A couple of weeks ago I visited the Astley Clarke showroom in London to personally discover their amazing collection of jewellery. Astley Clarke was founded by Bec Astley Clarke in 2006 and started out as an online-only retailer stocking multiple jewellery labels. Today, Astley Clarke has its own very successful collections on top of stocking some of the most wonderful designers of the moment, not just online, but with its own boutique and concessions in Selfridges, Harrods and Liberty.
The beauty of the Astley Clarke collection is that it ranges from accessible and affordable pieces like the colourful friendship bracelets and rings, to the most exquisite Fine Jewellery – there’s something there for everyone. A lot of the pieces are created with stacking in mind; the more, the merrier! I dare you not to go crazy on the Ring Stacker or Charm Builder (god knows I have). Inspired by the success of the company, I spoke to Bec Astley Clarke about her inspirations, goals and advice to budding jewellers…
Hi there, who are you?
Bec Astley Clarke, Founder and Managing Director of Astley Clarke.
How did you get into the jewellery business?
My background is in e-commerce – I was Commercial Director at iVillage.co.uk followed by Head of Non-Retail Strategy at Tesco.com until I launched Astley Clarke in 2006. My vision was and still is to create a Luxury Jewellery Brand with ecommerce at its heart, celebrating design and craftsmanship in Fine Jewellery. I recognised a gap in the market between Bond Street and The High Street for design-lead Fine Jewellery. Additionally, I saw that big luxury jewellery brands were slow to move online and really own the space. Paired with my background in e-commerce and a love for fine jewellery I decided to launch Astley Clarke. Whilst the business started as a multi-brand jewellery E-tailer housing the very finest edit of international, designer jewellery, in 2009 we opened a Design Studio in London and started to invest in creating our own collections.
What Inspires you?
Beautiful design – whether it is furniture, clothes or jewellery.
Who is the Astley Clarke woman?
She is a highly educated, smart, professional woman with an appreciation for exquisite design and sumptuous gemstones.
Where would you like to see Astley Clarke in 5 years’ time?
Offline I would like us to have concessions in Bergdorfs, Lane Crawford and Isetan. Online I would like us to have a Chinese website; a European website and a Middle Eastern website. My vision is for us to be a global luxury jewellery brand.
What is the one item every woman should have in their wardrobe?
Jewellery of course!
For me the perfect jewellery box has to contain a pair of fabulous earrings; a show-stopping cocktail ring; and a selection of delicate pendants – all must be real – gold, silver and an array of coloured gemstones.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Is there anyone you would love to see wearing your pieces?
Charlotte Rampling, Gwyneth Paltrow and Her Majesty the Queen. They all embody the Astley Clarke woman, just in different ways.
If there was a soundtrack to your life, what would be playing right now?
Any David Bowie track – I am obsessed.
Do you have any advice for young jewellers starting out?
Don’t be afraid to challenge the pre-conceptions when it comes to Fine Jewellery Design and celebrate coloured gemstones in your work.
Shop some of my favourite Astley Clarke pieces right here: