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Annoushka Ducas MBE
By: Diamond World News Service
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Dec 27 2016 11:43AM
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Annoushka Ducas MBE is an exceptional designer. She says she designs intuitively. Kavita Parab discovers the secrets of her design marvels and much more.

As I was looking at Annoushka Ducas’ latest Flamenco collection, the curves in the design captured my attention. The newly launched limited edition collection captures vivid sensuality of flamenco dancers.

For Flamenco, Annoushka has chosen hand-carved pink Mother of Pearl to echo the dancer’s soft skin and ruffled dress, combining with flashes of colourful fringing from her shawl as she whirls.

“Each piece is the embodiment of the dance,” says Annoushka, “finely crafted to capture the sexiness, movement and attitude of flamenco.”

Announshka has captured each and every detail of sensuous flamenco dance in the collection and there lay her speciality of giving utmost attention to detail.

“The excitement and romance of flamenco gives perspective and personality to these precious pieces”, Annoushka suggests. Making a connection with fan shapes drawn from one of her favourite periods, Art Deco, Annoushka brings a customary elegance and refinement to this lavish inspiration. The result is delicate femininity fused with innovative and original craftsmanship; the Flamenco collection presents heirloom pieces for generations to come.

Her attention to detail ensures that the Flamenco earrings perfectly enhance the jaw line, as articulated baguette diamonds extend movement and glamour to the tips of the jewels.

Meet Annoushka Ducas

Annoushka grew up in London, later studying French language and civilization at the Sorbonne. But if you ask her if she wanted to be a jewellery designer while growing up, she says “No,Growing up I had no idea what I wanted to do.” It all started with me designing my engagement ring and the journey of eponymous jewellery brand began.

Founder and creative director of her jewellery brand, Annoushka’s rendezvous with jewellery started almost 25 years ago when she created her first piece of jewellery – her engagement ring. Later she moved to Hong Kong in 80’s and began to work with local artisans, designing jewellery for herself and her friends and family. She founded her jewellery brand – Annoushka – in 2009. Three decades on, she continues this passion and exploration with Annoushka.


Inspirations
Each Announshka jewel is high on colour and creativity. Ask her about design philosophy, she says“It is very personal — I design what I like to wear,” explains Annoushka. “It must be comfortable, versatile, unfussy yet also tell a story. I love colour and am not frightened to experiment with colour in my own wardrobe. My jewellery reflects this.”

Her designs combine wearability and glamour as she believes that a piece of jewellery should become a so much part of the wearer’s personality that it never looks out of place; it should be expressive and versatile.

Her extensive travels and love for nature continue to reflect in her designs. Her creative process is prompted by curiosity and exploration. She harbours an inexhaustible enthusiasm for discovering new ideas. Her superior flair for interpreting colour, her ability to render texture, illuminate colour, lend movement and mood to jewellery is the result of spending 25 years working alongside master craftsmen plying age-old and innovative techniques at the jewellery bench.


Annoushka Collections
Inspired by her extensive travels and fuelled by a collector’s passion for the exotic and unique, Annoushka’s jewellery collection is the culmination of a lifetime’s obsession with the timeless romance and sensual magic of jewels.

Annoushka’s memories of staying with her childhood friend Isobel at home in Jerez — a vibrant Spanish city in the heart of Andalusia – were rekindled by a recent visit. A melting pot of Romany, Gypsy, Moorish and Christian traditions, Andalusia is rich with the heritage of guitar music, movement and dance. “The precise and flirtatious movements of the flamenco dancer’s fans, the sharp “snap” as they close, is what struck me first,” Annoushka recalls as we spoke about her inspiration for her latest Flamenco collection.

Travelling the world to discover extraordinary stones and inspirational production techniques, her designs exude an irreverent sense of fun juxtaposed with a timeless elegance. Each jewel is designed to be worn, to become synonymous with its owner, and Annoushka works closely with her design team to ensure that superlative craftsmanship and a spirit of modernity defines every pieceshe conceives.

