By Charlie Byrne
Just a short stroll from the usual haunts of any jewellery doyenne in London’s Mayfair, around the corner from New Bond Street’s world famous jewellery boutiques, is a not-to-be-overlooked little hot spot of preciousness.
Mount Street, which meets with Carlos Place, is best known for its high fashion stores – Jenny Packham, Lanvin and Oscar de la Renta all occupy its ornate red brick buildings – but the street is also peppered with fine jewellers and watchmakers. We suggest you take a meander along the elegant pavements, lined with curly lamp posts, to explore the treasures contained within.
Should you need somewhere for a refreshing pit-stop, pop into The Connaught, one of London’s oldest hotels and winner of the Tea Guild’s award of excellence 2013, for a spot of afternoon tea.
Jessica McCormack, 7 Carlos Place, London, W1K 3AR
When Jessica McCormack opened her Carlos Place store in June this year, she wanted it to feel like an intimate salon – a home from home. Having trained in Sotheby’s jewellery rooms and being the daughter of an auction house owner, McCormack is a magpie for objets d’art, trinkets and serious works of art. Wandering around her store is like discovering an old curiosity shop, only with more glamorous interiors and lashings of diamonds. The ‘House’, as she calls it, contains a piano that plays itself and a small library – the perfect setting to discover her bespoke jewels, which feel like modern-day antiques.
Parmigiani Fleurier, 97 Mount Street, London, W1K 2TD
Despite only being founded in 1996 and therefore being one of the youngest Swiss watch brands, Parmigiani Fleurier offers traditional watchmaking excellence on Mount Street. Founder Michel Parmigiani’s expertise in watch restoration gave him an intricate understanding of watchmaking and allowed the brand to create innovative timepieces. If you are looking to purchase a watch that will remind you of your shopping trip, the Kalpa Steel Abyss London Underground (which celebrates the 150th anniversary of London’s tube system) should be top of your list.
Solange Azagury-Partridge, 5 Carlos Place, London W1K 3AP
Perusing Solange Azagury-Partridge’s store, perched opposite Roland Mouret’s boutique, is an almost spiritual experience. Partridge’s heady mix of rich-toned gemstones and magic symbolism (she uses everything from solar systems to the seven deadly sins to inspire her work) gives her pieces intriguing personality. Don’t get so wrapped up in the jewellery that you miss the ‘objets’ that Partridge also dreams up – there’s a whole array of intriguing sculptures that make it hard to believe that this designer’s career began by the simple process of her creating her own engagement ring in 1987.
Stephen Webster, 93 Mount Street, London W1K 2SY
The most successful fine jewellers and the most interesting stores to explore are always those that have their own unique style and go to town on it. Stephen Webster found his niche early on in his now 37-year-long career – he is the king of cool jewellery. From Kate Moss to Madonna to Beyonce, Webster has created fine jewels for fashion and music royalty. Whether it’s skulls, gothic butterflies, circling serpents or grasping claws, Webster’s designs are finely crafted and delicately executed in precious metals and gemstones, but always boast his signature haunting aesthetic.
William & Son, 10 Mount Street, Mayfair, London W1K 2TY
William & Son opened in 1999 and has been collecting and creating luxury items for its customers ever since, from silverware and jewellery to watches and clocks. Outstanding jewels include a marquise amethyst and pavé sapphire ring, and the London collection – a range of white gold and faceted spinel tasselled pieces. Gents can pick up a pair of tourbillon cufflinks or admire watches by the big boys in fine watchmaking, including Breguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Piaget.
Bremont, 29 South Audley Street, London W1K 2PE
Bremont opened its Mayfair store in 2012 and it quickly become an attraction in its own right. Each month Bremont hosts ‘Adventurers Club’ meetings, where a Bremont ambassador regales guests with tales of exploration. Those in the ‘Bremont Owners club’ can relax in the store’s bar, but if you’re not yet part of the gang, you can still enjoy the interiors, which celebrate the spirit of adventure, including a full-sized motorbike. If the store itself isn’t impressive enough, the watches speak for themselves. The limited-edition ‘Codebreaker’ watch is a recent triumph – its rotor includes a piece of an original code deciphering Enigma machine.
The new Bremont Codebreaker limited-edition men’s watch.
Jessica McCormack New York Reflection diamond ring, which depicts the famous city skyline.
Parmigiani’s Kalpa Steel Abyss London Underground watch, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the tube system.
Parmigiani’s new Pershing Tourbillon Abyss watch.
Solange Azagury-Partridge Bluebell fluted drop earrings, set with graduated diamonds and diamond beads in blackened white gold.
Solange Azagury-Partridge Old-Fashioned Diamond necklace (£POA).
Stephen Webster ‘Fly By Night’ Couture earrings set in rose gold, with rubies and black and white diamonds.
Stephen Webster ‘Fly By Night’ Couture long finger ring set in rose gold, with rubies and black and white diamonds.
The London Collection rose gold Tassel and Chain by William & Son.
The London Collection white gold earrings by William & Son.
Parmigiani’s new atelier in Mayfair opened in early 2013.
Since the 2012 opening of Bremont’s store on South Audley Street, which cuts across Mount Street, it has quickly become an attraction in its own right.