Georgina Boyce is one of the fastest rising names on London’s jewellery scene. She is the chic-girls’ jeweller of choice for bespoke engagement rings and specialises in breathing new life into family heirlooms and vintage pieces. As well as bespoke, she recently launched her ready-to-wear line which she hopes women will buy for themselves: “Long gone are the days when only men bought diamonds.” Set on changing the fusty associations shopping for fine jewellery has, Georgina’s brand is contemporary – much like the beautiful pieces she produces. Here, she gives White Dossier her expert advice and shares why she loves working with brides-to-be on their engagement rings and wedding day jewellery.
Have you always loved jewellery?
I have always had a passion for jewellery. I think wearing jewellery is almost carnal. It was one of the earliest forms of adornment and for me personally, it is intrinsic to my daily ‘uniform’. Although, I am quite unusual in that I swap and change my jewellery regularly, rather than having a set of pieces that I wear every day.
What was your first piece of jewellery?
I was left a delicious three conch pearl ring by my grandmother. They were the most heavenly shade of pink and I took it to be valued for insurance and the pearls were removed and replaced with white half pearls. They denied it and unfortunately, there was nothing I could do. This was an instrumental learning curve for me and has entirely affected how I run my business and with as much honesty and transparency to my clients as possible.
Do you have a favourite piece of jewellery that you wear? Can you tell us the story behind it…
I do – I have a signet ring that I was left by a very dear relative. He was the one that left me my start-up funds and paved the way for my brand. I have had it sized to fit me and think of him fondly every time I look at it. I owe the creation of my business to him. He is dearly missed by my family.
Tell us about your background. Did you study jewellery design?
I have a Bachelors in Fine Art, majoring in sculpture and ceramics (this works with my 3D-thinking brain!). Following this, I worked in a very well established and reputable fine jewellers where I was lucky enough to learn the tricks of the trade. The women that run the business were an inspiration and my role as production manager there gave me incredible knowledge. I also studied Gemmology at the Gemmological Institute of Great Britain and then specialized in diamonds which gives me my FGA and DGA status. Lastly, I trained at GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) in jewellery design so I have covered every facet. Knowledge really is power and it couldn’t be more applicable in my industry.
What inspired you to launch your eponymous brand, Georgina Boyce?
I was working for someone else and when I realised I was fully qualified and I was at the age where I felt comfortable taking on my own business. I also was of the age where a lot of my friends were getting engaged so it made sense with regards to timing my next chapter. I loved my job but there is always a glass ceiling which is inevitable so taking the plunge to go solo was a huge decision for me and one I didn’t take lightly but I am so glad that I did. I have learned so much and I love what I do.
What does it require to become an expert gemologist?
Aside from the years of training that I recommend to everyone, actually working in the trade first (this has been the most important and valid part of my training), you need to study Gemmology at a recognized institute. I studied Gemmology at The Gemological Institute of Great Britain and then I went further to specialise in diamonds, which is very important if you intend to sell high-value pieces, especially engagement rings. Following that, I studied Jewellery Design at the Gemmological Institute of America. I wouldn’t function as a business without all of these qualifications. Knowledge is power!
What is the ethos that inspires your namesake brand?
I am trying to break the long-standing traditions within the jewellery trade of severe showrooms with jewels locked in glass cases. An appointment with me is relaxed, fun and informative. It is a contemporary take on the trade, much like the actual pieces I produce.
How would you describe your brand’s aesthetic?
The visual aesthetic is very much everyday luxury. I want to create pieces that women can feel comfortable wearing without being too ostentatious. The unusual or engineered design is often the speaking point, and not the size. This is also helpful as the more minimal styles allow me to tweak designs to reach certain price points. With regards to my branding, we are clean, fresh, minimal and almost allergic to colour. I like contrasts so dark blue, white, grey marbles all work cohesively. You won’t see neon and rainbows here. As a brand, we are almost muted! I prefer to be more understated and effortless. Less is more!
What’s the most fun / and scariest part of running your own business?
I get to meet wonderful people. This is applicable both to my workshops and dealers and onto my clients. I get such a large variation of clients and it is lovely to meet happy couples; repair old favourites; and keep lost loved ones memories alive. It is very high pressure as purchasing jewellery is actually quite an emotional journey and I don’t want to put a foot wrong! Keeping to proposal deadlines can also be a race to the finish line – especially if they have planned something spectacular!
