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An Interview with the Promising Jewellery Brand Olivia Grace's founder Helena Lappin

Olivia Grace, we see jewellery as a creative tool for self-expression. So, Olivia Grace, an ethical and contemporary fine jewellery brand from the heart of London's diamond district, Hatton Garden founded by jewellery designer Hellena Lappin creates expression jewels. A classic yet striking piece for any woman's jewellery box. In with beautiful pieces designed to do no harm and outlast their wearer.

Olivia Grace Collections reflects the free spirit of the modern woman; her individual style with the finest British craftsmanship and unique designs that are sophisticated and investment-worthy without sacrificing any glamour. With over 23 years in the fine jewellery field, Olivia Grace's founder Helena put all her knowledge and expertise into the design process, from creative development to all the way to prototyping.

For Olivia Grace jewellery the contemporary women have always been the inspiration when creating the all ready-to-wear collection with the elements of a bygone decade glamour and fashion for women of all ages, striking the perfect balance between interesting and go-with-everything. Olivia Grace also offers bespoke services, to selective clientele and celebrities alike Alesha Dixon, Penny Lancaster and Rod Stewart. Today Olivia Grace is the most notorious jewellery brand with its presence in select retailers worldwide including the most famous department stores of London like Harvey Nicholas, La Maison Couture and online.

Each piece of the Olivia Grace collections is designed in the UK and ethically handmade in Italy using gold, ethically sourced diamonds and precious gemstones. They pride themselves on being an expert in diamonds and semi-precious stones and a member of the world diamond federation and the National Association of Jewellers.

My story began nearly four years ago when I first met Helena at her private jewellery launch of the Venezia collection in London. Here's Helena Lappin, a shining star with a bubbly personality, so positive, so warm and welcoming with a beautiful soul inside and outside, smiled as soon as I entered the room. I felt extremely cosy and comfortable talking to her that I almost felt I am under the magic spell. She's that contagious. I guess this ambience comes from her professional background of working with A-list celebrities, trendsetters alike and her meticulous eye for detail and quality of every detail of jewellery making with care.

Since then, I have been following Helena's progress in the jewellery field as a fan. And, I was so delighted when she invited me to her new showcase in Selfridges, London I immediately said yes. It was such an opportunity for both of us to mingle over a champaign or two... :-)

Learn more about Olivia Grace fine jewellery brand in my talk with Helen in the following all-access interview below. I hope you enjoy it :-)

Jewellery Pursuer: Please share your experience of getting into the jewellery business and finding Olivia Grace London fine jewellery

Helen Lappin: Getting into the jewellery business was purely by chance! An advert in the newspaper looking for a PA to a diamond merchant in Hatton garden caught my attention. I had just got married and moved down to London from the north, armed with a business and French degree I went to meet, what was later to become my boss and mentor and teach me everything I would need to know about diamonds. It was the start of a very exciting new journey. I knew nothing at the time about diamonds but because I had a 2.1 BA Hons degree he recognized that I could learn quickly. Learning on the job and dealing with high-end retailers and manufacturers such as Graff, David Morris and Cartier to name but a few, meant that I could grade diamonds into colour and clarity. I once went down to Cartier New Bond Street with £250,000 worth of diamonds in a Tesco carrier bag to sell to them. It was natural to me.

After working for several years with the diamond merchant I decided to have children and left the office to set up on my own. I believed in the power of brands and lifestyle. I wanted to create a brand after my daughters. I did a branding course to build up my knowledge and learnt that to develop a brand would need to have an identity so I went to Italy and met a fantastic manufacturer where we designed a range together using my travels as inspiration. I love colour and was passionate about life and living consciously and I wanted that to come across in the designs. By using coloured diamonds in champagne and sapphires and emeralds would bring the range to life. The clever black rhodium plating underneath the stones made them stand out. My manufacturer and I would often take a conference room at the Rosewood hotel in Holborn which is so inspirational and design together there for hours.

JP: Olivia Grace as a brand is committed to sourcing ethically traded and conflict-free diamonds and gemstones that are socially and environmentally responsible. How was your experience of keeping loyal to such standards?

