Each week we celebrate a brand committed to implementing practices that won’t cost the earth whilst still delivering beautiful, timeless pieces. This week we’re peeking into the vintage jewellery cabinets of one of my favourites, Alex Monroe.
I discovered Alex’s work many years ago whilst roaming one of London fashion week’s exhibition tents (this is where journalists would preview clothing and accessories ahead of the next season). As a nature lover and jewellery-aholic, I was immediately drawn to his exquisitely, detailed creations inspired by the natural world. I’ve been collecting ever since.
Set of 3 Mixed Size Bee Pins // Beekeeper Sapphire Trilogy Ring £1800 // Single Diamond Single Stud Earring £250 // Posy Flower Single Stud Earring £140 // Itsy Bitsy Daisy & Leaf Single Stud Earring £140 // Itsy Bitsy Daisy & Leaf Single Stud Earring £140
Why do I love the brand? It’s all about the detail for me. I adore the perfectly formed teeny insects, flowers and creatures of the sea which are intricately sculpted and immortalised in precious metals. From pea pods to aubergines, golden bicycles, just like the ones you’d find leaning against a shed in an allotment, to the delicate, shimmering beauty of damselflies and beetles. It’s like a lesson in nature through jewellery. I’d recommend a trip to the boutique in Covent Garden’s Floral Street (thankfully now open) where you can discover Alex’s world for yourself. I challenge you not to fall madly in love.
This month saw the launch of Alex’s first foray into hair accessories. Delicate bee hairpins, exquisite, slender hair clips (below), a tiara and hair combs. Many pieces sold out fast but are of course being restocked…and yes, there’s a waiting list already.
So, what’s the story behind Alex Monroe?
Alex grew up in the Suffolk countryside immersed in the wilds of nature, rich with adventure, imagination and wonder at the natural world. After training at Art School in London, Alex created his first collection of jewellery in 1987 to critical acclaim.
His intention was and still is, to produce affordable, unique handmade jewellery, of the highest quality. Alex’s love for the natural world continues to provide inspiration for his collections, woven through every piece handmade in England by both Alex and our jewellers.
Above all, Alex understands the journey of a piece of jewellery after it has left our workshop, and the stories we hear from generations of wearers inspires him to continue pushing his craft 30 years on.
Three words that sum up Alex Monroe?
Handmade in England
What does ‘sustainable’ mean to you?
As a brand inspired by the natural world, throughout our 30-year history Alex and our growing team have always had the utmost concern for the environment and its people. That’s why we have always designed and handmade in England, creating high-quality jewellery intended to last a lifetime. We are continually striving to be as sustainable as possible, and we are continuously assessing ways to improve across every aspect of our business.
What sustainable, eco-conscious processes does Alex Monroe have in place?
We are committed to making sure our work has little impact on the environment and its people. Alex’s creations are not designed with high-fashion seasons in mind; our pieces are special and made to last for decades to come. Alex and his design team create all original Alex Monroe components by hand, and when the jewellery goes into production it is hand-finished by skilled craftspeople in our London workshops and Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
We work with long-term, trusted and ethical suppliers for all our materials and use recycled materials as much as possible including gold, silver, precious gemstones, paper and plastics. We are satisfied with our supply chain ethics, but always continue to press for improved practices and better transparency wherever we can.
Any particular brand highlights?
We are so fortunate to have so many highlights over the years, it is difficult to choose just one! It has been such a delight to be able to collaborate with so many wonderful organisations including BBC Doctor Who, Friends of the Earth charity, and the V&A Museum.
More recently, Alex has very excitingly launched his podcast, ‘This Is A Token with Alex Monroe’, where he explores the relationship between his guest and their most-loved pieces of jewellery. Episodes include Olivia Colman, Beanie Feldstein and Erin O’Connor, which were a few highlights.
What is your bestselling piece?
Aside from our perhaps most well-known Bumblebee Necklace, one of our most popular pieces of late has been the Rays of Hope Necklace. A piece symbolising hope and new beginnings, which has been such a poignant and powerful message for so many over the last year.
Shelly’s favourite pieces:
Shop Alex Monroe here