With the launch of her eponymous brand in Asia, Annoushka Ducas tells us what she’s learned from an enormously successful jewellery venture, and why she’s approaching the business differently this time around.
With the launch of her eponymous brand in Asia, Annoushka Ducas tells Charlene Co what she’s learned from an enormously successful jewellery venture, and why she’s approaching the business differently this time around
The first piece British jewellery designer Annoushka Ducas ever created was her own engagement ring. It was 27 years ago, and Ducas was newly engaged and living in Hong Kong. Unable to find a piece she liked, she designed an Art Deco-styled ring and had it made at KS Sze & Sons, a family jeweller whose shop was—and still is—located at the Mandarin Oriental. Rather serendipitously, early this year Ducas opened a boutique under her eponymous brand Annoushka, just a few steps from KS Sze & Sons. “It almost feels like I’ve come full circle,” she says.
Ducas started Annoushka in 2009, three years after selling Links of London, the jewellery brand she co-founded with her husband in 1990. “Links of London was wonderful and incredibly successful, but it got too big,” Ducas says of her decision to sell. “At the time, the brand already had 50 shops around the world. When a business becomes that big, the creativity and personal touch go. But what I really wanted was to create beautiful things that had a personal touch.” When she sold the business, Ducas felt there were hardly any brands that could offer mid-range fine jewellery. “There were very few brands in between, say, Links of London and Cartier. That was the segment I wanted to capture with Annoushka.”
Eight years on, and Annoushka has gained quite the following. One of the brand’s avid fans is the Duchess of Cambridge, a long-time client who’s often spotted wearing Annoushka’s pearl drop earrings. “It’s interesting because we have someone like the Duchess, whose taste is rather traditional, but equally our pieces also go to the likes of Rihanna, Queen Rania of Jordan and Gwyneth Paltrow,” Ducas says. “I design for the modern, independent woman. My jewellery is very much dressing up your jeans, rather than dressing up your cocktail dress!”
Ducas has found that being an untrained jeweller has its advantages. “I don’t follow any set of rules when I design; I have very few barriers. I like my pieces to be fun, playful and individual,” she says. “Besides, one’s choice of jewellery is not only a statement of worth, but also a statement of one’s attitude.” Annoushka’s latest range of rings, Crown, encapsulates this philosophy perfectly. The lace-inspired edges of the collection were born out of Ducas’ desire to evolve the ring stack into a finer, more feminine form. “I want my clients to have the freedom to mix rings—new with old, borrowed and owned.”
Apart from boutiques in London and Hong Kong, Annoushka has more than 10 points of sale around the world, and the pieces are also available online. But if you’re thinking that the brand is already headed in the same direction as Ducas’ previous venture, think again. “Annoushka has and always will be about staying in touch with our clients—i love that we know what they like and why they buy the way they do,” says Ducas. “We are expanding, yes, but the pieces will remain very personal.”
From far left: Crown stacked rings set with diamonds; pearl drop earrings; Fire Rooster charm all by Annoushka Ducas (above)