The birds and the bees: 5 minutes with nature's jeweller Alex Monroe

Whether its his glittering gold Bumblebee pendant or his quirky silver Cockatoo that has caught your attention, chances are you've found yourself lusting after a piece of jewellery from London-based designer Alex Monroe over the past few years.

As he sets to work on his new collection and prepares to launch a collaboration with Buckingham Palace, we caught up with the modern accessory icon to hear about his roots in punk style, how he gets inspiration from nature and his favourite spots in England's capital...

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Where did your interest in jewellery design come from?

It started with making my own clothes. I was really into it and really into the punk style, so I would make my own punk accessories, starting with a dog collar. 

How would you describe your designs?

I hand make everything which I think really comes across when you hold and feel the pieces. It’s all nature-based with some British eccentricity. 

Where did the inspiration for your iconic Bee Necklace come from? 

The bee was inspired by several reasons, most of which I talk about in my book. The simplest way to define it is to say that the bee is female, beautiful and strong, and my hope is this is how people feel when they wear it.

Why do you think this design has been so popular?

I have no idea to be honest - perhaps right product, right time! I’m just glad people love it as much as I do. 

How does it feel when you see celebrities wearing your pieces?

As good as it feels when I see people in the street wear it. It’s great to have someone love a piece that you have drawn and created by hand.

What’s next for you?

We never stop here! I’m really interested in design and perhaps creating some motifs that could be used for all sorts of things. For this year, though, we have started work on the new collection, finished our 12 Days of Christmas exclusives and lots of really exciting collaborations, including one with Buckingham Palace! 

What are some of your favourite brands?

I like to support good quality British brands; Albam is a favourite as is Old Town and I recently bought myself some Vivienne Westwood trousers (a treat!).

Finally, as you're based in London, what's your favourite spot in the city?

My favourite at the moment is Chelsea Physic Gardens - it's really beautiful in the summer!

By Alison Millington