Updated: Jul 27, 2020
I first discovered the magical world of Philippe Petra via Philippe‘s sister, the beautiful and bold Annabella. She had kindly commented on some of my posts, and I wandered over to her Instagram page to see who this warm hearted person was! Much to my surprise... the gorgeous Annabella was oftentimes wearing the most exquisite jewelry I had ever seen! I had to ask more, and Annabella told me that all the pieces are from her brothers collection - you guessed it, Philippe Petra! A few months later, I met Annabella in London, and had the opportunity to see select pieces from the collection myself. So began my friendship and my fascination (more like obsession!) with all things Phillipe Petra. A few months later, I had the opportunity to meet this talented jewellery designer in Hong Kong, and it was love at first sight, with the jewels, and with the man!
Cartouche ring with a rare dome shaped Paraiba Tourmaline, over 70 carats.
Philippe Petra is the most charming, understated man I have ever met. So many jewelers have egos larger than a Hong Kong skyscraper. Not Philippe. Bebe and I met him one evening for drinks, which progressed to viewing the collection. He immediately made us both feel so comfortable, and at ease, despite the fact that we were viewing rare 60 carat natural no heat Burma rubies, and 45 carat D color flawless diamonds! To say that his collection is spectacular is an understatement. Every piece is more beautiful than the one before, all crafted using the finest, rarest gems imaginable. I hope you enjoy this read, and learning more about this talented jewellery designer. To keep up to date with his latest creations, follow the Philippe Petra Instagram page.
TDG: Who is Phillippe Petra? Some background to the brand, and how it began.
PP: Philippe Petra is a high jewellery establishment that specialises in rare and investment-grade diamonds and coloured stones — in particular natural colour diamonds. It all began with a personal passion for natural gems, colours and aesthetics combined with a strong desire to create pieces that are both everlasting and timeless.
We started our journey sourcing and trading rare gems and diamonds over a decade ago. To this day, we still view our work as a wonderful treasure hunt. We travel the globe to source the rarest and most captivating conflict-free gems, which we turn into unique jewels for discerning patrons.
My personal background is in archaeology and design and before starting my eponymous brand, I have worked within the mining and high jewellery industries.
TDG: I’ve seen your work and it’s phenomenal, especially the quality of the stones you use. What’s your favorite gem to work with?
PP: I do not have a favourite gem per se but rather a predilection for finer quality natural gems and diamonds, in terms of rarity, crystal quality, colour depth, brilliance and make. With that said, generally, I prefer working with diamonds and gemstones of exotic and unusual hues as well as very large colourless emerald cut and old mine cut diamonds.
Equally important to quality and beauty is the provenance of a stone. At Philippe Petra, we chose
and crafted ethically and we build long lasting rapports with suppliers that believe and implement the values of our brand.
TDG: What is the most beautiful gem you have ever seen?
PP: Through the years, I have seen several outstanding gems in museums, jewellery boutiques, trade shows, private collections and TheDiamondsGirl Instagram feed. It would be unjust and complicated to pick one. Nevertheless, from my personal collection, my favorite piece is a 30+ carat old mine cut Kashmir sapphire.
TDG: Who or what inspires you?
PP: For one, I am very much inspired by confident and strong women (and men) that have the tenacity to actually wear my high jewellery pieces en-lieu of hiding them away in a safety box (not that there is anything wrong with that either). I always look up to those individuals that have character and are authentic — not influenced by ephemeral trends.
With regards to my designs, the biggest sources of inspiration have been the ancient civilisations of the World from both aesthetic and conceptual viewpoints. In particular ancient Egypt and the early civilisations of the Mediterranean. Conversely, the quintessential colour combinations I employ in my creations are influenced by elements of nature and the cosmos.
TDG: What three adjectives would you use to describe your clients?
Luckily we have been blessed with exceptional customers. Each of them is unique in his/ her own manner. If I had to pick three adjectives to describe them, they would be:
TDG. Where can people view your creations, or is it by appointment only?
PP: A number of our pieces can be viewed on our Instagram feed (https://www.instagram.com/philippe.petra/). Our accessory jewellery lines (and soon fine jewellery lines too) can be purchased through our online store (philippe- petra.com). The actual physical creations can be viewed in private exhibitions worldwide, or by advance appointment.
TDG: How do you see the Philippe Petra brand developing?
PP: At Philippe Petra, we are as passionate about natural stones, aesthetics and high-craftsmanship as we are about the well being of our planet and its people. Therefore, the expansion of our brand and market reach must be undertaken in ways that enable moral integrity at a corporate and personal level. With that said, we see our brand developing within three core areas:
• High jewellery consolidation : Continuing our pursuit of exceptional, rare gems and sustaining the impeccable quality and exclusivity of our top-of-range high jewellery line.
• Brand extension : Developing our affordable luxury range online, offering golden and gemstone jewellery as well as natural bead bracelets that adhere to our aesthetic and high-craftsmanship standards.
• Greening our brand : Making our brand as environmentally-friendly as we can, in a resolute and consistent manner.
TDG: Which jeweler (other than yourself) do you admire, and why?
PP: There are many jewellers I admire, unfortunately I have a hard time remembering all of them as this market is highly saturated. Based on my own personal preferences, I have listed below some of the jewellers I admire, and the reasons why I like their work.
• Vhiren Bhagat : traditional yet contemporary - highly sophisticated - exceptional stone-setting
• Moussaieff : spectacular stones - authentic designs - big pieces - romantic and exotic flair
• Forms : simplicity - exceptional stones - sophistication - settings that showcase stones exceptionally well
• Daniel Brush : authentic designs - innovative materials and craftsmanship - unique colours and textures
• Graff : finest and widest selection of large diamonds - contemporary clean design - exceptional stone-setting
• Kwiat : important stones - big pieces - classic and contemporary
• Sabba : sophisticated designs - utmost attention to detail and craftsmanship - unique colour combinations
• David Morris : feminine and airy - important stones - exceptional craftsmanship and details
• Siegelson : exquisite rare gems and historic diamonds - simple contemporary designs - fine craftsmanship
• Francesca Amfitheatrof : clean, highly graphic designs - fine attention to detail - discerning yet commercially viable
TDG: How are you coping with Covid, and what impact do you think it will have on the luxury industry?
PP: While many things aren’t within my control (i.e. a novel virus), the two things I do fully control are my actions and my time- performance. As such, I tend to focus on those two aspects of life while employing my resources wisely and productively in this period of uncertainty to prepare for what lies ahead.
It is to be understood that luxury, in particular retail and the travel industries among others have been deeply affected by this pandemic and that signifies CEOs and management teams alike must rethink their strategies and operations in order to navigate these uncharted waters. Customer habits are shifting swiftly and the retail landscape is undergoing a full scale transformation — in light of these new realities, the luxury industry must adapt accordingly so as to remain relevant, profitable and competitive.
TDG: Tell us one thing about you personally that we would never suspect!
PP: I really wouldn’t know where to start, I am quite a private person.
TDG: Thank you Philippe for these wonderful insights into your world. I cannot wait to see you and your magnificent jewels as soon as we are able to do so!