Asprey

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Asprey International Limited
TypePrivate
IndustryLuxury goods
PredecessorAsprey & Garrard Limited
Founded1781; 241 years ago (1781)
in Mitcham, Surrey, UK
FounderWilliam Asprey
Headquarters,
Number of locations
9 points of sale
Area served
Key people
John Rigas
(Chairman)
Products
  • Jewellery
  • Leather goods
  • Handbags
  • Timepieces
  • Silver
  • China
  • Crystal
Websitewww.asprey.com
Asprey store on New Bond Street
A watch display at Asprey's store on New Bond Street

Asprey International Limited, formerly Asprey & Garrard Limited, is a United Kingdom-based designer, manufacturer and retailer of jewellery, silverware, home goods, leather goods, timepieces and a retailer of books.

Asprey's flagship retail store is located on Bruton Street, Mayfair in London, United Kingdom. Asprey has supplied crowns, coronets and sceptres for royal families around the world and, as of 2013, holds a Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales.

From 1996 to 1998, Asprey held a partnership with Ferrari's Formula 1 team.

History[edit]

Foundation[edit]

Asprey was established in England in Mitcham, Surrey, in 1781. Founded as a silk printing business by William Asprey, it soon became a luxury emporium. In 1841, William Asprey's elder son Charles went into partnership with a stationer located on London's Bond Street. In 1847, the family broke with this partner and moved into 167 New Bond Street Celebrating 240 years, Asprey moves to Mayfair's Bruton Street, the original location of its first workshops and the birthplace of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

From its central London location, Asprey advertised 'articles of exclusive design and high quality, whether for personal adornment or personal accompaniment and to endow with richness and beauty the table and homes of people of refinement and discernment.' An early speciality was dressing cases. Asprey crafted traditional cases and designs, mostly in leather, suitable for the new style of travel ushered in by railways. The main competitors at the time were H.J. Cave & Sons. Asprey was recognized for its expertise when it won honorable mention for its dressing cases at the International Exhibition of 1862, but it ultimately lost out to its rivals, H.J. Cave & Sons, in both 1862 & 1867.

The company consolidated its position through acquisitions. In 1859, Asprey absorbed Edwards, a maker of dressing cases and holder of a Royal Warrant. Soon after the merger, Asprey would lose this warrant. The company also purchased the Alfred Club at 22 Albemarle Street, which backed on to the New Bond Street store and meant that Asprey now had entrances on two of London's most fashionable streets.[1]

20th century[edit]

As the business grew, the company acquired manufacturing facilities and hired silversmiths, goldsmiths, jewellers and watchmakers including Ernest Betjeman, the father of the distinguished poet John Betjeman, one of the most highly regarded craftsman and designers of his day. In the 1920s, commissions poured in from around the world, from American millionaire J. Pierpont Morgan to potentates such as the Maharaja of Patiala, who commissioned a huge teak travelling trunk for each of his wives, in which each trunk was fitted with solid silver washing and bathing utensils with waterspouts of ornate tiger head and lined with blue velvet. Asprey cigarette cases became collectable amongst young sophisticates who delighted in its other modern products, including travel clocks, safety razors and automatic pencil sharpeners.[2]

Key dates[edit]

