House of Garrard Q&A: The Ultimate in Legacy and Luxury

Founded in 1735, House of Garrard is the longest serving jewellery house in the world. It has become iconic for its timeless designs and beautiful craftsmanship that have made it a favourite of the British Royal Family for decades.

We spoke to Joanne Milner, CEO of House of Garrard, to discover what it’s like to work at this unique brand.

 

Joanne Milner Photograph

Joanne Milner, CEO of House of Garrard

 

What led you to becoming Chief Executive Officer of Garrard?

After 17 years in corporate finance and private equity I decided I needed to experience ‘sitting at the other side of the table’ and I had the wonderful opportunity to become CEO of Debrett’s where I spent four years taking a British heritage brand and building a business around it.

Initially my plan was to do this role in order to become a better investor, taking my experience and learnings from building a business as part of the management team back into Private Equity. But while at Debrett’s I had met Stephen Webster, Chairman of the House of Garrard, and just as I was planning on handing the reigns over at Debrett’s and going back into PE Stephen approached me about the CEO position at Garrard.

It was such an exciting opportunity to take the helm at another ‘National Treasure’ that I couldn’t refuse!

 

Photo 27-10-2016, 17 03 41

 

What makes Garrard such a unique brand?  

So many things – that’s what makes it so special!

No other jewellery house in the world has a longer or richer history than the House of Garrard. With over 160 years as the crown jeweller Garrard has created the majority of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London and most of the jewellery owned by the British Royal Family today.

We always feel immensely proud when the Queen and Duchess of Cambridge are wearing Garrard tiaras at state events.

 

What is it like to work for a brand with such a long and impressive legacy?

It is a huge privilege to be custodian of such a special brand. It is also a huge responsibility as it is essential I ensure that the brand is positioned to ensure it is as strong as it is today in another 280 years!

 

House of Garrard
Albemarle Earrings

House of Garrard
TwentyFour Ring

House of Garrard
Wings Classic Bracelet

House of Garrard
1735 Ring – Oval Sapphire

House of Garrard
Tudor Rose Pendant

House of Garrard
Enchanted Palace Bug Earrings

 

How does a traditional brand, such as Garrard, innovate and stay relevant for a contemporary audience?  

The answer is in the question – we must always innovate. A brand must be treated the same as anything that is living and breathing. It needs nurturing to ensure it continues to grow and strength – this is no different if your brand is a year old or, like the House of Garrard, 281 years old!

The difference though is we have the benefit of such rich archives so we have an endless supply of inspiration for new pieces and collections. So not only is the design fitting of today’s contemporary audience, but they have such beautiful and romantic stories to accompany them.

 

What is your favourite piece from the current Garrard collection?

It’s the Azalea Tiara – what girl doesn’t love a tiara! What Garrard is very good at is ensuring each of its pieces is as versatile as possible. So, this tiara is easily transformed into a beautiful pendant for those rare occasions when a tiara may seem too much.

 

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Click or tap the Butterfly Mark to discover the Positive Actions that make House of Garrard a brand to trust; 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this, you might like to read Modern Heritage Brands: Inspired by Tradition

Sophie Corfan