FASHION, HEALTH & BEAUTY
DIAMOND LIFE Independence, which the dictionary helpfully defines as - the state of being independent, is certainly a quality that could be applied to both Stuart Thexton and his business. It's also a quality that sits well in a city with a strong independent retail vein, giving both Stuart and Nottingham that critical point of difference.
Now, after more than 30 years in the jewellery business and with his store in The Exchange approaching its 10th Anniversary, he's determined as ever about maintaining that independence. "Before I opened the shop," he says, "I was coming across a lot of smaller jewellery makers who weren't big enough to get in to the larger High Street stores. These were really interesting, artisan designers, often based on the continent, who I thought would be very appealing to customers. Something different.
Choosing a wedding or engagement ring is probably one of the most important decisions a person has to make," explains Stuart. "Not only are they commemorative of the day itself, but also symbolic of a couple's future life together. We offer a bespoke Proposal Collection of engagement rings with certified Diamonds, and our wedding ring suite allows customers to choose from our extensive range in an environment away from the distractions of the main showroom where they can take the time to properly consider their choices."
"I soon realised," he continues, "that opening my own store featuring some of these designers would allow me to offer a genuine alternative."
Customers can choose from yellow, rose or white gold, platinum or palladium, or even a mixture of these, as well as all kinds of traditional and contemporary settings. The rings are all
Sourcing the best selection from niche brands that don't always get the exposure they deserve, Stuart gives them that vital shop window, whilst also giving his customers the opportunity to own wonderfully handcrafted, very different and in some cases unique pieces.
individually handmade by skilled craftspeople in Germany.
As Stuart comments, "Quite simply, we want to offer people a new and easy way to shop. Our ranges vary hugely – everything from everyday wear to special occasion pieces. I didn't want the shop to be known purely as somewhere to go for that oneoff anniversary or birthday present though, I also wanted customers to come and treat themselves without it costing them a fortune."
“We thought through the whole experience from the customer's perspective," says Stuart. "We wanted the store environment to be elegant but not intimidating, whilst complementing the jewellery. Everything, from the lighting to the music was carefully considered, which hopefully combine to give people a memorable shopping experience. The store's location was also critical, and The Exchange was ideal. It's one of the city's most recognisable landmarks and couldn't be more central."
CITY LIFE & COUNTY LIVING
Many women are now opting for costume jewellery as a cheaper alternative. But, as Stuart puts it, why go for that when he can offer something that is better priced and the real thing?
Each piece in the showroom has been carefully selected by Stuart and his team – from colourful gems, diamonds and pearls to contemporary and traditional styles – many of the designer ranges are exclusive to the store in Nottingham and even in the UK. Stuart has also developed a reputation over the last 10 years of sourcing unusual or one-of-a-kind pieces, often featuring rare semi-precious stone such as Sphene or Helidor Tanzanite. It may be something of a trite saying these days, but something for everyone really does apply here. In addition to these collections, the store also has a dedicated Wedding Suite, situated downstairs from the main showroom.
Attention to detail is the cornerstone of Stuart's approach to the business - from the handmade jewellery boxes and bespoke bags to the store itself.
As he nears the store's 10th Anniversary, Stuart's independence is still a big part of his approach to the business. “When I opened the store in 2006, the heart of the idea was to offer customers something different. I believed then, and still do today, that jewellery is an expression of someone's individuality. Being independent allows me to feature smaller designers that you won't find on every high street, giving our clients choices they can't easily get elsewhere." Stuart Thexton Jewellery 19-21, The Exchange, Nottingham NG1 2DD Tel: 0115 988 1821 www.stuart-thexton.com
The East Midlands Premier Lifestyle Magazine