Knot to be Missed…
Sophie Harley has a licence… to make jewellery for one of film’s rather well known secret agents…
Article by Donna McCulloch
If you haven’t heard of Sophie Harley, you should have… Based in a studio in West London, Sophie and her team create the most beautiful, bespoke pieces that have adorned the necks (and assorted body parts) of many a supermodel both on and off the catwalks in the 1990s. But, her most famous piece, the Algerian Love Knot, featured (you could almost say it had a starring role) in not one, but two, Bond Films. The first of which, Casino Royale, is quite possibly the best Bond film ever – with the best Bond ever. I may be a bit biased with the last point given that I was born in the same hospital as the current Bond, but I digress.
Sophie was approached by Lindy Hemming, the Bond costume designer, whom she had met when Lindy bought a piece of her jewellery, in December 2005 when she asked if Sophie would be interested in designing a piece for the latest franchise. Sophie of course, said yes… when she was sure Lindy wasn’t joking. The brief given was to make a necklace that Eva would wear with four connecting rings. When Martin Campbell saw the necklace he loved it so much, he asked her to make the earrings she wore in the casino scenes. She ended up creating 10 necklaces for Casino Royale and 10 for (the not as good) Quantum of Solace, where Daniel Craig had the audacity to throw it in the snow!
The commission coincided with a difficult time in Sophie’s personal life, when she was going through a break up with her partner of 17 years, but it gave her a focus during this difficult period and enabled her to grasp an international opportunity that lead to huge sales of the piece – it remains ever popular to this day. Sophie regularly welcomes visitors from across the globe to her studio who want to buy the Love Knot, sometimes as a surprise, other times not.
The original Love Knot in silver at £2,280 is very much affordable luxury and then there is the gold pendant and diamonds version which retails at around £20,000 – so perhaps slightly less affordable – but there really is a Love Knot for everyone. Sophie launched the Mini Love Knot collection for those who love the piece but can’t afford the full size version and there is also a bracelet. I am the proud owner of a Love Knot Charm (£60) that I attached to my own necklace and it remains my substitute Algerian Love Knot until my other half gets round to buying me what I really want for that big birthday… The story behind the Algerian element is pure Fleming fiction but knots in jewellery feature heavily in Celtic culture and are thought to symbolise love, loyalty and trust.
Sophie’s pieces can be bought online. You can call the studio to make an appointment to meet Sophie, where she and her team will welcome you with champagne and delicious cakes at her West London studio, to discuss all your jewellery requirements. Her latest collection, Bonne Chance also has a Bond connection as Martin, husband to Kate, Sophie’s studio manager, is a gun engraver and he engraved 007’s Anderson Wheeler rifle in Skyfall and he has engraved the pieces in this collection.