House of Eleonore is a jewellery start-up based in Amsterdam that creates fine diamond jewellery and stands for building a truly transparent, ethical and sustainable supply chain by using non-mined diamonds and FairTrade gold. We want to create sustainable luxury.
Royal Asscher, one of the world´s leading diamond companies, back our ethical and innovative stance and have supported us with a head-office located inside their historical building in the Diamantbuurt and the invaluable expertise of 161 years of world class diamond heritage. Our collection will range from bespoke, ready-to-wear, and customisable pieces and will launch in late May, early June 2015.
Your pledge will support House of Eleonore in reaching our goals! The funds that we raise with your help will allow us to:
- Launch our first ready-to-wear jewellery collection with our team of skilled artisans
- Create one of a kind, non-mined diamonds
- And use Fairtrade gold for every piece of our collection
- Build a community that appreciates the growing sustainable luxury industry
Idea Behind the Collection
The first collection of House of Eleonore is inspired by the intensely vibrant colour palette of Papua New Guinea and its breathtaking array of fauna & flora. Our Creative Director spent much of her youth immersed in the strikingly rich, jewel tones of tropical Micronesia and is passionate to mirror this inspiration in each new piece.
Origins of The Name House of Eleonore
House of Eleonore represents power and beauty. The name derives from one of the most powerful women during the Twelfth Century, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Many considered her as being Europe's most desirable woman in her days. House of Eleonore’s brand symbol is in reference to the exotic Morpho Helenor butterfly, known for its staggering beauty. Colourful like our diamonds, the butterfly’s upper wings come in a striking fluorescent blue, contrasted to different shades of brown.
Mission and Vision
We celebrate the beauty of women by creating fabulous jewellery through an extraordinary experience. House of Eleonore does not solely aim to bring out the beauty in each woman - it also underlines her strength, personality and style. We aim to create with meaning and purpose knowing that our pieces mark special moments in life. House of Eleonore will make this happen by not only delivering diamonds and a little sparkle into her day, but also by providing the royal treatment in our Amsterdam boutique and concierge service, available at all times. On top of that, our online store will ship worldwide, just for her.
Our fascination with color, form and nature was an organic evolution of childhood days spent exploring sun dappled rain forests and brisk alpine ranges. Whilst perched in treetops, searching for an impossibly rare, jewel crested Bird of Paradise or discovering prehistoric fossils, naturally misted in a fine gold dust, it was inevitable that the seed of House of Eleonore would grow.
The House of Eleonore team is composed of a diverse international group of young talents, who come from successful backgrounds in the world of fashion and start-ups. Below is a quick look at each of the change-makers who will revolutionise the diamond industry.
Bernd Damme, Founder and Managing Director
Since the age of 16, the now 25-year-old Dutch entrepreneur founded his first business centered around the online retailing of eyewear within the Benelux region. Five years after his highly successful e-store launch, he co-founded a menswear label that specialized in selling high-end sartorial goods, both online as well as offline (sold the company in 2013). Today, Bernd is no longer involved with either businesses and is entirely dedicated to the luxury brand of non-mined diamonds, as founder and Managing Director of House of Eleonore.
Ray Steele, Creative Director
Ray Steele’s background in Creative Direction and Design began 10 years ago in Australia but her passion for colour and form began in her childhood years in Papua New Guinea. Having spent the last 6 years of her career in London’s emerging start up community, innovation and experience have been a cornerstone of her creative approach. She also founded a creative events collective in 2010 and personally believes strongly in sourcing ethical and sustainable materials, making House of Eleonore a dream combination of passion & purpose.
Trevor Lanyon, Developer
Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Trevor brings over 20 years of software development experience and know how. From developing solutions for the agriculture industry in rural Manitoba to designing wireless monitoring systems in Bermuda Trevor brings lessons learned from previous start up ventures as well as internet success stories such as Booking.com.
Natasha Lamoureux, Event Manager
Her love for fashion, and her passion towards marketing, have led Natasha to pursuing these two career fields post-university; a French Bachelor of Commerce degree, specializing in Marketing and Master of Arts in Fashion. In turn, this gave Lamoureux the opportunity to present her thesis on “digital marketing in the luxury fashion industry”, at the Stockholm School of Economics. Natasha's dream has always been to work in Europe, to pursue a career in Marketing within the luxury sector. She can say with pride that working for House of Eleonore in Amsterdam has been extremely rewarding experience so far, as she is constantly being challenged, and loves working with a wide range of talented and passionate teammates.
