Sometimes a friendship makes the best base for a business plan, and when school friends Vanessa Chilton and Kate Pelham-Burn met Zoe Benyon, something clicked and British jewellery brand Robinson Pelham started to take shape.
The business relationship is a symbiotic one, with each woman bringing a unique skillset to Robinson Pelham, something they say has been their “source of strength”. Benyon is a highly knowledgeable and passionate gemologist, while Chilton brings her flair for design to the brand’s collections, and Pelham-Burn, who has worked on the shop floors of some of London’s top jewellers, draws on a deep well of best practice to make sure that when customers visit their boutique in London’s Chelsea, they have the richest experience possible.
Robinson Pelham’s big break came in 2011 when the Middleton family commissioned some bespoke jewellery for the wedding of their daughter Kate to Prince William. The team created diamond earrings with oak leaf and acorn motifs for the Duchess of Cambridge, floral-inspired diamonds for Kate’s sister Pippa, a tourmaline and diamond pendant and matching diamond earrings for their mother Carole, and gold stick pins decorated with acorns and oak leaves for their father Michael and brother James.
“Customers still ask about it, but the wave of souvenir hunters has thankfully died down and has left us with a broader client base and more opportunity to make the jewels we love,” says Benyon. She adds that after the explosion of publicity created by the royal wedding, Robinson Pelham has gone back to servicing its clients in a far more discreet manner, just as it did in the 15 years leading up to that famous commission.
When you walk into Robinson Pelham’s boutique today what you will find is a kaleidoscopic collection of jewels that offers up every shade of the rainbow in stylish, modern designs. “Understanding colour is being visually aware of your surroundings,” enthuses Chilton, as she sits at a desk littered with tiny sapphires in orange, pink, yellow and blue hues. “As so much of what we create is colour led, we are constantly thinking about what colours work together, how they will work on a customer, the colours that work now. We try and introduce colour to our customers, especially when they have never really thought about wearing anything but diamonds. Sapphires, which come in so many spectacular hues, are a daily staple.”
Robinson Pelham launched its most popular collections to date in the past year and they are suitably bright - gem-set Orb hoops with corresponding Ear Wishes charms designed to hang from them - showing that its customers are keen to chase the rainbow with them.