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Celebrating 10 Years of the Bee

Words by Alex Monroe

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2018 is a very special year here at Alex Monroe - it is the 10th Birthday of our beloved Bumblebee necklace.

The bee represents a whole array of thoughts and emotions for me; Feminine strength, beauty, vulnerability, the Renaissance idea of the inevitable pain of love, community. There is a nostalgic Britishness to the bee, Beatrix Potter and the cottage country garden. And then of course there is the environmental role of bees, pollinating the world’s food while under constant threat from pollution. There is so much symbolism in my bee… I can see most of what I was after, and I hope people who buy or wear one might see just a little bit of my inspiration in their bee, and of course, they will have their own ideas about what their bee means to them too!

For the first 20 years as a jewellery designer my designs were really popular overseas. I first did London Fashion Week in the early 90’s and immediately Japan and America bought my jewellery. We sold really well across the west coast, and were very popular in Barneys New york. In Japan the brand grew and grew in popularity, and it got to the point where we had queues of Japanese buyers waiting to see us at Paris Fashion Week.

I was so busy I had no time to look after my British shops properly, and I began to design more and more just for a Japanese customer.

I went to an exhibition of Lucas Cranach paintings. He painted Adam and Eve (made famous by the tv show Desperate Housewives). My favourite painting of his was Cupid complaining to Venus, where Cupid is being stung by bees after stealing some honey. The bee represents the inevitable pain of love. I became interested in the symbolism of bees in our culture and designed a collection called Original Sin which was all based around the bee.

I dedicated a whole chapter of my book to the bee.

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I had several attempts at making the bee, I wanted it to represent female strength, and a vulnerability. And of course, the bittersweet nature of love. My classic bee achieved what I wanted, and to my great relief, it was an immediate hit with UK buyers at London Fashion Week, where I first showed the collection.

We soon became the best selling brand at Liberty, and shops all over the UK wanted to stock us. We were on the front cover of all the glossies and celebrities around the world showed off their Bee necklaces.

The collection, Original Sin was my way of coming home, and making something specially for our British customers.

The Bumblee

8 thoughts on “Celebrating 10 Years of the Bee!”

  • Melanie

    Hi Alex

    Amazing story! It’s interesting to read how far the bee has come in 10 years!

    I also have a story that I have been trying to get round to telling you.

    About 5 years ago, my boyfriend bought me a classic AM gold bee for our 10 year anniversary! I absolutely love it!! However, the small loop connected to the bee which the chain is held through has become very thin. I’ve taken the bee to other jewellery shops local to me but they can’t help me! I love my bee but I’m scared to wear him in case the loop thins any more and I lose him!

    Would you be kind enough to take a look if I send you some photos?

    My boyfriend has offered to buy me a new one but I just don’t think it has the same sentimental value if I wear a brand new bee.

    I hope to hear back from you soon.

    Many thanks for taking the time to read my story.

    Melanie

    Reply
    • Josh Carlisle

      Hi Melanie,

      Many thanks for your comment and story! It's always great to hear how a design can come to be mean so much from individual to individual. Although we're sorry to hear about the worry you have regarding the little loop – over time general wear will occur so it's good to keep an eye on things as you have. I understand you're now in conversation with our customer care team so I shall leave you in their capable hands.

      Best wishes,
      The AM Team

      Reply
  • Laura Gwatkin

    I absolute adore the bee collection! I grew up playing with bees on my granddad’s farm in Ukraine. He taught me all the intelligence of their hierarchy and showed me how to admire their extremely hard working mentality! The honey we collected was simply to die for!
    The rose gold bee necklace from Alex Monroe was my favourite to wear as a present from my husband and a reminder of a dear friend I made when living in NZ (the girl always used to
    wear hers and it was so eye catching, I fell in love with it!).
    Sadly, just before Christmas I lost my necklace one morning on the way to work. I was rushed for an early morning list in theatre and by 10 am realised the necklace was no longer around
    my neck! I could not be sadder , especially that I was going back to NZ to see my kiwi friend to show it off...

    Reply
    • Josh Carlisle

      Hi Laura,

      Thankyou so much for your comment, it's lovely to hear how significant bees have been in your life!
      We're so sorry you've lost this cherished necklace and at such a poignant time too. If you would like to discuss this a little more, please don't hesitate to contact our Customer Care team at: customercare@alexmonroe.com

      Best wishes,
      The AM Team

      Reply
  • Kate

    Will there be any limited edition bees this year to celebrate?

    Reply
  • Sarah Hill

    Beeing from Manchester.... and that my great great Grandad
    Mayor of Manchester..... I am going to buy a ? with my 50th
    Birthday Money!!!!!!!
    Can't wait to wear it!!!!!!
    Only trouble is I can't decide silver or gold!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Josh Carlisle

      Hi Sarah,

      Many thanks for your comment!

      That's lovely to hear and it sounds like the Bee is a very fitting & meaningful emblem for you.
      For the choice of colour though, we will leave this in your hands!
      (But if it helps, we do have a free UK returns service, so you could always try one and see!)

      Best wishes,
      The AM Team

      Reply
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