Last week, the Covett team once again took over the spectacular IBV Vault on London’s Park Lane for an evening of jewels, canapés and conversation with members of the Royal Automobile Club (RAC).
For many RAC members joining us for the invite-only event, this was an introduction to the concept of renting or part-owning jewellery. As such, Covett founder Cynthia Morrow took guests through her vision of circular luxury and explained a little about why she felt motivated to bring this concept to jewels in 2018.
“I wanted to do something in the sharing economy,” Cynthia shared with our guests. “Because of what was happening with sustainability and all these issues around the planet, I came up with this idea to do fractional ownership of jewellery. We were doing it with cars, jets and vacation homes; and I thought, if you can do it with those kinds of assets, why not do it with jewellery?”
She painted a scene that many in the room were familiar with: expensive jewels locked away in a safe, barely worn. “If it’s sentimental or you wear it every day, you’re not going to share it, but for everything else, there’s Covett,” she said.
Many of the designers whose work is available to rent via a Covett jewellery subscription were on hand to meet RAC members and talk through their jewellery. Zeemou Zeng showed a selection of his kinetic jewels, while Susie Smither of The Rock Hound displayed her colourful, ethically sourced jewels including her Molton Muzo collection set with tumbled Colombian emeralds. Olivia Young of Ouroboros showed vibrant, sometimes serpentine jewels influenced by her upbringing in India.
Our jewellery subscriptions start at £300 a year and were recently featured in the Financial Times’ How to Spend It magazine in an article titled Borrowed diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
Designer Yeena Yoon was also at the RAC event, showcasing a special collection she has created exclusively for Covett, the making of which was funded by a grant from ReLondon, a Mayor of London-backed scheme to encourage the circular economy that Covett facilitates through our fine jewellery rental subscriptions. The collection of gold jewels is beautifully sculptural, referencing Yeena’s past career as an architect, with sensual marquise-cut gemstones and contrasting linear lines carved into lapis lazuli, jade and jasper.
RAC members were invited by the IBV team to descend from the reception room to the vault for a tour of the space where some of London’s billionaires secret away their treasures in what is believed to be the most secure room in the city. This is where Covett stores its jewels when they are not required by members. After navigating some incredibly tight security and perusing the safety deposit boxes – one of which was hilariously filled with golden chocolate coins for guests to indulge in – they were shown through to the viewing room. On display here were some of the jewels Covett offers shares in through co-ownership, including innovative expandable diamond tennis bracelets from Picchiotti and a high-carat selection of diamond jewels by Baunaut.
During the event, Cynthia was joined by Shika Bodani, founder of Front Row, a luxury fashion rental business, for a talk on the circular economy, moderated by jewellery journalist Rachael Taylor. During the talk, the two pioneers discussed their shared vision for a more sustainable future.
“I think we’re all living such a fast-paced life, and we’re moving away from ownership to usability,” commented Shika, who noted that the power of social media has led many of Front Row’s customers to feel pressured into only wearing items once. She pointed out that using Front Row to rent pieces is a more cost-effective method of inflating your wardrobe, while listing your own pieces that would otherwise lie unworn in a wardrobe also makes financial sense. She continued: “I think we’re moving, in the next few years, to a point where people will have staples in their wardrobe, and invest in those staples, and complement that with rental, resale, co-ownership and subscription.”
Cynthia and Shika used the talk for RAC members to make an exciting announcement: the two women are teaming up to offer Covett members access to luxury bags sourced by Front Row through part ownership. Members will be able to invest in bags from brands such as Hermés, Bottega Venetta, Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton by buying a 20% share. This will give them access to the handbag for 10 weeks of the year. When it is not being worn, the bags – just like Covett’s jewellery – will be securely stored. Also like the jewellery, Covett will deal with cleaning, maintenance and insurance, meaning all you have to do is enjoy your bag.
“Just like we were talking about fractional ownership of a home, or a car, a jet or a yacht, you pay 20% rather than the full price, then you have 20% of the year to use that bag,” Cynthia said on the night. “You may have an everyday bag, but then you may have special bags. Instead of spending all your money on one special bag, you can have five for the price of one. It really is a great way to be more circular and increase the utilisation of the assets.”