A Decent Proposal: Eliane Fattal's Reimagined Jewelry

Robert Shack; Courtesy Eliane Fattal (3)

While searching for her own engagement ring, a London designer discovers a business plan.

Eliane Fattal is, in essence, a reimaginer. The London-based designer, 45, creates new pieces using vintage jewels. Most are convertible—a brooch becomes a ring becomes a pendant—and all are one of a kind, first-come first-served. The jewels she uses are exclusively sourced from the selection at S.J. Phillips, one of the world’s oldest family-owned antique shops, on Bond Street in London’s Mayfair—and known to offer stones with royal provenances.

The story behind Fattal’s namesake brand starts with a wedding proposal without a ring. While shopping for her own engagement ring in Mayfair, Fattal found that the usual gorgeous, oversize diamonds dissatisfied her. “I wanted something that had more spirit, more history,” she says, “that I could wear every day and that was beautiful and valuable, but didn’t necessarily denote the size of a rock, so to speak.” Mesmerized by the jewels she would regularly see in the Phillips windows—she lives nearby with her family—she settled on a Victorian pavé-set floral brooch and turned it into her ring. Fattal then started thinking about how to reinterpret other jewels, for her friends. Slowly, friends became clients who begat other clients who brought her the newly engaged. She understands why it starts with an engagement ring. “You just cannot reproduce the craftsmanship of old,” she says.