Jewellery biz stalwarts recognised for contribution to industry.
Husband-and-wife team John Ayton and Annoushka Ducas have been awarded MBEs in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list 2012.
The duo, who founded Links of London in the 1990s before selling the company to Folli Follie and then launching jewellery retailer Annoushka, have been awarded for their services to the British jewellery industry.
Ducas has long been a champion of up-and-coming talent in the jewellery industry and has given up much of her time to nurturing new designers and helping them carve a career for themselves in the industry. She works closely with art college Central Saint Martins to run an annual student design initiative and has this year started using her Annoushka shop on London’s Cadogan Gardens to host collaborative exhibitions showing works created by herself and guest artists, who to date have included Rosie Emmerson and Bouke de Vries.
Ayton is also a staunch supporter of new talent and is unafraid to put his money where his mouth is when choosing a brand to support. Four years ago he invested in, what was then a start-up, English watch brand Bremont which has grown now to retail widely in the UK, the US and Asia. He is also director of Walpole, an organisation devoted to supporting luxury British brands, and the founder of Walpole Brands of Tomorrow, which has been nurturing emerging British luxury talent for the past five years.
This year Ayton and Ducas got involved with a new project when they became seed investors in retail website Boticca. The site has been set up to promote and sell jewellery and accessories created by designers all over the world, creating a platform that allows small-scale designer-makers to turn their hobby into a career.
Ayton and Ducas have always given back graciously to the industry that they have made their careers in and as a result the pair, who live in Sussex with their four children, have been recognised in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 in both 2010 and 2011 for their impressive work on their own business as well as those that they have become investors in.