Guy Burton is bespoke director of Hancocks, an historic fine jewellery emporium in Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade, which specialises in vintage and contemporary pieces. The London-based diamond and gemstone specialist talks jewellery, living in London and what luxury means to him
I specialise in old-cut diamonds. At the moment my eyes are on asschers and emerald-cut diamonds, which are my favourites.
I just got back from Miami and picked up an amazing piece. It wasn’t a step cut this time, it was an incredible 5-carat 20, D-colour, pear-shaped diamond pendant dating back to about 1910. There’s a diamond that’s part of the Crown Jewels which has a pear-shaped diamond that is cut so well and to such exact proportions that it can balance on its culitt. And this one does as well.
Because of my family I grew up around diamonds and jewellery, but it wasn’t what I thought I’d end up doing. After I left university, I did a Masters in property development at Southbank and went down the commercial surveyor route. But then the recession happened so I decided to go into the family business. There was no engagement ring side at the time so that’s what I went in on. I fell in love with old-cut stones and decided to curate purely these type of diamonds.
I live in Shepherd’s Bush and I love it. I rented there for a long time before I bought four years ago. It’s so close to central London so it’s very easy to get in every day. It has a lovely village feel and there are some real hidden gems there.
Restaurant-wise, there’s a placed called The Bird in Hand which is round the corner from me. It does the best pizza in the world and anyone who goes there says the same thing.
Burlington Arcade is the perfect location for our store. Firstly, with our heritage and our history. It’s very British and traditional. The arcade is so iconic and represents old London and the older way of doing business. You come here and you’re able to buy something that you couldn’t buy anywhere else.
You have to mention your local. The Havelock Tavern. I go there a lot. There’s another great place, a whisky bar on Greek Street called Milroy’s which has the shop above and then the bar downstairs. It’s a real hidden gem.
Brackenbury Wine Rooms on Hammersmith Grove is great for a first date. You can try really nice, expensive wines by the glass so you get to taste lots of different wines.
I’m a member of the RAC [The Royal Automobile Club], which I think is the best for several reasons. It has everything – a gym, sauna, the most amazing swimming pool and great restaurants. It has an outdoor pub as well so it’s great in the summer.
I buy my suits from Cad & The Dandy on Savile Row. They're quite a young company, but they’re making waves. They’re quite modern in their tailoring approach. They have access to any kind of material that you want and so going there can get really addictive. When I go in and these crazy suits on the mannequin, I think, ‘Can I get away with that?’ I bought a very thick three-piece dark blue flannel suit, but it’s so hot that there were only two days last year that I felt comfortable enough to wear it.
Watches would be the one thing I’d collect if money was no object. My godfather’s a watch dealer so he has the most incredible collection. It’s getting repaired at the moment, but I normally wear a really lovely old Navitimer watch by Breitling.
They say bespoke is the ultimate luxury. And that’s what we do.