British Jeweler in Deal With American Express

Solange Azagury-Partridge has built her name on an inventive interpretation of fine jewelry, designing pieces such as emerald-set poison rings.

LONDON — Solange Azagury-Partridge has built her name on an inventive interpretation of fine jewelry, designing pieces such as emerald-set poison rings, gold and enamel Union Jack rings and a gold pendant in the shape of a human heart.

This story first appeared in the December 19, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Now Azagury-Partridge has made titanium — a lightweight metal better known for its use in industry — the basis for her latest collection, Titanium Black Rainbows, created in partnership with American Express Centurion.

Azagury-Partridge said she’d already been researching working with titanium when American Express Centurion approached her about the collaboration, which marks the 10th anniversary of the Centurion card in the U.K. and its redesign in titanium metal, replacing the plastic version.

“It’s a difficult material to work with, it’s very unyielding and affords no mistakes…which makes it more special,” said Azagury-Partridge.

For the designs in the 12-piece collection, made up of pieces such as a black titanium cuff studded with rainbows of multicolored diamonds and a titanium cocktail ring set with a giant pink star ruby, Azagury-Partridge took inspiration from the titans of Greek mythology. Orb-shaped pendants and earrings, set with minute colored diamonds, look like planets, while a concave and convex set of chunky black titanium and colored diamond rings are called Gaia and Cronus. Azagury-Partridge said it’s the titanium dioxide present in the star rubies and sapphires she used in the pieces that create the starlike effect in the opaque stones as they move in the light, which the designer called “an amazing color change.”

The collection, which is priced from 12,800 pounds, or $19,000 at current exchange, for a Titans pendant through to 68,000 pounds, or $101,000, for the Black Rainbows cuff, will be sold on a made-to-order basis from Azagury-Partridge’s bijou Westbourne Grove boutique in London.

“They’re like Cinderella jewels — they either fit or they don’t fit, as they can’t be altered, and the size of the stones varies for each piece of jewelry,” said Azagury-Partridge.

The collaboration with Azagury-Partridge follows American Express Centurion’s previous partnerships with Alexander McQueen and Boudicca, both of whom worked with the company on special projects.

Douglas Smith, director of public affairs, Europe, for American Express said Centurion will host an event for its card members at Azagury-Partridge’s boutique in January, and that the company and the designer will look at other opportunities to collaborate in the future. But Smith added that Azagury-Partridge had “free rein” in the design process.

“We don’t encroach on any other areas,” said Smith. “We choose the right people and let them do their stuff.”