What’s been the pinnacle of your career so far?
It is so hard to tell! I showed at LFW in the BFC showrooms which was wonderful. I have been in print in some of the most coveted magazine titles and it always feels great to receive that recognition, but I think it would be the release of my second collection. Making a ready-to-wear collection costs a jeweller a huge amount of time, emotions and of course money. I hosted a launch at 5 Hertford Street which felt pretty amazing. I was honoured to have such esteemed and knowledgeable guests attend the event. A dream come true!
What can we expect to see from the brand next?
Watch this space! I have some pretty amazing bespoke commissioned pieces on! I have just done a 23ct pendant, a 15ct aquamarine ring, not to mention a 7ct diamond ring so in the design sense, my commissions are very exciting! In a career path sense, I have teamed up with The Box for an engagement ring concierge service and I have a ‘Summer Series’ of events in my homecoming up this summer. I am also in some very exciting talks at the moment regarding my ready-to-wear so keep an eye out! Fingers crossed!
Has bespoke always been a large part of what you do?
Yes, I adore it. I get to create people’s visions and dreams across a broad spectrum of design aesthetics. It is here that I get to ‘play’ with gemstones and use my gemstone knowledge which I really enjoy. I work with bigger budgets here so this is a more luxury and personal service. Everyone deserves to feel special and have their own vision brought to life throughout their bespoke journey. I don’t push my style on them, it is very much vice versa which is unusual for a designer.
Can you tell us about a favorite project you have worked on?
I have a fabulous client base for the bespoke facet of my business which I love. It gets the creative juices flowing and allows for a lot of variation which is great and keeps me on my toes! I have a favourite of late, although I love all the pieces I make on in one way or another. I recently made a 7ct EVS2 cushion cut engagement ring with diamond set graduated shoulders in platinum and white gold. We have nicknamed it The Rock of Gibraltar!
We love that you’ve become known for transforming old jewelry into something new. Why is this is such special work to you?
I think it is such a shame that jewellery that tells a story and has had a wonderful life, sits in a drawer untouched. Jewellery is supposed to be worn and gemstones are meant to be seen in light. It seems a shame and a travesty that jewellery goes into hiding because the style or size is not to taste. Sometimes, the most simple adaption can breathe new life into a piece. I really couldn’t recommend the process more. It also helps keep the memory of someone much loved and perhaps no longer with us, alive.
How would you describe your clients?
I have a huge variation of clients which I love. It means I am constantly being stretched with my design skills. I have as many young, fashion-led young women as I do older ladies who play bridge and have a keen knowledge and collection of jewellery already. This is why I love jewellery. It is much more inclusive than in other areas of fashion. Something which my brand tries to follow through with. I also make a lot of engagement rings. I have to hold the hands of some very terrified young men who are entering into the works of jewellery for the first time.
Which clients of yours would we know of?
I have a number of well-known clients but I try to keep my lists as confidential as possible. Of those who have mentioned me publicly, I can say, Pandora Sykes, Alice Edwards, Harriet Stewart, Alex Steadman (The Frugality), Caragh McKay (Wallpaper*), Nadia Araujo, Portia Freeman, Trish Halpin (Editor or Marie Claire) amongst others…
Engagement / Wedding Ring Advice
What would be your dream engagement ring?
That would be telling! I actually change my mind almost monthly! I am very blessed to have access to some beautiful gemological wonders and I also see and feel the passing trends within jewellery and my taste changes accordingly. I do know that if I went for a white diamond centre stone, it would be a cushion or asscher cut. Budget depending (!!) but hopefully something to rival The Rock of Gibraltar I mentioned earlier! Haha!
What advice would you give to brides if they are choosing their own engagement rings?
I think you have to go with your gut. It is very easy to have your opinion swayed by mothers-in-law, sister, friends and what is in fashion, or your latest coveted brand/item. Hopefully, most ladies have put some time into thinking about their ring and have an underlying idea about what they may want for some time before they take the plunge! Also, TRY LOTS ON! A piece that looks great on Instagram does not necessarily look good on your own hand. You don’t want to make a mistake on this one! In turn, something timeless that you won’t tire of. I have a number of clients who come to have theirs re-set after five years as they have grown out of their choice which is a shame.
What do you consider the most important thing to take into consideration when choosing a stone/ design?
