If you’ve seen to see the latest Bond film, Skyfall, you might have noticed the gorgeous dove grey pearl jewellery that Dame Judi Dench, aka M, wears throughout. It was designed by Dower & Hall, and we were lucky enough to pin down one half of the design duo, Diane Hall. Besides Bond, we talked travel, hard work and Christmas wish lists…
What's your background - how did you get into jewellery?
Dan [Dower] and I both studied at Middlesex and both have a degree in jewellery design.
When did the idea for Dower & Hall come about?
It was not really an idea to set up a company as such - our idea was to make gorgeous jewellery, and it evolved from there. We needed to be creative and had a strong desire to make jewellery. It's very satisfying to make an actual product and the buzz you get from seeing customers wearing our creations would be very hard to replicate in a different job.
How did you make the leap and make it happen?
It just all seem to progress quite organically…and quickly at that. We had to sell things to be able to afford to make more. We were incredibly lucky to get some great wholesale customers early on. They wanted to sell our work and were very encouraging, and without them we would not have succeeded. Some of them still remain very loyal today… all these years on.
What are you most proud of?
My opinions on this change daily as different things happen all the time. Currently we are putting a lot of effort into our website so I am very proud of how it is coming along. We recently went to see the new Bond movie Skyfall, where M, played by Dame Judi Dench, wears our dove grey pearl jewellery. This was incredibly exciting, especially as the jewellery appears so many times on the screen. We have now had jewellery featured in three Bond movies, which is fantastic, but it was so much more exciting this time around as for one, we are huge fans of Dame Judi, and two, because M is a main character and pivotal to the plot and in our opinion, the best Bond movie so far.
What's the best part of your job?
Travelling to other countries both to visit our international stockists and to buy stones and pearls. We have had some wonderful trips to Japan in particular. It is very inspirational to work in another country.
What's your favourite of your own products?
Everything we make that features pearls. I am mad about pearls as they go with everything and are so easy to wear. I believe they are the ultimate in luxury when it comes to jewellery (apart from diamonds of course) I particularly love pearl necklaces and earrings, because pearls attract light and give a lovely warm glow to your face. This season we have our new Jewel Collection which is all about colourful stones, with selected designs being paired with freshwater nugget pearls, for a timeless look full of character.
What advice would you give to an aspiring jewellery designer?
I’d want to let them know that it is extremely hard to set up in business as there is so much to do and learn. We were fortunate enough to receive a Princes Trust business loan (interest rates were extremely high back when we started and a fax machine alone could cost around £2,000!). You have to be prepared to work 24/7 and even now, 22 years later, we cannot stop.
What trends are you predicting for 2013?
We are focusing on engagement and precious rings for next year, so for us diamonds and platinum will be big. People are very worried about the economy so investing in something you will treasure and wear every day is ideal. Our designs are simple, sculptural and elegant. We are now also fortunate enough to be able to offer better value diamonds following a collaboration with a new diamond supplier, so now our customers can spend more of their budget on the ring itself and also have the option of a bespoke design.
What's on your Christmas wish list this year?
I have had my current engagement ring for 10 years now, so I am hoping for one of our new Halo rings in platinum with white diamonds. I can’t wait!
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Katie Treggiden, Guest Editor
View all posts by Katie Treggiden, Guest Editor