New Bond Street, London’s undisputed king of upscale shopping, dazzles the eye with displays from the world’s finest fashion houses. Yet among the melee of couture clothing and gleaming gems, there emerges an iconic leader whose craftsmanship and distinctive British style have garnered the admiration of even the British monarchy. This paragon of luxury is Asprey, a brand that has spent more than two centuries crafting exquisite jewelry, timepieces, leather goods and accessories.
While discerning clientele from around the world now seek out Asprey’s flagship store for everything from statement jewelry to handbags encrusted with pavé diamonds to silver-plated bar carts, Asprey’s beginnings were somewhat more modest: It was established in 1781 by William Asprey as a silk-printing business in Surrey.
By the mid-19th century, however, Asprey had relocated to its New Bond Street address in London. Here, the company quickly attracted attention for its bespoke and skillfully crafted pieces. The ultimate honor for such work arrived in 1862, when Asprey received its first Royal Warrant. Queen Victoria bestowed this honor in recognition of the traveling cases Asprey designed to cleverly contain brushes, mirrors and other essentials for ladies of that era.
Asprey would continue to receive a Royal Warrant from every succeeding British monarch. The warrants arrived for various accomplishments, including Asprey’s work as a trunk maker, silversmith, goldsmith and jeweler, and they speak to the company’s exceptional quality: Royal Warrants are only awarded to those who have a time-tested and ongoing relationship with the royal family.
Today, Asprey continues its tradition of excellence. Britain’s oldest and largest workshops reside at the company’s flagship store, which occupies no less than five Georgian townhouses. (The workshops arrived at headquarters after World War II so that Asprey could accommodate its growing bespoke business. Indeed, the company’s coat of arms proudly features the motto, “It Can Be Done.”)
Within those workshops, skilled craftsmen create Asprey’s impressive inventory of products, which includes jewelry, leather goods, silver, watches, clocks, china, crystal, games, silk, accessories and first-edition, leather-bound books.
Another enticing venture has been Asprey’s fragrance line, which incorporates the finest essential oils. Evocatively named Purple Water, the fragrance calls to mind sun-drenched citrus groves with head notes of lemon, mandarin and jacaranda, while earthier heart and base notes are redolent of basil, ginger and vetiver root. Handsomely packaged in an aubergine jacquard print, the unisex fragrance is available as bath and body products.
To simply list Asprey’s catalogue of goods, however, does not give due credit to the sense of British humor reflected in its repertoire. To be sure, Asprey’s primary endeavor, jewelry, is nothing short of breathtaking. Yet there are many other items that capture a sense of irony, be it silver salt and pepper shakers that resemble an owl and a pussycat or a silver safe fashioned to look like a gorilla.
Such innovation speaks to the niche market that appreciates Asprey’s deeply rooted heritage. Aside from its flagship store, Asprey offers boutiques in only a handful of cities, and it partners with companies that share its approach to exceptional service and quality. The Ritz-Carlton is one of these, offering Asprey’s trademark Purple Water bath and body collection in its guest rooms and suites as well as in its online shop.
Select partnerships such as these reflect the ongoing evolution of Asprey. As it expands its presence beyond New Bond Street, it continues to establish its role as a global leader of the luxury market while maintaining a legacy of unimpeachable integrity.