Jewellery December 2011
Wedding special issue: engagement and wedding ring designs for 2012 X Adding the ﬁnishing touch to the perfect dress with elegant bridal jewellery X The historical signiﬁcance and commercial potential of emerald in a modern market
December 2011 WEDDING SPECIAL Circle of life
Naida Ally looks at the historical significance of the wedding ring, and a selection of designs that are taking this tradition forward into another new year
Syreeta catches up with Stephen Webster to discuss trends in bridal jewellery, and the new collection he has recently launched into this market
A choice selection of jewellery that can add the finishing touch to a bride’s big day
Focus on Valentine’s Day
Jon Chapple views some of the romantic collections available to stock in the run-up to February
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE Editor’s letter
The latest news from the industry
This month, Janet’s trend spotting has taken her for a walk on the wild side, with animal-themed jewellery collections for 2012
Keith reports on a relatively new brand which is proving itself to be a strong contender at the top-end of the watch market due to its fashion-led design
An investment in good taste
With jewel tones already popular this winter, Andreas Mitchell focuses on the history and commercial potential of emerald in the second in his bi-monthly articles
Voice on the highstreet
Sales can be lost during both busy and quiet periods if customers are not greeted and offered assistance, warns Leonard
New offerings from the industry
Olympic opportunities 18
Luminox founder Barry Cohen speaks to Louise Hoffman about his brand’s unique point of difference and its global appeal
With localism a hot topic of debate for the coalition, Michael puts town centre issues such as parking, planning and transport under scrutiny
Ones to watch
Trends in timepieces
Mark Evers of TfL outlines his tips for keeping businesses running smoothly in the run up to, and during, the 2012 Olympic Games
How do they do that?
High-end gift stock inspiration for jewellers
This month, AnchorCert’s Anu Manchanda explains the lengthy and complex processes involved in diamond certification
Neville Clark of Isis Clocks and Jewellery, Oxford
Editor’s letter T hroughout the recession and the turbulent months that have followed, the market for wedding and engagement rings has proved itself to be extremely resilient, thanks to couples who have not only refused to put their plans on hold in the face of economic instability, but have also been determined to spend more or less as they would have done before the downturn kicked in. That’s not to say there has been no market change at all, of course, but while many casual shoppers are making fewer purchases or opting for lower cost jewellery; gold, palladium and platinum have remained the most popular choices for wedding and engagement rings. The trend for bespoke and personalised jewellery has also made a positive impact for the sector – for designers, who have been able to utilise their skills to attract exciting and profitable commissions; for retailers, who have responded by introducing in-house design services; and for CAD/CAM suppliers, whose software and services are very much in demand. Indeed, the development and improvement of this technology has in turn fuelled the demand for made-to-order jewellery – customers cannot buy what is not available, and, equally, they can buy more of what is! As Gary Sinclair of PH Wedding Rings explained to Jewellery Focus, “the traditional, dominant, manufacturer-led finished product is slowly giving way to a much more involved sale, geared towards the bride’s wants. Much more CAD is evident from manufacturers… allowing the desire of the retail customer to show through.” As we move into 2012, consumers are still looking to display their individuality and personality through jewellery, so whether you are offering bespoke design services or a range of ready-made wedding and engagement rings, the key is to cater for a variety of tastes, and set yourself apart from your competitors. Wishing you all an enjoyable and profitable Christmas!
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AND bRieFly Largest matching pair of diamonds
The world’s largest matching pair of Forevermark diamonds will be auctioned at the Christie’s Hong Kong Autumn sale of Magnificent Jewels on 29 November 2011. The diamonds weigh 35.61 and 35.77 carats respectively. Chief executive of Forevermark Stephen Lussier said: “Inscribing such exceptional diamonds as these further demonstrates that bearing the Forevermark inscription provides consumers with greater assurance of the diamonds’ quality and integrity as well as treasures that are truly unique.” The diamonds, which were discovered in South Africa and crafted by diamantaire Steinmetz, have been awarded ‘triple excellent’ for polish, symmetry and cut grade by Forevermark’s team of diamond experts in Antwerp.
Chamilia charity partnership
The personalised jewellery brand Chamilia has launched a partnership with Breast Cancer Care UK with a ribbon bead, featuring a pale pink crystal, to highlight breast cancer awareness. Chamilia marketing director Melissa Wilson said: “We know that Chamilia consumers care deeply about this cause and want to be able to show their support. With this in mind, we will donate 10 per cent of our net sales of the breast cancer ribbon beads to the good work that Breast Cancer Care does.” Available in sterling silver and 14 carat gold, the bead can be worn on its own, or with other beads on a bracelet or necklace.
New London premises for Domino
Domino has expanded its facility in London with the opening of a new trade counter at 26-29 St Cross Street, Hatton Garden. “Since we opened in London in 2007 we have steadily expanded our market and feel sure that having our own on-street premises will help us to grow it further,” said managing director Andrew Morton. The trade counter will carry in stock a wide range of Domino’s core products and will offer retailers a choice of items such as wedding rings, diamond ring mounts, settings and components across all carats and colours of gold as well as in platinum and palladium.
Allumer pendant auction
Luxury jewellery brand Allumer has launched an exclusive design in support of the national children’s charity, Coram. Founder of Allumer Natasha LeithSmith created the pendant, which makes reference to the old ballot ball process used to determine which children could be accepted into care. Known as the Coram Lariat-White Ball, the pendant comprises a black diamond and rainbow moonstone pendant on a black ballchain. The pendant and necklace were bought at auction for £650 on 9th November.
Swarovski crystal forest for Covent Garden
Swarovski has announced the opening of several concept boutiques across the UK in the coming months, the latest of which opened in Covent Garden following a ‘crystal forest’ re-fit. Swarovski representatives said: “The atmosphere created by the crystal forest design perfectly expresses the modern lux philosophy dear to the company, combining unique quality and know-how without being exclusive.”
