British Bling

By staff January 1, 2006

The item: Six teardrop highly faceted topaz gems delicately dangle from a drop earring that's an architectural arrangement of falling leaves crafted of pavé diamonds and white gold. $30,200. Perfectly balanced for just the right aristocratic impact.

What makes it special: An original design from the haute British house of Asprey, this pair of baubles is backed by an impressive global pedigree 225 years old. Absolutely of the red-carpet moment when paired with a simple strapless cocktail dress or a dramatic ball gown.

Behind the brand: Asprey is a solid blue-chip investment and instantly recognizable for its distinctive purple gift box. The company has royal warrants going back to Queen Victoria. The firm was founded in 1781 in the tiny village of Mitchham (known for its lavender fields) by three generations of Asprey men who were metal crafters. Asprey china, crystal and silver on your wedding registry make the right statement in the right social circles. Men always start with the button signature cuff links. Guns and polo equipment are enduring best sellers. New designs include the Keira collection of white gold stack rings-young, modern and sporty. Asprey also offers bespoke service, creating custom-made clothing and other products.

Who has some: When Madonna married Brit director Guy Ritchie, she wore a 1910 Asprey tiara set with 767 diamonds valued at a quarter-million. And Asprey designers created the fabulous Coeur de la Mer necklace Kate Winslet wore in the film Titanic. Prince Charles and the rest of the royals choose Asprey for protocol gifts, those fabulous remembrances that visiting dignitaries exchange on state occasions. Also Aspreyed: Cate Blanchett (she likes the Daisy jewelry line), Hillary Swank, Joseph Fiennes, Chloe Sevigny, Celine Dion and Kevin Spacey.

Where to buy it: Flagship store in London at 167 Bond St. (Norman Foster designed the new atrium linking several buildings within the gorgeous complex). The company has been at that location since 1841, when the Asprey family merged with a high-class London stationery firm. In 2003 Asprey established an American branch at 723 Fifth Ave. And there's an Asprey boutique inside the Beverly Hills Hotel. Or browse the Asprey Web site and order by phone or Internet.

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