Crowned Designer of the Year by the British Jewellers' Association in 2013, Andrew Geoghegan is a tour de force in jewellery design. Using only platinum settings and the highest quality gold, Andrew's fine jewellery encapsulates sophistication, elegance and luxury. His delicate bridal designs - particularly the Cannelé collection - have become a firm favourite with British brides-to-be. We meet the personable man behind this very personal brand.
You’ve been an independent jewellery designer in Britain for nearly 20 years. What lessons have you learned along the way?
Do what you love. Simplify where possible. Pre-empt, don’t react. It’s all about quality, quality, quality. Seek out experts in every field. Just because many people think and believe something doesn’t mean that it is true! Over the past year I’ve learned that you can’t always please everyone - you need complete clarity around understanding yourself and your brand, then you need to just do it.
The British Jewellers’ Association named you Designer of the Year in 2013. What did you do to celebrate?
I carried myself oh-so-smugly for a few months - there’s still remnants of it now, haha! In all honesty, the aftermath celebrations were rather tame, I enjoyed dinner with my family. The real celebration for me was the actual moment when my name was read out at the ceremony - I leapt out of my chair and stomped around the room saying something along the lines of “that’s what I’m talking about”! It certainly wasn’t a humble Oscars reaction but I was truly, truly elated - it felt like finally my team and I were receiving some strong recognition.
After a complete rebrand in 2015, you had an incredibly successful year. Is an overseas expansion on the horizon?
We have a small number of international retailers and we are currently in light discussions with some French retailers. Our number one priority is ensuring that our retail network in the UK is strong and represents us correctly. Then we will focus seriously on promoting the brand further afield.
What does British style mean to you?
Wow, that’s a tough question - and a little tricky to articulate. What I would say is that British style has a recognisable, adventurous nature to it, it pushes boundaries, screams high quality, and often possesses an inherent wit and playfulness. And perhaps, on occasion, exudes a polite arrogance too. Whatever the mix, it’s always “tres cool”!
Which fellow British jewellery designers do you most respect?
When I entered the industry, Paul Spurgeon was a designer I held in high regard and still do - he has an inspired and timeless touch to his jewellery. Unsurprisingly, the Websters and Leanes of this world have my respect as they push the boundaries and have created phenomenal brands. And then there’s Rodney Rayner, someone I deeply respect in terms of his incredible work, his international acclaim, and the fact he has personally advised and helped me in my development.
Your workspace: tidy or messy?
Messy, but desperately wanting to be tidy.
Describe your signature look.
Actually I’m quite wary of developing a signature look. I’ve always liked the idea of constant evolution and variation. However, that being said, I can’t deny the presence of evident themes and narratives running through my collections, be it intrigue, illusion, harmony or dissonance, to cite but a few. In terms of the physical object, underpinning most collections is an intrigue with unity, and more recently an affinity with natural, organic form. Exploring and connecting these ideas has taken quite a hold lately, perhaps even become a small obsession.
The Chocolate Box collection is a delicious mix of coloured gemstones. Which gems are you most drawn to and why?
Curiously, I am drawn to emeralds although it is a stone I rarely work with. The intense, lush greens that emeralds can exhibit are stunning, and because it’s not the most durable of gemstones, there’s something enchanting about having to be so precious when creating a piece with it. Paraiba tourmalines have held a strong place in my heart since I created the Cannelé Délire ring - I love the colours and that the inclusions can be an inherent part of the stone’s beauty.
You are well known for your bridal jewellery. Are your customers becoming bolder with their engagement ring choices?
We are seeing some customers going for more adventurous choices - even choosing cocktail rings for the occasion. But on the whole in the UK, the taste for engagement rings is predominantly classic. This is a great opportunity for me to create and gradually challenge the perception of what “classic” means.
Your Cannelé bridal collection has many fans, including The Jewellery Editor. Where did the idea for the fluted design come from?
To set the scene, the concept was created when I was holidaying in France over New Year, while I was sitting in front of a huge log fire with my sketchbook. Inspiration enough perhaps! The Cannelé is perhaps my expression of delight toward the Art Nouveau movement, combined with experimentation in form based on the outline created by surround diamonds. The Cannelé is very simple but has beautiful detail on closer inspection.
The new Claire de Lune bridal collection has just launched. Describe it in three words.
Magical. Beguiling. French!
Are surprise proposals becoming increasingly rare as more partners buy their engagement ring together?
No, I still believe this is strong and the male knee will continue to be bruised!
The explosive Cannelé Délire ring, set with a 6.14ct Mozambique Paraiba tourmaline, looks like it was lots of fun to design. Have you noticed an increased appetite among your customers for unusual gemstones?
Yes - and it is for designers like myself to educate and inspire the public to wear and fall in love with the more unique stones. Never underestimate the joy a beautiful ring or piece of jewellery can bring!
What is your most popular jewel to date?
The Cannelé engagement ring - she continues to wow brides-to-be everywhere.
Name the single most important piece of advice you wish you had been given when you started out in jewellery design.
What five things couldn’t you live without?
Experience, pencil, paper, calm and, of course, The Jewellery Editor emails!