The jewelry is the star at the Leopard Awards, an event celebrating the very best British jewelry innovations and the positivity and progress of the modern diamond industry.
The ceremony was hosted by leading international authority on jewelry and editor of British Vogue, Carol Woolton, as well as British comedian and impressionist Ronni Ancona. The time-honored and prestigious ceremony puts the spotlight on British jewelry making and design. These awards are aptly named after the distinctive leopard-figure hallmark which has been used to identify gold and silver pieces produced in London since 1363.
The London Leopards Group aims to help preserve the expertise, innovation and design excellence established over the past 7 centuries in Britain. In partnership with The Prince’s Trust, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who is the patron of the event, addressed the attendees virtually from Glasgow, where he is attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference talks, COP26. He congratulated the young designers calling them “critical to the future of the jewelry industry.”
The impressive and historic chandelier-lit Goldsmiths Hall has been home to the British gold, silver and jewellery industry for over 700 years. In partnership with The Natural Diamond Council, the message behind the glamorous evening was one that championed the continued positive social impact that the natural diamond industry has been having on the world. In the words of Carol Woolton herself: “When mined properly, natural diamonds are a powerful gift.“
Adjoining the ballroom was an exhibition dedicated to innovative jewelers who feature natural diamonds in their creations. Each display case, filled with one of a kind creations, has a quote from the designer that shares their love of natural diamonds and speaks to why they choose to work with them. Designer Emefa Cole, whose work draws inspiration from natural elements and forces such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions writes in her display: “ I am in awe of the high pressures and temperatures required to form natural diamonds. From my perspective, the beautiful gems created under this immense pressure relate to the state of being human; they reflect our resilience and formidability as we experience the pressures of life. I look forward to enhancing future creations with this powerful gift from Mother Nature.”
The star studded event was attended by industry giants such as Daphne Guinness, the model who famously wore the all diamond-glove and Leopards board member, Shaun Leane, the designer behind the creation. All eyes were on the beautiful jewels that graced the red carpet. Oscar winning actress and screenplay writer Emerald Fennell wore a suite of her father’s jewelry designs, and expressed her belief that “diamonds truly are a girl’s best friend”. Emerald, along with other leading ladies let us know their appreciation and adoration of nature’s queen of stones. Sophie Hermann donned a necklace featured in the Natural Diamond Council’s For Moments Like No Other campaign by Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative participant Malyia McNaughton.
Amongst those ascending the Romeo and Juliet staircase was jewelry designer, socialite and contributing editor at Tatler Magazine Sabine Getty. Dripping from head to toe in Couture pieces from the Bulgari Serpenti high jewelry collection, the dazzling socialite exclusively let the Natural Diamond Council know just how she feels about natural diamonds and their significance to women: “Diamonds are full of magic and mystery. We know that they are obviously a stone made of nature’s creation, but they have a uniquely magical and mysterious quality that makes them the perfect accessory for any woman. I find that when a woman wears natural diamonds, it highlights something special in each and every woman.”
The evening also celebrated the Natural Diamond Council’s effort to shed renewed light on the positive impact of modern large-scale diamond mining on employees, communities and the environment. With consumer’s rightfully expecting transparency when purchasing diamonds, the organisation strives to provide the correct facts and figures to highlight the industry’s integrity. A select few editors were informed about the organisation’s carbon neutral goals, as well as the $292 million worth of benefits for social programs that the industry creates, including education and healthcare, prioritising countries where the stones are mined.
To top off the evening, each guest was gifted a copy of Assouline’s latest creation: Diamonds: Diamond Stories. This beautiful new volume published by the self-proclaimed “first luxury brand on culture”, in collaboration with the Natural Diamond Council, tells the stories of the world’s most captivating and known diamonds as well as providing personal insights into the industry through interviews with household name diamond jewelry designers, wearers and enthusiasts. Packed full of untold stories, rare photographs and high fashion editorial imagery, this contemporary book is a celebration of the natural diamond industry and all it’s accomplishments. British Vogue Editor in Chief Edward Enninful, author of the Oeuvre’s forward, shared the essence of the book in a few choice words: “In today’s world, diamonds are as entrenched in luxury, glamour and aspiration as they have been through history, but as the representations of those ideals are changing, so is the diamond.”
As the evening full of cocktails, canapés and diamonds came to an end, it was perhaps Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer, both wearing pieces from Chopard’s environmentally conscious Green Carpet high jewelry collection and Happy Hearts pieces, who said it best: “We feel powerful and elegant when we wear natural diamonds. Also, extremely lucky”.