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Icons of the Exchange: Boodles

The Raindance ring showcases the creative talents and timeless aesthetics of this British jewellery house

Boodles Raindance ring

Founded in Liverpool in 1798, British jewellery house Boodles has been a family-run business for over 200 years. Today, the brand is renowned as one of Britain’s finest jewellers, specialising in bespoke and fine diamond jewellery. There are nine Boodles boutiques across the UK and Ireland, including a prime spot on the central courtyard of The Royal Exchange.

‘Boodles is a sixth generation, British, family-owned business, which designs and creates all of its jewellery in-house,’ says managing director, Michael Wainwright. ‘We were one of the first shops when the inside of The Royal Exchange was converted to retail. Sense of humour, warmth and exceptional levels of customer service are integral to Boodles.’

The house has developed a wide range of distinctive and imaginative jewellery collections, under the creative vision of Rebecca Hawkins – who has been head of design at Boodles for the past 30 years.

Boodles Raindance ring The iconic Raindance ring, designed by Boodles' head of design, Rebecca Hawkins

One of Boodles’ most popular collections is Raindance, with the Raindance Classic Diamond Ring in particular remaining the brand’s best-selling piece more than 20 years after it was first created. And it’s not only Boodles’ customers who recognise the unique beauty of this dazzling piece of jewellery. ‘The Raindance ring was selected by the jewellery curator of the Victoria & Albert museum to feature in their permanent exhibition in 2010, on Raindance’s 10th anniversary,’ says Wainwright. ‘It was selected because it was deemed to be an outstanding example of exceptional British contemporary diamond-set jewellery design.’

The inspiration for the Raindance collection came to Hawkins after she observed ‘a smooth vertical stone surface, with lines of water trickling down fine groves and collecting into lines of droplets’. So captivated by the simple beauty of what she saw, Hawkins says she drew some initial sketches then and there.

Boodles Raindance collection sketches Sketches of the Boodles Raindance collection, inspired by droplets of water

It took Hawkins several months to perfect the final form for the Raindance ring, a testament to her refusal to settle for anything less than a perfect vision of how she felt the piece should be realised: ‘I wanted the stones to appear both random and perfectly balanced at the same time,’ she explains. ‘It was a design that I would work on for a bit, then feel dissatisfied with the arrangement of the stones, so I’d leave it and then return to it, and so on, until it was right.’

Hawkins’ dedication and determination to realise her vision was well worth the effort, with the Raindance Classic Diamond Ring – and its nine perfectly positioned, brilliant cut diamonds – becoming Boodles’ most iconic creation. And although the Raindance collection was first conceived 21 years ago, the idea to create jewellery inspired by the beauty of water had been on Hawkins’ mind ever since she was a child. She describes her first foray into jewellery making as ‘trying to freeze the rainwater that had collected in the centre of lupine leaves to make my own diamonds. I was about six years old, and I wasn’t very successful at getting them in the freezer.’

Today, there are more than 20 editions of the Raindance ring to choose from, including a choice of precious metals and coloured gemstone options. In commemoration of the ring’s 20th anniversary in 2020, a special edition Raindance ring was created with white and Argyle pink diamonds set into platinum and rose gold. Whichever Raindance ring catches your eye, this iconic piece of British jewellery design will stand the test of time with its enduring beauty.

Raindance Classic Diamond Ring, £9,800, Boodles

The Royal Exchange celebrates its 450th anniversary this year. Our Icons of the Exchange series pays homage to the exceptional array of retailers that call The Royal Exchange home, with a look at the heritage, design and craftsmanship of products that epitomise the essence and excellence of our celebrated brands.

We look forward to welcoming you to The Royal Exchange during 2021, for a considered shopping experience in spectacular and historic surroundings. Please visit our boutiques page for regular updates on our retailers’ opening information and hours, as well as details about virtual appointments and click and collect services.

Visit our heritage page to learn more about the history of The Royal Exchange and keep an eye on our 450 Years site, journal and Instagram for more fascinating facts and insights about its past and present as we commemorate this special milestone throughout the year ahead.