|  13 oct 2014

Maria Doulton: I have come to this quintessentially British mews in London to talk to Bec Astley Clarke, founder of the British jewellery brand that is really going places.

Bec Astley Clarke:   Astley Clarke's fine jewellery really is about wearing jewellery for yourself. It is not about a display of wealth, or trying to send a signal to somebody. It is about celebrating design and celebrating colour, and really expressing yourself.

We have this internal mantra of 'go precious everyday' and we do want to encourage women to wear jewellery every day, and that is whether you are wearing your jeans or something relatively informal each day. We are not wearing ball gowns, but that does not mean that we should not wear a piece of fine jewellery.

For Astley Clarke, we have our Biography and Colour Collections. We have Muse and we have Fao. We really cater throughout a woman's lifetime to her jewellery needs, I suppose that you might buy into Astley Clarke in your 20s with Biography bracelets and then go up to Fao at a later stage.

Maria Doulton:  That is not very fair because I am wearing Fao.

Bec Astley Clarke: I am wearing Fao as well.

Maria Doulton: Okay. I am the poster girl for Fao, okay? 

Bec Astley Clarke:   The Fao collection was inspired by my grandmother, Fao, and her husband's work as a geneticist. He invented the cure for rhesus negative babies. He did that by combining his research with butterflies with his genetics research.

Lorna Watson heads up our design studio. Her and the design team took the elements of microscopic patterns within butterfly wings, the movement of butterflies, and started to draft this wonderful collection, which was two or three years in the making.

Maria Doulton: The jewellery market is dominated by white gold and diamonds, so to have something that is a bit warmer, that you can wear, and mix and match, I think is something women really respond to.

Bec Astley Clarke: These have taken the world by storm actually. We have had the whole flurry of Cameron Diaz and Jodie Kidd and Cara Delevingne all wearing our biography bracelets.

We sell 40 different coloured gemstones here. One stone that we are working with a lot at the moment is morganite, which is that wonderful peachy coloured gemstone. In the office, at least, we all prefer it to diamonds. We love it.

We are buying jewellery. There is no need to be overly serious with that. Instead, we would like to replace the seriousness with intelligence and with wit. We want to combine old-fashioned customer service with modern 21st-century shopping over the web.

Maria Doulton: Good design shines through all of Astley Clarke jewels but always with a strong British identity, a sense of reverence, a sense of individuality, and these jewels are very much about you. You choose them and you wear them how you like. You can stack them. You can mix and match them. You can wear them with a plain white shirt or you can really dress it up. I think that it really took a woman to do this.

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