What’s red, with hints of deep purple and pink – or deep gold, flecked with green? Both colourways describe gemstones such as ruby for the first, and citrine or sapphire for the latter. But they might also refer to wine – a young Bordeaux, say, for the red – or mature fino Sherry for the second.
Just as wine tasting notes routinely invoke gems – ruby, garnet, amethyst – to express the lively nuances of colour, the language of wine can apply to jewels, i.e. Champagne diamonds.
The similarities between wine and gems are by no means limited to language; both are luxury goods, the qualities of which can be attributed to some combination of geography and geology – in wine terms, ‘terroir’ – and the skill of the maker. Both jewellery and wine are highly collectable, and equally susceptible to painstaking research or spontaneous impulse.
The affinity between jewellery and wine has led fine jeweller David Fowkes (www.davidfowkes.com) and bespoke wine storage specialist Irwen Martin (www.winecorner.co.uk) to riff on the intersection between their passions and professions, and to consider how they might collaborate.
“When I talk to people who collect wine, they become animated and excited,” said Martin. “For those who are really into it, decisions about what wine to buy; how to store it; and when, where and with whom to drink it – are highly emotive. There might be a story behind every bottle in someone’s cellar.”
For those who love jewellery, purchasing a special piece might represent similar factors.
“Many of my clients are eager to know the origin story of a gem,” said Fowkes.
“How did that Australian opal or Sri Lankan sapphire make it from a mine in an inhospitable place, to the bench of a master stone cutter in Germany to the one-of-a-kind ring on their finger?”
Like a winemaker, Fowkes takes a product of nature and uses his skills, experience and imagination to turn it into something even better. And like a jeweller, Martin creates wine storage solutions that are attractive and functional, enabling collectors to preserve and present their wine in ideal physical and aesthetic conditions.
“Three emeralds may look similar to the naked eye, but if you look closely, they are in fact different, with nuances of colour and shape that might inspire me to create something different with each,” said Fowkes.
“The same is true of fine wine – even if produced together under identical conditions, no three bottles in a case will taste exactly the same.”
Both David Fowkes and Wine Corner are small, owner-operated businesses that thrive on the ability to offer thoughtful advice, personal service and insight derived from their founders’ own passion for their subject matter.
How a joint-venture might manifest itself remains to be seen, but both craftsmen are confident in the potential of the project.
“Maybe we’ll create some kind of special unit that incorporates jewels into the racking or wine cabinet,” said Martin. “Or maybe it will be something completely different. Both David Fowkes and I turn people’s dreams turn into reality, and work with products that give our clients pleasure for a lifetime. There is definite synergy there.”