Get to know the House of Moussaieff, the jewellery world’s best-kept secret
While many of the top brands are going big in marketing, the House of Moussaieff has, for over a century, taken a different direction. Shunning the limelight and letting their sparkling collections do all the talking, the UK-based brand has built up a loyal following of elites, heads of states, and deep-pocketed collectors who are in search of the rarest and most magnificent gems.
Considered one of the jewellery world’s best-kept secrets, the House of Moussaieff traces its roots to Bukhara, Uzbekistan, in the 1850s. Its founder, Shlomo Moussaieff, was known for his passion for jewels. He bought natural pearls directly from divers in the Persian Gulf and traded them throughout the region for exceptional gems from India. His son, Remo, expanded the business to become a leading supplier of rare pearls and gemstones to top Belle Epoque jewellers in Paris in the 1920s.
The third generation of the Moussaieffs saw Remo’s son, Shlomo Jr, moving to London and establishing the brand further with his wife Alisa. Together, they opened Moussaieff’s first London boutique in Park Lane in 1963, and then a second store on Bond Street in 2006. Today, these boutiques — together with those in France, Switzerland, and Hong Kong — cater to the most discerning clientele, including couples who are looking for the most exceptional pieces to have and to hold.
Marrying into the family business and learning on the job, Mrs Alisa Moussaieff recalls her passion for gems developing naturally over time. Now with over half a century of expertise, she is fondly known in the industry as the ‘doyenne of diamonds’ for her creative flair and deep understanding of fine and rare gems. Her creative and business acuity has been instrumental in making the House of Moussaieff an exclusive, highly respected brand reserved for royals and a distinguished few.
“You eat diamonds for breakfast and sapphires for lunch! Gems, designs, and strategy are constantly on the table,” quips Mrs Moussaieff, owner and managing director of House of Moussaieff, about what it’s like being at the helm of the brand. “The career was there naturally, as it was around me all day and every day.”
She says opening Moussaieff’s first boutique in London was a natural move that paved the way for their success. “London is a great place from which to develop a jewellery business, as there is such a flow of people from different nationalities who visit or live in London. Where there is interest, there is an incentive to create and to satisfy that interest,” adds Mrs Moussaieff.
As a designer, Mrs Moussaieff is drawn to beautiful gems, and she finds designing jewellery a fulfilling process. “To be able to do what I want without limitations in the way of design is the best part of my job,” she says. “Everything beautiful is my favourite,” adding that special colour, life and charm are a few characteristics that gems should have in order for them to be considered exceptional.
Mrs Moussaieff’s creations made headlines earlier this year at the British Academy Film Awards when Actress Michelle Yeoh graced the red carpet wearing a magnificent Moussaieff necklace with a 74ct natural fancy intense yellow diamond pendant and 80ct white diamonds, with matching earrings featuring 17ct natural fancy intense yellow diamonds and 7ct white diamonds.
Over the years, Moussaieff has amassed an impressive collection of rare gems, which also made headlines at auctions worldwide. These include the Moussaieff Red, a 5.11ct natural fancy red diamond, and the Moussaieff Blue, an 8.01ct fancy vivid blue diamond with internally flawless clarity.
When asked about inventory and demand, Mrs Moussaieff replies: “I cannot ensure there’s enough inventory to meet the demand. We can only hope that special gems appear either from the ground or from private sources or auctions. There is no guarantee.”
She also explains how the company’s “sourcing to design” process works: “Diamonds, when polished are at the international diamond centres like Antwerp, Tel-Aviv or New York and in the rough at tenders worldwide. Coloured stones are from international dealers or auctions. Then, when the stones are in our possession, the thinking process begins with what to do with them. I rarely purchase for orders, but rather what is good value and beautiful. Then a design is created with the stones in hand and handed over to the workshops.”
While there is no certainty in sourcing rare gems, there is indeed certainty that whoever is lucky enough to own a Moussaieff jewel is also fortunate enough to own a little piece of legend reserved for royals.