Around the World in 16 days

In early 1962 Anthony Wainwright, the Chairman of our family business at the time, set out to travel around the world in 16 days, buying diamonds, pearls and precious gemstones. His remarkable journey provides the inspiration for the new Boodles ‘Travel’ collection; a selection of one-of-a kind rings with some of the most extraordinary gemstones we have ever shown.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts. We're going around the world in a circuit of rings."

In 1962, Boodles Chairman Anthony Wainwright, made a remarkable journey. Thanks to his album of photographs, it is known as a matter of fact that he circumnavigated the globe. And he did so in just 16 days.

Anthony Wainwright was the father of our current Chairman, Nicholas Wainwright and his brother Michael, our Managing Director. Fellow Directors James Amos and Jody Wainwright are his grandsons. They all have tales to tell of his story, woven as it is into the DNA of Boodles.

What was really remarkable about the journey is that in just 16 days he visited a total of 10 cities at various points around the globe, at a time when air travel was limited, infrequent and expensive. Even nowadays it would be quite a challenge.

Michael Wainwright and James Amos, Directors of Boodles, browsing through the original ‘Around the World in 16 Days’ photo album.

The Inspiration Behind the Collection

Anthony’s journey has formed the backdrop to the thinking behind this new high jewellery collection, along with our Head Designer Rebecca Hawkins’ own travel inspirations. Excerpts from Anthony Wainwright’s photo album along with Rebecca’s design story are contained within the collection.

‘It was lovely to be able to look back at the places Anthony visited, with a view towards taking them as inspiration for pieces. Some had real personal meaning to me. Japan is a country I love: it’s a place I spent time in on my honeymoon. So it became a kind of springboard for one design. Anthony went to Kobe and Tokyo, but Kyoto was the place that I remembered most fondly. When I was thinking about my design for the ring, I heard that a wonderful emerald had recently become available and that unique tone of green immediately brought me back to the gardens of Kyoto. So it became a case of bringing those ideas together.’

Rebecca Hawkins, Boodles Head of Design.

“My grandfather visited the mine many years ago and I still remember my parents returning from a trip with stories of their amazing experience.”

Jody Wainwright, Boodles Director of Precious Gemstones

London was both the start and the end of Anthony Wainwright’s trip around the world in 16 days. Tower Bridge is one of its most famous landmarks. Its structure, designed by Sir Horace Jones, has inspired this elegant ring. Bright strands of diamonds swoop beside dark blue enamel, guiding you to a glorious, asscher cut diamond.

And that diamond – at just over two carats – comes from The Cullinan Mine. A mine of magnificent treasures including two of the most remarkable diamonds ever found and now united in the British Crown Jewels, just a stone’s throw away at the Tower of London.

“Trees grow through the ceiling,” wrote Anthony Wainwright below his photograph of a Honolulu hotel. The Hawaii he visited in 1962 was a place of sun, surf and palm trees, then as now. And at the newly built ‘Hawaiian Village’, trees literally grew through the entrance hall ceiling.

Those playful palms have formed our inspiration, their leaves rising in gold relief around a vibrant green peridot. This ring is our break from the city: a voyage into a tranquil, palm tree covered world.

Around the World Jaipur Ring & Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Pink is our colour – it has been for years. So when we walk in Anthony Wainwright’s footsteps, it’s to be expected that our visit to India will take in Hawa Mahal – Jaipur’s famous pink palace. This ring has a morganite placed proudly at its centre, just a shade off 21 carats. Oval cut and exquisitely pretty, there’s something magical about the way it charms light. Fascinating as Jaipur’s jewellery market, Johari Bazaar, always is, you’d be lucky to find such a stone there.

The pink palace was built in 1799, making it just a year younger than Boodles. At the time, noblewomen observed pardah – the practice of staying veiled from prying eyes. That’s the reason for the palace’s many latticed windows – 953 to be precise. Known as jharokhas, these let the princesses gaze on public life without the perceived risk of jeopardising their modesty.

People are far more outgoing today of course. Still, the rose gold band of this beautiful ring lets you peep through its own gleaming arches.

Anthony Wainwright loved New York. It marked the final point of his world tour. He took time out to photograph the Empire State Building, noting at the time it was “tallest in the world”.

Those sleek art deco, tapering lines – like those of the Chrysler nearby – reflect a law passed in 1916 to allow maximum light to reach the sidewalks. Now they’ve inspired two towering Ashoka cut diamond rings, one at 10 carats and one at a stately 14. It had to be Ashoka of course. New York is where these exceptional stones are cut by our good friends, the Goldberg family.