Plans for single online shopping law for europe backed by bRC A new optional sales law that would apply throughout the EU is “good news for customers and UK retailers,” said the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The European Commission has published its proposals for a Common European Sales Law, which would allow businesses trading online to make sales under a single EU-wide contract law, rather than having to comply with the different national laws in each of the 27 member states. The new law would be optional for businesses but would provide a common high level of consumer protection for cross-border ecommerce purchases, and would give customers access to a wider choice of goods available online. BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “If the law for selling across the EU is simpler, UK retailers should be able to expand into many more markets. This has the potential to boost British exports of goods throughout the EU and so boost growth and jobs in the UK. Britain has all the advantages of language and of having the EU’s bestdeveloped online market. The UK Government must take a constructive approach in the negotiations to produce the maximum benefit for consumers and businesses.”
AnchorCert celebrates 10 years AnchorCert celebrated its first decade in the business at Birmingham’s Harvey Nichols store in October. Among the guests were celebrities James Cordon and UK chart toppers One Direction. The gemmological service, based in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, is the diamond and gemstone certification division of the Birmingham Assay Office and provides professional reports and certification services to the jewellery industry and to the consumer. Chief executive and assay master Michael Allchin said of the event: “This was a fantastic evening and a fitting tribute to the hard work and achievements of the AnchorCert team. It embraced the culture, creativity, and inspirational thinking that is at the heart of AnchorCert, the Birmingham Assay Office, and the City of Birmingham.” The evening showcased diamond- and gemset jewellery made in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and certificated by AnchorCert. James Newman Designs, Victoria James, Fei Lui and Sharman D Neill all exhibited their “world leading and sought-after contemporary design collections.”
harriet Kelsall certified by RJC The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has announced that UK bespoke jeweller Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design Ltd, has achieved certification by “meeting the ethical, human rights, social and environmental standards as established by the RJC’s Member Certification System.” “Earlier this year we became one of the first 20 jewellers in the UK to be able to work in Fairtrade gold and we are noticing a rise in customers who are requesting their jewellery to be made from ethical and sustainable materials. The Responsible Jewellery Council’s Member Certification System is an excellent initiative of which we are proud to be a part and we would strongly urge other organisations in the jewellery industry to strive to achieve RJC certification,” said Harriet Kelsall, managing director of Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design Ltd.
De Beers secures its second ACCA sustainability award For the second year running, De Beers has been declared the Overall Winner in the ACCA South Africa Sustainability Reporting Awards for its Report to Society 2010. Announcing the award, the ACCA noted that De Beers “remains unmatched” in explaining its approach to sustainability management and reporting. Rating De Beers as “head and shoulders above anyone else,” judge Professor Neil Eccles cited the “overwhelming impression” that reporting is taken extremely seriously by the company, and the technical strengths of the report, as the basis of the panel’s decision. ACCA has been a driving force in promoting transparency and accountability in reporting on sustainability issues for two decades. The Sustainability Reporting Awards aim to identify excellence and reward innovative attempts to communicate environmental and social corporate performance. Director of public affairs for De Beers, Dr James Suzman, said: “Winning these awards for the second year is a great endorsement of our commitment to meet the expectations of our many different stakeholders in achieving our commercial goals. It’s particularly pleasing to be recognised for our leadership in this area, not only in the mining sector, but across all industries.”
Letšeng Star sold for £10.2 million Gem Diamonds has announced the sale of the world’s 14th largest white diamond on record. Sold into a profit sharing arrangement, the 550 carat, type lla, D colour rough diamond was recovered at the company’s Letšeng mine on 19 August 2011. Known as the Letšeng Star, it is the fourth significant diamond to be discovered at the mine since 2006, situated in the Kingdom of Lesotho. Under the new sales and marketing strategy, the Letšeng Star has been sold for a rough price of $16.5 million (£10.2 million). Gem Diamonds chief executive Clifford Elphick commented: “The Letšeng Star has the potential to yield an exceptional polished product, and the profit sharing arrangement for the polished margin of the Letšeng Star will ensure that its true value is realised, and that Letšeng Diamonds benefits directly from the exposure to the resulting upside. Gem Diamonds’ strategy of maximising revenue generation from our rough diamonds by seeking value-added initiatives further up the diamond value chain is gaining importance for the group, and we are becoming increasingly successful in selling rough and polished diamonds with good margins being realised.”
NAG annual survey reports lower than average business confidence The National Association of Goldsmiths’ (NAG) annual business confidence survey has shown that between January 2011 and September 2011, the percentage of respondents exhibiting lower business confidence more than doubled. It reported that in the last nine months, the number of jewellers who believe they can work their way out of crisis unharmed has fallen dramatically, while over the same time the percentage of respondents anticipating higher growth in the next six months has halved. As well as a drop in business confidence, the organisation reported that the VAT rise in January 2011 also had an adverse affect on the profit margins of jewellers. Along with the rise in VAT, threequarters of jewellers said that increasing prices of metals and raw materials were affecting the profits that jewellers were expecting last year. Despite this, the NAG remains positive, saying: “With a continued focus on staff training, the dissemination of information between jewellers concerning best practice, and an unrelenting will to provide great quality, ethically sourced products, the UK retail jewellery industry has stood strong, and seemingly has a bright future ahead.”
Florence Welch, Piaget Florence and the Machine’s Florence Welch has chosen to wear the Possession watch by Piaget in the music video for her new single, Shake it Out. Welch complemented the timepiece with two Piaget rings, also taken from the Swiss jeweller’s Possession collection. Piaget says the “luxurious yet fun” watch “perfectly captures the dramatic, theatrical essence of this music video.” Shake it Out is taken from Florence and the Machine’s upcoming sophomore album, Ceremonials.
