Annoushka Ducas Has a New Link

“I think today women look to jewelry more and more as an expression of personal identity” says Annoushka Ducas. The rocky relationship between women and their personal style is one that Ducas likes to think about with her designs, “I endeavor to inspire women to explore and discover with the jewelry they wear; that includes new combinations of color, proportion and texture.” Ducas, who possesses a natural ease and flair, also reflected on her penchant for the most exotic and stand out pieces—the big, colored stones in the Annoushka one-of-a-kind collection and anything 18-carat gold.

Ducas is the lady of jewelry label Links of London, which she founded when her mother asked her to design a pair of fish cufflinks for her fish business, which Harvey Nichols spotted, and which has since become globally recognized as a signature of British humor and eccentric elegance. At the end of 2009,  Ducas decided to move towards something more niche, something more reflective of her own personal journey. So she launched a new, eponymous line, Annoushka.

It’s a philosophy that looks set to take the Annoushka label places—although she’s already moved around the world, having studied at the Sorbonne in the 1980s and traveled the world until settling down to study jewellery design in Hong Kong, and a strong Russian family heritage. It’s a background she’s called upon specifically with her new Fall 2010 collection, which she describes as “a culmination of a lifetime’s obsession with the timeless romance and sensual magic of jewels” and of “Russian fables, fairytales and colors.” That’s a lot to obsess over.

Signature pieces include the “Mythology” amulets, “inspired by the Russian fairytales my mother read to me as a child.” The Acorn Bell Amulet is done in homage to the tale of the wooden nymphs, who are said to ring their bells as a warning sign when they are in danger. The bell of the amulet is crafted from 18-carat gold; the shell is 18-carat yellow gold, textured with brown, black and white diamonds. A fairytale of a more recent variety is recalled in the color splashes of the Gobstopper collection, which include amethyst and aquamarine.

The Annoushka flagship, situated off London’s leafy Chelsea backstreets, includes Ducas’ own designs, and the store also includes work from a select group of guest designers, among them Hong Kong-born and based Wendy Yue, and Goldsmiths Award winner Fei Liu. “I mentor and help them building their collections, and this has resulted in some extraordinary one-off pieces,” says Ducas. It’s almost like she’s taken what she invested into Links of London and moved it in a more cross cultural, personal direction. Her interest in the future of jewellery design, her work alongside Central St Martin’s students and young designers is an example of Ducas, as a visionary and looks set to keep her label as one to watch.