Jewellery designer, creative director and entrepreneur, Annoushka Ducas MBE, is one of Britain’s leading figures in the world of fine jewellery, designing and creating for over 25 years.
She founded Links of London with her husband John Ayton in 1990 and ran it while raising four small children. After she sold the company, Annoushka wanted to take time out to spend time with her family but in 2009, after only 18 months, her eponymous fine jewellery brand Annoushka was born. Half-Russian, Annoushka grew up in London, studied at the Sorbonne and travelled the world, spending time in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
It was in Hong Kong that she first started designing jewellery and met her husband: her art-deco inspired engagement ring was one of her first designs.
She has recently opened her first boutique in Hong Kong, a personally meaningful addition to her existing shops in London’s Cadogan Gardens and South Molton Street. Inspired by her extensive travels and fuelled by a collector’s passion for the exotic, Annoushka’s designs are the culmination of a lifetime’s obsession with the timeless romance and sensual magic of jewels. Her rich Russian heritage is also a strong influence. ‘I love colour and am not frightened to experiment with it in my own wardrobe,’ Annoushka explains. ‘My jewellery reflects this.’
Annoushka believes that there should be no boundaries to wearing diamonds with jeans, and that each item should be timelessly elegant, an expression of one’s identity. She focuses on luxurious jewels, with each piece suitable for both formal and informal occasions. Her philosophy is that a piece of jewellery should have meaning, represent a memory, a pivotal life moment, or be a significant object of art passed down through generations. ‘It is very personal – I design what I like to wear,’ explains Annoushka. ‘It must be comfortable, versatile, unfussy and yet also tell a story.’
As impressive as she is inspiring, Annoushka is an advocate of supporting and mentoring women in business: she runs a series of events called ‘Inspirational Women’ that celebrates brilliant and accomplished females across a spectrum of industries.
She wants her designs to encourage women to celebrate their individuality and experiment with their personal style. ‘I have tried to remove the feeling of reverence that so often surrounds the whole experience of buying and wearing fine jewellery,’ Annoushka explains. Nearly 80 per cent of her clients are women buying for themselves. These include everyone from the Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Rania of Jordan to Gigi Hadid and Rihanna. Annoushka’s contribution to British contemporary jewellery was acknowledged when she was awarded an MBE by The Queen for her services to the industry. Her enduring success is built on an instinctive understanding of the zeitgeist, the needs of the market, the dreams and desires of her clients, and her dedication to continual innovation and ingenuity, from design and manufacture to marketing, packaging and communications. ‘I absolutely love what I do,’ she says. ‘It doesn’t really feel like going to work.’ An ethos that literally shines from her creations.
ANNOUSHKA 41CADOGAN GARDENS, LONDON SW3 2TB +44 (0)800 138 1659