Astley Clarke, a digital pioneer

Astley Clarke, a digital pioneer

A futuristic approach to the market and a lot of research. The key strategies with which the British designer changes the face of online jewelry

This British designer invested in e-commerce long before anyone else in the jewelry environment. Today her eponymous brand, a byword for accessible luxury, is one of the best-sellers at Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty. Bec Astley Clarke MBE, founder of Astley Clarke, answered our questions and gave us an insight into the background to her ‘virtual success’.

Can you tell us about your professional beginnings, before you founded Astley Clarke?

My background has its roots in e-commerce; I was sales Manager for iVillage. and then Head of Non-Retail Strategy for, until 2006 when I launched Astley Clarke. My vision is, and Astley Clarke A digital pioneer 183 conta minat ions | the talk has always been, to create a good jewelry brand with e-commerce at its heart and which celebrated craftsmanship and design. I noticed that there was a huge gap in London jewelry between Bond Street and the High Street, I also noticed that the big brands were slow to get themselves space online and within e-commerce. So, I combined my professional experience with my love of jewelry and founded my own brand. We launched the company as an e-commerce multibrand with a selection of fine, international designers; then in 2009 we opened our own design studio in London and started to invest in the creation of our own collections.


Do you consider yourself to be a pioneer of e-commerce?

A lot of people thought it would be impossible to sell jewelry online, including the big established names and potential investors, but we proved them all wrong. We challenged the preconceptions regarding e-commerce and showed how it was possible to sell jewelry online, whilst preserving the experience of luxury shopping. Furthermore we successfully made the transition from multi-brand retailer to jewelry brand . How do you visualize the Astley Clarke woman? A highly-educated woman, intelligent and professional with a taste for fine design and sumptuous stones.

astleyclarke3What inspires your creations the most?

Design in all its forms: from furniture to clothes and jewelry.

Can you tell us something about your design studio and the creative process at Astley Clarke?

Our fantastic creative director Lorna Watson designs all the pieces at our London design studio, assisted by her team of qualified designers. They are very much involved with the whole process, from the inspiration, to the design and creation. I am constantly at our design studio with Lorna, we have long brainstorming sessions where we come up with new ideas and directions for our collections. Lorna and I find inspiration in travel, nature, culure, art, personal archives and our life in London. These influences can be seen in all our collections, from our best-seller, the Astley medallion inspired by the one my grandmother always used to wear, to the Biography collection, named after the Rakhi Indian festival, which Lorna took part in during one of her trips to India.

astleyclarke4Can you tell us which of your collections has been the most successful?

We have a number of collections which embrace the contemporary 18-carat gold plate, and others that lean more toward fashion and 14-carat gold, they are equally successful. However, if I had to choose the winning collection for 2015 then it would have to be Biography – a contemporary collection composed of friendship bracelets made of a myriad of colored stones and charms – and our Icon collection – in which a classic silhouette is elegantly juxtaposed with intricate diamonds.

Which gems are you attracted to at the moment and why?

At the moment I love anything blue, particularly tanzanite and diamonds, we have launched a collection of blue diamonds for Christmas and I’m totally in love with it. Tourmaline, paraiba, kunzite, Rose de France amethyst and topaz are my absolute favorite stones.

What is your most precious object?

My collection of personal jewelry, containing lots of pieces with precious stones handed down to me by my mother and grandmother. And then my engagement ring is very close to my heart, it is a big gold piece created by Carla Amorim.


Share this article:

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Your browser is out of date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now