While early October saw a strong gold demand drive jewellery sales during China’s Golden Week, overall polished trading was slow and rough trading was weak with severe discounting. During mid-October, the Jewish holidays saw trading centres slow along with Indian markets in anticipation of Diwali. By the end of October, discount levels increased in accordance with the Indian liquidity crisis, with prices falling by five to 15 per cent and providing an opportunity for cash buyers. Gem Diamonds sold the 550 carat, D, type IIa, Letšeng rough diamond for $16.5 million (£10.2 million), equal to $30,000 per carat (£18,799). Early November saw cautious trading in both rough and polished diamonds, as a result of price uncertainty and tight liquidity. The DTC (Diamond Trading Company) placed November’s sight estimate at $300 million (£187 million) with prices stable and assortments improved. De Beers secured a $2 billion (£1.2 billion) credit facility, while the Indian market continued to experience weak retail sales during Diwali, and calls for lower prices. October’s RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) fell 3.5 per cent for one carat, however the Letšeng 3Q sales were up 46 per cent to $55.2 million (£34.5 million). Israel’s 3Q polished exports were up 37 per cent to $5.8 billion (£3.6 billion), with rough imports up 35 per cent to $3.5 billion (£2.1 billion). India’s September polished exports were up four per cent to $2.49 billion (£1.5 billion), while rough imports were down four per cent to $936 million (£586 million). America’s August polished imports were up 23 per cent to $1.64 billion (£1 billion). Source: Rapaport TradeWire
Images: Monnickendam Diamonds
Image: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jochen Günther
Ambiente 2012 new additions announced Ambiente has announced its 2012 consumer goods trade fair, which will showcase around 4,500 exhibitors along with “special shows, promotional programmes and prize ceremonies.” Among the jewellery sector line-up is new addition Plastic Gold, which showcases a project based on a technique developed by designer Florie Salnot. The process involves the use of old plastic bottles as the starting material, followed by the use of only warm sand, simple hand-tools and some paint to produce jewellery. The technique was developed in the Saharaoui refugee camps in the Sahara, and a selection of the pieces produced will be exhibited at the fair. Also new for 2012 is an initiative called Carat, which offers young jewellery designers the opportunity to present their creations to the public.
Image: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Petra Welzel
Warrenders makeover achieves new “fresh and visible layout” Surrey jeweller Warrenders has completed the first refurbishment of its Sutton store in 40 years of business. The shop has been transformed into an up-to-date retail space with a “fresh and visible layout.” The family-run establishment has specialised in diamond and precious gemstone jewellery for three generations, and the new store “combines the future aspirations and heritage of the company with customers’ needs.” Among the changes are reception-style counters, merchandising on the shopfloor and a new consultation area. The fittings and furniture were selected to “enhance the jewellery and showcase what the company stands for.” Sales manager Jim Donnelly said: “Customers still find the same friendly and professional customer service that Warrenders is known for, but we are now better equipped and have a space that is completely dedicated to our customers and their shopping experience.”
Vivid yellow diamond sells for $6.6 million at Christie’s New york The pear-shaped fancy Vivid Yellow diamond, weighing approximately 32.77 carats and estimated to achieve between $6 and $8 million (£3.8 and £5 million) was bought by an anonymous bidder at Christie’s New York for $6.6 million dollars (£4.1 million). Head of jewellery Rahul Kadakia commented: “At $201,000 (£127,251) per carat, the 32.77 carat Vivid Yellow diamond achieved a sensational price, mirroring the $203,000 (£128,456) per carat realised by the Golden Drop of 18.49 carats at Christie’s London back in 1990. “Despite recent volatility in the financial markets, the jewellery world continues to hold strong with active participation from top private collectors and members of the trade for superb gems and jewels.”
Image: Christie’s Images Ltd.2011
And briefly WDC welcomes Marange agreement
Following the plenary meeting in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, members of the Kimberley Process (KP) have agreed to enable the immediate export of rough diamonds from two KP-compliant operations in the Marange region of Zimbabwe. Exports from other mining operations in the area will also be enabled following the KP monitoring team’s verification of compliance. The World Diamond Council (WDC) has welcomed the agreement, as president Eli Izhakoff commented: “This is a real milestone, and demonstrates categorically that the Kimberley Process provides the framework through which the integrity of the rough diamond chain of distribution can be protected, while at the same time enabling producing countries to gain benefit from their natural resources.” The new agreement will remain under constant review and will stay in force until the KP plenary meeting in 2012.
Theo Fennell helps Sudocrem celebrate 80 years
To mark its 80th birthday, Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream will be auctioning a £10,000 charm bracelet designed by Theo Fennell, to raise money for the NSPCC. Theo said: “I loved the idea of designing something for Sudocrem, which appealed to the big baby in me. I hope it raises a huge amount for the NSPCC.” The piece, made from white gold and encrusted with 24 rubies, takes its design from the Sudocrem tub and was three months in the making.
Tissot wins international competition
Watchmaker Tissot was awarded the first prize in the ‘Classic – Enterprise’ division at the International Timing Competition. The ceremony, held at Château des Monts in Le Locle, Switzerland, celebrated “precision, perfection and expertise in the watchmaking arena, specifically in the domain of contemporary mechanical timing.” Tissot president Francois Thiébaud said: “Receiving this award is a great honour for us and we would like to dedicate it to everyone who contributed to our knowledge and expertise.”
Van Cleef & Arpels certified by the RJC The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has announced that Van Cleef & Arpels, the French jewellery maison, has achieved certification by meeting the ethical, human rights, social and environmental standards as established by its Member Certification System. “Trust is the foundation of our craft and this certification leverages this trust,” said Stanislas de Quercize, chief executive officer and president of Van Cleef & Arpels.
New website for Weston Beamor
Weston Beamor has launched a new website www.westonbeamor.co.uk, designed to “demonstrate the breadth of jewellery making services it now offers its customers.” The company has also created a short video which can be viewed on the site, which demonstrates the production process from the creation of a design using CAD, through to the production of a rapid prototype resin and the lost-wax casting process. Also available are full details of Weston Beamor’s newly-acquired status as one of the first European jewellery producers to be able to offer the casting and hallmarking of jewellery in Fairtrade and Fairmined gold.
