from the Astley Clarke Biography collection of
grown-up friendship bracelets.
jewelry brand Astley Clarke is making a splash
stateside, launching at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus
Cara and Poppy Delevingne were spotted wearing Astley
Clarkeís grown-up friendship bracelets at the
Coachella music festival; actress Cameron Diaz has been
wearing the retro-inspired Astley locket.
concept of the line is that it is fine jewelry designed
by women, for women to buy themselves. Itís
merchandised cleverly, with an emphasis on collecting
and stacking multiple pieces.
business was started in 2006 by Bec Astley Clarke, whose
background in fashion, tech and marketing includes
stints at a luxury gun company, a luxury yacht company,
iVillage.com and, most recently, working as head of
strategy at Tesco.com.
conceived as a multibrand e-tailer featuring the work of
multiple designers, Astley Clarke set out to prove the
viability of selling fine jewelry online, just as
British website Net-A-Porter pioneered selling luxury
fashion online. Then, in 2009, the business opened its
own design studio in London and hired a creative
director, Lorna Watson, with experience at DeBeers,
Faberge and Dior.
then, Astley Clarke has found success designing and
distributing its own branded collections. Last year,
founder Clarke was recognized as a member of the Order
of the British Empire for her service to the jewelry
brand has drawn inspiration from her heritage, namely
the life of her father, Dr. Charles Clarke, an avid
mountaineer and the doctor on the British expedition
that climbed Mt. Everest in 1975, and her grandfather
Dr. Cyril Astley Clarke, famous for his genetic research
using butterflies, who helped develop the cure for Rh
disease during the 1950s and í60s.
collection of butterfly specimens, housed at Londonís
Natural History Museum, is referenced through wing
motifs used in different jewelry styles and on the print
of the handmade, screen-printed gift wrap. Climbing
knots are another motif, explored in 18-karat gold and
sterling silver bracelets and rings.
brandís offerings include several collections at
varying price points. The Biography collection consists
of friendship bracelets ($150 to $350), which are
designed to collect and stack and include agate, quartz
and vermeil gemstones or charms with meanings such as
love, protection or peace. Each season brings new color
ways and sentiments.
Muse collection features vintage-feeling gold lockets
with diamond details in the $2,000 to $3,000 range.
Enamel stacking rings and bracelets in fun hues such as
Cajun shrimp and heather bloom make up the Color
collection and have an appeal similar to Hermesí
popular enamel bracelets. The Fao collection includes
rose-cut gemstones in molten diamond pave on cocktail
rings, pendants and earrings with prices up to $12,000.
see fine jewelry as something to wear every day,"
Clarke said at the recent Couture jewelry trade show in
Las Vegas. "You might have a bunch of bracelets
from Biography, and then one really nice piece, the same
way you do with clothes when you have Topshop blouses
and Louboutin shoes."