Thursday, 13 December 2012

Asprey. London.

Asprey (formerly Asprey & Garrard) is a British luxury brand with a heritage that dates back to 1781. The brand offers an extensive range of gifts, jewellery, watches, leather, silver, bone china, crystal and rare books, all available in its flagship New Bond Street store. Asprey was once the destination for crowns, coronets and sceptres for royal families around the world. This tradition of offering craftsmanship, quality and design Royal Warrant is by appointment to H.R.H The Prince of Wales. In May 2012 New York based Luxury Institute ranked Asprey in the top two luxury brands for 2012
Asprey was established in England in Mitcham, Surrey in 1781. Originally founded as a silk printing business by William Asprey, it soon became a luxury emporium. In 1841, William Asprey’s elder son Charles went into partnership with a stationer located on London’s Bond Street. In 1847 the family broke with this partner and moved into 167 New Bond Street, the premises Asprey occupies today. From its central London location Asprey advertised ‘articles of exclusive design and high quality, whether for personal adornment or personal accompaniment and to endow with richness and beauty the table and homes of people of refinement and discernment.’ An early speciality was dressing cases. Asprey crafted traditional cases and designs, mostly in leather, suitable for the new style of travel ushered in by railways. Asprey was recognised for its expertise when it won a gold medal for its dressing cases at the International Exhibition of 1862. The company consolidated its position through shrewd acquisitions. In 1859 Asprey absorbed Edwards, an award winning maker of dressing cases and holder of a Royal Warrant. The company also purchased the Alfred Club at 22 Albemarle Street, which backed on to the New Bond Street store and meant that Asprey now had entrances on two of London’s most fashionable streets.

In 1862 Asprey was granted its first Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria. The Prince of Wales, later to be crowned Edward VII, granted another Royal Warrant and the company enjoyed a longstanding and unbroken relationship with various members of the British Royal Family. At the time of Edward VII’s funeral an Asprey member of staff remembered, ‘practically all the ruling heads of state were there, and many of them came to Asprey, you might have seen three or four of them at one time’. In 1953 it was the coronation of the current monarch, Elizabeth II. Asprey paid homage with the Asprey Coronation Year Gold Collection, which featured a dessert, coffee and liqueur service in 18-carat gold and weighed almost 27 pounds. In April 1953 it went on show in the New Bond Street store and subsequently toured the United States

As the business grew, the company acquired new manufacturing facilities and hired silversmiths, goldsmiths, jewellers and watchmakers including Ernest Betjeman, the father of the distinguished poet John Betjeman, one of the most highly regarded craftsman and designers of his day. In the twenties, commissions poured in from around the world, from American millionaire J. Pierpont Morgan to potentates such as the Maharajah of Patiala. The Maharajah of Patiala commissioned a huge teak travelling trunk for each of his wives in which each trunk was fitted with solid silver washing and bathing utensils with waterspouts of ornate tiger head and lined with blue velvet. Asprey cigarette cases became collectable amongst young sophisticates who delighted in its other modern products, including travel clocks, safety razors and automatic pencil sharpeners.

1781 Asprey begins trading as William Asprey in Mitcham, Surrey
1847 Asprey flagship store opens on New Bond Street, London
1851 At the Great Exhibition Asprey is awarded the gold medal by Queen Victoria
1862 First Royal Warrant granted by Queen Victoria
1889 Edward VII grants the second Royal Warrant to Asprey Garrard
1925 HM Queen Mary commissions necklace, later given to HRH Princess Margaret on the occasion of her 18th birthday
1930 Maharajah of Patiala commissions five trunks, one for each of his five wives
1973 Bespoke chess set is commissioned for Ringo Starr’s birthday
1975 Asprey received the Queen’s Award to Industry by Queen Elizabeth
1990 Asprey and Garrard merge
2002 Asprey and Garrard split
2004 Lord Norman Foster redesigns the flagship store in New Bond Street, London
2006 Asprey celebrates its 225th anniversary and is granted its own coat of arms by the prestigious English college of arms in recognition of its long-term commitment to craftsmanship and luxury
2006 Sciens Capital Management and Plainfield Asset Management purchase the brand
2009 Asprey becomes the official jewellery sponsor of The Orange British Academy Film Awards
2010 Bruce Hoeksema is announced as the Creative Director
2011 Paddy Byng is announced as the Managing Director
2012 Katie Hillier creates new Autumn Winter Collection
2012 Shaun Leane creates new jewellery collections for Asprey
2012 Asprey collaborate with acclaimed light artist Chris Levine to create The Diamond Queen for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee
2012 May - New York based Luxury Institute ranks Asprey in the top two luxury brands for 2012

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