Fairtrade and Fairmined gold certification set for the States An international group of jewellery, mining and environmental stakeholders, including the UK’s Greg Valerio, met at the end of October and agreed on the need to establish the certification of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold in the US market. Aiming for 2012, the group will “undertake a critical examination of standards and work to ensure the best outcome for communities and the environment through the mineral supply chain.” They identified a need for a more “transparent market” of traceable ethical metals, as well as coloured gems, diamonds and precious metals. The Fairtrade and Fairmined gold certification is the result of work by Fairtrade International (FLO) and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), who joined together to “enable artisanal and small-scale miners to improve their livelihoods through a set of standards for responsible mining.” These standards, which include democratic organisation, safe working practices, proper management of toxic chemicals, and respect for the environment and women’s rights, would need to be observed in order for the miners to become certified. Certified miners receive a guaranteed Fairtrade and Fairmined minimum price and premium, which is reinvested into community projects and improving miners’ operations. Mining organisations are to be audited by FLOCERT, an independent certification body, to ensure compliance. Fairtrade certified gold is already available in the UK and Canada.
Creative talent showcased at the Goldsmiths’ Fair 2011 From 26 September to 9 October 2011, Goldsmiths’ Hall hosted 180 jewellers and silversmiths from all over the country, showcasing a range of innovative designs and craftsmanship. More than 11,000 visitors attended the Fair. The Best New Design awards in both weeks went to two recent graduates: week one’s winner, jeweller Emmeline Hastings, combines contrasting materials, including perspex, wood, stainless steel, titanium and precious metals, in a process to create both wearable and non-wearable objects; while week two’s winner, silversmith Charlotte Tollyfield, was selected for her “beautifully executed, elegant, functional pieces,” according to judges. One of the highlights of the Fair was an official visit by HRH the Duchess of Gloucester on 27 September. She was welcomed by the prime warden of the company, Hector Miller, and the clerk, Dick Melly. Paul Dyson, director of promotion, then guided her around the Fair.
Emeralds for Elephants auction An exhibition and auction of the Gemfields ‘Emeralds for Elephants’ collection of elephantthemed jewellery has been held at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. The auction raised a total of $750,000 (£475,759), of which $150,000 (£95,151) was donated to World Land Trust and Wildlife Trust of India. Gemfields’ chief executive Ian Harebottle said: “We are thrilled with the results of the auction, especially as this is the first time that an auction of this kind has been held in India. We are honoured to have worked with so many great partners on this project, including India’s top jewellers and retailers.” Each jeweller used unique Zambian emeralds in their designs, which formed the Emeralds for Elephants collection.
Animal instincts This month, Janet Fitch’s trend spotting has taken her for a walk on the wild side, with animal-themed jewellery collections expected to be popular for 2012
find it hard to believe that this is the final column for 2011 – a tough year of ups and downs that nevertheless seems to have gone by in a flash. I hope all of you have a satisfying and rewarding festive season. I’ll leave predictions about 2012 to astrologers and politicians, but I am prepared to take my chance with some pointers in the direction of next year’s jewellery trends. Maybe taking flight is something we dream of when times are hard, but it is certainly a recurring theme in many of next season’s collections, which feature birds, and their feathers, as well as other wildlife. Since his design debut in 2002, Jacey Withers has been depicting creatures as magic talismans in his jewellery, and this season his collection of handcrafted pieces – Adornithology – is inspired by the white barn owl and its mythical role as the messenger, with its feathers in particular being considered lucky charms in many cultures.
Owls sit on chains, showing the striking detailed pattern of their wings, captured in black and yellow gold on silver. The soft hues of feathers are emphasised by clever use of rare semi-precious stones including cream faceted jasper and frost white druzy crystal, with the creamy, ornate owls’ faces sculpted out of gold discs with vibrant ruby red drops. (www.jaceywithers.com) Cathy Newell Price’s handcrafted silver jewellery has over the years taken the theme of the natural world. Her jewellery has surface texture and tiny details, and colour is added with semi-precious stones, gold and enamel. This season her collection is all about birds, with gems, pearls and aquamarines, or her best-selling solid silver birds on coloured faux suede or a silver belcher chain. (www.cathynewellprice.co.uk)
Cathy Newell Price
Missoma ‘Ark’ is the new collection from the mother-and-twodaughter team who are the designers behind the awardwinning brand Missoma. It’s a playful collection, where each piece accentuates the wearer’s personality, and is based on symbolic animal meanings – the owl for wisdom; the penguin for loyalty; or a flying pig for luck. The two-tone animals mix yellow and rose gold vermeil, black rhodium and sterling silver in a chain bracelet, short pendant necklace or colourful rope bracelet. (www.missoma.com) Finely sculpted feathers feature in Schade Jewellery’s new range of pendants, rings and earrings designed in Paris by Sarah Chicar, in gold-plated brass or in silver. (www.schadejewellery.com) Ela Stone, a French brand of contemporary jewellery and handbags, founded in 2005 by Alexandra Benitah, held a lunch party to introduce the brand in the UK – it is new to me, and a great find. There are several collections, and each season around 300 new pieces are added. The jewellery is bold, with some striking statement pieces, all in 24 carat gold and sterling-silver-plated brass and bronze. My favourite
Schade Jewellery collections were the ‘Mayta’ feathers, of course, and the strong, stylised lions. (www.ela-stone.com) Shizaru is a new contemporary gallery which was opened in July this year in Mount Street, London, by the three Khalili brothers – sons of the noted collector and philanthropist, Professor Nasser D Khalili. It is designed to showcase the best of established artists alongside young talent in fine art, design, sculpture, photography and jewellery. From 1 December to 14 January, there is a notto-be-missed exhibition of jewellery, from some of the industry’s giants including Leo de Vroomen, Kevin Coates, and Shaun Leane (pictured), as well as many famous international names and emerging talent, showcasing unique and specially created wearable art. The exhibition – Art Rocks – is co-curated by the renowned jewellery specialist Joanna Hardy, who trained as a goldsmith and jewellery designer before moving into antique jewellery at the auction houses of Philips and then Sotheby’s, before starting her own consultancy, and TV and broadcasting, including the Antiques Roadshow. (www.shizaru.com)
Image courtesy of Shaun Leane and Shizaru
Image: Guy Lucas de Peslouan
Watch this space
All’s square in love and war Though the traditional names in high-end horology continue to make Keith Fisher swoon, he reports on a newer brand that is climbing the ladder of success thanks to its innovative designs
atek Philippe is the iconic name of Swiss watchmakers. I have seen watch dealers drool at the very sight of one of the brand’s exclusive timepieces, or go green with envy because they didn’t have one. At every auction house around the world, Patek watches continue to fetch record prices because they are synonymous with class and distinction, with movements that are works of art and genius. However my friend Peter, who is a watch dealer involved at the very top end of the market – Patek, Breguet, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, for example – is less than enthusiastic about the actual designs, especially in regard to the dials. “Of course, it doesn’t stop my customers queuing up for them. It is just my personal opinion, for what it is worth,” he quickly adds. As a result of my conversation with Peter, I decided to look into another brand which has been rocking and rolling its way to the top in the eyes of many dealers and consumers – namely, Franck Muller, known as the ‘master of complications’. Franck is less kindly known as ‘the upstart’ by many of his rivals, because he has changed the way we think about watches – by introducing sensational design to front quality movements. His range of watches, which includes Casablanca, Color Dreams, Crazy Hours, Long Island and Master Banker, are well documented. They are quite simply beautiful, as well as innovative and original. But what I especially like about this watch giant is that he seems to recognise almost instantly the way punters think. And for everybody, no matter which section of jewellery trade they are in, that foresight is absolutely critical to success. ‘Square’ was a derogatory term belonging to the 50s and 60s, which was applied to those who were not considered to be very trendy. But in the forever changing world of watches, square is now ‘in’ – in a big, big way!
