In Conversation with Guy Burton

From unique pieces of the past to exclusive vintage diamond engagement rings. In the words of Guy Burton, at Hancocks, the historical jeweler’s in London’s luxury Mayfair district, you can buy things that you couldn’t find anywhere else


  • Guy Burton, Manager of Hancocks

    Guy Burton, Manager of Hancocks


We are the oldest family of jewelers in London
The iconic architecture of the early nineteenth century, a solemn yet luxurious air, no rowdiness, no misconduct but then, of course, there are the Beadles, uniformed guards in top hats. We are in Burlington Arcade, one of the most refined shopping arcades in London, located in the heart of exclusive Mayfair, not far from Piccadilly Circus. Here, in the long corridor with its high ceilings and elegant shop windows, is Hancocks, historical jeweler’s since 1849, now managed by the Burton family, who purchased the business in 1992. «We are the oldest family of jewelers in London. We immediately received the Royal Warrant of Appointment from Queen Victoria and were then entrusted with creating the Victoria Cross medal, which we are extremely proud to still produce today.» These enthusiastic words come from Guy Burton, Manager of the boutique and expert in rare vintage diamonds. His leadership has brought a breath of fresh air to the service offered by Hancocks without, however, undermining traditional methods. «The pieces we produce are handmade by London craftsmen. We are continually evolving to meet the needs of our customers while still maintaining the service standards that Hancocks has been offering for over 160 years.» And there can be no doubt about that when admiring some of the jewelry on sale in the boutique, items that are not just unique in their manufacture, but also in the stories they have to tell. Like the antique pear-cut pendant reminiscent of the Great Star of Africa (Cullinan I), part of the British Crown Jewels. The item was crafted by Black, Starr & Frost, one of the most famous American brands in the last century, to whom Marilyn Monroe referred in the 1953 film ‘Gentlemen prefer blondes’, when she sang ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’. The Art Nouveau bracelet in gold and enamel is, on the other hand «a rare jewel that shows artisan skill and ability, made by Carreras, a historical Spanish brand founded around 1785». But while the past  ‘shines forth’, the contemporary items are just as brilliant. One only has to look at the bracelet in the Disorient collection by Amy Burton (Guy’s sister). «I think her skilful craftsmanship and passion for gemology led her to uncover this incredible 123 ct amethyst,» Guy says. Or the Asscher-cut ring, «an example of a vintage-cut diamond, set with sapphires, that incarnates the ethos of rings that I am trying to create: handcrafted yet incredibly elegant.»The iconic architecture of the early nineteenth century, a solemn yet luxurious air, no rowdiness, no misconduct but then, of course, there are the Beadles, uniformed guards in top hats. We are in Burlington Arcade, one of the most refined shopping arcades in London, located in the heart of exclusive Mayfair, not far from Piccadilly Circus. Here, in the long corridor with its high ceilings and elegant shop windows, is Hancocks, historical jeweler’s since 1849, now managed by the Burton family, who purchased the business in 1992. «We are the oldest family of jewelers in London. We immediately received the Royal Warrant of Appointment from Queen Victoria and were then entrusted with creating the Victoria Cross medal, which we are extremely proud to still produce today.» These enthusiastic words come from Guy Burton, Manager of the boutique and expert in rare vintage diamonds. His leadership has brought a breath of fresh air to the service offered by Hancocks without, however, undermining traditional methods.

  • An old image of Hancocks stand at an exhibition in Vienna (1873)

    An old image of Hancocks stand at an exhibition in Vienna (1873)

We are continually evolving to meet the needs of our customers
«The pieces we produce are handmade by London craftsmen. We are continually evolving to meet the needs of our customers while still maintaining the service standards that Hancocks has been offering for over 160 years.» And there can be no doubt about that when admiring some of the jewelry on sale in the boutique, items that are not just unique in their manufacture, but also in the stories they have to tell. Like the antique pear-cut pendant reminiscent of the Great Star of Africa (Cullinan I), part of the British Crown Jewels. The item was crafted by Black, Starr & Frost, one of the most famous American brands in the last century, to whom Marilyn Monroe referred in the 1953 film ‘Gentlemen prefer blondes’, when she sang ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’. The Art Nouveau bracelet in gold and enamel is, on the other hand «a rare jewel that shows artisan skill and ability, made by Carreras, a historical Spanish brand founded around 1785». But while the past  ‘shines forth’, the contemporary items are just as brilliant. One only has to look at the bracelet in the Disorient collection by Amy Burton (Guy’s sister). «I think her skilful craftsmanship and passion for gemology led her to uncover this incredible 123 ct amethyst,» Guy says. Or the Asscher-cut ring, «an example of a vintage-cut diamond, set with sapphires, that incarnates the ethos of rings that I am trying to create: handcrafted yet incredibly elegant.»

  • Pear shape diamond and platinum pendant, Black, Starr & Frost (c.1910)

    Pear shape diamond and platinum pendant, Black, Starr & Frost (c.1910)

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