COUTURE PRACTICES - Johnny Rocket, London

March 2008

Asked to enumerate his career highlights, Johnny Rocket (née John Pearce) cites creating a diamondencrusted car (a Ford Ka) for British fashion designer Julien Macdonald and De Beers, being shortlisted for creative director at Boucheron alongside Stephen Webster and Solange Azagury-Partridge (in the end, Solange got the job), designing jewelry for Swarovski’s Runway Rocks catwalk shows and “waking up each day and going to work with my colleagues.”

Johnny Rocket’s jewelry salon in Greenwich, London

What Rocket fails to mention is his extensive work with fashion and music legends, ranging from Givenchy and Tom Ford at Gucci to Kylie Minogue, Missy Elliot and Duran Duran. For Fender’s 60th birthday in 2006, Rocket covered a guitar in over 50,000 Swarovski crystals, forming the heads of famous guitarists.

After learning mounting and setting techniques in his native Australia, Rocket worked in Prague and Amsterdam, eventually settling in London in 1991. There, Rocket worked for Jess James and Dower & Hall, before founding his company in 1997. He opened his retail store in Maritime Greenwich, London, with business partner and diamond setter Niall Paisley in 2005.

The store, an opulent jewelry gallery in the style of a 1920s salon, combines a shop, consultation area and downstairs atelier, where customers are shown the process of how each piece is made.

Having focused in recent years on his store, his bespoke service and the catwalks, Rocket’s presence at London’s newest jewelry buying event, Collections, marked the first time in three years he had sold at wholesale. Premiered in January 2008, Collections aims to fill a gap between existing British jewelry trade fairs.

“The shop and catwalk demanded so much time that we needed to be sure we could pick up all the old accounts and return to the level of supply and service our clients expected of us. So we did Collections and it’s been fantastic. We found new accounts and it gave us a sense that we still design cutting-edge pieces that are commercially viable. It was nice to be amongst designers I respect and target for our gallery,” he says.

“I loathe events such as Spring Fair in Birmingham, which are far too big and impersonal. We loved the neat intimacy of this show. It was less tiring and the designers on offer were really quality and reflected the standard of the buyers and press,” says Rocket, who appreciated the strong visual impact of Collections’ black and white presentation stands. “This is a young event and I have confidence that the organizers at Clarion will take the show forward for the future.”