November 13, 2023

[Interview with Annoushka Ducas] The beloved British jewelry brand of Kate Middleton and Rihanna, revealing the extraordinary meaning behind its works.

“For me, jewelry design is a very personal matter – I design things that I like to wear. It must be comfortable, versatile, and not overly complicated, but it must also be able to tell a story. I love colors and I’m not afraid to try different colors in my own wardrobe, and my jewelry reflects that.” – Annoushka

Having a conversation with Annoushka Ducas inside the boutique at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, it was evident that she has a deep passion for jewelry design, as we talked for hours.

This name may not be familiar to many people, but Annoushka has gained the favor of the Duchess of Cambridge, the supermodel Gigi Hadid, and even the music icon Rihanna. In photos, we always see them wearing Annoushka jewelry. It is so understated yet loved by everyone, there must be various reasons behind it.

Kate Middleton wearing Annoushka earrings.

Rihanna has the most unique custom collection from Annoushka called “My Life in 7 Charms”.

My Life in 7 Charms – Treasure Box

Unique and exotic, that’s the feeling Annoushka gives. The brand’s founder and designer, Annoushka Ducas, was born in Moscow, raised in London, and later studied French language and civilization at the Sorbonne University in Paris. In the late 80s, she moved to Hong Kong and began collaborating with local craftsmen to design jewelry for herself, friends, and family. Annoushka has been awarded the Order of the British Empire by the Queen of England. She also previously founded another accessories brand, Links of London, which she sold to the Greek fashion group Folli Follie in 2006. Thirty years later, she still maintains her passion for jewelry design and a spirit of exploration, incorporating inspiration from her rich travel experiences into the brand.

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  • “I try to eliminate the sense of reverence that comes with buying and wearing high-end jewelry. I want my pieces to be suitable for everyday wear; allowing women to wear glamorous oversized statement rings to parties, while also being able to pair them with jeans in their everyday outfits.”

    So, each new addition to the Annoushka collection interprets different personalities and stories. This emphasis on personal style runs through all of her works, from her globally successful stacked rings and delicate figurative pendants, to Annoushka’s “Treasure Box”: a set of jewelry that fully reflects taste and personality, and is highly individual. For her, accessories represent a relationship, a memorable moment, or even a meaning that only she knows. Accessories that she likes are more like a best friend, who can always be by her side and protect her.

    Perhaps because of this, Annoushka has a more human and lively feeling. The designs range from elegant to playful, and unlike other high-end jewelry that heavily uses white diamonds, Annoushka uses various materials. Many of their collections emphasize the ability to mix and match, and almost every charm has its unique mechanism. Cameras can open their lids, bears’ hands and feet can move, and there are even cars with opening doors, all of which make you marvel at the exquisite craftsmanship. Recently, ZTYLEZ had the privilege of having a conversation with Annoushka Duncas, discussing her experiences and stories in jewelry design.

    Z: Can you share with us some special collaboration experiences in your design career? How have these experiences influenced your work and philosophy?

    A: I once collaborated with a fashion brand called Vampire’s Wife, formed by Susie Cave and Nick Cave, who are actually a couple and also a band. I created a series of charms that were all inspired by their songs! What made it so memorable was that it was actually my first jewelry collection collaborating with another entity. One of the challenging aspects was that you had to respect the opinions of your partner. For example, I was familiar with jewelry design, and Susie had her own vision for how the jewelry should look, but she might not understand the jewelry-making process. It was a very respectful partnership, and I learned a lot from it, and I was also able to showcase my work to a different audience.

    Z: How would you describe your pursuit of aesthetics and the brand’s visual concept?

    A: The aesthetics I am passionate about are different in every period. In some collections, it can be simple and polished, but in another collection, it can have various textures and details. Sometimes it can be sweet and colorful. There are different variations at different times, depending on what inspires me at that moment. Of course, there are also things that I am fond of, such as fun and versatile items. For example, this brooch can be transformed into a necklace, and rings can be stacked. This playful and multi-purpose transformation is very important to me. When I wear a piece of jewelry, it must be practical. When I design jewelry, I always consider how I will wear it.

    Z: What gives you the most inspiration?

    A: Nature! It’s always a big thing for me. Traveling, I love exploring different countries, and any city I find myself in can inspire me. My creations also come from a curiosity for new things and an endless passion for new ideas. I also firmly believe that jewelry knows no boundaries. I don’t specifically create things that are on trend because jewelry itself should transcend trends. When you have stunning jewelry, simple clothing can complete your look.

    Z: Can you share a customer story with us that you have a deep relationship with?

    A: So many! Let me think… Oh, Rihanna and her husband ASAP Rocky came to my store, and he personally picked out each meaningful charm to give to Rihanna when she was pregnant. They all have significance and a story behind them, like a mermaid, a mushroom, and a blue bird. The most interesting part is that you can’t help but get invested in other people’s stories and find how meaningful their story is! It’s like how we wear jewelry and pass it down to the next generation; it has a powerful energy at its core. I believe jewelry can communicate with the wearer, and I’m honored that my designs can be a part of their life story.

    Z: What are your favorite materials to use when designing jewelry?

    A: Perhaps everyone likes shiny things. Uncommon black diamonds, pink diamonds, yellow diamonds, and the “Dusty Diamond” series are all our favorites. The brilliance may not be as high as regular diamonds, but the more you look at them, the more they have depth and flavor. There’s no need to show off, those who appreciate them naturally understand. When designing, I didn’t have any grand concepts in mind. I let my creativity run wild in a casual way, without too many constraints. I hope that women who wear them can feel this sense of freedom.

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