Ever since he was a small boy, jeweller William Welstead has appreciated rocks of the precious variety. He became an avid collector but his real love of gems developed into a serious business following a trip to Nepal some 20 years ago. Returning to London, William immediately embarked on a course in gemmology and began visiting India’s finest gem markets. He still heads out to Jaipur and Mumbai on gem-hunting trips, often unearthing rarities that others overlook.
When designing rare pieces in his eponymous jewellery collection, William always starts with the stone – ensuring that the setting “allows them to sing”. His penchant for Indian diamonds, Burmese spinels, sapphires and Columbian emeralds can be seen in his latest offering of exquisite rings, which retail at Harry Fane and soon at Dover Street Market’s new site on Haymarket. For further inspiration see the new promotional film shot by Matthew Donaldson and featuring William’s dear friend, and model, Stella Tennant https://vimeo.com/52838213
Finally, when this sparky jeweller is not flitting about the globe in search of unusual stones, you’ll find him in and around Bond Street looking to purchase the plushest towelling dressing gown or eyeing-up the windows of Moussaieff and Tiffany & Co. He shares more of his favourite addresses below:
Anderson & Sheppard Haberdashery, 17 Clifford Street
Anderson & Sheppard’s haberdashery shop on Clifford Street is a great place to buy scarves and has some of the best towelling dressing gowns in town. The staff are very friendly and don’t mind if you sink into one of the leather sofas to read the newspaper. It has a club like atmosphere without being at all stuffy.
Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street and Bonhams, 10 New Bond Street
Sotheby’s and Bonhams on New Bond Street are great for everything, but especially their jewellery sales. I like to visit both auction houses when I am in search of beautiful stones. I also enjoy the atmosphere when there is an important art sale or a single owner collection sale on here. It makes me feel that this part of London is at the very centre of the art world–which of course it is!
Wartski, 14 Grafton Street
Bond Street houses some of the world’s great jewellers. The windows of its celebrated stores are a feast for the eyes. There are too many names to mention here but Wartski – a family run antique dealers – always has an amazing selection of antique jewels, including beautiful old Faberge pieces and rare and precious talismans. It also has a very charming shop front and still goes under the impressive moniker, Wartski of Llandudno.
Harry Fane, 13 Duke Street
Harry Fane’s office and gallery on Duke Street, St James’s is a place where I spend a lot of my time. Harry is a Cartier expert and has been travelling to India for a long time in search of antique Cartier. We share a love of all things Indian and often find ourselves in Bombay at the same time. Harry has an incredible collection of antique Cartier Tank watches and an unrivalled knowledge of Cartier and old Indian stones.