Cristina Sainz, Brand Strategist
After graduating in 2014 from Advertising and Public Relations in Madrid, she moved to the Netherlands for a one-year-study abroad. While in the Netherlands, Cristina studied Communications and International Business Management, which added an additional type of expertise to her curriculum. Subsequently, she completed a Master in Marketing and Communications of Fashion and Luxury, which has provided her with useful knowledge of the industry in which she has always wanted to develop her career. Armed with her passions and interests, she has gained professional experience in the fashion and arts industry, which has led to her becoming part of the House of Eleonore team.
Theresa Majic, Business Intelligence/Customer Services
Theresa earned a degree in Business Psychology from the International School of Management in Hamburg, Germany. She majored in Branding and Consumer Psychology. As a passionate supporter of the green issue, she is dedicated to implementing sustainability in the luxury jewellery sector, in a style - conscious manner. Theresa’s interest in marketing high–end consumer goods, has been sparked when she first gained work experience at a luxury fashion retailer. The German native subsequently went on to work for Tesla Motors, the leading electric luxury automobile manufacturer. The latter strengthened her understanding of successfully branding sustainable high–end goods to a conscious, yet demanding consumer. Working at House of Eleonore is an exciting and challenging new chapter for Theresa, and so far she is enjoying the dynamic mindset this environment has to offer.
Over 15 million men, women, and children across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, are being forced to work as gold miners under harsh conditions. The majority of these gold miners are surviving on less than US $2 a day. House of Eleonore takes a stand against human exploitation by solely selling Fairtrade gold to its customers. This certification implies that miners receive a guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price which is 95% of the LBMA Fixing and a US $2000 premium per kilo of 24 krt fine gold. By partnering with Fairtrade we ensure 100% transparency into our supply chain and reassure our clients that House of Eleonore’s jewellery is not just beautiful on the outside but also from within.
Jewellery is considered to be an intimate accessory, to which the wearer becomes emotionally attached. Each non-mined diamond is unique. Our bespoke service allows you to create your own, personalised jewellery pieces, down to the smallest detail. This includes personally selecting your favourite stone, amongst our range of world's rarest diamonds. At House of Eleonore, we solely use state of the art technology and the best local artisans.
Non-mined diamonds make it possible for us to reach an entirely new market. Due to the depletion of mined diamonds, non-mined diamonds have become more affordable, therefore, allowing us to sell them at a much lower price point. Aside from the difference in price, both non-mined diamonds and mined diamonds, remain physically and chemically identical. We are specialised in rare colourful diamonds, which generally speaking are eighty times more expensive, than their white counterparts. We are revolutionising the diamond industry, by making a full range of colourful stones available to wider group of women, whom each deserve to feel like one in a million.
When purchasing a diamond for yourself, or your significant other, the four C's are critical dimensions when making a decision. They stand for carat, colour, cut and clarity. Each category provides measurements which give information about the quality of the stone. House of Eleonore's non - mined diamonds are held to the highest standards in each category.
Achievements Thus Far
Our first milestone has been turning the House of Eleonore concept from a dream into reality. On top of that, leading diamond company Royal Asscher has given us their full support, by sharing their industry knowledge and craftsmen with us. As of January 2015, the House of Eleonore team is made up of six young individuals, eager to change the game within the diamond industry.
Last but not least – we've just sold our first engagement ring.
Heritage of Royal Asscher
In 1902, the company introduced its signature: the never before seen Asscher-cut. Within a year's time, the family-owned business wrote history yet again, by finding the biggest diamond known to man-kind. Recently, the Royal Asscher introduced its mesmerizing Stars Of Africa Collection; in which conflict-free diamonds are encased in a fluid-filled sapphire globe.
