Over 280 years of existence has given Garrard much privilege and bragging rights as the oldest jeweler in the world to have witnessed all the first innovations in the world of jewelry-making up to the most recent trends.
Despite its old age, some of Garrard’s traditional methods and skills are still being applied today. An effective merging of pioneering techniques and contemporary styles is the reason it remains relevant in the fast-paced development of every type of business, even creative ones. Hence, the House used it as its distinguishing characteristic and edge above others in the industry.
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Epitome of British spirit and heritage
More than the visible and tangible pieces, the story behind them is a major factor in the design. Some jewelry draws from real life stories of love, especially for their bridal collections. However, the stones in themselves already have a natural story from the way they’re formed, discovered, and handcrafted into one of Garrard’s pieces. The way they’re incorporated in the jewelry piece just adds to that by highlighting the innate charm of the stone.
But more than that, the House is an epitome of the British spirit. Not only is it deeply connected to the long history of the country’s Royal Family but in every aspect of the creation process – the materials, the design, the craftsmanship, the details – it embodies true British attitude and heritage.
Relationship with the royals
Garrard’s long and solid relationship with the Royals began the first year the House was established when Prince Frederick, then-Prince of Wales, offered him his first commission. In 1843, Garrard was announced the first official Crown Jeweler, which means that the UK’s Crown Jewels are the responsibility of the House to protect and maintain. It held the position at least more than 10 years after the turn of the millennium.
In all that time, the House has created some of the most famous, iconic, and precious pieces for the Royal Family, with some even becoming family heirlooms. The most famous of all and most relevant today would be the engagement ring the current Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, owns. Originally made for Lady Diana for her engagement to Prince Charles, the ring is remarkable for the large Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds that never fail to glint every time light hits. It’s become a family heirloom that will most likely be passed down along the line of succession.
Other notable Garrard pieces made for royalty include Queen Mary’s Fringe tiara that was passed down to Queen Elizabeth which she wore to her own wedding, the sapphire brooch for Queen Victoria, and the whole suite of diamond and pearl necklace, brooch, and earrings, immortalized in the iconic wedding photos of Princess Alexandra.
Taking inspiration from olden times and reinventing old pieces and collections are a habit for Garrard, especially with a long and rich lineup of archives under their belt. The Enchanted Palace collection is an example of that, as it was inspired by the new manufacturing and design innovations in the Great Exhibition of 1851. This spans the time of the Victorian era, therefore, dramatic and intricate details are prevalent in the collection.
The more recent Jewelled Vault is yet another reminder of Garrard’s connection to the monarchy. It’s a modern manifestation of the Duchess of Edinburgh Maria Alexandrovna’s jewelry collection from 1874 and also features many of Garrard’s signature motifs. Some striking stones used in the collection are Royal Blue sapphire, Pigeon red ruby, or emerald, and diamonds as complementary. Every stone is different in terms of size, making each piece unique from the other.
Some more timeless collections like the Entanglement or the Albermarle are representative of other eras from the House’s history, but were made modern to appeal to present tastes. The Entanglement collection, in particular, will always be relevant for the universal theme of love of the infinite knot symbol. Meanwhile, the TwentyFour collection continues to expand the House’s range to casual and daily living with modern and less intimidating jewelry pieces.
Along with jewelry, Garrard has also been entrusted to provide trophies and medals for different competitions both in and out of the UK. In fact, Garrard was the one that provided the perpetual America’s Cup trophy. A whole variety of sports and competitions were also a part of the House’s sports venture, including horse racing like the Royal Ascot, sailing, and football of the Premier League. And just recently, Prince Harry ordered the medals for the Invictus Games from Garrard. This would be given to winners and all participants, which include veterans and army personnel.
The House of Garrard is the only one that can truly achieve the perfect marriage of the traditional and the pioneering with the new and modern and that’s what they’d been doing since 1735. Having been able to survive almost 300 years, Garrard is likely to surpass all kinds of technological advancements and innovations with its traditional skills still intact.
Image sources: countryandtownhouse.co.uk