Rainbow Rocks: David Morris Jewellery

SLIDESHOW: As the man behind some of the most sought-after jewellery in the world, Jeremy Morris, pictured, right, with his father, David, thinks outside of the colour wheel.

Known as the jeweller to the stars, David Morris creations are often colourful, usually one-off and always show-stopping.

As the man behind some of the most sought-after jewellery in the world, Jeremy Morris thinks outside of the colour wheel.

“My father [David] always said when you’re buying a coloured stone you should see the colour at night, because that is when most people wear jewellery,” explains Morris, who took the reins of the 50-year-old David Morris business from his father in 2003. “‘Over-coloured’ stones look black at night, so I don’t touch them. I look for those with an open colour.”

Known as the jeweller to the stars, David Morris creations are often colourful, usually one-off and always show-stopping. Emblazoning the necks and fingers of the world’s most beautiful people, clients past and present include Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, Dame Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet and Keira Knightley. The David Morris differentiator has always been the rarity and impeccable sourcing of the stones in his atelier, along with the assurance of a 50-year-old family business.

Morris points out a stunning piece that his team recently completed, the Sunset Ruby necklace. “It’s an extraordinary stone, a Sri Lankan Ruby, which is an unusual combination. In Sri Lanka you usually get sapphires in pink or blue,” he says. “Sri Lankan stones have this real vividness about them, there’s an ‘X-factor’. When I saw it I couldn’t resist it.”

The necklace is named after its luscious 17-carat ruby, shimmering orangey-red like the last vestiges of an exotic sunset. Described in its certification as “an incredibly vivid Ceylon Ruby”, a natural ruby of this colour and size from Ceylon is “almost unheard of”, says Morris.

The ruby is surrounded with pink and white diamonds set in 18-carat rose and white gold. Dangling from the necklace on a long chain of vivid pink and white diamonds, is a detachable natural 30-carat pearl drop, with a little light hammering on the surface: “An exceptionally rare specimen of this size,” adds Morris. “It’s sensational. The two stones came along at the same time and I said: ‘Let’s do something classic.’ Hopefully someone will come along and love it as much as I do.”

Another recent addition in the showroom is the Colombian Emerald Necklace. Sparkling in 18-carat white gold, this classic necklace has 76 carats of rare round emeralds and 43 carats of fine white brilliant-cut diamonds.

“The emeralds are a beautiful open colour without being too light or too dark,” says Morris. “We’d sold all of our important emerald necklaces and then this lot came along.”

Morris says gem connoisseurs are clamouring for new types of unusual coloured stones; including the pinky-orange Padparadscha Sapphire from Sri Lanka and the neon-blue Paraiba tourmalines from Brazil. “They’re very popular because they’re a relatively new stone for people to collect. Clients love them because they haven’t got them.”

Padparadschas — named after a salmon-coloured aquatic lotus — are extremely scarce but currently the David Morris workshop is crafting a natural pearl necklace set with a Padparadscha sapphire. Also underway is a necklace set with a 40-plus carat Burma sapphire and a rare Paraiba tourmaline. “I’m dealing with the only mine in Brazil that has Paraiba tourmalines. You can’t find them anywhere on the secondary market. ”

Morris sources these specimens through the company’s 50-year network, mainly from mines but also second-hand from private collectors and auctions. For him, rarity is key. Most of his rubies are from Burma, including some extremely rare ‘pigeon-blood’ red rubies, a highly desirable colour. A blue sapphire bangle in the Pirouette collection contains some of the rarest gemstones to be found — velvet sapphires from Kashmir. Given the political and geographical situation, they’re now virtually impossible to come by.

The David Morris Conch Pearl set is incredibly rare as these pearls can’t be cultivated and are only found in one part of the Caribbean, while the spiral yellow diamond bangle contains a collection of vivid yellow antique-cut graduating diamonds.

These one-of-a-kind pieces are beloved by David Morris’s Russian and Middle Eastern clients, looking for fine British craftsmanship, as one of the only ateliers still in use on Bond Street that welcome bespoke designs and commissions. These clients usually shop at the store in London and a recently opened European flagship in Paris. But the jeweller is now also looking to the ‘middle market’, particularly at its store in Harrods, Knightsbridge, making some of its lines more affordable. “We’re bringing in a lower entry-level price point that is really driving traffic — we’re picking up new clients. People want fun stuff they can wear casually — it’s the driving force in the market at the moment,” he says. In line with the new direction is a glamorous black-and-white advertising campaign shot by acclaimed photographer Ellen von Unwerth. In the advert, gorgeous models party in a private London club, drinking, dancing and misbehaving. Like the eponymous founding family, they ooze style, youthfulness and irreverence. “Mum and dad are in the video too,” says Morris. “The shoot was at private members’ club Annabel’s, of which the Morris seniors were founding members, so it seemed fitting to include them.”

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