About Bespoke Jewellery
One way in which we will differentiate ourselves from your typical jewellery company, is by creating bespoke jewellery accessible to a wider audience, as oppose to the happy few. From the creation of the concept, to the final bespoke product, you will have a say during every step of the process. The bespoke service is a way for clients to receive tailor-made advice from local artisans including goldsmiths, diamond polishers, and the designer of their jewel. At House of Eleonore, each bespoke jewel is handmade by professional craftsmen to ensure the highest quality.
By merging innovative custom design technologies - such as 3D printing – with traditional manufacturing processes, the client will get to see a detailed prototype of the bespoke jewel before it's finalized; thus, allowing for any necessary changes to be made in time. House of Eleonore's bespoke jewellery service allows clients to have full control over the materials being used, and the jewel that will be featured. Clients may select their favourite style, choose a metal, and any amount of stones from an extensive list of options. Engravings will also be possible.
As a sign of appreciation, all our bespoke clients will be personally invited to our House of Eleonore headquarters in Amsterdam, where they can witness the jewels being made by hand in our workshop.
Hand-crafted jewellery is considered being the haute couture of fine accessories. Attention to detail meets know-how, whilst always keeping the final consumer in mind. Given that the wearer is kept in mind throughout the manufacturing process, the jewellery its wearability – in terms of size, weight and sturdiness - is a key point of focus.
When it comes to detail, our craftsmen make sure every solder joint is smooth, well-fitted and secure, whilst matching those metals to its securing. In the case of wire jewellery, all wires are parallel, with their ends tucked in and filled smoothly.
Since artisan jewellery is a slow process, in which we handle your jewellery with maximum care, each piece is closely inspected, before the following step in the manufacturing process is taken.
Use of 3D Printing Technology
Though House of Eleonore advocates for keeping traditional craftsmanship alive, we still aim to move towards the future as well, when it comes to our manufacturing process. We mix old with new, by allowing veteran artisans create your jewellery, while using 3D printing to show you the final product you may expect. For those not familiar with the innovative concept, 3D printing is a manufacturing process in which an object is created one layer at a time, using a number of different materials. This technology will make it possible for our customers to see a life-size prototype of their soon-to-be finalised jewellery, allowing for changes to be made – without any added costs - in case such is requested after having seen the detailed prototype. To offer our supporters insight into the state of the art technology, we will provide a prototype of one of our collections, in the from of a 3D printed piece. Besides it being avant-garde, 3D printing also speeds up the manufacturing process from 90 to 14 days.
The future impacts that House of Eleonore is going to make will be felt locally, as well as globally. First of all, we will create jobs for young professionals, while at the same time maintaining the jobs of the previous generations, by working with skilled craftsmen. Before the end of 2015, House of Eleonore will create jobs for at least 10 young individuals. On top of that, we will maintain jobs overseas, through collaborating with mineworkers and paying them decent salaries. As we work with foreign mineworkers, our aim is to build a truly transparent and more sustainable supply chain of gold with our partner, Fairtrade (Max Havelaar).
As far as our coloured non-mined diamonds are concerned, we will be amongst the first to offer this type of one-of-a-kind luxury, at an affordable price. At the same time, we will provide a solution for the gap in supply and demand of mined diamonds, whilst taking barriers down for the consumer – allowing them to buy our jewellery any time, any place.
Our Boutique store
At House of Eleonore, our focus is on the experience and relationship that technology can provide – not on the technology itself. We are aiming at lowering, if not eliminating, the barriers in the jewellery selection experience. Working closely with UX designers and using modern software design practises, we will build a platform that is trustworthy, scalable and flexible. This will include a 24/7 concierge service, and the ability to customise a jewel according to your desires. We listen to our clients and respond to their wants and needs, while providing them with the perfect jewellery piece. A relationship is a unique agreement between two parties, and our platform is one of the tools we will use to express that.
Risks and challenges
Just like any start-up company, we will face the inevitable risks and challenges down the road. One of our main challenges will be the possible delays in production at our Amsterdam atelier, caused by unforeseen circumstances within the design process.
Secondly, the shortage of fair-trade gold in the long term is also a challenge, as production will need to grow and it could be difficult to keep up with the growing demand. Whatever the case may be, we shall be transparent regarding delays, problems and issues (should any of these occur throughout the process).
After a successful funding campaign, House of Eleonore will keep you posted regarding our progress, on a weekly basis.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)