become far more than the sum of its precious parts.