“I have tried to remove the feeling of reverence that so often surrounds the whole experience of buying and wearing fine jewellery. I want our pieces to be worn every day; to encourage women to wear their huge, glamorous cocktail rings to a party, but also to dress up their jeans.”

To this end, each new piece added to the Annoushka collection is part of a carefully defined and curated narrative. This practical emphasis on an individual, relaxed style feeds through all her work from the global success of her stacking rings and pave charms, to the Annoushka ‘parure’, a modern and intensely personal suite of jewels which reflects a woman tastes and character.


Annoushka’s History
In 2012, Annoushka was awarded Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for her services to British jewelry industry, which spans three decades and began with a line of cufflinks, made for her mother’s seafood company, and wittily evoked leaping salmon. The concept, and the humour, proved the starting point of the luxury brand, Links of London, which Annoushka and her husband, entrepreneur John Ayton, founded in 1990.

Links made jewellery, principally crafted from silver and for men and women, widely available. Exemplary service and beautiful gift packaging also lent ease to the process of buying jewellery at Links. In 2006, when Annoushka and John sold the brand there were 50 Links of London stores in 25 countries.

Annoushka’s story has a strong Russian heritage; her mother was Russian and, as a young girl, she was cared for by a Russian nanny. Her family, the Provatoroffs, fled Moscow after the Russian Revolution, but her grandfather returned regularly to Moscow after the War, trading fur, grain, and horses. Annoushka’s strong sentimental attachment to Moscow, and the country’s influence on her taste and style, have given her jewellery a very particular flavour, inspired by Russian fable and fairytale, and tinged with colour and opulence. When her father died, she explains, he left her a rouble and a Russian cross that belonged to her mother and her grandmother before her, and these precious objects led her not only on a personal journey into her family history and but also towards her own jewellery collections.


Matters of Metal and Stones
Every individual piece of Announshka has been curated and crafted with a sense of freedom, fantasy and sophistication. The collections are created in 18K gold, using both precious and semi-precious stones. There are also many one-off pieces in the collection, designed to compliment individual stones with exceptional colour and character, which Annoushka has found on her travels. This relentless pursuit of the finest stones and craftsmanship, married with an astute sense of narrative, underpins Annoushka’s design, resulting in collections that exude personality and romance.

For her Flamenco collection, Annoushka chose hand-carved pink Mother of Pearl. Framed by diamonds that capture and reflect light as they move, the Mother of Pearl is showcased in 18K gold and highlighted with black rhodium, conveying Annoushka’s signature sense of vintage glamour.


Annoushka Ducas MBE
Annoushka’s passion and eye for originality has led her to work alongside a small number of handpicked guest designers, mentoring them and helping them build their collections. These collaborations enable Annoushka to share her excitement at new talent and inspirational techniques with her clients, expanding their jewellery horizons, and resulting in some extraordinary one off pieces.

This kind of support for fellow jewellers is unique, and typical of Annoushka’s passionate contribution to the wider landscape of British contemporary jewellery, which saw her awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for her services to the industry.

Annoushka is an expression of her personal style and approach to wearing jewellery, a welldefined point of view, formulated through her years as a jewellery devotee, businesswoman and working mother, and one which reflects her own background, experiences, tastes and travels.

Annoushka has an instinctive understanding of the zeitgeist, the needs of the market and dreams and desires of the client, and is dedicated to continual innovation and ingenuity from design and manufacture, through to marketing, packaging and communications. During the 1990s, Annoushka’s work was widely recognised and rewarded with various awards and accolades; amongst others she was winner of several prestigious jewellery industry awards, including Jewellery Designer of the Year, Gift Designer of the Year, Brand of the Year (twice), and she was short-listed for the Veuve Cliquot Businesswoman of the Year. She has taken an active role in searching out and nurturing young creative talent, instigating and overseeing a very successful annual jewellery design project with students at Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design. Annoushka and John live in Chichester, Sussex and in London, with their four children, Marina, Oliver, Chloe and Oscar.

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