Meet our co-founder Simon, the other ‘W’, who established London based W&W Jewellery in 2007 with his brother, Richard.
Simon’s family has a rich heritage in the London jewellery trade, he and Richard are the third generation of Warrenders working as jewellers. Simon’s background has provided him with a deep insight into how the industry works and wide-ranging experience across its many facets. Founding W&W Jewellery with Richard was the culmination of years of hard work, learning and a shared desire to create their own brand of unique, bespoke jewellery.
Here, Simon tells us about the tears and joy behind his favourite commission, what makes a good jeweller and explains how W&W could step in if The Ashes urn ever went missing…
What experience do you have in the jewellery industry?
Jewellery has been a part of our family ever since I can remember. Plenty of school holidays were spent hanging out at our family shop. Then, when my brother and I grew a little older, and more inquisitive, we started to help out with any tasks our father needed assistance with.
Once we’d proved ourselves, we progressed to serving customers on the shop floor, helping to cover staff holidays, or taking the pressure off during the Christmas rush.
I have worked full-time in the London jewellery industry since 2003, initially alongside my father in our family shop. This progressed into managing the shop with my brother, which we still do, and us establishing W&W Jewellery in 2008.
Over the last 16 years, I have seen a huge variety of jewellery and gained a vast amount of knowledge, but I’m always learning new things and seeing different jewellery and gemstones. The constant novelty is one of the great things about this trade.
What’s a typical day like for you?
My main focus is liaising with clients and working on the various projects they commission. This includes sourcing diamonds and gemstones and working with our goldsmiths to deliver exceptional jewellery.
I also oversee all the financial work behind the scenes and deal with HR matters, which takes up any time that is left.
I thoroughly enjoy the variety and challenges I face within my role. It’s really interesting for me being both client facing and working internally to manage our London based businesses.
How do you go about working with a client to create/source the perfect jewellery for them?
Listen! It’s crucial that we really understand the piece of jewellery the client has in mind. Sometimes our customers are very clear, but other times we need to talk to them in-depth, to identify what they are actually after.
Our focus is to create jewellery that is exactly what the client wants, rather than making jewellery to our taste.
Pieces normally start life by selecting the perfect gemstones and the design is then shaped around them. Once the design is approved by the client, we then go to our goldsmith and relay absolutely everything we have worked through with the customer. This ensures he has a real feel for the item we are looking to make, rather than simply working from the design.
Of all the jewellery that you have worked on, do you have a favourite piece/pieces?
One of my all-time favourite pieces was an engagement ring that we created for a client who really didn’t know what she wanted.
I remember receiving a phone call from her, in tears, feeling very daunted by the task of choosing an engagement ring. She felt that London jewellers’ windows were all filled with diamonds in either white gold or platinum, and she couldn’t find anything that was a little different.
I asked her to come and have a chat with us, to see where it led and let’s just say the outcome was emotional! We were able to create something entirely unique for her and had lots of favourable comments on the ring we made. I really like its individuality and it was very heartening to be able to create the perfect piece for someone who had been so disillusioned with finding a ring.
Is there a memorable story behind a piece of jewellery you have made that you can tell us about?
There are two very personal items of jewellery that I really enjoyed being involved in making. Both were simple, but very important to each client.
The first was a pendant that we engraved with the outline of the River Thames running across it. We then set two emeralds into the piece, to show the position of where they had lived and a diamond, to show where they got married.
The other item was a pair of cufflinks that we made in the shape of Africa – a continent that means a great deal to the couple. We set two tanzanites in each one, illustrating where he proposed and where they were going on honeymoon. These were given as a wedding present to the groom.
Who would be your dream client to create a piece of jewellery for and what would you make them?
That’s a difficult question to answer! My immediate thought would be to create something celebratory for the many people in the public eye that I admire. I’m a big sports fan, so there are most definitely particular sports men and women that I would want to make a piece for. We were thrilled to make an item of jewellery for each member of the England football squad, who played or were part of the management team in Russia 2018 – a fantastic project to be involved in.
It would be a real honour to have been part of creating one of the iconic sporting trophies steeped in history, like the Ashes or the Jules Rimet Trophy. So, if the Ashes Urn went missing (like the World Cup trophy did in 1966!) then I would absolutely love to be involved in creating a new trophy – that would be quite some challenge!
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