In spring, our lives become filled with light. Clocks go forward, flowers bloom and we’re no longer waking up to darkness but to birds singing and sun streaming in through our windows. It’s a season loved by Kiki who gravitates towards light and warmth, as showcased in her jewellery collections, which are imbued with colour and vivacity. She has always been drawn to the sun and is now “just fed up with snow!” As are we – bring on al fresco drinks and picnics in the park, bare ankles and sun-kissed skin. “I would be very happy to live in temperatures of 25 degrees year round. I’m absolutely not one of those people who misses wearing a winter coat!”
It was Kiki’s love of holidays in the sun that gave shape to her iconic and versatile Apollo collection, after she settled on a circle as the defining motif. “I think circles and ovals are the prettiest shapes. I drew a circle and started thinking about the sun, and rays of light from the sun. Apollo is the god of light and his name also ends in an O, a circle, so it all tied together. That’s how the jewellery collection, and its name, came about.”
Apollo, the god of light and the sun in Greek and Roman mythology, was known as Phoebus Apollo, an epithet that literally means ‘ bright’. He is associated with Delos, a small island near Mykonos in Greece, a country which Kiki has visited on her travels in the past; both islands are popular holiday destinations and Greece is renowned for its radiance. “Whoever has seen Greece will carry forever in his heart the remembrance of a miracle of light… an all-pervading, luminous brightness…” one author enthused, and many more have done the same.
And so the sun god – and the brilliant light of his birthplace – inspired Kiki’s Apollo collection. Coloured gemstones take centre stage within two intricate circles of pave-set diamonds and yellow or white gold, to sparkling, cosmic effect. Expert craftsmanship is required because of the intricate diamond pattern, designed to ensure maximum sparkle. The jewellery collection features seven gemstones – and seven is a number that was sacred to Apollo, believed to have been born on the seventh day of the seventh month. Diamonds feature across all the earrings, bangles and necklaces, and they are teamed with blue or white topaz, green or lavender amethyst, lemon quartz or fire opal. Just one pendant necklace features this eye-catchingly fiery red stone – most fitting for the sun god Apollo (and no doubt inspired by Kiki’s lifelong support of the ‘Reds’, as Liverpool FC are known!)
Earrings come in the form of simple, sophisticated studs and hoops with detachable drops, while necklaces mirror the stud design and pendants the drop earring design. One of the bangles has a slender band with the circular star motif at each end, not quite meeting, while another is just as slender but the circle motifs pass each other in a celestial crossing. All the Apollo jewellery pieces are striking yet subtly elegant.
So how does a sketch on paper, and a name, turn into this full collection? “Once I’ve thought of an idea”, Kiki explains, “I still need to make it easy to wear and pretty, of course. I judge jewellery on whether I’d wear it, and whether the girls in my office – as there’s a huge age range – would wear it too. I make one of everything then we all try it on – if there are any changes, they’re made then. If everybody likes it, we’re on the right track.”
The Apollo collection was designed to be adaptable – as suited to day as to evening and to wearing with jeans as with dresses. This is how Kiki likes her jewellery to work for her, and designs for her customers accordingly. The trend for mismatched earrings, for example, is served very well by Kiki’s range of jewellery, which features dozens of pairs of detachable drop earrings. “A lot of people have our hoops and different drops, which can completely change the earrings – a drop from Apollo, a cushion gemstone drop, a plain gold drop and a pearl drop means you have four pairs of earrings with one hoop, and it’s fun. There’d be dozens of combinations!”
Such classic, contemporary jewellery can easily be worn everyday, whether to work or on the weekends – style with jeans, ballet pumps and a crisp white shirt, or use the pop of colour and sparkle to liven up a trouser suit or monochrome ensemble. This versatility means that Apollo jewellery is also perfect for weddings – whether you’re a guest, the bride, the mother-of-the-bride or even a groom buying a gift of wedding day jewellery for his wife-to-be (gentlemen, you’ll earn serious brownie points if you go down this route).
Interestingly, the world’s most expensive pair of earrings was named after Apollo and his sister Artemis – sold by Sotheby’s last year for a staggering £44.9 million. One is a Fancy Blue vivid diamond and the other a Fancy Intense pink diamond; they are now known as The Memory of Autumn Leaves and The Dream of Autumn Leaves. David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, pointed out how “enormously rare” these colossal coloured diamonds are. “Each is a wonderful stone in its own right. Together, as a pair of earrings, they are breath-taking. We named them after Apollo and Artemis, a twin brother and sister of great power and beauty who were among the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities.”
Kiki’s Apollo earrings are rather more understated than these gobstoppers but as she herself says, “a pop of colour on your ears enhances everything and makes you feel a bit jollier. It puts a spring in your step.” We quite agree. Here’s to colour making our lives that bit brighter.Back to KiKi Stories