The client. A lot of designers have a very structured style or aesthetic. I do this with my ready-to-wear collections so you can see my aesthetic/taste there. Unlike most, my commissions are very varied in their designs and styles. I prefer to create someone else’s vision, guided by me of course, but I don’t want to push someone into something I may like or want. It is very much my job to put their wishes and dreams into a piece and bring it to life!
Are there any engagement ring / wedding ring trends at the moment?
Yes – micro setting seems to be very popular of late. I am often making them for ladies as they allow the diamonds to really sparkle. There is not much holding in the stones so you can really get a lot of twinkle factor. However, they are much less durable than other styles so beware if you have an active lifestyle or job. I am also seeing a return to platinum. The platinum choice waned for a while but for me, of late, there seems to be revival which I am quite shocked by. Although actually, there is a high palladium content in white gold and at the moment, palladium is quite expensive so the price of 18ct white gold has hiked and platinum has not.
How would you advise a bride to choose a wedding band to suit her engagement ring?
This is entirely down to taste – some ladies like to have a matching symmetrical set of rings that all sit close and snug. However, recently, it is also on trend to have a mismatching stack in different styles. One thing I always advise clients about it to consider what three rings would look like on their finger. It is quite a frequent custom now to receive a band or eternity ring when you have your first child or anniversary so it is wise to consider what your sparkly trio might look like eventually!
What jewellery items / trends are proving popular with brides buying jewellery for their wedding day?
Pearls – I am making a lot of pearl pieces which works in an everyday setting and also runs with the bridal theme. I actually make ‘transformation’ jewellery such a diamond set hoops with detachable drops. This way my client can have plain diamond hoops (useful for after the wedding) with detachable pearl drops for her wedding day and a gemstone drop for formal. It is a great way of getting as much out of jewellery as you can! I am also making a lot of aquamarine pieces, I think this is since Meghan Markle wore an aqua cocktail ring to the reception at her wedding. It was once Diana’s and has boosted aquamarine sales quite dramatically!
Do you get many requests to make gifts for bridesmaids. What proves popular?
Yes – all the time! My ready-to-wear collections are popular for these. I sell a lot of my Trace and Facet rings which are sleek streamline diamond eternity rings that everyone enjoys and are timeless. I also sell my Counter necklace and bracelets a lot with hand engraved initials for the bridesmaids for a more personal touch!
Do you have a favourite bridal site/ Instagram?
Again this is tricky! The Wedding Gallery, Browns and of course all the designers themselves. Sposiamovi wedding planners, Riley and Grey for inspo and more florists than I can count. I have a small obsession with flowers (TattieRose, Fjura, Aesme, Willow Crossley, Phillippa Craddock and more!)
Do you have a favourite bridal moment from a movie?
Probably Sex and The City! When Carrie marries Big! Although perhaps that’s just because I have mega-crush on her wardrobe and S&TC is the ultimate hangover cure!
Have you had a recent bridal crush?
So many! Lady Charlotte Wellesley looked breathtaking in Emilia Wickstead, Feiping Chang in GambiattistaValli and Solange in Valentino. Too many to name!
Which bridal designers do you admire?
Emilia Wickstead, Stella McCartney, Rodarte, Erdem and Mira Zwillinger amongst a very long list!
And tell us about your ready-to-wear line…
Then, there is also the ready-to-wear angle which I also very much enjoy. The Kin and Geo collection jewellery are quite stylized. It is clean, contemporary, geometric and very design-driven. I want to get as many young women into fine jewellery as possible and make it accessible as possible to young professional women. Long gone are the days when only a man would buy you diamonds. This is the age of self-care and self-gifting. My ready-to-wear celebrates this. I endeavour to make these pieces as affordable as possible, to be as inclusive as possible.
What inspired your current ready-to-wear collection which recently launched?
I wanted to create something that had the same undercurrent as my first collection, Geo (short for geometric). However, I wanted to show growth and innovation. I toyed with the notion of jewellery being something static so I wanted to include movement in each piece. Hence Kin (short for Kinetic) was born. Most pieces have articulating, twisting, connecting pieces and can be worn in a variety of ways. They have a very tactile element to them which I enjoy.
Do you have a favourite piece from your current ready to wear collection?
I love the Blade earrings from the Geo Collection. They are light on the ear (which avoids the stretched piecing issue), they have a closed hinged fitting so they can’t come off and they make a big statement. From the Kin collection, I love the Nexus rings. The two parts twist together to create a big knuckle-duster! Perfect for covering my sausage fingers!