Garrard is steeped in history, in fact it is the longest-serving jeweller in the world. However, it is very much forward-thinking with a strong female influence across its management team which helps substantiate the core principles of ‘made by women for women’. Today we speak with Sara Prentice, to understand more about her role as Creative Director, Garrard’s royal heritage, the evolution of the high jewellery client, and much more.
Please share with us what a typical day as Creative Director at Garrard entails (if such a thing exists!)
I don’t think there is a typical day! It might be designing our next collection drop, to running a photoshoot, to exploring the next big campaign… Garrard is embarking on an array of exciting projects at the moment – stay tuned!
What is your approach to the creative process for the ideation and development of new pieces?
Our creative process is inspired by our heritage – brought to life with a fresh and contemporary twist. In terms of design, it is important that the pieces are wearable and timeless, as well as being beautiful to look at.
And where do you find such inspiration?
I have a passion for the intricacy and detail that is required in jewellery design. This drove me to master the craft. Since joining Garrard in 2012, I have not only created signature motifs, inspired by past Garrard creations, but I have also brought a renewed focus on Garrard’s heritage and the wearability of its jewellery. A key focus of mine is to understand the lives of modern women in order to design modern versatile pieces that encapsulate the Garrard heritage.
Garrard has a long-standing relationship with the Royal Family, please tell us more about this and how the relationship has evolved over the years.
Garrard is the longest serving jeweller in the world. Its origins can be traced back to 1735, when Frederick, Prince of Wales became its first royal patron. His order marked the start of a long relationship with the British royal family, formalised in 1843 when Queen Victoria appointed the House as the first official Crown Jeweller. Iconic jewels have been created for each successive generation, including the Duchess of Cambridge’s sapphire cluster engagement ring.
The leadership team at the House has a great female influence and Garrard prides itself on an ethos of ‘made by women for women’ with this in mind is there a typical ‘Garrard Women’? If yes please describe her.
Garrard creates jewels by women, for women, and has a deep and empathetic understanding of the Garrard customer. The Garrard woman knows her own style. She’s bold with her choices and radiates a timeless elegance. Similar to Princess Diana – arguably the greatest fashion icon of the 20th century – who chose her own engagement ring from Garrard.
How do your pieces reflect her and her attitudes and values whilst remaining true to the brand heritage?
Understanding the mindset of today’s woman and how a Garrard jewel can fit seamlessly into their lives is the guiding force behind our all-female design team. Inspired by the passion and purpose of our clients, there is a contemporary relevance to each new jewel that represents more than quality and craftsmanship – it signifies transcendence. I want to create items to be worn today, and forever. This timelessness is hugely important to us, and also feeds into our sustainability efforts.
How has the evolution of your client profile and their purchasing patterns developed as women have become more empowered in both their work and home life?
There’s definitely been an organic evolution in client profile. We’ve seen an increase in female-purchasers, where they buy for themselves. While Garrard offers a remarkable in-store experience, our e-commerce proved popular over the lockdown period, providing ‘that personal touch’ albeit it digitally.
Throughout your career, you have worked with many highly esteemed international brands, in your experience, did you observe any common traits/ values which contribute to their success and longevity as top industry players?
I feel privileged to have worked with an array of jewellery brands beyond Garrard – namely Cartier, Faberge and Graff. Every brand has its USP so to speak! For us, it’s our incredible royal heritage and history as longest serving jeweller, which I always strive to make exciting and relevant to today’s consumer.
The luxury retail space is a hugely competitive one – what are your key predictions for any notable trends and/or innovations in the coming years?
Big, bold, colour! After being stuck inside for two years, I think there will be an exciting wave of vivid colours and self-confidence.
Any words of advice for a youngster wanting to carve a career in this sector?
It’s a fabulous one to be in! There are so many avenues to explore within the jewellery. I would say figure out what it is you love about the sector and keep an eye on trends and cultures.
Luxury is such a subjective term and means different things to everyone – what is your own interpretation?
For me it’s that ‘forever piece’ – long lasting not only in its beauty but in its quality.
Finally, what is your life motto? If you have one.
“Creativity is contagious, pass it on” – Albert Einstein