EC One has been one of our trade secrets for a long time. Having struck gold almost 20 years ago with a bustling and vibrant location in busy Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell, just round the corner from London’s main trade jewellery district Hatton Garden, the shop and its owners, Jos and Alison Skeates, have carved out their own perfect retail niche. A family run, authentic, stylish jewellery shop with on-site workshop for repairs and bespoke work, and staff bursting with knowledge and expertise.
Run by Jos, probably jewellery’s most connected man in London, and Alison, the shop’s main buyer with an eagle eye for cool jewels, there is literally nothing this shop couldn’t do for you when it comes to jewellery. Bespoke work is undertaken on-site and has proved a big hit for the local clientele; engagement rings are made to order in the workshop – with people working in the area coming in off the street with photos on their phone of what they’re after. Precious family heirlooms are reworked there and then, which means diamonds and gemstones need never leave the building.
One of the main pulls – apart from the jewellery – is the wonderful staff. Friendly, unintimidating and extremely knowledgeable, they take time to explain the designers’ backgrounds, the metals and gemstones, or the varying importance of the 4 C’s when buying a diamond (top tip – they’re not all equally as important) – but, they do just leave you to it if you just fancy a quiet browse.
EC One’s globally-sourced collections, from both local designers and large and small companies around the world, have an easy-to-wear, stylish feel displayed within the bright space with floor to ceiling windows. From industry heavyweights such as Shaun Leane, Alex Monroe and Stephen Webster, to the latest new designer discoveries such as Vogue darling Anissa Kermiche and Flora Bhattachary – incidentally both winners of the industry Award run by EC One, ‘Unsigned’ (if you’re a new jewellery designer looking for a huge career boost, make sure you apply) – there is something here for all budgets.
Nurturing new talent through running their own design competition has resulted in EC One discovering exciting new designers, although owner Ali has also stopped people on the street to ask who their jewellery is by (and discovered that the wearer is the designer) – so these slightly unorthodox buying methods mean that the shop always has something unexpected and unusual amongst the more commercial pieces.
The engagement ring offering is both eclectic and traditional, with classic designs (with a slight twist or unusual detail) sitting alongside bright sapphire or emerald engagement rings, or more unusual stones such as morganite and aquamarine. With more organic, unusual engagement rings styles becoming more popular, designers such as Ruth Tomlinson and Sorrel Bay are in high demand.
Amongst the mix of fine and fine fashion jewellery is also a brilliant collection of modern pearl jewellery – a great discovery – from designers such as Melissa McArthur and Anissa Kermiche, both avant-garde and minimalistic in style. The constantly renewed stock of progressive additions to the basics everyone needs in their jewellery box means that you can find an exciting pair of earrings amongst more traditional pieces; like classic studs or hoops.
Coloured gemstones feature quite predominantly as well, with simple necklaces and earrings in all the colours of the rainbow by SuShilla, in slices of sapphire and labradorite, as well as beautiful handmade rings by EC One with peachy morganites and deep aqua-hued tourmalines.
Worth a peek is the workshop at the back, where you can see the in-house goldsmiths working on the EC One collections and bespoke pieces.
With its impressive credentials – including having occupied the same retail space for almost 20 years, a rare feat in itself – EC One is a true Hidden Gem for jewellery; a perfect place to build your personal jewellery collection, as well as build a relationship with an approachable, helpful jewellery boutique who can cater to your every need in the years to come, whether you need a missing earring re-made, a chain fixed or a bespoke engagement ring designed.
EC One truly feels like an important part of the fabric of Exmouth Market in London, a cool local gem of a store that will hopefully be around for 20 more years.
EC One is at 41 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 4QL