Husband and wife team are still dazzling…20 years on.
Clerkenwell jeweller E.C. One is near enough to Hatton Garden to bask in its glow, but not so close as to be blinded by the city’s famed Diamond District.
Jos Skeates established the boutique with partner Alison in 1997 as one of the first of the longstanding Exmouth Market bricks and mortar we know today.
Skeates says their location, which inspired the name of the store, is ideal for its proximity to Hatton Garden for gemstones, metals and tools, without competition from the High Street shops. “We want to make pieces that reflect the wearer, not the wearer reflecting someone else’s brand.”
The duo had a vision for a store full of carefully curated contemporary pieces with a workshop at its heart to create totally unique designs.
Skeates, who trained at St Martins, manages production and manufacturing, while Alison looks after the buying. Customers can select from a broad range of bespoke pieces from the likes of Alex Monroe, Niessing and Ruth Tomlinson, or arrange a chat with one of E.C. One’s goldsmiths to commission a personal piece.
“Our workshop is at the heart of everything we do,” Skeates says. “We have built our business around crafts-people who work in the store using centuries old techniques handed down from generation to generation.
“We love the challenge of making something unique for our customers every time and because we have this service ‘in-store’ it need not cost more than a piece that is purchased off the shelf.”
Prices start at around £30 for day-to-day pieces and ring up at £15,000 for custom engagement rings.
The couple also works to nurture up-and coming talent through the annual E.C. One Unsigned competition, now in its sixth year.
“The winner will receive tools, mentoring, training, and also the opportunity to sell their work in our store. It’s a great way to encourage the next generation of designer makers.”