What I especially like about this watch giant is that he seems to recognise almost instantly the way punters think
WAtCh this sPACe
One man who has helped create and enhance this new mood is Muller. He has won fresh acclaim for introducing to the market his superb Master Square watches. For the collection Franck Muller designers once again drew their inspiration from the Art Deco period. The geometric purity of the lines ensures that the appearance of these models is perfectly harmonious and symmetrical. As its name indicates, the Master Square is square in shape with rounded angles that marry perfectly with the wrist, with a choice of case sizes, dial colours and Arabic or Roman numerals. There is also a fine jewellery version with white or black diamonds. Harmony and balance are the watchwords when it comes to describing the eye-popping design of the Master Square. Put it this way: you won’t go unnoticed wearing one these pieces! Having committed the cardinal sin of criticising Patek Philippe let us move on to Rolex. The brand has an oblong range with its Cellini collection, but other than that it seems to persist in sticking with round, round and more round. Personally, I think if Rolex was to introduce a brand new square design to complement its existing, vastly successful collections, then a lot of people would be jumping for joy. But I digress – let us return to Franck Muller, and it must be stressed that he doesn’t ignore the quality of movements. He is not all ‘show’, but he has always known that the design cosmetics of a watch are what first grab the eye. Since the introduction of his famed oversized Curvex Tonneau case, his watches have proved to have celebrity appeal. Robin Williams, Demi Moore, Elton John and José Mourinho are just a few ‘names’ who covet Franck Muller. While the ultra-complicated watches can be quite costly ($21,000 approx), there are a number of Franck Muller watches that can be acquired for a surprisingly affordable price, especially given the high quality involved. Thus, for watch lovers who want to be at the cutting edge fashion-wise, without sacrificing one iota of mechanical hand-finishing, the Franck Muller watch is a perfect choice.
The geometric purity of the lines ensures that the appearance of these models is perfectly harmonious and symmetrical
Swiss fashion brand Swatch has unveiled Touch 2011, a colourful new collection of trend-setting timekeepers with big-screen LCD dials and a touch-sensitive zone in place of push buttons. Described as bringing “streetwise fashion to the wrist,” and taking inspiration from “urban rhythms and electric sounds, boarders up on snow and surf and riders taking life to extremes,” the watches’ touch-screens give access to six digital functions: time, date, chrono, alarm, timer and beep. Users can sweep through the functions with ease using finger-taps and sideways scrolls and can activate the screen’s built-in backlight to ensure readability under all conditions. Information: 0845 274 3500 or www.swatchgroup.com RRP: £100
Royal London has launched two new gents’ fashion watch models called Illustrious Jack, which feature a UnionJack-style dial that is “set to be extremely popular with patriotic Brits.” The watches are created from stainless steel and are 40.5 by 41.5 millimetres in size. Information: 0208 370 4300 or www.royallondonwatches.co.uk RRP: £69.99
At an event held at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, the largest aquarium in the world, Blancpain revealed its latest diving watch, the X Fathoms. A watch that revisits the characteristics of its iconic 1953 ancestor and combines them with a mechanical depthgauge, Blancpain bills the X Fathoms – which features a helium decompression valve, unidirectional rotating bezel, silicone-balance spring to withstand magnetic disturbances and a five day power-reserve – as “the most high-performance mechanical diving watch ever produced.” Information: 00 41 21 796 3636 or www.blancpain.com RRP: Currently undisclosed
In the spotlight Last month, Luminox founder Barry Cohen made a special visit to the UK. Here he speaks to Louise Hoffman about his brand’s unique point of difference, and the way in which it appeals to consumers and professionals across the world Luminox has become famous around the world for its illuminated timepieces. How did you come to develop this practical and marketable concept? And how did you decide upon the brand name?
I had been in the watch business prior to founding Luminox, with fashion watches and some sterling silver watches as well. The watch category was expanding rapidly with the advent of Swatch, followed by Guess and Fossil, fuelling a lot more interest in the category as a whole. Many others were joining this newfound opportunity to place watch product into retail stores (at the time, department stores in particular), and I noticed that in the fashion watch category one was copying the next, and that even if I was able to place a collection into stores, someone else would soon approach the same retailers with the same design goods for less. It made me realise I needed to either have an enormously strong name so that the copies still would not supplant what I had placed, or find a unique technology to enable my products to retain their place in the retail stores; essentially I needed a point of difference. I searched for what I could add to this category to give me this difference, and discovered the illumination technology that we use in Luminox at a specialist physicist firm. At the time I was starting to wear reading glasses and I figured that if I could add this technology to a watch line, it would not only be the point of difference I was seeking, but would also be an enabling technology that people in my baby boomer age group could appreciate as our eyesight began to deteriorate. After I was able to secure the technology for my brand, I went about the task of developing a name and logo, and decided that use of a Latin derivative would make sense since it is a root language. I searched through Latin words and found dozens that might have worked, but ultimately landed on Lumi (meaning light) and Nox (meaning night). For the logo, I wrapped the words in a red border to represent the Swiss origin of the brand, since this is the dominant colour of the country’s flag.
