A royal moment for Zoe Benyon, Kate Pelham-Burn and Vanessa Chilton.

Who has made it into the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers and supported by gold partner Ti Sento won’t be unveiled until September 4, so until then we are looking back to the leading lights of the jewellery industry who made it into the Hot 100 2011. Today is the turn of Robinson Pelham founders Zoe Benyon, Kate Pelham-Burn and Vanessa Chilton whose royal connection catapulted their company into the spotlight and made the Trollbeads Trendsetters. 

Robinson Pelham has been working away in a backyard office in London’s Pimlico for 15 years, quietly making bespoke fine jewellery for customers of distinction, but this year it was thrust into the limelight when the Middletons came knocking and commissioned jewellery for the entire family, including daughter Kate, to wear on the day of the royal wedding. 


The public attention that inevitably ensued brought Robinson Pelham a new level of exposure and it also caused founders Vanessa Chilton, Zoe Benyon and Kate Pelham-Burn much pride. Vanessa describes the moment she saw her designs on the ears of Kate Middleton as she walked down the aisle to become the Duchess of Cornwall. “It was really exciting and a momentous occasion,” she recalls.

The power trio came together after school friends Vanessa and Kate met Zoe and decided to set a business. Each woman brings something unique to the partnership: Vanessa is a talented designer, Kate has worked on the shopfloor of London’s leading jewellers and Zoe is a gemmologist.

While the royal wedding commission has brought a flood of new customers to Robinson Pelham, particularly from the US, it has also hampered expansion plans at the business, in the most positive way possible.

It had hoped to use 2011 as a quiet time to focus on expansion but after the royal wedding it has put these plans back until next year, which means that 2012 could be a big one for these well-connected ladies.


This interview was taken from the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2011. This year’s list and photographs will be unveiled at an exclusive invite-only party at The Freemason’s Hall in London on September 4. To find out how you can get tickets email event director andrew.martyniuk@itp.com.