JGJ launches at Fortnum and Mason

by | Aug 27, 2022

Seeing JGJ launch at Fortnum and Mason, one of the world’s most famous department stores and a London icon, is nothing short of an extraordinary moment for me. It seems incredibly apt yet hugely humbling to be bringing timeless vintage jewels to Fortnum’s cases with its rich history spanning four centuries. Before diving into the jewels let’s dwell a moment on just a few of their incredible historical highlights.
JGJ launches at Fortnum and Mason
Fortnum & Mason, London’s oldest luxury department store holds a past steeped in innovation and re-invention. What strikes me when reading Fortnum’s history is the ingenuity and creativity that afforded Fortnum’s the premiere position in provisioning, be it domestically or internationally, including never shying away from their role during wartime and depression. Originally founded in Duke Street, London in 1707 by Hugh Mason and William Fortnum, Fortnum’s has taken centre stage during some of the UK’s most important historical moments not least the Napoleonic wars, the 1922 Mount Everest Expedition and most recently a pivotal part in The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. No stranger to Royal affiliation, Fortnum’s has served throughout the reigns of twelve kings and queens and today holds not one but two Royal Warrants. I’m a fan of their endless line of tantalising teas and their world-famous glittering Christmas displays which sits alongside my passion for jewels just perfectly!
Fortnum’s costume jewellery history stems back to the 1930s and the growing trend for novelty pieces to adorn fashions of the day. An unexpected departure perhaps for London’s high society woman with extensive family jewellery. Not so! The emerging European obsession with ‘faux’ and the mixing of fine and faux, pioneered by Gabrielle Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, was in full flow and not surprisingly London’s society wanted in. At Fortnum’s the relatively unknown yet immensely successful fashion buyer, Rose Taylor, was in charge of sourcing stylish costume jewellery to keep pace with these changing times. From the Fortnum’s archives…think sparkling art deco paste clasps on beaded cuffs, unfeasibly massive gilt pieces adorned with cabochon stones emulating sapphires and rubies, art deco dress clips that doubled as brooches and inventively, whimsical novelty jewels portraying ‘lucky elephants’. Fortnum’s were also famed for their hugely successful line in pearls – perhaps the most important classic accessory of the time. The world had changed and costume jewellery was here to stay. Be it super stylish, endlessly classic or fun and frivolous.
So, with this heady backdrop and let’s face it an utterly divine store experience, it was a total joy to be asked to curate a unique collection that would appeal to the discerning customers of Fortnum’s. With history in mind, I couldn’t wait to get started; devising the look and feel of the collection, choosing the pieces and ultimately uniting the final collection. A collection that in my way celebrates the history of Fortnum’s whilst offering unique and joyous stand-out jewels today.

Our collection comprises no less than forty one-of-a-kind vintage jewels originating from designers worldwide and offers a glimpse into every decade since the fifties, whilst drawing inspiration from as far back as the 1930s and the Art Deco period. Each jewel carefully considered and selected to take its place within the uber elegant jewellery cases and beautifully curated setting on the fourth floor. Sitting pretty amongst legendary British jewel brands too such as the inimitable Stephen Webster.

Our one-of-a-kind vintage jewels Sitting pretty amongst legendary British jewel brands too such as the inimitable Stephen Webster
Fortnum’s costume jewellery history stems back to the 1930s
Couture pieces feature in our collection acknowledging Fortnum’s exclusive partnerships with Parisian Houses not least Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Balmain and the Italian House Ungaro. Colour is a key theme along with the classics. Think oversized gem coloured crystals, chunky gold set with pearls, whimsical brooches, statement earrings, cabochon pieces, lustrous enamelling and more. But then why think ? Pop in !

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