CARAT* London is taking on the luxury jewellery market at their own game – and winning. Using created gemstones and superior stonecutting techniques, the brand is loved and coveted by celebrities and actresses like Alesha Dixon, Pixie Lott, Rita Ora, Emma Willis and Wallis Day to name a few. Heidi Thompson, Creative Director of CARAT* London, talks all things jewellery and her take on the biggest trends of 2018...
How did it all start?
The brand was started 15 years ago by my husband, Scott Thompson in the aim to create beautiful, well-made and relevant jewellery that is also affordable - the luxury without the price tag. Our first shop in the UK was in Covent Garden, followed by Selfridges London which was a big milestone for the brand. We now count over 150 locations including boutiques and third-party stockists in addition to our e-commerce business.
Alesha Dixon loving her Talis ear bar and Baby Noa rings
What has been your point of difference in the jewellery market?
From a design point of view, we stand out as we offer the fine jewellery aesthetic at an affordable price point. Jewellery should not be synonym to a high price tag, it should be accessible for all women. Most importantly, we always stay true to using the best hand-cut and precious machine cutting techniques for our stones.
The Roxy earring, £69
What jewellery trend have you seen in 2018 and what do you predict for the coming AW18 season?
We have seen a massive demand on earrings, from tiny delicate studs, ear jackets or even bigger statement pieces. Our best sellers are the ear cuffs which are also Alesha Dixon’s favourites! We are launching a new range of studs, drop earrings and cool ear cuffs so stay tuned...
The Chelsea collection is to be seen to be believed
CARAT* is known to be incredibly popular with celebrities, why do you think that is?
Celebrities love it because our pieces are very versatile yet very glamorous to wear on the red carpet. Unlike fine jewellery, there is no need for insurance or security when it comes to CARAT* jewellery, so celebrities can enjoy themselves and have fun while dressed in CARAT* London. Most importantly, they wouldn’t wear it if it didn’t look great!
Emma Willis is a fan - wearing the Sargas ear cuff
Model wears the Heiress ear jacket, £59
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from my own lifestyle as a busy working female in the city. We are living in a time of FOMO where we are constantly pulled in all directions and have a lot of things to get done and places to go, but don’t want to compromise on style. We aim to design for women who are looking for a lot of options to choose from and style their own ways: jewellery they can wear to the office, at the weekend, to evenings out, and special occasions.
What is your all-time favourite CARAT London piece?
It’s so hard to say as it changes with seasons and trends. I have really embraced the tiny stud earrings trend and the layered necklaces look throughout the summer. As we move into fall, my ultimate AW18 purchase is going to be the Roxy earring. It’s inspired by, you guessed it - the Roxy Theatre in LA where bands like The Doors and Gun 'N' Roses played their first shows. I love the asymmetrical trend and the dramatic effect plus with a price tag of £69 it's the ultimate no-brainer purchase!
Mix and match with the Chelsea collection
Is jewellery for everyday wear or for special occasions only?
Everyday wear! We design pieces that are affordable and relevant and mostly fun and versatile. We create collections with the customer in mind to ensure that most of the pieces can be worn day-to- night. Every woman should be able to express herself through the jewellery and it’s always so interesting to see how the same piece can be styled and worn in so many different ways!