  • 1781: Asprey begins trading as William Asprey in Mitcham, Surrey[1]
  • 1847: Asprey flagship store opens on New Bond Street, London[1]
  • 1851: Asprey receives an 'Honourable Mention' at the Great Exhibition for their lady's dressing case with 'Annie' cipher.[3]
  • 1862: Royal Warrant granted by Queen Victoria[1]
  • 1889: Edward VII grants the second Royal Warrant to Asprey[2]
  • 1925: HM Queen Mary commissions a necklace, later given to HRH Princess Margaret on the occasion of her 18th birthday[4]
  • 1930: Maharaja of Patiala commissions five trunks, one for each of his five wives[5]
  • 1973: Bespoke chess set is commissioned for Ringo Starr's birthday[6]
  • 1975: Asprey received the Queen's Award to Industry by Queen Elizabeth[7]
  • 1990: Asprey and Garrard merge[8]
  • 2002: Asprey and Garrard split[9][10]
  • 2004: Lord Foster of Thames Bank redesigns the flagship store in New Bond Street, London[11]
  • 2006: Asprey celebrates its 225th anniversary and is granted a coat of arms by the English College of Arms[12]
  • 2006: Sciens Capital Management and Plainfield Asset Management purchase the brand[13]
  • 2009: Asprey becomes the official jewellery sponsor of The Orange British Academy Film Awards[14]
  • 2012: Katie Hillier creates new autumn/winter collection[15]
  • 2012: Asprey collaborates with light artist Chris Levine to create The Diamond Queen for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee[16]
  • 2012: May – New York based Luxury Institute ranks Asprey in the top two luxury brands for 2012[17]
  • 2014: Bovet 1822 join Asprey's Timepiece portfolio[18]
  • 2015: Asprey becomes an official retailer of Rolex Watches, London[19]
  • 2016: Asprey becomes the official Jewellery sponsor of The Olivier Awards[20]
  • 2017: Opening of Asprey at Takashimaya Osaka and Sunmotoyama Ginza, Japan[21]
  • 2017: Celebration of the twenty year anniversary of the Asprey Boutique, Beverly Hills Hotel[22]
  • 2018: Asprey launches the Beverly Hills Collection[23][24]
  • 2021: Asprey celebrates its 240th Anniversary
  • 2021: Asprey Collaborates with Formula 1 [25]
  • 2021: Asprey moves its flagship store to Mayfair's Bruton Street, its permanent location.
  • 2022: Asprey 240 Launches its Digital Studio in the new flagship store
  • 2022: Asprey Collaborates with Bugatti [26] on 'La Voiture Noire' Collection of Sculptures + NFTs [27][28][29][30]

Products[edit]

Jewellery[edit]

Asprey has a tradition of producing jewellery inspired by the blooms found in English gardens and Woodland Flora. Over the decades jewelled interpretations of flowers have evolved to include Daisy, Woodland and sunflower collections.[31][32]

Asprey cut[edit]

The master diamond cutter Gabi Tolkowsky created the Asprey cut. The cushion cut gave Tolkowsky options for incorporating the Asprey "A" inscription around the edges of the stone. The result was the 61-facet Asprey cut, maximising light refraction to brilliant effect. Carat weights of Asprey-cut diamonds range from 0.50 to 3. Asprey-cut diamonds are inscribed on one side of the cushion with the GIA certificate number and with four distinctive 'A's on the other. It is also the only diamond that has the letter "A" on the crown; the Asprey cut has a flower in the centre to create softness. The shape of the Asprey cut means that the cutting process can be done only by hand, unlike many other stones that involve machine cutting.[33]

Leather goods[edit]

The latest handbag collection is the Beverly Hills collection, inspired by the 20th anniversary of the Boutique at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Los Angeles[34] The men's collection includes wallets, cardholders and travel watch cases. Other items include briefcases and backgammon boards. Asprey's signature silhouettes, have been carried by Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, Elizabeth Taylor and many worn on the Red Carpet at prestigious events.

Silver[edit]

Asprey offers classic and contemporary silver pieces – such as sterling silver cocktail shakers, in traditional and contemporary, novel designs such as the Rocket cocktail shaker and many barware accompaniments. Asprey also produce children's items, including tooth boxes, picture frames and rattles.[35]

Trophies[edit]

Asprey have designed and manufactured sporting trophies, including the Race To Dubai trophy[36] and the Dubai World Championship (DWC) trophy. In addition, Asprey is responsible for crafting the ICC cricket trophies, Wimbledon championship runner-up and winner's salvers, the Arab Club Champions Cup trophy as well as the FA Cup, and Premier League medals.[37][38][39]

Books[edit]

The Asprey fine and rare book tradition evolved from the early 1900s when small compendia of reference books were produced. However, it was not until the Second World War, when raw materials were in such short supply, that Asprey began to offer second-hand and antiquarian books. Following the war, this practice was further developed to include a range of books, old and new, that were bound by Asprey, thus augmenting the company's tradition in leather goods. Today, Asprey offers a range of first and limited editions, many in their original bindings and some if appropriate, in leather bindings customised by Asprey.[40][41]

Asprey Polo[edit]

Previously known as Argosy, Asprey Polo has developed products for player and pony. The range includes boots, saddles, bridles, helmets and mallets and is available from Asprey Polo. Asprey has a history in polo, sponsoring teams and creating trophies for polo tournaments. It sponsored a 40-goal team in the Argentine Open in 1996, winning the Championship and reaching the final in 1997.[42]

Bespoke and master craftsmanship[edit]

Asprey has maintained its London workshops allowing repairs and alterations to be completed while a customer waits. An expanded jewellery, silver and leather workshop based in London are where classic skills are employed by expert silversmiths, goldsmiths, jewellers, leatherworkers, engravers and watchmakers.[43]

Asprey will go to any length to meet a customer's requirements. The firm's craftsmen actually made a silver-gilt sandwich. They toasted three slices of bread in their workshop, fried the eggs, broiled the bacon, assembled the sandwich, made a mould, and cast it. It now sits on the desk of a Texan millionaire.[44] The motto is 'It Can be Done'.

