We believe the best design comes from the best designers. And that the best design should be available to everyone.
Founded by former art gallery director Cecily Motley and consumer expert Ilana Lever, Motley is a pioneering new jewellery brand on a mission to democratise jewellery design.
The Motley model
We believe the best design comes from the best designers. The cost of great design is made up of two parts; the work that goes into the creativity and the cost that goes into production. We wanted to retain outstanding creativity and exceptional craftsmanship, but bring the cost of production down by working in a more affordable metal - silver.
So we came up with a new model.
1) Outsource design to the best fine jewellery designers for the creativity part
2) Handle the production ourselves with an expert atelier for the quality part, working in silver and gold vermeil (that's gold plated to a certain thickness on silver)
3) Sell direct to consumer - cutting out the retailers and their margins - for the affordable part.
Easy as 1, 2, 3. Almost.
Where it came from
Co-founders Cecily and Ilana studied history together at Oxford, where they met in a tutorial about witchcraft (where all good ideas start). And then they went their separate ways…
Cecily went into the art world, eventually becoming the director of Louisa Guinness Gallery. The gallery would collaborate with contemporary artists to make limited editions of jewellery, sold mostly to art collectors and mostly for thousands of pounds.
There, Cecily saw the unique challenges and capital pressures facing jewellery designers. Punitive retail payment terms and the cost of brand building meant that most tended to work on bespoke pieces in gold and precious stones to avoid the cost of stock. The outcome? The best design, by the best designers, was too expensive for most people to afford.
Which is when Cecily came up with what is now the Motley model. Outsource design to designers, make their designers ourselves.
And then there were two
At this time, Ilana, who had spent a career as a management consultant and then inhouse at various consumer and retail brands, started helping out on the project. She was appalled by how old fashioned so much jewellery market messaging was, how difficult it was to buy jewellery online and acutely aware of the need for a jewellery brand that spoke to the wearer. Within 6 months, they were fundraising together and working together full time. The rest, as they say, is history.
How we make our jewellery
We remember days when people used to hand jewellery down between generations. And you didn’t have to be a millionaire to get something to hand down. So we’re bringing back proper techniques, the old fashioned way. We take a bit longer, work a bit harder and spend more time on the details.. It’s why we have a three year guarantee on our products. We pay our makers fairly, source sustainably and produce in small batch sizes to avoid waste. We reject fast fashion and make jewellery for keeps. For more about our materials, click here.
Why our designers do it
Exhibited in museums, owned by the most erudite collectors, trained at establishments like Central St Martins and Sarabande, our fine jewellery designers produce pieces that start from upwards of four figures. Their businesses are not set up to create pieces in silver (it's the same amount of work as gold, and they do not have the time or capital to spend finding quality manufacturers who can do this more efficiently).
But they love the Bauhaus principle of making their design accessible. What our designers have in common are their brilliance. Their styles are as different as the designers themselves, so you'll find contemporary statement pieces alongside elegant art deco and quirky collections inspired by ancient iconography. Meet our designers here.
Let's start a jewellery revolution.
Brilliant design, beautifully made, affordably priced. See the whole Motley collection here.