By Ase Anderson in London
Groundbreaking scientific research and the delicate movement of butterflies may seem unlikely bedfellows, but they both provided the inspiration behind Astley Clarke's new fine jewellery collection.
The Fao collection is named after founder Bec Astley Clarke's grandmother and pays homage to her grandfather's ultimately lifesaving research into genetics and the Swallowtail butterfly.
Created at the Astley Clarke London design studio by Bec and creative director Lorna Watson, the collection reflects the sense of movement and microscopic patterns in butterfly wings.
Each piece of morganite and Rose de France amethyst has been individually selected and hand-cut in Astley Clarke's signature rose cut. The large centre stones have an undulating molten pavé diamond outline, set in rose and yellow gold.
Sir Cyril Astley Clarke was a geneticist, lepidopterist and President of the Royal College of Physicians. In 1977 he discovered a cure for rhesus negative babies by studying the genetic wing patterns of butterflies. While the ensuing treatment has saved thousands of babies' lives, it was Cyril's wife Fao who suggested that he combine his passion for butterflies with his medical research.
Bec has inherited Cyril's incredible butterfly research, which adorns the walls of both Astley Clarke's London boutique and its design studio, and became the design inspiration for this latest collection.
Fao - Astley Clarke's second fine jewellery collection - combines a modern setting with the spontaneity and playfulness that is characteristic of all the brand's jewellery. The online jewellery boutique, which launched in 2006, also stocks jewels by guest designers, including Pippa Small, Katie Hillier, Shaun Leane, Solange Azagury-Partridge and Hattie Rickards.
The complete Fao collection is available exclusively at astleyclarke.com, while selected styles are sold through the brand's concessions in Selfridges, Harrods and Liberty in London.