What has been your overriding objective since day one?
My intent from day one was to develop a watch brand that could find its way into retail channels until it could develop a small following (initially) that would enable it to sustain itself; to continue expansion of the retail stores network; and then to work on further development of the product
“ We always add new varian ts to existing collections to keep them fresh, and occasional ly evolve collections to keep designs cur rent with the changing nature of watch trends too”
and marketing for watches, with an eventual goal of adding other categories of merchandise, and ultimately becoming a lifestyle brand.
How has the concept proved itself in the field?
We were very fortunate that the first elite military group to come forward and request our watches was the US Navy SEALs, and when word got out that they sought our product and were wearing it, it gave us an enhanced credibility that resulted in many more elite military operatives and law enforcement groups desiring watches from us. Next to contact us were US Air Force pilots who flew the Lockheed Martin F-117 Nighthawk Stealth jets. They were wearing our SEAL model to time bombing missions at night and wanted a watch of their own for the Air Force and not a Navy model, so we of course began development on this for them. This ultimately led to the signing of a long-term licence agreement with Lockheed Martin, maker of some of the most compelling and accomplished jets in aviation history, and the largest defence contractor in the world. From there, it was one group after another – US Border Patrol, US Coast Guard, the FBI, ATF, UDT, and SWAT teams from around the country (Miami, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, and many more). This led to international groups adopting our watches, and today the list goes on and on!
Can you tell us more about the light technology you use?
Sure. This is a self-powered illumination technology that had been used primarily for military applications using larger diameter glass glow tubes in the past. But with the development of micro-tubes, it became possible to mount these into smaller applications, such as the hands and hour markers of watches.
Which is your most recent design?
We always add new variants to existing collections to keep them fresh, and occasionally evolve collections to keep designs current with the changing nature of watch trends too. The newest additions in the line (actually expansions to the line) would be the Tony Kanaan series, the RECON series, the Deep Dive series (including the Scott Cassell Deep Dive series), and the automatic Field models (day/date and Valjoux automatic chronograph). In addition we have several more new expansions in development for release at next year’s BaselWorld event, and well into 2012 and 2013. Our hottest trend today would be our Blackout models, which are literally flying out of the retail stores. Initially, we made one Blackout model in our Colormark SEAL series, and it performed so well that we decided to add Blackout models in several other series, and all have performed brilliantly. So while we don’t have a Blackout series per se, we offer one version in many series that is designed in this way.
What makes Luminox a good choice for retailers?
I tell our sales representatives that they need to believe in their hearts two things when they approach a retailer, and if they don’t truly believe both, they should not even approach that retailer. The first is that they are delivering the retailer a true gift, because our watches sell, and sell well all of the time, so this represents an annuity for the retailer in that they can count on ongoing sales. The second thing is that if we think about it, most jewellery stores are tantamount to galleries that don’t charge admission. Why? Because we all dream of acquiring this or that – it’s human nature – so when we (including myself) go into jewellery stores and gaze at the beautiful, high-end watch brands, we think that we would like to own one of the timepieces someday; most are very high priced and to buy them takes serious thought and savings, so for now we just dream while visiting the store, and then walk out. With Luminox and our relatively affordable prices for a Swiss brand, we offer the jeweller a chance to make the sale that day, because it does not take a lot of thinking and saving to buy one of our watches. The customer can still dream of the high-end piece they want to own someday, but for today, they can treat themselves to a nice new watch, and in the process, fall in love with our brand.
How does your company work to promote itself to the end consumer? And how is this of benefit to your stockists?
The most significant thing we’ve done to promote our brand and expand awareness of it was to develop a marketing and advertising campaign that is unlike any other in the watch world. For the conception of this we went to one of the world’s best in Goodby Silverstein, where Jeff Goodby himself helped us to craft a campaign called ‘Essential Gear’. He was very clear that we needed to separate ourselves from the masses of other watch brands by doing something unlike what they do, because he realised we were not large enough to spend enough money to compete with many of them. The campaign depicts ‘the gear of the guy’ so to speak, around the outside of the frame of the ads, with the watch of choice in the centre of the image. This allows the ad viewer to see ‘their’ gear – essentially to place themselves in the ad, and by extension see the watch they need for this activity, no matter what the activity might be. Thus far, we’ve used the themes of law enforcement, hunting, fishing, piloting, racing and scuba diving, with more in development. Along the way, we have also added brand ambassadors with whom we work to develop watch series that are tied to them, such as champion Indy racer Tony Kanaan; undersea explorer and activist Scott Cassell; and many others. We are in discussion now with other ambassadors, such as a big wave surfer who rides the 50 foot monster waves at surf tournaments like Waimea on the north shore of Hawaii and Maverick’s in northern California. One of our requirements is that our ambassadors operate in a world of adventure, high adrenaline, and even danger.
Where next for Luminox?
As touched upon in my answer to your second question, our objectives for the future will be to continue to add more in the watch category, but also to expand into several other categories of merchandise to help roundout collections of merchandise in retail stores. This is becoming more important now that Luminox standalone stores exist, with many more in development. Our Japan distributor opened the first Luminox store several years ago in Tokyo, followed by others in Nagoya, Yokohama, Fukuoka, a new and better location in Tokyo, and one now planned for Sapporo. Our Philippines distributor opened his first store last year in a shopping mall in Manila, which is doing exceptionally well. He has three more stores in development to be opened soon, with a plan to open up to 10 more next year. Other distributors have expressed the desire to go this route as well – in the Middle East and other parts of Asia – so this is clearly a direction that is growing for us, and I would expect to see more of this type of development in other parts of the world too. We are also pursuing the shop-in-shop concept of supplying Luminox furniture (cases and displays) and a themed look, for retailers willing to take the step to showcase Luminox in its best light. Where this has been done already, the retailers are achieving incredible volume increases so it’s obviously a tactic that works, and works well.
