Tracing history back to the 1920’s, Mishanto’s story is one of survival, intrigue, escape and success. Once captured by the Red Army and placed in a Siberian gulag, Misha Abram, was forced into an internship dealing with gemstones.
Within all of the chaos and danger, Misha took a risk and sewed two precious gemstones into the lining of his overcoat. Escaping the Eastern-European conflict, Misha fled to England and set up his own jewellery business in the heart of Hatton Garden, London’s diamond quarter.
For the next three decades the company flourished, and in 1990 Misha's grandson Tony joined the family business. We chat with Tony about how he has developed the company into an affordable luxury brand that pays homage to its unique story, with appreciation for balance, quality, feel and finish.
When did you first fall in love with jewellery?
“I fell in love with jewellery in my late teens; my grandfather was a fine antique and period jewellery dealer in London and he also made fine bespoke pieces to order, so I was always around jewellery. He dealt with beautiful pieces of Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, 1950’s and 1960’s jewellery. I fell in love with gemstones, the shapes, the variety, the hues, the depth and evenness of colour. The pure mystery surrounding gems and jewellery. Every gemstone is fascinating. They all have a life of their own.”
Tony's Grandfather, Misha Abram (on the left), was a gem dealer, fine antique and period jewellery dealer and made bespoke pieces.
"Our family was established and had a great name in the jewellery trade along with fantastic connections and the makings of a great story behind the brand."
How did you get into jewellery design?
“I spent 7 years in advertising before deciding to re-qualify and enter the jewellery business my grandfather started in 1932. I was 28 and living in Australia when I applied for and was accepted at the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) - the world’s leading educational institution for diamond grading and gemstone identification. In 1990 I qualified as a Graduate Gemologist, having completed the courses in coloured stones, diamond grading and jewellery design, and the same year I entered the family business. We were trading with suppliers and clients across the globe and through the company I was helped by the best of the best in the period jewellery world; a very tight community of mainly family businesses.”
What drove you to start your own jewellery line?
“The dynamic of the jewellery business has changed. I worked on an interim range of gold and diamond jewellery with some bespoke pieces, however my ambition was to develop my own brand, accessible to all, based on the 25 years that I have spent in the jewellery industry. Our family was established and had a great name in the jewellery trade along with fantastic connections and the makings of a great story behind the brand.”
"Honesty and integrity are crucial in a family business where you are only as good as your last trade."
What are Mishanto’s most important brand values?
“Our brand message is ‘The value of experience’. Honesty and integrity are crucial in a family business where you are only as good as your last trade. Our business and my brand is currently growing through online and direct sales in stores, as well as through recommendation and repeat business from our customers. Nothing must be less than perfect and this is reflected in our jewellery and our unique packaging, the ‘Mishanto pocket’, which honours the pocket my grandfather sewed gemstones into that went on to change his life.”
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
“I get my inspiration from the shapes and colours around me, along with my knowledge of gemstones, their durability, their colour intensity and the types of faceting available. I combine this with the years of handling fine jewellery and the types of settings that are available.”
Where do you source your materials from?
“We purchase our gemstones as close to the source as possible. We work directly with diamond dealers on 3 continents and often buy from the actual diamond cutters. I personally select the important diamonds for each piece. All the cutters, setters and polishers I use are highly knowledgeable and skilled in their specific craft.”
"Clients come back for repeat business, to purchase from our range and some have become friends."
Who are the clients you are proudest of?
"Every referral means that we have excelled. Clients come back for repeat business, to purchase from our range and some have become friends. My favourite clients have come to us based on our reputation even though they have jewellers in their own family.”
How do you want someone to feel when they wear a piece of your jewellery?
“I want our customers to be relaxed and confident in their purchase, to know that with a piece from Mishanto it is ‘all they need to wear’ to feel complete!”
What does the future hold for Mishanto London?
“I feel like I am just starting out. I have created the Mishanto brand which includes 3 specific ranges plus our bespoke jewellery and I have established a good name amongst my suppliers and customers, which is most important to me. I now need to establish the brand and build my customer base. The brand needs to constantly evolve. New ideas, new designs, new technologies to enhance. This is just the beginning. I would love Mishanto to become a household name!”
Mishanto is available to buy on Jewelstreet here.