"The Diamond Queen"[edit]

To mark Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, Asprey partnered with light artist Chris Levine to create a new work based upon his 2004 portrait "Equanimity", commissioned by The Jersey Heritage Trust in 2004. This new work is entitled "The Diamond Queen".

Asprey re-created the Queen's diamond diadem, worn at the Coronation in 1953. One thousand white diamonds are being set in platinum by Asprey craftsmen and overlaid onto the original three-dimensional image of Her Majesty to create the luminescent installation.[45]

Royal patronage[edit]

In 1862, Asprey was granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria. The Prince of Wales, later to be crowned Edward VII, granted another Royal Warrant. At the time of Edward VII's funeral, an Asprey member of staff remembered, practically all the ruling heads of state were there, and many of them came to Asprey, you might have seen three or four of them at one time.[citation needed] In 1953, for the coronation of Elizabeth II, Asprey paid homage with the Asprey Coronation Year Gold Collection, which featured a dessert, coffee and liqueur service in 18-carat gold and weighed almost 27 pounds. In April 1953, it went on show in the New Bond Street store and subsequently toured the United States.[2] Asprey today holds a Royal warrant as silversmiths and Goldsmiths under HRH Prince of Wales patronage.

In popular culture[edit]

Film[edit]

Asprey designed the Heart of the Ocean necklace that was featured in the 1997 James Cameron blockbuster Titanic.[46] Asprey has featured in a number of films:

In 2009, Asprey became the official jewellery sponsor of The Orange British Academy Film Awards and continues this partnership today.[49] Asprey collaborated with screen stars, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to create the Asprey's Protector Collection of fine jewellery for both children and adults in 2009.[50][51]

Literature[edit]

Corporate[edit]

Asprey continues to trade as a luxury goods house, active in market such as the US and Japan. According to a survey of US high-net-worth consumers polled for the Luxury Institute's 2012 Luxury Brand Status Index, Asprey was ranked among the top two of international fine jewellery brands, able to deliver true luxury.[52] In March 2006, Sciens Capital Management, the US private equity firm, bought Asprey. "This is a historic luxury brand, and that is part of our reason for acquiring it," said chairman John Rigas, following the purchase from Lawrence Stroll, Silas Chou (of Sportswear Holdings Ltd) and Edgar Bronfman Jr.[53]

