Black and Champagne diamond Petal Ring
But other than that, why the fuss? BH Water Jewels founder Barbara Harris’ well-honed and intuitive understanding of the connection between gemstone and the wearer leads her to create tactile pieces that are more than beautifying enhancements. Jewellery is unique to each and every one of us – introducing who we are to others, often before we’ve even spoken – and as such, each piece that we wear should pay homage to our individuality. Having always worked with the highest quality of gemstones, each raw stone that BH Water Jewels uses has a unique hue and composition, which naturally lends itself to one-off pieces.
Herkimer Diamond Necklace
The long and timely process of carving using high-pressure water jets preserves the stone’s essential energy and individual characteristics. The result? A diverse range of exclusive gemstone rings, each waiting to select its rightful owner.
Cognac Diamond Earrings
British-born Barbara Harris recalls: ‘Coming from a family of jewellers established in London in the 1860’s, there was a lot to spark a child’s imagination. I remember all of the rare and semi-precious gems that so captivated me. Some of my fondest and earliest memories include jewellery. A love of coloured stones, lustrous pearls and quality craftsmanship has remained and shaped my point of view. I am inspired by nature, drawn to all things water and fascinated by architectural details.’
Chalcedony Druzy Volcano Ring with 18K Yellow Gold
Her creations – inspired by nature and characterised by gentle, fluid lines – have captivated trend-setters in Paris, New York and London.
Diamond Peapod Earrings
The quality of the gemstone comes first. Each piece is hand-picked, and according to its individual characteristics, formed into its predestined shape.
Diamond Pearl Vintage-Style Earrings
The materials used are all precious and the jewellery is carefully crafted in British sterling silver, 18k gold and platinum with natural gemstones and rare or fine pearls.
Chalcedony Druzy Volcano Necklace
Hong Kong also played a significant part in sculpting Barbara’s artistic style as it was her home for seven years. ‘In 1997, I left my position as the Design Director for Elle and my love of gemstones brought me back to designing pieces for myself – a skill I gained whilst studying at Parson’s School of Design in New York.
Jasper Druzy Diamond Earrings
‘During this time, I travelled the region discovering mines and meeting local gem dealers. I immersed myself in the world of jewellery, learning as much as I could about gems and lapidary, as well as training with a master carver. My parents also worked with me, my father providing a wealth of knowledge about gems and my mother, a love of beading and design.’
Rutile Quartz and Baroque Pearl Seaspray Necklace
The invaluable connections she made during this period, along with those inherited across four generations of jewellers, are the foundations of her business. Above all, Barbara values these relationships and the loyalty and quality that comes with them.
Rock Crystal Ice Ring with 18K Yellow Gold
Barbara trained with a master carver in the Orient. She developed a deep understanding of the qualities and properties of each particular gemstone. This knowledge and passion has culminated in a philosophy of always buying natural raw gemstones which she then gently, thoughtfully and by-hand, cuts through submersion in water and then shapes using the high-powered water jets.
Mother of Pearl Pebble Earrings
A true family enterprise, her mother also crafted her own jewellery, as well as helping to sell Barbara’s designs all over Asia for 20 years. ‘I feel privileged to have been able to work so closely with my family, it has been one of my happiest achievements.’
Smoky Quartz Chalcedony Cat’s Eye Bracelet
Smoky Quartz Citrine Pebble Earrings
Moving back to London in 1999 with her first collection, a small series of rings, Barbara was thrilled when these were photographed by Vogue and then selected by leading retailers such as Browns and The Cross. Spurred by the success of her first collection, she created her signature Cloud necklace, which was picked up by Harvey Nichols, Liberty’s and Fortnum & Masons.
Triple Drop Smokey Quartz Grand Tour Earrings
Barbara explains: ‘Whilst my wholesale network was expanding quickly, I decided I wanted a space where I could personally engage with my clients. In 2007, on a sunny corner in Kensington, I opened my first retail gallery and expanded my design studio. Here we make most of our jewellery and produce all of our bespoke orders. We have a vast selection of gemstones and pearls.
Black Onyx Cloud Necklace
‘I’m amazed at how quickly time has passed and how we have grown from my first collection laid out on my kitchen table over twenty years ago. I have so much more that I want to do creatively with gems and pearls and look forward to incorporating more philanthropy in my business. I recommend people to host a trunk show to benefit your favourite charities or to contact me with fundraising partnerships. I love the idea of my life’s work helping to benefit our planet, our oceans, our health and animal welfare. That would truly be a life well spent.’
Smoky Quartz and Diamond Cloud Necklace
The Water Jewels ethos is to always go the extra mile to surprise and please customers and as such, the time and attention dedicated to the craft is also carried through to other facets of the brand.
Tourmalinated Quartz Pearl Gemset Earrings
From the thoughtful creation of jewellery, through to its display, interior décor and the packaging, no details are overlooked.
White Gold Diamond Half Whisper Ring
Like the gemstones, Barbara gains a deep knowledge of her collectors and in time they’ve all become loyal friends of Water Jewels.
Triple Red Diamond Earrings
Gems that have taken millions of years to form are often sold in minutes. They are then pulverised and combined with resin, baked in industrial ovens to recreate a larger quantity of debased stone.
This has enlightened Barbara’s work; raising awareness of the need to preserve the natural beauty and integrity of each stone and treat it with respect as precious and finite.
Rutile Quartz Dome Ring
BH Water Jewels uses natural gems and to this day, most of the pieces are one-of-a-kind or limited editions. The jeweller is mindful of over mining and believes in producing quality over quantity, paying particular attention to the provenance of the gems and pearls.
Both in Kensington and Nantucket, personal shopping, bespoke creations and styling advice is offered. BH Water Jewels really gets to know its clients and many, both in London and the USA, have become loyal friends of the brand.
The gallery in London feels somewhat of a treasure chest – with intriguing designs and rare gemstones at every turn. However visitors inevitably ended up at the ring tray, pondering over the splendid range of gemstone rings.
BH Water Jewels pieces are crafted with longevity in mind and create much-loved heirlooms that are sculptural and sensual.
Yelllow Diamond ‘Too et Moi’ Ring