Finally, what do you love about wearing a good timepiece?
Well, it’s a good feeling to wear a timepiece you’re proud of or just really enjoy. This is no different than the feeling one gets when wearing a nice suit, or a favourite pair of jeans, or driving a car one really enjoys. People just like to be attached to things they truly enjoy, and we hope Luminox can fill this need for consumers too – we do find that those who wear a Luminox become enamoured with it and it becomes a part of who they are. Luminox wearers tend to be rather zealous about their enjoyment of our products and often possess several of our watches, after they realise how much they enjoy their first one. We also hear from watch collectors who own lots of the best and most expensive brands of watch, but who also own Luminox watches, and love them. One collector I know who owns about 50 watches, from brands like Patek Philippe, Rolex, Ullyse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin etc, including several tourbillons, also has at least half a dozen Luminox watches and often gives them as gifts. We certainly don’t pretend to be of the level of his other watches, but we’re certainly proud to be in such esteemed company!
“One of our requirements is that our ambassadors operate in a world of adventure, high adrenaline, and even danger”
local shops for local people With localism a hot topic of debate for the coalition, Michael Hoare puts town centre issues under scrutiny
ans of the League of Gentlemen will recall that the slogan of the fictional town Royston Vasey was: ‘You’ll never leave’. Of course there was something very “nasty in the woodshed” in Royston, but at least the shop was “a local shop for local people”; and that idea must resonate with those who would like to see their shopping needs fulfilled without the need to travel, and those who would like to see business remain local. Now, it seems the Government is beginning to talk the same language; with the ‘Localism Bill’ having had its third House of Lords reading in late October, and Mary Portas about to deliver her report on the future of the high street to ministers, could we be about to see town centres taken back into local hands? Certainly the coalition’s localism agenda opens up discussion on planning issues, community purchase and even community building, but is this enough to return local towns to economic health? The health and wealth of many jewellers rest in part on the vibrancy of their locality. My conversations lead me to the conclusion that the headline issues for most town centre businesses are planning, parking, property, transport, and restrictions on access. These are the very same issues that worry customers, and both businesses and consumers have come to see local government (town and county councils) as the ‘enemy’; blocking and frustrating their daily lives rather than facilitating commerce. Why should this be? The only answer is co-operation between all parties, but the prevailing spirit is disjointed and dysfunctional – retailers don’t get the feeling there is any relationship between the business rates they pay and the services they receive; and customers feel alienated from the planning system that seems to put their needs at the very bottom of the list. At the moment, business rates, once collected, go straight to central government, which makes a partial grant back to local government. The result: local government gets the blame both for levying high rates and for delivering such poor services. Frankly they have no real incentive to exceed expectations because they have no vested interest in a vibrant retail community as it won’t necessarily deliver them more tax revenue. Wouldn’t it make more sense for them to collect and keep taxes, passing on central government’s cut? That way it would be in their interest to have buzzing town centres crammed with busy retail units paying rates.
Both town centre retailers and customers are confounded by the planning system, which serves neither community well; with councils taking perverse decisions allowing edgeof-town superstores with acres of parking, but denying the short stay bays which are the life blood of many small shops. On the other hand, voters, who have consistently resisted planning applications from supermarkets in an attempt to protect small businesses, are ground down by relentless reapplications by big food retailers. I can think of three instances near my home where the local population have given a resounding ‘no’ to plans for unwanted link roads, out-of-town superstores and metrostyle food shops. In almost every case the views of local voters look set to be ignored. The consequences for the communities involved will be the destruction of green spaces, the undermining of a town centre, and the elimination of longstanding businesses. The result for the local authority in at least two cases will be a fat cheque towards local infrastructure changes, or benefits in kind like road schemes. Nobody denies that big planning schemes should pay to ease the pressure they put on local communities, but should these payments tip the balance in favour of acceptance? How can cash-strapped councils resist? Equally, nobody denies that the cumbersome planning legislation needs an overhaul. Some businesses may welcome the presumption in favour of sustainable economic development proposed. The National Trust and others have questioned it on the grounds of damage to the environment and the amenity value of land, but another reason to doubt this measure is that it has the potential to open the floodgates to out-of-town development – and further weaken the high street. By the time you read these notes Mary might have revealed her proposals. I don’t know what they will be, or if central government will take any notice, but I know my ‘wish list’ contains a restoration of the link between business rates and local services; a fair and transparent planning regime; and meaningful power in the hands of local government. Oh yes! And while they’re at it, perhaps they could forget the high speed rail link. For no other reason than I think we could get far better value out of £17 billion by re-connecting many of the small towns axed by Dr Beeching; providing a truly integrated transport system for the good of all. OK, I know it’s too much to ask!
