Summer Newsletter 2019

This newsletter is inspired by nature and highlights how important the natural world is to everyone and everything that lives on the planet. As we continue to ride roughshod over our environment, the importance of appreciating and preserving our heritage for future generations becomes ever more important. As Frank Lloyd Wright the legendary architect commented in September 1957 ‘Nature is spelt with a capital N in the way that God is with a capital ‘G’.

In keeping with the theme of nature, we interviewed Annoushka Ducas who has built a major jewellery brand inspired bythis theme. Our lead article looks back to the start of the 20th century and the future, with an interview with Maurizio Mucciola, the architect and director of PiM Studios. Our interiors feature meets Michelle Harris of Harris&Home and uncovers her love of wallpaper.

We have also met with Kate Flitcroft of auctioneers Lyon&Turnbull and taken advice regarding what to do with inherited jewellery. The highlight of the social season for luxurytopping is the annual visit to Masterpiece Fair held in London from 27 June to 3July. This is probably the world’s leading cross- collecting fair, with a varied selection of art, design, furniture and jewellery.

The restaurants this year are are Le Caprice, Scott’s and the Ivy. Why wait for a table in the restaurants when you can people watch, eat and shop at Masterpiece?

Enjoy the summer.

Download our Summer Newsletter below: 

Welcome Sara Hartley

I have been creating jewellery for over twenty years from my studio in the Cockpit Studios in the centre of London. I have never been in favour of ‘bling’ as my works put elegance and wearability as the main criteria for my designs. Significantly, in my mind, whether you purchase a piece of jewellery from my collections or commission a bespoke piece of jewellery from me, my aim is to create a treasure for today, tomorrow and always.

My passion has always been diamonds; these precious objects from the depths of the earth send messages of energy and eternity. Diamonds, with their magical properties, have been used throughout my collections. In particular, I have been stimulated by the history, myths and legends surrounding diamonds and particularly the famous stones mined at Golconda in India, home to many of the most famous diamonds in the world.

The magical qualities and the curvatures of the valleys and mountains where these stones are found, inspired me to create the Diamond Bud collection inspired by the early stages of Spring. The sea was also source of inspiration, with the waves creating the curves which inspired me for the white or yellow gold rings, pendants and earrings but always maintaining diamonds as the centrepiece. Depending on budget, the pendants or rings can hold one, two or even more diamonds, ensuring these stones are really the stars of the show.

With Spring in full bloom, the adored and endangered butterflies, of which there are 57 species in the UK, will hopefully return to our gardens and parks. My butterfly collection honours these wonderful, colourful insects and has inspired my range of affordable gold or silver necklaces and earrings, featuring the fabulous spread of a butterfly’s wings.

Over the coming months we have many plans for our newsletter, not just about my designs but also featuring the interesting and knowledgeable people who work in the world of jewellery. Starting with the inspirational Katherine Andrews, I do hope you enjoy these insights into the wonderful world of jewellery.


Interview by Tricia Topping

Katherine Andrews is a London based gemstone and jewellery consultant. Katherine holds a Gemmologist diploma from the Gemmological Institute of America unique. Katherine is acutely aware of the ethical implications of stones and

the importance of building sustainability into the buying of gemstones. Katherine’s lectures on the origins and purchase
of gemstones gives a wealth of inside information on buying, using and selling stones. Check out Katherine’s website on for more information.

1. How did your time at Sotheby’s inspire you to go down the route of a gemstone expert rather than a jewellery consultant?

I spent my university holidays assisting at the jewellery auctions in Geneva. I saw the majority of Sotheby’s jewellery experts had a gemmology qualification, so I knew that I would have to add to my business degree to get somewhere in the industry. As much as I love jewellery, gemstones somehow transcend design and beauty into something intangible, often linked to spirituality but also geology and chemistry.

2. You studied as a Gemmologist in Mumbai, a route not usually taken by gemmologists in the UK. Why did you choose this unusual route to study gemmology in India?

Approximately 80% of the world’s stones are cut in India. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity to gain more hands-on experience, which I was fortunate enough to get as I went on to work in Jaipur.

3. What is impressive is your passion to travel to where the stones are mined. Not everyone has taken their chances and travelled to Kabul in Afghanistan. Explain why you did this?

