Coveted jewellery designer Monica Vinader believes diamonds (and green onyx, rose quartz and grey agate…) are forever. She creates pieces to be worn every day and for a lifetime
You recently celebrated the brand’s 10th anniversary. Are you amazed by its success?
You can never imagine how well a business will do, but we have worked hard to build something that filled a gap. We are extremely proud to have reached the 10 year milestone.
What’s changed since 2008?
Back then I was creating bespoke pieces for myself and friends. Now we are global with stores in the UK, US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Middle East and South Korea as well as expanding online. Once I realised there was an appetite for my designs, my sister Gaby and I mapped out a business plan that set out to fill the gap between fine and fashion jewellery. Soon after starting, we launched our Fiji bracelets which were an instant sell-out (and still are!).
Your toughest moment?
Launching against a backdrop of global recession. We kept trying to get funding, but meetings with investors just came to an end and we had to take a loan against my family house. In a way it was great as it motivated us. And conversely, because the markets had crashed there was a real appetite for beautiful but affordable jewellery.
Everyone from the Duchess of Cambridge to Gareth Southgate wears your designs. How valuable is a celebrity following?
It’s always an honour to see someone high profile wearing us. I never design with a specific person in mind, I just create jewellery that I would want to wear myself. It’s amazing how different people style it in their own way.
Any launches this year?
Excitingly we are launching a second store in New York, as well as a new store in London at St Paul’s One New Change. We’re also relaunching candles, with much more to come.
You’re good at defining and setting trends: stackable rings, personalised engraving, self-gifting. What should we look out for next?
Bold, gold jewellery is having a moment. Our updated Nura collection celebrates this, with some beautiful statement gold pieces. The mixed metal trend is becoming more popular too, offering a fantastic way to create a beautifully unique look.
Which fashion designers do you most often wear?
Toteme, Celine, Zara and Chloe.
Did you ever consider a career that didn’t involve jewellery?
Absolutely. It’s more the design process that really interests me. I’ve always felt that I’m meant to create, and I would happily design a chair or table. I’m fussy and quite opinionated about things that are three-dimensional!
How do you find time to spend with family and friends?
I’m pragmatic about what I can and cannot do, and keep working from home to a minimum. This ensures I disconnect during evenings and weekends.
Why did you choose to partner with the Women for Women International UK charity?
This charity is very close to my heart, and I am now a proud ambassador for it. It raises funds to help women survivors of war rebuild their lives. Their program equips women with an understanding of their value in family and community life; awareness of their rights; information about nutrition, reproductive health, hygiene and other basic health care. Women also learn vital skills to help them earn an income and receive a monthly stipend to cover their basic needs and allow them the opportunity to save money for the future.
Tell us a little about Norfolk. Why did you decide to settle here, and what are your favourite parts of the county?
Norfolk is fairly remote, is a good three-hour drive from London, and is not on the way to anywhere, so feels secluded. We had been coming to my mother’s Norfolk summer house for years. We’d escape London every weekend we could, until we decided we wanted to live up here full time 17 years ago. After about a year of searching my husband found the house and knew it was perfect – I was not so sure! The location is ideal, and we fell in love with its pond which is now full of trout. I love the salt marshes and the sea, with their changing colours over the seasons.
What fun have you planned for the next time you’re in London?
To visit my favourite museums, which is always something I carve out time to do.
Do you have a favourite holiday destination?
I’m completely in love with Mexico. It’s always been a place of inspiration and holds so many memories because I lived there with my husband years ago. The buildings, colours, and landscapes – there’s no place quite like it. Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula is one of my favourite spots. From the Mayan ruins and jungle treks, to sightseeing around Merida city, there’s so much to explore.
‘Accessible luxury’, and ‘self-gifting’ – will we continue to buy jewellery in the same way we indulge in handbags and shoes?
Absolutely. Our customers are empowered to self-gift, and treat themselves and friends. Customers are seeking unique, personal gifts so our complimentary engraving service is perfect for this.
What’s your advice for young aspiring jewellery designers?
Always keep in mind the integrity of what you do. For me, that means keeping true to the original creative process and using the best materials. Big jewellery companies can design by numbers and I never wanted to do that – through the process of making a piece, my team always make sure to refer back to the original designs in my sketchbooks.
Do you have a favourite design? And what’s your top on-trend piece for the summer months?
The Alta Capture Charm bracelet is one of my favourite pieces from recent collections. It is our first customisable charm bracelet and looks beautiful on its own or adorned with a playful mix of pendant charms. A design that sums up the Monica Vinader ethos is our Riva collection. The silhouettes take inspirations from the water and flow beautifully. We believe that diamonds aren’t just for special occasions; they are for every day and our Riva collections are the best representation of this.
Visit her website for more beautiful designs