Hailing from Canada, with an extensive background in theatre, Mark’s foray into the jewellery industry came as a natural progression. Enthralled by the capacity that jewellery has to capture character and essence, Mark channels his flair for the arts into each of his designs.
Mark grew up in the green, coastal city of Vancouver, Canada. He attended Queen’s University in Ontario, graduating with a BA in Theatre, then completing a masters in Theatre at the University of Toronto. He began his career there, working for the Luminato festival as assistant to the artistic director, and later production associate. Although Mark was working with large casts and revelling in the live arts, a strong interest in jewellery lingered at the back of his mind.
As a young teenager, he would visit jewellery stores to browse and admire the creations. Both of his grandmothers were jewellery enthusiasts, encouraging his interest at a young age. In his final year working for the Luminato festival, Mark went travelling around Europe and found that whilst exploring different cities, he gravitated towards the fine jewellery boutiques, touring them with same enthusiasm as he had for the great galleries and museums.
Whilst exploring Zurich’s luxury shopping street Bahnhoffstrasse, there was a Cartier store there with cockatoo earrings in the window, created with diamonds and coloured gems. I just remember being so transfixed by them and thinking that they have perfectly captured the essence of the birds in metal and stone. They were incredibly elegant. It was in this moment that I thought, I need to be in this world!
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After his travels, Mark returned home to Canada and applied to work at Birks, a Canadian fine jewellery brand. Two years later, he decided to make the move to England to further pursue a career in jewellery. His father is from Manchester, so the move was an opportunity to explore his British roots! Mark came to the capital to take full advantage of all the creative opportunities and worked at Selfridges, for Chopard and Bulgari, before discovering the jewellery designer role here at Taylor & Hart. Enticed by the creative opportunity to design custom engagement rings, Mark joined the team in 2019.
What is your favourite gemstone?
What is your favourite stone shape?
What is your favourite metal?
How would you describe your design style in three words?
Strong, glamorous, colourful.
Sources of inspiration
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Judy Geib | The Whimsical
Artist-turned-jeweller Judy Geib began creating jewellery in 2002, when Barneys picked up her first collection of one-of-a-kind pieces for their iconic store in New York. Geib works at the bench and handcrafts each of her unique pieces, inspired by architecture, politics, embroidery and other crafts.
“Judy Geib is an American artist, who lives in Brooklyn. Her pieces have a wonderful sensibility to them–they are fun and whimsical without being silly and outlandish. You can wear them everyday, or to a special event! She creates a lot of slightly asymmetrical looks, choosing to feature beautiful opals and emeralds. She works mostly with yellow gold, a lot of beautiful scroll work. She just creates some really quirky, interesting jewellery!” – Mark
Suzanne Belperron | Sculptural Jewelry
Suzanne Belperron was an influential French jeweller in the 19th century. She was ahead of her time, pioneering a sensual, contemporary aesthetic in her work. She had influential clients such as the Duchess of Windsor, Elsa Schiaparelli and Diana Vreeland, and was widely regarded as one of the most sought-after designers of her era.
“Suzanne Belperron was something of an icon in the jewellery industry. At the peak of her career between the 1920s and 1960s, she brought innovation and life into jewellery design. She was a visionary for her time and incredibly strong willed, and famously never signed her jewellery believing that ‘her style was her signature.’ – Mark
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Mark is very inspired by Art Deco, a design style that flourished between 1925 and the beginning of the second world war, influencing the furniture, architecture and decorative arts of the time. Art Deco was the successor of Art Nouveau, a design style heavily influenced by the curves and free-flowing lines of organic shapes found in nature. Art Deco carried forward ideas found in Art Nouveau, but was regarded as a reaction against the era.
Art Deco has roots in the Vienna Secession, Aztec, and ancient Egyptian art, but what truly defines Art Deco against Art Nouveau is the heavy influence of cubism, giving the design era a more geometric, linear character.
Art Deco made its mark on the jewellery industry, as the movement was characterised by the use of expensive, rare materials. Ebony, ivory and silver inlays were featured in furniture while platinum, jade and coral were often used to craft fine jewellery. Art Deco was, and still remains, a movement associated with luxury.
I really like the later years of Art Deco where it’s more rounded and voluminous, with the big cuffs and scalloping shapes. I like bold designs, not those that are necessarily in your face, but that are strong. I like a statement that’s well presented as opposed to lots of frippery.
Mark’s favourite design
Every ring we craft tells a story. Each of our incredibly talented design consultants are tasked with weaving this story into a fully-realised design, subtly imparting their flair and skill along the way. While each ring is designed with the utmost care and thought, our design consultants do have their favourites…
“I recently created a rose gold ring with a round pink sapphire centre stone. The customer initially wanted a pink diamond, but didn’t realise how much a sizeable pink diamond cost. So I found a beautiful pink sapphire for the centre, and flanked it with two white diamonds on either side with a pavé band. I loved creating this ring because it was such a nice process and the customer was very fun to work with–she was really excited about what I was sending her. I love the colour of the gem and the finished ring looked absolutely amazing!” – Mark
Mark’s artistic sensibility shines through as a jewellery designer. His passion and knowledge of the arts ensures that his creations are authentic and elegant. With years of experience in jewellery sales, creating an engagement ring with Mark is sure to be a blissful, creative experience.