Imagine if your job was to scour the world for the coolest fine jewellery brands, and then spend your time trying on all the treasures you find. Dreamy, right? Well, welcome to the world of Harriet Hedges, fine jewellery and watches brands partnerships assistant at Threads Styling.
For those who haven’t heard of Threads, it is leading a digital revolution in luxury shopping. It has no store, no transactional website, just a highly addictive Instagram page showing off exclusive luxury fashion, fine jewellery and watches. If you see something you like, you can then start up a WhatsApp chat with one of the retailer’s army of personal shoppers, who will reply with phone snaps and videos of the items. This Covid-proof shopping method was attracting a growing clientele long before the pandemic arrived.
Threads Styling has a reputation for connecting its customers with hard-to-find luxury goods – you know, the type likely to go viral following Fashion Weeks. While jewellery holds less of that must-have seasonal fervour, it is an exciting part of Threads’ offer. You can now shop for heritage brands such as Louis Vuitton, Bulgari and Garrard, as well as contemporary indie designers including Melissa Kaye, Jacquie Aiche, Eéra, Colette, Shay and Kamyen Jewellery.
“I am lucky enough to meet lots of amazing jewellery designers and try on some incredible jewellery, which can be very surreal,” says Harriet, whose own jewellery journey started age 10, using pliers to make colourful glass bead jewels – something entirely on trend right now – with her cousin in Dorset. She built on this early obsession with the acquisition of a Gemmology Diploma at the Gemmological Institute of Great Britain.
“I am constantly taking photographs of pieces and collections to share with our personal shoppers who will, in turn, let their clients know of the newest launch or jewellery design before anyone else has even laid their eyes on it,” says Harriet of a typical day in her role at Threads Styling. “I also spend a fair amount of time scrolling through Instagram, interacting with our further-afar brand partners whilst keeping an eye out for the next up-and-coming jewellery brands out there.”
So what does she look for in a jewellery brand when assessing whether it is right for the Threads community? “I appreciate brands that have a distinctive look to both their designs and their brand,” says Harriet, who is an avid netball player outside of work. “Storytelling is a really important factor as it is a way for brands to communicate and connect to the future owners of their designs. Our personal shoppers have hugely knowledgeable relationships with their clients and so upon learning of a new collection or designer, they will know immediately which of their clients will appreciate such pieces. It is always exciting to find an exclusive and undiscovered jewellery brand to show our clients that they have never seen before.” Sustainability is also key, she says, as Threads Styling has a strict sourcing policy.
The best part of the job for Harriet is getting up close and personal with a rainbow of gemstones. “I have seen portrait-cut diamonds, pinkish padparadscha sapphires and electric-greenish turquoise Paraiba tourmalines,” she says. “Gemstones can’t be admired in the same way from a textbook.” The worst bit? “Not being able to own any of the pieces,” moans Harriet, who shares many of her bejewelled finds on her Instagram page. “I always think I’ve seen it all, until I meet another talented jewellery designer that I have to add to the list for my lottery win.”
So what does this professional magpie have in her own collection? To find out, we put some quick-fire questions to Harriet.
What was the first piece of jewellery you ever received?
“It must have been a beautiful gold link bracelet of my grandmother’s, gifted to her by her mother. The links are very worn down from years of loving wear, but it wouldn’t be the same if I had it remade.”
Threads Styling’s Harriet Hedges tries on a pair of By Pariah 14ct gold and pearl Baroque Lariat earrings
Most recent jewellery acquisition?
“My boyfriend recently bought me a beautiful necklace from London-based brand Alighieri. Each design is inspired by a poem from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy and every piece is so wearable. Their jewellery is perfectly imperfect – the epitome of what jewellery should be.”
Threads Styling’s Harriet Hedges wearing an Alighieri necklace and Evil Eye mask with chain by Dana Levy
If money was no object, what piece of jewellery would you buy?
“It would have to be a piece from Jessica McCormack. There are so many timeless treasures at her Carlos Place townhouse, which happens to be a work of art in itself. I wouldn’t say no to a pair of the Moonshine Chandelier diamond earrings – I love the more unusual half-moon and pear-cut diamonds, plus I’ve always been a fan of mixing metals. These earrings are set in both yellow and blackened white gold, creating a uniquely modern look with an antique flair, which I love.”
Is there a particularly sentimental piece of jewellery in your collection?
“My first employer, [London jeweller] Cassandra Goad, gave me one of her series of gold Quote pendants, which is engraved with words by Ernest Shackleton from his diary during an expedition to the South Pole: ‘May tomorrow be the end of all our difficulties. Difficulties are just things to overcome after all.’ It is even more poignant than usual right now.”
Threads Styling’s Harriet Hedges wearing her Cassandra Goad 9ct gold Shackleton necklace alongside 18ct gold and diamond pendants by Jessica McCormack
Which jewellery designers are catching your eye right now?
“I am love-struck with the Pret-a-Porter collection from Kamyen. They set diamonds and gemstones onto coloured mina, the Arabic word for enamel. I love that each piece is able to complement an array of outfits – either dressed up or down. I guarantee these designs spend more time being worn than not. Emily P. Wheeler’s colourful Instagram page has also been a source of isolation inspiration since lockdown. As a gemmologist, I am in awe of the incredible gemstones she uses in her angular designs.”
Threads Styling’s Harriet Hedges wearing her stack of Dana Levy colourful Evil Eye bracelets
Did you still wear jewellery in lockdown?
“Absolutely – I would feel naked without it. I never take off my Roxanne First and By Pariah ear huggies and Dana Levy wrist stack, which is great for accessorising any summer outfit. When you look your best, you feel your best, so I have continued to get dressed as I normally would to go into the office. If I need a little help putting a smile on my face, I’ll wear a pair of fun, statement Coco & Kinney earrings, which are the most frequently complimented pieces of jewellery I own.”
Threads Styling’s Harriet Hedges wearing Coco & Kinney gold vermeil, lapis lazuli and cotton tassel Ella earrings