Descendants of Noble families
William & Son, founded in the UK in 1999, has been granted a Royal Warrant by HM Queen Elizabeth II, which recognises the company’s craftsmanship and superior quality the world over for two hundred years.
“The concept of William & Son is to recreate what we (the Asprey family) had before. The Asprey business has lasted for over two hundred years. With the jewellery and interesting high quality goods, we’ve been able to maintain the business. There’s no reason going forward why we shouldn’t do the same. We have the same ethos and the emphasis on quality service of luxury. We are trying to reach a new younger market and modernise some of the old traditional designs for the next generation.” he said. William Asprey is the 7th generation of the Asprey family which specialises in the sale of luxury goods.
William & Son has a longstanding relationship with many of their suppliers, and as a result offers a world renowned bespoke service. Each bespoke order is designed by an in-house team of craftsmen. “We do a lot of bespoke work. Clients can come with their own idea, and we can design it and make it happen. We have a loyal following. We deal with very important people – for example, Queen Elizabeth II; we take care of them and keep her happy.” Asprey proudly said. “We have a variety products. Some clients know us for jewellery, some clients know us for guns. When they come to the store and they see all the other things we have it is a very interesting place to be.”
Sarah Ho, the granddaughter of Dr. Stanley Ho, also comes from a noble family, in Macau. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Macau before moving to London, her upbringing in different places has helped enrich her skills in design and gemmology.
“I believe in jewellery that has stories and meaning behind it. I like to incorporate different chapters of my life into my jewellery. A lot of my collection is inspired by growing up in Asia”, she says.
Then, she took up the Lily Blush Suite, a piece inspired by the lily that graced her childhood home in Macau. The soft peach tones of the central pear-shaped morganites are enhanced by surrounding rose gold, white diamonds and delicate seed pearls. “Design from the heart is my design philosophy; I will call myself a story teller. Apart from our collections, when we do bespoke we also do the story telling as well.” Ho said.
Founding her own jewellery brand – Sarah Ho London in 2006 – rather than in her Asian hometown, she chose a place to start her business where fewer people would know about her family. “I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it on my own. I think my family will feel prouder if I come back with something that has already been established rather than set up here.” Ho explained.
Maybe in other people’s eyes the members of well known families surely have fewer difficulties operating their own business but it is not necessarily the case. “My family is very fair. They don’t help me in investment, they help me in advice,” she says. “I’m glad they do it this way. Otherwise you wouldn’t learn. I’ve made my mistakes; I learned the hard way and hopefully slowly and slowly I can build a better brand . . . It’s always difficult when you come from a well known family. Because everyone thinks it’s easy. We need to work harder to let people know we are serious.”
Asprey had the same feeling, he says.
Where there’s a will, of course, there’s a way. Both Sarah Ho London and William & Son have won a good reputation throughout the world and created a portfolio of private clients for bespoke commissions.
Cocktail Ring Collection
This is the second collaboration between William & Son and Sarah Ho, and is the first time William & Son have come to Macau.
“We did collaborate with Sarah four, five years ago. We met her at a jewellery fair in Italy and got on very well with her. Every year, we have new young designers showcase their works in our store. Sarah did a very nice collaboration with us. Now we’re taking another step further with a second collaboration with the pendants and earrings.” Asprey explained.
The collection – comprising four cocktail rings in amethyst, aquamarine, morganite, citrine and rose quartz – was launched in 2014, in addition to the new drop earrings and pendants in white or rose gold with amethyst, aquamarine, rose quartz or morganite.
“It’s been such a pleasure to work with the team at William & Son. I loved the idea of using the patterns from the gun engraving which is part of their heritage and not usually related to their jewellery so the pieces have a story to tell and make a statement.” Ho said.
“I found they have an incredible workshop in the London Store, where they hand engrave the short gun for hunting. So, I started to think about how men can have the gun and the women can have the jewellery. This is the inspiration”, she laughed.
“If a husband and a wife come in and the husband is very interested in guns, the wife will get a little bit bored. So, we take care of her with jewellery; if the husband buys the gun she will get the consolation prize. This works very well”, William added.
“Apart from the heritage of William & Son, this collection also has Sarah Ho’s signature as well, which is prominent on the jewellery like the earring they tuck behind the ear when you wear them. Most of my earrings are designed with that signature”, said Ho.
The devil, as ever, is in the detail. Both these two brands love hiding some tiny details in secret places that are not easy to find; for example, the ‘lace’ pattern in all of Sarah Ho’s designs and the detachable setting of William & Son’s jewellery. Without exception, this collection also hides some secret details. When connoisseurs look through the stone, they can see the motif of William & Son on the back of the ring.
The gem stones, which Sarah believes have different healing powers, are chosen after careful consideration: “Clients can choose the rose quartz for love, amethyst for the balance of mind.” This collection also features William & Son’s aquamarines, one of the most popular gemstones of the brand. “My favourite piece of this collection is also the aquamarine.”
This won’t be the end of the duo’s collaboration. “We want people to come back. We sell one thing, it is not the end. We like to build a relationship with them. You have to know what your clients like. Not only the person; we want the whole family to get involved. We need to go forward and come up with new ideas. We don’t want people to get bored. ” Asprey concluded.