Naveya & Sloane co-founder Rachel Sloane on the multifaceted world of fine jewellery
Industry innovators from day one, Naveya & Sloane came on the scene 13 years ago and changed the rules of engagement with their unique Original Setting package, whereby the customer proposes with the beautifully presented raw materials.
Bespoke engagement rings are nothing new, but what co-founders Rachel Sloane and Alex Burnett succeeded in doing was to put the grand gesture back into a proposal that might otherwise feel… a bit unromantic. To this day, the ever-popular Original Setting is a demonstration of their commitment to magic and romance.
A lucky 13 years, countless engagements years and several fashion collections later – including their latest, Boussole – we sit down with Rachel Sloane and ask…how’s business?
Let’s dive into the world of diamonds and precious gems. We know this industry has its timeless traditions, but it’s also evolving. What are some of the constants that have been the bedrock of your business?
There are certainly some wonderful consistencies and we always hold longevity and timelessness at the heart of what we do. The jewellery industry has this beautiful blend of history and tradition, and I am incredibly drawn to the idea of preserving precious memories across generations. The ancient art of jewellery making and this concept of adornment has deep cultural roots worldwide. It’s a meaningful part of our heritage, regardless of a piece of jewellery’s value. Even a simple shell from a beach can hold immense sentimental value, a sense of protection, and a connection that transcends time.
Now, let’s talk changes. What shifts have you been navigating in the past year, be it industry trends, market dynamics, or shifts in customer behaviour, and how has Naveya & Sloane adapted to them?
Over the past six years or so we have seen more couples coming in to design their engagement rings together, which is such a special experience to go through as a team. But, there’s still a strong presence of the surprise proposal, getting down on one knee and making it super romantic. We cherish the authenticity of people doing things their own way and bringing their own take on romance alive.
With the internet and social media, there is so much more access to what’s available, as well as what’s possible as far as ideas. Under these conditions our bespoke experience is becoming more and more popular. You can keep things classic, or go wild with personal touches.
Personalisation is huge, whether it’s unique gemstones, a special engraving, or a chic design detail you wouldn’t find anywhere else. It’s becoming increasingly important for people to feel as though they are investing in something really unique to them. Heirloom quality and circularity also come up a lot – people want to buy once, and enjoy more.
Finally we are of course seeing a rising demand for lab-grown diamonds, which we offer as another material option alongside our natural stones.
Your Young at Heart collection earlier this year was very playful. What was the inspiration behind it?
Naveya & Sloane has always had a playful side and we really wanted to lean into this energy and bring it to life. The idea behind Young at Heart is that age doesn’t define us; it’s all about the love and authenticity in your heart that gives you your power. It’s designed for people of all ages and is all about creating something timeless that you’d buy in your 20s and still rock in your 90s. We are all about the experience of discovery, so designs that are classic at a glance but hide a secret detail – in this case, a little hidden heart.
Your fashion collections are our favourite, but celebration jewellery is your forte. Do you approach designing for these categories differently?
All our collections are driven by a sense of meaning and purpose. While the process may not be a straight line, they share that common road of purposeful design.
Your Original Setting package (where the customer proposes with raw materials) felt very unique when you launched it over a decade ago. What’s the story behind this commitment to magic and romance?
[Co-founder] Alex and I are both hopeless romantics, and adore love in all its forms. Our business was born from our own love story, I suppose – we met, fell in love, and shortly after started this venture. Romance has always been at the heart of what we do, especially with our focus on engagement rings and bridal jewellery. The concept of romance isn’t just about love; it has a rich and diverse connection to human emotion and our experiences. It’s woven through our business in different ways, from our passion for craftsmanship and artistry, to the natural light that streams into our space. Romance is important and something that should always be celebrated and nurtured.
You and Alex founded Naveya & Sloane in 2010. After 13 years, how does the business reflect your original vision, and how has the concept evolved?
Our business was built on the foundation of romance, meaningful connection, generosity, and a passion and dedication to high craftsmanship. This unique blend of the highest quality materials and service, matched with a genuine experience has become our signature. Over the years, we’ve explored different avenues, but we’ve always been drawn back to these foundations.
If you could have a power lunch with any business figure, who would it be?
Pharrell Williams – I’d love to delve into the creative process that brings such a unique feel to his art.
Lastly, what are you wearing to work right now?
It’s a mix at the moment! I’m loving Harris Tapper’s classic shirts, Helen Cherry is always a go-to, and I adore Maggie Marilyn’s cozy knitwear. I mix in some H&M and Zara favourites, along with Benjamin Alexander’s beautiful trousers. Paris Georgia’s dresses are a personal fave, and I’ve got a few cute pieces from Cos and The Row.