Five Minutes with Katherine

Katherine James Jewellery


Asking which gemstone is my favourite is like asking which of my children I love the most. It’s impossible to answer. I love Rubies, but really, it’s anything that elicits a physical (or audible) reaction. It can be Diamonds or a great Emerald. Amethysts can be extraordinary. Once, I had this incredible Aquamarine necklace. It was about 50 carats, French Art Deco, and it was stunning. I loved that, too. See what I mean?

My favourite piece I own is my engagement ring. It’s a 4.11 carat Old Cut Diamond and it’s glorious. I don’t love the setting—it’s mounted in white gold with small diamonds—but the stone itself is magical. I’d love it set with a melee of round Sapphires, Emeralds, Rubies, Aquamarines and Amethysts. I obviously adore colour.

I see loads of interesting items on my jewel hunts—I particularly love the gold pieces which are handmade in Croatia.

I’ve always wanted to travel to India. I’m obsessed with mining programmes and tea. I have a burning desire to take a year long trip, immerse myself in the culture and travel around gem hunting. 

In London, my favourite places to visit are those where you can look at and buy jewellery, such as Hatton Garden. I love the silver trays that you can rummage through, the gemstone dealers and the pawnbrokers. 

Clothes don’t really excite me. I’m usually in black jeans and a t-shirt. It’s always about the jewels. I could wear a bin bag and a tiara and be happy with my fashion choices. I wear mainly black. I hate shopping for clothes and often make horrific mistakes sartorially—I shop for the woman I wish I was and buy items like bright yellow trousers. Then, I wear them and the kids mock me.

My favourite item of clothing is a black velvet dress I bought for £2.99 in a charity shop years ago. It’s so completely fabulous. I wore it on a night on the tiles in London and a Frenchman assumed I was royalty. To be fair, he wasn’t too far off, as it was by one of Princess Diana’s favourite designers and it’s just got something about it!

My ideal Sunday afternoon is an antique fair followed by Antiques Roadshow

If I didn’t sell jewellery, I’d probably have been a collector. Or, possibly I’d be some sort of Indiana Jones-type of adventurer. I like the idea of being in a dusty old library translating old texts from Latin…but only if they lead to treasure. 

The last thing I bought which I still truly love is an Emerald ring. It was in the possession of a French jewel dealer I know, and I admired it for years. Eventually, I assumed it was long gone, but fate struck when I phoned him about a tiara I had my eye on. I mentioned the ring in passing and he said it had recently come back into his possession after an adventure in Dubai. I nearly fainted at my luck and snapped it up immediately. It was just as lovely as I remembered. 

My favourite gift is either a Fortnum & Mason hamper or, of course, some sort of jewellery or metal gift. We’re currently working on a gemstone nail polish that I think will make an epic gift. Who could resist the chance to give Rubies, Sapphires or Emeralds for every finger for £50? 

Stay on the lookout for everything 80s. Huge jewels are due for a comeback: big pearl earrings, huge cocktail rings, massive everything!

Best happy hour indulgence is a gin and tonic. Or, a great Champagne.

My favourite book of all time has to be Pride and Prejudice


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