Jeweller inspired to create Kate and Wills collection

THE MARRIAGE of Kate Middleton and Prince William has motivated a Wheathampstead goldsmith to create her own jewel in the crown – a regal collection of pieces inspired by royal headgear over the ages.

Rachel Jeffrey, who designed a brooch for the late Queen Mother, has fashioned stud earrings, pendants, rings and cufflinks, all featuring artistic variations of crowns to commemorate the special occasion.

The Wheathampstead resident, owner of jewellery shop Rachel Jeffrey Ltd at Mill Walk, explained: “It took about three weeks for the design process. I surrounded myself with images of crowns, looking back through history books and identified the crowns I liked.

“I like having an excuse to put a range together, it’s so much fun.”

Inspired by those pictures, Rachel designed crown cufflinks, small and large pendants, crown-shaped stud earrings and 18-carat gold and silver rings, with crowns clutching a stone centre of amethyst, topaz or citrine in a chequerboard cut.

Rachel explained: “With the crown rings I wanted to bring in the regal colours, for example with the purple of the amethyst and bring in the crown detail to hold the stone in place.”

All of the store’s jewellery is created in Wheathampstead and it is the first time Rachel has incorporated crowns in her pieces, as she usually takes inspiration from nature and the weather.

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But it is no surprise the former St Albans woman has an interest in royal celebrations as her equally artistic father helped decorate a wedding cake for the Queen’s nuptials with scenes of London.

However, given that Rachel has already made a brooch for the late Queen Mother, and with the royal wedding tomorrow, the Herts Advertiser has a major question – one apparently also posed by the goldsmith’s equally curious customers – has she been commissioned to design the royal wedding ring that will shortly encircle Kate’s finger?

Rachel laughs and gives a firm reply, “No, unfortunately not.”

It’s hardly surprising people are asking that question as The Salmon and Trout Association approached her to design a brooch for the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday.

The piece she fashioned, a solid 18-carat gold brooch dubbed the Pearl of the Dee, was based on a salmon fly of the same name. The fly was designed and dedicated to the Queen Mother, whose passion for salmon fishing along the banks of the Aberdeenshire Dee had always proved a favourite pastime.

Rachel placed a blue-grey pearl at the top of the brooch to represent the head of the fly. The “body” was lattice work encrusted with tiny sapphires, emeralds and rubies.

The brooch has been passed to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who can be seen wearing it in the official engagement photograph of her and Prince Charles taken outside Birkhall in Scotland.

Rachel said: “Camilla was wearing it upside down in the photo but wears it the right way now.”

The goldsmith’s regal range will carry the standard British Hallmark, and the theme will help ring in another impending royal milestone – the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next year. Rachel’s regal collection ranges from �45-�265 and is available from this weekend.