- British luxury retailer Asprey was founded in 1781by William Asprey
- The company has nine stores worldwide, its flagship store is on New Bond Street in London
- In 1862 Asprey recieved its first Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria
As millions prepare to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, her official jeweler has created a three dimensional artwork inspired by her long reign -- and many diamonds.
Asprey teamed up with acclaimed light artist Chris Levine to create "The Diamond Queen," an evocative portrait of the monarch which features a real tiara made up of 1,000 diamonds. It is based on Levine's seminal 2004 Queen portrait "Equanimity."
The tiara is an Asprey re-creation of the Queen's diamond diadem which she wore on the way to her coronation in 1953.
"We realized that we could collaborate together on this project and create something really unique," said Paddy Byng, managing director of Asprey, which has been supplying the royals with bespoke jewelry and silver ware for the past 225 years.
The glowing portrait is currently on show to the public at the company's flagship store in London, but will be auctioned for charity later this year. "We are hoping to raise as much money as possible to go to two charities that have a jubilee focus this year," said Byng. The tiara's value is estimated at £800,000 to £1.2 million.
Despite the current economic climate, luxury goods remain in demand -- and the tiara is expected to sell at value. In part, the luxury market has been protected from the European downturn by the continued demand out of countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Although many luxury brands remain based in Europe, the continent's purchasing power is under strain as it struggles to emerge from the eurozone crisis.
According to Byng, Europe's economic headwinds create challenges, but ones which are offset in part by the popularity of London and Paris as travel destinations. That attraction, he said, remains "one of the keys that are driving the growth of the market."
Byng added: "I think we can all sit here and go 'this is a nightmare', but the fact of the matter is there are Europeans that are still extremely wealthy, and Europeans who still want to buy the best and it comes down to the individual brands to be able to compete amongst themselves on distinctive design, great quality products, and impeccable service."