With summer finally here, we invited lifestyle and travel influencer Hermione Underwood to pair gems from Sotheby's Jewels Online sale with some of her favourite destinations worldwide for the perfect summer holiday inspiration. Hermione is one half of jewelry brand Atelier Romy, a brand consultant for The H Collective and runs her own lifestyle blog, HermioneOlivia.
Did you always want to run a jewelry business?
I had no intention of starting a jewelry brand! It was an opportunity that was presented with someone I admired, and was in line with my passion for business and the digital space, so it was an immediate yes.
How did that come about?
When I met my now business partner, Sabine Roemer (a Master Goldsmith), I was intending on consulting on her new business idea, which was a direct-to-consumer, modern jewelry brand with high end jewelry designs and a more affordable price tag. Needless to say, after a few meetings we decided to partner and build the brand that is now Atelier Romy, together.
What is your design process? Where do you find your inspiration?
Sabine and I conceptualise collection ideas together. We started with the Emerald collection, which is our signature design, and from there we have developed collections which reflect concepts we love – Leopard 1300 is born from the London sterling silver hallmark, which is a leopard head. From concept, Sabine sketches ideas that we consider together for commerciality and then she works on the sample from CAD to 3D plastic printing to master sample on our workbench in London.
What heritage jewellery brands do you admire most?
I am a huge fan of Boucheron, Piaget and Cartier. I’m hugely passionate about men’s watches and my favourite brands are Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Patek Phillipe.
Which elements of your overall style do you think come from Australia, where you’re originally from, and which are more influenced by London, where you live?
Australians tend to be more trend driven and risky with their fashion choices whilst the Brits have a more conservative and classic approach. I find I’m much more relaxed about clothing brands and labels in London, and wear a mix of high street and designer pieces, mixing trend driven pieces and styles with a more conservative overall look.
You’re constantly on the move and travel a lot. What jewelry pieces do you always take with you?
I am lucky to have acquired a substantial collection of Atelier Romy over the years, so I pack a lot of jewelry on my travels. I choose the material and collection first to suit my destination and then individual pieces to reflect my mood. I'll usually select yellow gold styles for summer and more of a mix of silver and black rhodium for winter destinations. I also always wear the Cartier love ring that one of my closest friends gave me, and a Cartier watch I’ve had forever.
What advice would you give about buying jewelry as a gift for someone else?
You can’t really go wrong with jewelry, particularly if you know which colour they tend to wear (rose gold / silver / yellow gold etc.). Our Eternity collection sells incredibly well as gifts because the pieces are affordable, packaged beautifully, sentimental and the same price as a bunch of flowers!
How do you choose what jewelry to wear when you’re putting together an outfit?
I genuinely choose the jewelry to reflect my mood and then dress around it. If I feel like making a statement I’ll wear the Leopard 1300 or Mon Etoile collections and if I feel like being low key, I’ll wear a mix of our Emerald and Eternity collections.
Are you an impulse buyer or do you give things a lot of through before purchasing?
The older I get, the more considerate I am with my purchases. I invest in accessories like jewelry, handbags and shoes, and spend less on clothes so that I can constantly update my style to suit my travels and mood, whilst collecting pieces for my future.
If you had to pick one statement piece to wear, what would it be and why?
I would choose a statement pair of earrings. It’s so easy after a long day of work to slick back your hair, throw on a dress and some lipstick and up the ante with an incredible pair of earrings (like our Double L earrings) with a heel. Pefect to make a statement with minimal effort!