Stefano Andrean heads to the world-famous Claridge’s Hotel to discover more about Shen London and its dynamic founder Sheena Gill
Some of the best luxury brands in history started off as a simple passion, turned into a full-time hobby, and subsequently became a renowned business.
Great examples of this include Laurence Graff of Graff Diamonds who started as an apprentice jeweller after developing a keen interest in the subject in school. Thomas Burberry, of the namesake company, was also cut from the same cloth, forming his business after apprenticing as a draper at a young age and falling somewhat in love with the trade.
Sheena Gill, founder of Shen London falls into this pool of passion-inspired startups.
Sheena first found her love of the fine jewellery world on 24th February 1981, the day Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer got engaged. The soon to be Princess emerged to the press after the announcement was made wearing the now-iconic 12 carat Ceylon sapphire and diamond cluster, one of Garrard’s of London finest creations. Utterly besotted by that ring, Sheena knew she would one day make jewellery herself.
Unbeknownst to her at the time, some 30 years after the engagement, Sheena found herself holding a hand adorning that very ring. She was sitting in Clarence House with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge following her marriage to HRH Prince William. This private, intimate affair with the newly-weds was to thank the team behind the Royal Wedding Gift Fund website, Sheena’s own award-winning company. That company has been a trusted partner to the Royal Foundation as well as Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Trust ever since.
Sheena Made her own jewellery over the years leading up to Shen London being founded, travelling to the farthest reaches of the world to buy Emeralds, Rubies, Pearls, Sapphires and Aquamarines to hone her skills, making jewellery for herself, friends and family. Today, for Shen London, that task lies with Marie Chalmers. Marie is a gemologist with a very impressive resumé, having worked as the Head of Diamond Department for the world’s oldest diamond company, Backes & Strauss, and as a Diamond Buyer for Signet, a specialist jewellery retailer with a current turnover in excess of $6billion.
The first four images in the gallery show the Shen London Iris jewellery collection, the next four the Flora collection.
The diamonds Marie sources for Shen London are ‘D-colour’. In order to have the most exquisite, brightest and colourless stones, nothing less that a D will suffice. The clarity of the stones used is also top-notch. VS+ clarity diamonds are always used, these diamonds are not absolutely without imperfection, but there is a reason behind that. It is important to Sheena, Marie, and Shen London that they are able to see a little bit of Mother Nature within the stones, which guarantees provenance and authenticity; you won’t find any man-made diamonds here. All of the diamonds used are precision-cut in the same manner as in high-end luxury Swiss watch industry; the designs used by Shen London mean the diamonds have to be cut to microns of tolerance. All of Shen London’s diamonds are cut exclusively for the collection by one of the world’s leading sightholders (A sightholder is a De Beers authorised company that purchases rough diamonds).
At their launch event at the beautiful Claridge’s hotel in London’s Mayfair, their whole debut collection was on display, named after historical Goddesses: Gaia, Demeter, Diana, Hekate, Flora, Hebe, Hera, and Eos. All carry a different theme and look, relevant to the Goddesses’ role in society.
The Shen London pieces are set in 18k white gold and looked absolutely resplendent, even-more-so with the sunlight reflecting off them, sparkling like only diamonds could. To our eyes, the jewellery produced by Shen London looks exquisite, having a unique look while at the same time retaining an air of high-class. Take a look at our gallery, we hope you will agree with us.
Shen London – Where and how
See the full range at www.shen.london
Tel: 0203 633 0633
Email: [email protected]
By Stefano Andrean
See Kim Johnson, the 2016 Goddess Model for Shen London in the gallery below