“Sometimes in life, what’s meant to be will be. If you’ve got good energy then good things will come.” Glenn Spiro philosophy is a celebration of nice vibes and optimism. And it was this romantic vision of life that led Spiro to open a private atelier in fashion designer Sir Norman Hartnell’s former salon in the heart of Mayfair. The spectacular Norman Hartnell’s former atelier is now a jewellery boutique with some of the rarest and expensive diamonds in the world! Discover this amazing jewellery boutique with Design Limited Edition!
He first came across the space, with its celebrated interiors, as a teenager, while working for English Art Works, the Cartier-owned jewellery workshop. “I was about 16 and I had to accompany a client to a Hartnell show. I sat here and thought it was so beautiful.”
The majestic salon occupies the first floor of a Georgian mansion and was the setting for Hartnell’s couture shows from 1934 until after his death in 1979. The royal family’s couturier, Hartnell designed Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding dress and Coronation gown, but his atelier served as a reminder of his innovative beginnings, Hollywood stars and dressing socialites.
Designed in the 1930s by architect Gerald Lacoste, the atelier’s mirror-lined walls and faceted glass chimneypiece were considered so architecturally important that when Hartnell closed its doors, English Heritage prevented the space being stripped for offices.
Then along came Glenn Spiro. Required to move out of his existing atelier on nearby Grafton Street when the lease was up, Spiro, 53, noticed that the lights in the splendid salon he’d visited decades earlier were never on. He “made a couple of calls” and hey, presto, his new home was secured. “You can spend ages looking for something, then suddenly you go, ‘what about up there?’” he says. “I just thought, that’s mine. I never had a minute to think I wouldn’t get it.”
He commissioned Korner Interiors to completely refurbish the 278-square-metre atelier, retaining the iconic Hartnell mirrors, restoring the original early 20th-century chandeliers and filling it with an eclectic combination of vintage, mid-century and modern art and furniture. A 1952 Florence Knoll Daybed sofa sits in the drawing room, where modern art by Ai Weiwei and Rubelli features alongside boldly upholstered Marco Zanuso chairs. “It’s a properly nice space,” he says by way of understatement. “It’s very special, it has good energy.”
This is also an apt way to sum up Spiro’s jewels, for want of a uniting aesthetic thread. A Burmese ruby floats atop a ring of ruby-pavé purple titanium, flanked by two sizeable pear-cut diamonds; a 66-carat blue star sapphire sits in a bracelet of carved white jade, from which snakes a tangle of sapphire beads. They’re one-off in the truest sense of the word – it would be almost impossible to amass an identical collection of tiny Burmese rubies to form that pavé.
“I’ve had parcels of tiny rubies for 20 years, picked out from vintage jewellery. At the time you think, what a waste of money,” Spiro says. “At times I was nearly broke buying those stones, but then you sit here today and look at the colour… you can’t find those rubies now. It’s sensational.”
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Born in east London to a family of modest means, Spiro left school at 15 and joined English Art Works, where he learned the art of jewellery making. After a stint as a goldsmith in Hatton Garden, he opened a workshop in Farringdon, east London, “on a shoestring” at the age of 21. His eye for exquisite stones and design nous – not to mention a gift of the gab – garnered him a reputation that soon led the international jewellery super-brands to his door.
For the past 25 years, the grandes dames of the jewellery world have purchased extravagant couture creations from the house of Glenn Spiro, designed by Spiro and his team, manufactured in his Geneva workshop and sold under various celebrated brand names that he is too discreet to disclose. It was only a matter of time before clients began to go directly to the source. The obvious choice would have been to capitalise on his talent and customer base, and open stores left, right and centre. But that’s not Spiro.
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Instead, he remains resolutely under the radar, operating with the same discretion that has seen Parisian jeweller JAR gain almost-mythical status. You won’t see his jewels draped over stars on the red carpet; but you will see them in Harrods. In 2014 Spiro launched his label, G London, in the store’s prestigious fine jewellery room. There, his few ‘signature’ designs – a line of titanium engagement rings, gem-strewn butterflies, and rings that twist to reveal sizeable stones – rub shoulders with the brands that have sold Spiro’s work under their own names.
Despite the technological advances in his jewellery, Spiro and his team remain true to traditional principles of craftsmanship and service. Fittingly, given his new home, Spiro compares the high jewellery business to that of couture. “The excitement when you went to buy a couture dress – ‘I’m going to see Mr De La Renta’ – I think that’s quite charming. For our customers, the service and principle are the same.”
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“There are only three or four houses in the world that do what we do, and we are the only one in London. People should know that in England we have Ralph and Russo, a phenomenal couture house with real talent, and we do something very special here too. But it’s tucked away, as it should be. The things we find are hidden gems and hopefully people think of us in the same way.” The new jewellery boutique is more than a jewellery house. It is another perfect place for luxury lovers!
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Source: The Telegraph | Luxury