I went to Kabul to work on a small project for the NGO Turquoise Mountain (a charity that helps preserve traditional arts and crafts in conflict zones). I gave gemmology training to artisans and also spent time in the market looking at their stones, grading quality and checking prices. As a foreigner in such a place, it’s very hard to get a proper grasp on provenance and pricing, however it was a wonderful experience and I feel grateful to work in an industry which gives me the opportunity not only to learn continually, but also to work with people from all over the world.

4 . The small mines in Thailand support farmers who are using mines to support their core livelihood. Please explain why you became involved in this sector.

I visited mines in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam with a field gemmologist, who was collecting samples for a testing laboratory. As someone who works with cut and polished stones, I think it’s important to know where your product comes from.

5. For a gemstone expert, the inclusions of tiny microscopic minerals can ascertain where a gem is mined and is the geographic passport to the provenance of a gemstone. Where do the best gemstones come from and which stones would you invest in?

The million-dollar question. With coloured gemstones, it can often come down to taste and prescribed ideals are changing. For example, Columbian emeralds are always thought of as being the best, however I have seen some exceptional colours come out of Zambia and Afghanistan. If you have a certificate for a stone from a reputable country with Country of Origin, the price may be high, but you can be sure the stone won’t lose value.

6. The jewellery market has grown over the last ten years and is now regarded as an important asset in class and outperforms the property market. Which stone would you buy to put into your pension fund?

A large pink diamond! Unheated rubies from Myanmar and sapphires from Kashmir. Colombian emeralds. I would buy from a reliable source and get

them certified. I also love spinels and Padparadscha sapphire and opals, but these would all be emotional investments for me, as there is no short-term guarantee on your investment.

View news story as PDF


Sara Hartley 
T: 07720 285666
Instagram: sarahartley_jewellery

Luxury Topping Summer Newsletter


It is a well-known fact that Londoners flock to any outdoor space they can get, the moment the sun shines down on the Capital. We thought we’d bring you some respite to this never-ending heatwave and introduce you to three of our top London Boutique Hotels, where you can cool off with a refreshing cocktail.

Have a read of the article here.


The slowdown in the property market and the growth of everything online could possibly lead to the end of the red socks and pointy shoe brigade of estate agents.

London Loves Business, the source of many good stories, reviewed a report from Moore Stephens, the Top 10 Accountancy Firm into the financial health of estate agents. They report that more than 7,000 UK estate agents are currently showing signs of financial distress and 153 have gone insolvent in the last year.

Estate agent failures and more boarded up shops, just leads to more doom and gloom. How can things change and shoppers be encouraged once more to visit their local shopping malls and high streets?

We asked David Bentheim who apart from his work in interior design also has a world-wide reputation for creating amazing exhibiting spaces. He believes we need something different and to turn things on their head… Read more here


Luxury Topping have enjoyed being members of Grace since Kate Percival had the vision to start a private members club with a primary focus of offering a holistic approach to health.

We asked the Club’s new Managing Director Deborah to share with us an insight into her thoughts for the club:

Grace is a rare club with many facets from health to restaurants to club activities and events. How do you see the strands blending together to the benefit of the members?

Without a doubt it is the team around the members that are pivotal to ensuring they embody the integrity of a club in the service they give members. As the club is spread over 11,500 sq. ft it is essential to ensure that our team of over 100 people integrate and know about the services available to members.

The hospitality and leisure industries have relied on professionals from the EU how do you think this will impact on the business after Brexit? 

The issues around Brexit are causing a lot of uncertainty currently and are, of course, causing some concern for us.  After Brexit we will just get on with it, I will do what I have always done in challenging situations, focus on my members and train and inspire our team so all continue to feel part of the Grace family.

For the rest of the interview head to LuxuryTopping.


Marketing Firm Director of the Year 2018 – South East England

Carlyle Consultants

Carlyle Consultants is a London-based independent communications and marketing agency specialising in commercial, residential and mixed-use property and luxury. We invited Founder and Director Tricia Topping to talk us through how she came to create this dynamic company and how she draws on her corporate experience to lead it to success.

Following a successful career running one of the UK’s leading marketing and communications company, specialising in property which was sold to a major public company, Tricia decided that she had had enough of the big corporate life and took the plunge and went back to starting a much smaller client focused company called Carlyle Consultants. The firm’s subsidiary company, Luxury Topping specialises in the business of luxury, whilst Carlyle Consultants focuses on property, food and all things surrounding the business of luxury. Tricia explores how the firm has leveraged its small size to ensure clients receive the highest possible level of support and service that they can rely upon.