Subsequently, Rigas has re-focused the business to concentrate on flagships and stand alone stores in key international locations. In 2009, Hermés, the French luxury fashion house, made a property investment purchasing the freehold of the New Bond Street shop that Asprey occupied. Asprey held a 31-year lease on the premises and continued to remain in the space until 2021.[54][55] Asprey moved to 36 Bruton Street at the end of 2021, its new permanent flagship, firstly creating an installation space designed by the Storey Group, an immersive experience of discovery and exploration.[56][57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Timeline". Asprey London. Asprey London Limited. 2012. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "The British Standard Since 1781". Asprey. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  3. ^ Ellis, Robert (1851). "Official Descriptive And Illustrated Catalogue Of The Great Exhibition Of The Works Of Industry Of All Nations 1851".
  4. ^ "Princess Margarets 5-Row Art Deco Pearl and Diamond Necklace". Internetstones.com. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  5. ^ "The British Standard Since 1781". Asprey. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Luxury is an everyday affair at Asprey in 167 New Bond Street, London". Luxos. Luxos.com. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Asprey". Hancocks & Co. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Asprey & Garrard – Luxury for a New Millennium (繁体)". RapNet.com. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  9. ^ Alexander, Hilary (21 September 2001). "Asprey & Garrard go separate ways". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  10. ^ "PR Newswire UK: Asprey demerges from Garrard to become the ultimate authentic British luxury lifestyle House" (Press release). Prnewswire.co.uk. 19 April 2002. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  11. ^ redboxmedia.com. "Asprey Store, Bond Street | Projects | Foster + Partners". Fosterandpartners.com. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  12. ^ "Asprey Celebrates 225 Years of British Luxury Opening New Flagship on Madison Avenue. – Free Online Library" (Press release). Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  13. ^ Conti, Samantha (20 March 2006). "ASPREY AND GARRARD SOLD TO PRIVATE-EQUITY FIRMS. (Sciens Capital Management LLC, Plainfield Asset Management LLC)". WWD. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  14. ^ "Asprey named as Bafta jewellery sponsor". Retail Jeweller. 27 January 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Katie Hillier Asprey Bags – Designer Bag Collection (Vogue.com UK)". Vogue.co.uk. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Asprey Jubilee Diadem – Christopher Levine (Vogue.com UK)". Vogue.co.uk. 23 May 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Graff and Asprey top Luxury Brand Status Index".
  18. ^ "Live the Bovet experience". 3 February 2021.
  19. ^ "Asprey - London, Rolex Official Retailer". Rolex.
  20. ^ "Asprey partners with Olivier Awards". Olivier Awards.
  21. ^ "Asprey | Great British Brands by Country & Town House". What's On? By C&TH.
  22. ^ "Asprey collection inspired by The Beverly Hills Hotel".
  23. ^ "Introducing: Asprey's Beverly Hills Hotel Collection". 31 January 2018.
  24. ^ July 2018, Harper's BAZAAR Staff 23 (23 July 2018). "BAZAAR Loves: The Best Fashion Find Of The Day 2018". Harper's Bazaar Singapore.
  25. ^ "Asprey and Formula one unite | the Rake".
  26. ^ Bugatti.com
  27. ^ "The Vogue Business NFT Tracker". February 2022.
  28. ^ "Bugatti and Heritage Luxury Goods Maker Asprey Announce Invite-Only Access to Auction of Inaugural NFT". Forbes.
  29. ^ "Bugatti Collabs with Asprey on a 24-Karat Rose Gold Sculpture Honoring Its Famed la Voiture Noire Hypercar". 22 February 2022.
  30. ^ "What's Trending in British Luxury? February 2022 - Style". 25 February 2022.
  31. ^ "Woodland - Shop by Collection - Jewellery - Women". Asprey.
  32. ^ "Sunflower - Shop by Collection - Jewellery - Women". Asprey.
  33. ^ "Asprey Cut Diamonds Shape: Diamond Source of Virginia Loose Diamonds Education". Diamondsourceva.com. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  34. ^ "Beverly Hills - Shop by Collection - Leather - Women". Asprey.
  35. ^ [1] Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ http://corporate.asprey.cat/bespoke/trophies/race-to-dubai-trophy/658[permanent dead link]
  37. ^ "Barclays Premier League Trophy visits Cambridge". Archived from the original on 10 October 2009. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
  38. ^ "Trophies". Asprey. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  39. ^ "Arab Club Champions Cup trophy". Union of Arab Football Associations. 24 April 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  40. ^ "Leather | Handbags | Travel Leather | Leather Goods | Coin Purses | Leather Wallets". Asprey. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  41. ^ "Books". Asprey. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  42. ^ "Asprey Polo". Aspreypolo.com. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  43. ^ "Special Commissions". Asprey. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  44. ^ Hiller, B. (1981) Asprey of Bond Street pp. 114–115
  45. ^ "The Diamond Queen". Asprey. 29 May 2012. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  46. ^ "CROWN JEWELLER, ASPREY & GARRARD, LONDON, CREATOR OF THE TITANIC NECKLACE, SECURES 1999 OSCAR NOMINEES" (Press release). Prnewswire.co.uk. 22 March 1999. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  47. ^ "Confessions of a Shopaholic Facts". Femalefirst.co.uk. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  48. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  49. ^ "The British Standard Since 1781". Asprey. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  50. ^ O'Reilly, Kelly (16 November 2009). "Brangelina Designs "The Protector" for Asprey". NBC New York. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  51. ^ "Angelina and Asprey". 17 November 2009.
  52. ^ "News Release: Wealthy U.S. Consumers Rate the Most Prestigious Luxury Jewelry Brands « The Knowledge of Luxury" (Press release). Blog.luxuryinstitute.com. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  53. ^ brand madison-forbes-life-cx hp 1204asprey.html[dead link]
  54. ^ Mathiason, Nick (27 September 2009). "Hermès pays £75m for Asprey's Bond Street store". The Observer. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  55. ^ Post, Lucia van der (5 February 2013). "Heirlooms apparent". howtospendit.ft.com.
  56. ^ "Asprey relocates flagship store in London to Bruton Street in Mayfair".
  57. ^ "Asprey | Great British Brands by Country & Town House".

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′36″N 0°08′33″W / 51.51000°N 0.14250°W / 51.51000; -0.14250