Bauble Head Solange Azagury-Partridge is as vibrant and unconventional as the bracelets, necklaces, and rings she designs. The first piece she ever created was her own gold–and–uncut diamond engagement ring, in 1987. “I’d never worn jewelry, and I didn’t think a sparkly solitaire was quite me,” says the London-based jewelry designer, who is entirely self-taught. Over time, she turned her passion into a thriving business. She served as the creative director of Boucheron for more than three years in the early aughts and is now known as the queen of colored stones. Her Random necklace, for instance, is an exquisite grid of princess-cut diamonds and square-cut amethysts, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and black spinels; the Ark of the Covenant cross is a riot of juicy blobs that, upon inspection, turn out to be garnets, sapphires, and diamonds. “I can’t do pristine,” she says. “I don’t even like a perfect stone. I prefer an inclusion or a cloudy bit; it feels more energetic.” Her sui generis collections are as likely to evolve from words like “Platonic” or “kinetic” as from drawings, but they are invariably strong and geometric. “Everyone goes for the path of least resistance,” she says. “Not me.”
The Partridge Family Azagury-Partridge met her husband, Murray Partridge—an ad director and television writer—at a college dance at the Polytechnic Central London, where she studied French and Spanish. Their elegant West London apartment is filled with Moroccan rugs and metal chain–fringed furniture that Azagury- Partridge designed. “I’m not the kind of person to turn anything into a white box,” she says of her home. Instead, she painted the interior a dusty lilac and has added personal layers through the years: vividly tiled bathrooms; a hand-sewn leather floor by her friend the accessory designer Bill Amberg; and piles of her favorite Prada wedges (“I’m five foot four—I need the height”). The couple’s 23-year-old son, Otis, recently spent six months studying gemology in Mumbai, India. “At the moment, Otis does two days a week with me, but I can imagine working together more,” Azagury-Partridge confides. “I never used to think about the future, but a family business would be such a lovely outcome!”
Gem Palace Neighbors play an important role in Azagury-Partridge’s life. In London, these include the furniture designer Tom Dixon. In the picture-perfect Somerset village of Bruton, where she has her country house, Céline creative director Phoebe Philo lives around the corner. And the fashion designer Roland Mouret is right next door to her office in Mayfair. The palatial rooms of Azagury-Partridge’s London flagship are lined in ruby and emerald velvet and bright yellow silk. Bespoke neon suns, clouds, and diamonds fill the fireplaces, and each step of the staircase is covered in a different kind of patterned carpet. At the top hangs a chandelier from the Unwearable Jewels series that she created for the New York gallery Sebastian + Barquet, in 2008; the fixture contains 200 carats of diamonds and nine pounds of white gold. “You don’t come here for a normal experience,” she says. In fact, Azagury-Partridge, who already has a store in New York, is hoping to conquer Paris next with her unique brand of joie de vivre—this summer she’s opening a boutique at the Hôtel Costes, which was her favorite hangout during her Boucheron days. But perhaps what she is most excited about is her first collection for men, which launched in June. “My criterion was simple,” she explains. “I asked myself, Would I fancy a guy wearing that?”
Photos: Solange Azagury-Partridge: Wild Bird
Solange Azagury-Partridge at home in London. Marni skirt, $690, Neiman Marcus, 888.888.4757.
The family room in her Somerset house.
One of her Unwearable Jewels of the Moon, set with rock crystal, diamonds, mother-of-pearl, and black marble.
The staircase in the Carlos Place boutique.
A treasured book, The Doors of Perception, by Aldous Huxley. Courtesy of Solange Azagury-Partridge.
A neon piece by Azagury-Partridge.
One of her favorite countries to explore is India. Photograph by Getty Images.
Another Unwearable Jewel of the Sunshine.
A flat-fringe yellow gold necklace showcased at her Carlos Place boutique in Mayfair.
The Dragonfly Woman corsage ornament, by René Lalique, is a source of inspiration. Courtesy of ©2014 artists rights society (ARS) New York/ADAEP.
Azagury-Partridge enjoys Somerset’s pastoral beauty. Photograph by Getty Images.
A tiled bathroom in her home.
Her Love Knot bangle from Alpha, Azagury-Partridge’s first men’s collection. Courtesy of Solange Azagury-Partridge.
A favorite William Turner painting, Snow Storm—Steam-Boat Off a Harbour’s Mouth, first exhibited in 1842. Courtesy of ©2014 artists rights society (ARS) New York/ADAEP.
Azagury-Partridge’s master bedroom.
Ball and Chain cuff links from the Alpha men’s collection.
Azagury-Partridge’s office at her Mayfair boutique.
Her diamond-studded white gold and sapphire Shooting Star ring. Courtesy of Solange Azagury-Partridge.
A jeweler she admires, Andrew Grima, with model, 1966. Photograph by Getty Images.
A detailed shot of the bedroom.
Her solid silver and rock crystal Rounds clock.