HL: I became a full member of the London Diamond Bourse and also the World Federation of Diamond Bourses as being part of an ethical and professional body was incredibly important to me. The high standards that the bourse provides give my clients confidence in my brand. I do not deal with blood diamonds and am part of the Kimberely process. I use all recycled gold and often meltdown my clients existing gold to make a new piece. My diamonds are mainly alluvial which comes from the sea in Namibia. I was part of Positive Fashion and showcased at London fashion week. Because of my high ethical standards, I was selected to showcase in Selfridges London who are the leading edge in a sustainable fashion. I was part of the ethical group la Maison Couture who only have ethical brands on board.

JP: The Olivia Grace ready-to-wear collections are made by Italian craftsmen but you also support the art and heritage of the finest British craftsmanship. What does it mean to you to support the finest British craftsmanship?

HL: My bespoke work is my main business and I was part of the Hatton Garden Regeneration project where we pioneer British craftsmanship and help to keep it alive and growing. I have a workshop in Hatton Garden where I use local mounters, setters, polishers, engravers and CAD technicians and it has taken me 25 years to build up these contacts all based on expertise and trust. Hand made pieces have longevity and are made with love and passion which goes into the piece and I am a firm believer in inheritance pieces to be passed down through the generations.

JP: Over the year we have seen Olivia Grace growing and despite the pandemic, it didn't lack any inspiration. Tell me what keeps you moving?

HL: Olivia grace jewellery survived the pandemic and although I could not meet clients face to face I have huge ready to wear collections that I would post out to clients. I also do a great fashion range which is perfect for gifts and around the £100 mark. These are Italian and silver but 18-carat gold plated. They fly out. This kept me going as well as selling diamonds as I am a diamond expert and can source any diamond in the world. I have a loyal and firm clientele that I have built up over many years and social media is my shop window to get new designs out.

Jewellery pieces of Olivia Grace

JP: Please share your experience of making bespoke pieces for celebrities like Rod Stewart and his wife Penny Lancaster, Maureen Pegg, Alesha Dixon and Tess Daly and many others.

HL: Over the years I have developed a wonderful A list celebrity clientele. Making bespoke engagement rings and matching wedding bands for Sir Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster was wonderful and I worked very closely with them designing and travelling with them to Chicago to show them diamonds of their choice. Discretion is very important when working with high profile people. The first question that Sir Rod wanted to know 12 years ago was are my diamonds ethical as this was of the upmost importance for them. I selected their diamond from one of the most ethical sourced countries in the world which is Canada as they trace the diamondback from the mine to the client. I usually go to their homes and get to know the clients very well. I dress celebrities for awards and dressed Maureen Pegg for the Baftas in my black and white diamond Classic Venezia collection. Maureen told me that she felt like a queen. I dressed Alesha Dixon in a diamond ear cuff with a single 3 carat radiant cut in the other ear for the Eva Longoria charity awards. Tess Daly, I have dressed for Strictly and Arizona Muse selected my pieces for the GQ awards as she is very involved in a sustainable fashion. I have even donated a tennis bracelet to my childhood icon Goldie Hawn for her charity mind up.

A-list celebrities wearing Olivia Grace jewellery

JP: If you have one dream what would it be?

HL: My dream would be to set up a charity under the Olivia Grace name to help impoverished children, adults. To also offer a mentoring scheme which I have started to do over the last few years and have taken on A level students and Graduate students and have even managed to get them a job in the industry.

JP: What's Helena Lappin like at home?

HL: I am a very earthy girl at home. I have 3 pets who I adore and love to be outside next to nature. I meditate to keep grounded and listen to Classic FM all day! This keeps the house peaceful. I am very positive and sociable but also need my quiet time alone to make space in my mind so that I can create.

JP: What's your free times filled with if any?

HL: My free time is filled with looking for jewellery inspiration on Pinterest, social media, magazines, and finding inspiration in nature. I also love biographies and going to the cinema. I never say no to Fine dining and champagne as Shohista knows!!

JP: What's your advice to your younger self?

HL: For my younger self I would say the sky is the limit and the only limitations are the limits that you place on yourself. Fear is in the mind and is not real. Feel gratitude every day for even the small things in your life and keep everything as simple as you can.

JP: What other future projects are in mind or planned, if not a secret?

HL: I have some very exciting projects lined up involving bespoke pieces for A-Lister musicians. Watch this space!!!!

Love Olivia Grace


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