Theo Fennell on Jewelry in the Age of Big Brands

When Theo Fennell launched his eponymous company in 1982, there were very few jewelry brands on the market and but one Tiffany’s shop in the world.

Where 9-carat gold and conservative jewelry was the norm, Theo Fennell arrived on the scene with 18 carat pieces, jewel incrusted skulls and dazzling colored stones.

With very little business experience and a background in portraiture, Fennell’s designs were brave, exquisitely crafted and unlike anything else around.

Fast-forward 33 years and the market looks entirely different; artisan jewelers have been ousted by behemoth brands and mass manufacturing sees the production of identical pieces the world over.

The designer spoke to Elite Traveler’s Alanna Lawson about the artistry that sets his company apart today, what it was like starting out and the future of Theo Fennell.