Encouraging the British spirit of positivity, hope and resilience through the enjoyment of fine jewellery, Annoushka is a brand that comes from the heart with great emotional intelligence, humour and charm. Founder Annoushka Ducas’ designs, loved by British royals and celebrities, are tactile, playful, creative and encouraging of self-expression. It’s a brand that never delivers a dull moment, such is the richness of innovation that flows from its London studio.
Like the rest of the world, Annoushka was forced to adapt to the circumstances of 2020, using technologies such as the in-store virtual shopping app Hero to facilitate a quick pivot. Activities on Whatsapp and WeChat were increased, winning over customers who had never shopped digitally before. Annoushka herself wrote blog posts and filmed short, personal videos – enabling the brand to become a friend at a time when people were seeking deeper connection. In the spirit of pulling together, a percentage of sales over the summer was contributed to the local St George’s Hospital, generating over £10,000.
During this period, the brand guided many customers towards its talismanic charms – symbols of hope, protection and love – to channel the ancient power of precious gemstones at a time when they were separated from their loved ones. The Charm of Hope competition encouraged followers to design their own talisman, and the team was bowled over by the beauty, innovation and elegance of the ideas – making the winning design in 18ct gold and sapphire.
Earlier in the year, Annoushka had launched Marguerite – its first white gold and white diamond collection. Inspired by the British countryside in summer and featuring a whimsical wildflower motif, this informal collection resonated well with customers, and will be developed in the future.
In September Annoushka Ducas took part in London Design Festival 2020, hosting a virtual talk about charms, their role in art and collectables, how they fit into her own life, and why they remain desirable. The brand uses 18ct gold to craft these tiny pieces of art, and by not diluting the metal through plating techniques, it is endlessly recyclable and a more sustainable choice than gold vermeil (plate).
Last year also saw the launch of the brand’s bespoke design service. My Life in Seven Charms invites clients to interact directly with Annoushka to design seven precious miniatures that encapsulate special memories and milestones: an ‘18ct gold biography’. To accompany this came Annoushka’s podcast distilling the lives of its guests into seven incredible miniature charms, starting with Princess Margaret’s former lady-in-waiting and bestselling author Lady Anne Glenconner. British Vogue’s longest-serving editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman and fashion consultant Caroline Issa were also featured in the first season.
The final success of 2020 was The Brilliant Breakfast charity fundraiser, launched with The Princes Trust’s Women Supporting Women campaign. Annoushka explains: ‘Against all odds, we raised over £300,000. Little did I know when I first proposed this idea how pertinent the fundraising and awareness would be, with the effects of coronavirus impacting deprived young women harder than most. Some people thought we were mad, but the global challenges only made us more determined.’