At Carlyle Consultants we have benefited from working with a small team, in fact one of my current team members, Theresa Riches, was instrumental in helping me build my former business and is now continuing the role of helping us build Carlyle Consultants. Our work in the jewellery sector is continuing to grow and a life-long passion of studying heritage jewellery is turning into opportunities to promote wonderful brands. I have always shared everything with my team, listening and respecting their opinions, as business decisions have to be collaborative.

Recently we were lucky to be appointed to work with the late Commendatore Antonio Carluccio OBE, known as the Godfather of Italian cooking. His passion and knowledge of the world of food, took my team in a different and very enjoyable direction, working with him on his books, promotions and world tours. Our contacts stretch to great journalists, interesting food production companies and restaurants and we want to continue to use this knowledge to the benefit of other clients. Along the way we learnt a lot about food promotion and how to cook pasta. It was a journey none of us would have missed for the world.

Alongside her passion for luxury promotion, Tricia is also committed to women’s rights, and as a woman with wide experience across the corporate landscape she understands the challenges that are faced and the obstacles that have already been overcome, insight which she is keen to share with us.

During my career I have seen immense changes in the role of ‘women in business’, but we still have a long way to go. I feel very strongly that our past defines our future and for this reason it was a team decision to support the recent exhibition held at the Museum of London, to celebrate 100 years of the Suffragette movement. These women were pioneers in fighting for women’s rights and it is inspirational to see across the world the women who are willing to push hard to ensure we have a voice on every platform. We worked with Variety, the Children’s charity on their new initiative, the Catherine Awards, which honours the achievements of inspirational women. I was completely blown away with the women who are out there in big and small companies making big sacrifices to follow their dreams. What is impressive is the majority of those who had children and still found time to support various charitable causes.

“To ensure that women remain supported in business, I believe that there should be more mentoring opportunities for women. I hate to see women making the same mistakes I made when starting a business. It would be wonderful if people could be more open about failure, you learn more from your mistakes and it is better to fail at something than have the fear of failure.”

Specifically within the communications space, Tricia foresees many exciting developments over the coming years which she is keen to take advantage of.

“Ultimately, the communications industry has reached a major turning point; the industry needs to be taken seriously. There has been a number of other companies fail due in part to the fact they have failed to communicate. The odd press release written by an intern is not the way to communicate. Communication starts at the very heart of a company, which is the staff, your customers and stakeholders.

“There are now many different ways of reaching your target audience, who have changed beyond recognition, but the words integrity, respect and truth are still the mantras for communication. The old advertising man and PR girl is a dying breed; they are being replaced with a new brand of communicators, who understand their industry on every level. Major companies are taking communications seriously and I am pleased to see this is happening at board level. Although many industries such as the property industries are still male dominated, this will have to change with the women at board level being paid as much as the men and the old boys network banished into history. However, in the luxury brands, I see more and more women carving a role for themselves and it is inspiring. I look forward to being among them and supporting others in their journey to success.”

Spring Newsletter

Welcome to our Spring newsletter. This edit we are looking at the future of property in the much sought after Mayfair and St James, how safe is it? We step off the pavements of the Kings Road and venture into the tree lined avenues of Camille Pissarro’s much loved Sydenham and speak to the hugely passionate antique jewellery expert, author and presenter John Benjamin.

You are receiving our newsletter as you are a valued contact and on our database. We would like to continue to share our newsletter with you but we are sure you are aware the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will come into effect 25th May.

We are completely committed to protecting your privacy and security and have updated our privacy policy effective 25th May to meet the high standards of the new European data protection law – GDPR. You can read our updated privacy policy here. By continuing to use our services on or after 25th May 2018, you acknowledge and agree to our updated Privacy Policy. If you have any questions about our policy please email

In other news we have just won the 2018 the Influential Businesswoman Award for Marketing Firm Director of the Year. Tricia comments “My role has always been to look after my clients, they are without a doubt my top priority. In order to do this you need a dedicated team who share your vision for excellence in customer service. I have been very fortunate to employ and work with creative men and women throughout my career, when I look and see what my former teammates are doing, I am immensely proud of starting them on journeys which have led to their success.”


Whilst walking through Mayfair, my client commented, “anyone would think that gold had been discovered under the streets of Mayfair there is so much digging.”  The construction work is continuing, glossy shiny buildings are soaring up to the sky, Mayfair townhouses are glowing with their expensive facelifts, but the gold has disappeared.

The Mayfair and St James market has ‘cooled significantly, falling by 25.4% in the second quarter of 2017’ according to Coutts. If you thought that by developing a piece of prime real estate was going to bring you a yacht in the South of France, you have to think again, it is more likely to bring you a visit from the debt collectors as your profits fall. Why has this happened when we have all be told time and time again by the pin-striped super estate agents, that Mayfair and St James property prices are resilient?

Have a read of the full article to find out our predicitons.


John Benjamin is a specialist in antique jewellery, lecturer and author. We had the pleasure of inteviewing him for Luxury Topping.

Was it a stroke of luck that you went to work for the Cameo Corner with their specialists in renaissance and 18th and 19th century jewellery?
It was pure chance, My father, noticed my love of colour duly wrote to Cameo Corner, a celebrated antique jewellery shop located a stone’s throw from the British Museum and I got the job of junior sales assistant which started me on the most amazing journey.

Which period in history would you start collecting now?
Antique jewellery – particularly jewels of 17th and 18th Century origin – are increasingly hard to find today.   A charming Georgian ring, a pair of elegant antique earrings or a pretty and wearable Victorian bracelet can still be purchased at an affordable price and will always convey individuality, style and implicit good taste.

Head to LuxuryTopping for the full interview.

John Benjamin has written a number of books and if you wanted to  learn more Joanna Hardy’s on-line Jewellery Foundation Course which is available from Learning with gives a great overview of collecting and investing in jewellery.

Commendatore Antonio Carluccio OBE 19th April 1937 to 8th November 2017

It is with great sadness that we announce Commendatore Antonio Carluccio OBE sadly passed away Wednesday morning.

Commendatore Antonio Carluccio was an OBE, OMRI and a much loved and respected Italian cookery writer, cook, restaurateur, food expert and loved TV personality, he was regarded as the Godfather of Italian cooking. Raised in the rural North West of Italy, Antonio had a rare and privileged breadth of culinary knowledge.

Antonio was appointed Commendatore by the Italian Government in 1998 for services rendered to Italy, the equivalent of a British knighthood. He also received an OBE from The Queen in 2007 for services to the catering industry.

In 1981 Antonio opened the Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden, London, which traded for 26 years. In the same year he also was runner up in the Sunday Times Cook of the Year.

In 1999 Antonio co-founded Carluccio’s and it is his dedication and legacy which has made the restaurant group one of the UK’s most successful and well-known brands.

Antonio was awarded the AA Hospitality Lifetime Achievement award in 2012. Winners of this award are congratulated for making significant contributions to their industry, which have had a notable impact, and have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to progress in their field.

Carlyle Consultants believe in finding different solutions to issues faced by our clients

Taking inspiration from the fashion industry, we produced a ‘Look Book’ for Aquinna Homes’ two new houses in Chiswick to give our audience of journalists and bloggers a complete overview of the well-decorated detached houses.


Another first for the property industry we encouraged our clients, Shape Real Estate to bring their innovative development of 56 apartments in Bermondsey to the heart of the Capital by creating a POP-UP marketing suite. This was based in the centre of Piccadilly Circus – thank you to TfL for helping make this novel idea come to fruition.


Our social media campaign for Commendatore Antonio Carluccio, the icon of Italian cooking, to launch his new book Vegetables , reached a new audience of bloggers who were attracted to Antonio’s philosophy of MOF MOF ‘minimum of fuss, maximum of flavour’. We have re-vamped his website to see our work.



Antonio Carluccio’s 6 Seasons

In one of the largest bio diversity areas in the world, Carluccio learns about Australia’s indigenous history, spanning the culture, art and music of the land and, most importantly, the cuisine. He creates real Aussie food with an Italian twist, based on the six seasons of the Aboriginal calendar and the availability of native and foraged foods at different times of the year.

Along the way, TV presenter Richard Walley introduces Carluccio to local characters who accompany them on their quest as they hunt, fish and gather wild plants and experience the simple pleasures of Aboriginal life.

Producer: CM Films

Commissioned by: SBS Australia