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Circle of life Naida Ally looks at the historical significance of the wedding ring, and a selection of designs that are taking this tradition forward into another new year
“Palladium has always been there but its popularity seems to have dramatically increased over the last 12 months”
he exchanging of matrimonial rings is said to date back over 4,000 years to the Ancient Egyptians, who gave their spouses rings made from plant parts to commemorate a bond that they believed didn’t merely end at “’til death do us part,” but continued into the after-life. Early accounts of the history surrounding matrimonial rings have indicated that the shape of a circle signified eternal love, and thus rings were made and given at the time of marriage. Luckily, this meant fingers were not subjected to being squeezed into a more awkward shape! Romanticism started to wane and evolve through time, and the act of ring bearing meant different things in different societies. For the Romans, the wedding ring was used as a sign of ownership; by wearing the ring the bride became the property of her husband. They did, however, continue the Ancient Greek tradition of wearing the ring on the third finger of the left hand, which they thought contained the vena amoris – the vein of love, which was supposedly linked to the heart. Around 2,000 years ago in the Middle East, puzzle rings gained popularity and were given by husbands to their brides. If removed, the rings were extremely difficult to reassemble, and so wives were made to wear them as a test of fidelity while their husbands were away – a nifty tactic, although somewhat reliant on the adulteress not figuring out that she could of course just keep the ring on. The wedding ring has since become a symbol of commitment rather than ownership and, more recently, the tradition of ring bearing has been updated thanks to the trend for personalisation. Rings can now be made from a bespoke design, and from a choice of metals. Gone are the days when it was believed to be bad luck to have a ring made from anything other than gold, and the past year has seen a prevalence of platinum and palladium jewellery, and a notable increase in diamond-set wedding rings. While palladium was given a celebrity boost by Vivienne Westwood with her jewellery line ‘Get a Life’ earlier in the year, platinum has also become more popular. Danny Cohen of Treasure House notes: “Palladium looks set to make its mark but platinum sales are constant and growing. Savvy consumers now know that platinum is the most expensive and exclusive of metals, and that it doesn’t come
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with some of the problems that have in the past been associated with white gold rings.” The company’s collection features a variety of diamond-set wedding rings that come in a range of styles and finishes. Danny adds: “Traditional wedding rings will always be the classic bestsellers when it comes to volume, but diamond-set wedding rings are gaining pace and we have had a great response at the recent IJL show and since.” (www.thgold.com) Hannah Lovatt from AML Wedding Bands has experienced a marked rise in the demand for palladium. “The main trend increase that we have noticed is for palladium wedding bands. Palladium has always been there but its popularity seems to have dramatically increased over the last 12 months.” To reflect this, AML Wedding Bands is increasing its number of designs in all metals, including platinum and palladium, with the additional option of diamonds. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sam Stevens of Hockley Mint says: “We have noticed that while ladies are continuing to purchase platinum (probably to match engagement rings), a growing percentage of men’s wedding rings are now palladium, which has a lower price per gram than platinum.” The company’s Wedfit brand features a design of ring mount that allows it to fit flush with a straight wedding band, which it says is “a trend we have seen grow over the last few years and now accounts for over 85 per cent of our mount sales.” (www.hockleymint.co.uk) Bernadette Darmody of Villa Marts points out that the company has “noticed in the last year that customers tend to look for a combination of quality and size of an engagement ring, and are now even more concerned that they are making an investment as well as a romantic gesture. Semi-set wedding rings are now more popular, as we have found with a new line we started with micro-set wedding and engagement rings.” Pictured is the popular platinum ladies diamond micro claw solitaire engagement ring. (www.villamarts.co.uk) In keeping with the diamond theme, Eternity Range’s platinum brilliant-cut rub-over set full eternity ring features noticeably larger diamonds, with a total weight of 2.32 carats, and its modern feel comes through in both its visual impact and practicality, as it “sits quite low on the finger and is comfortable to wear,” says Gemma Webb. (www.eternityrange.co.uk) As the European Jewellery Company puts it, “diamonds all around add a lot more character and make the ring look bigger. Who would not like that?” In terms of recent trends, the company adds that there has been “an increased demand for intricately raised, split shank settings and graduated shoulder settings, especially in platinum.” The image shows the company’s round, brilliant-cuts, however it also stocks stones for cushion-, princess-, Asscher-, and radiant-cut in platinum. (email@example.com) Rather interestingly, it seems that over the last year at least, the eternal question of
“ We have noticed a move towards bigger stones for engagement rings but with an acceptance to lower the clarity”
AML Wedding Bands
European Jewellery Company
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whether size matters may have been answered. “We have noticed a move towards bigger stones for engagement rings but with an acceptance to lower the clarity. Customers are more accepting of stones that are well cut, have a lot of fire and sparkle and good colour, and are happy to sacrifice clarity so long as they can go for a bigger stone,” says Himanshu Shah of Gemelite, whose collections include single stone diamond engagement rings and offcentre channel-set wedding bands, which come in all metals. While the trends in metals and stones are seeing a significant shift, there seems to be a mixed feeling as to whether the traditional wedding ring is being overtaken by a more contemporary and adventurous counterpart. Himanshu adds: “With the development of CAD/CAM software, we are seeing more and more customers asking for more fancy and bespoke pieces. With the onset of the internet, customers have more choice and are looking around and getting ideas for different designs.” (www.gemelite.co.uk) Gary Sinclair from PH Wedding Rings explains: “The traditional, dominant, manufacturer-led finished product is slowly giving way to a much more involved sale, geared towards the bride’s wants. Much more CAD is evident from manufacturers… allowing the desire of the retail customer to show through.” The company stocks a selection of rings that illustrate its “innovations and versatility with CAD,” as well as “a selection of palladium, including a palladium ring combined with white gold,” adds Gary. (www.phrings.com) Emily Bronte once wrote of love: “Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same,” which bring us to unisex and matching Bianco designs. The Extollo from Baird & Co’s Bianco collection (pictured) is suitable for both men and women, and demonstrates the range and scope of options available. A band doesn’t have to be completely plain, as this horizontallygrooved, diamond-set, high-shine band proves. And, as the company adds, “contemporary, fancy patterns seem to be more popular at the moment, probably because customers want to be more involved in the design of their rings. Everybody seems to want something different from everybody or everything else, even if it only means leaving one cut out of a pattern.” (www.bianco-rings.com or www.goldline.co.uk) Betts Metal Sales (BMS) says that “by offering wedding rings at various stages of completion, BMS can observe regional and national changes in wedding ring trends as they are happening,” and by “allowing the customer to choose exactly how much of the legwork they want to do themselves,” the company also leaves room for their individual tastes to shine through. “We have introduced a small range of diamond-set rings, as the trend is pointing in this direction, and with the economy as it is at the moment, some brides are choosing to have no engagement ring but
PH Wedding Rings
Baird & Co
Betts Metal Sales
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“ With the economy as it is at the moment, some brides are choosing to have no engagement ring but to dazzle with the wedding ring instead”
Lawson Ward & Gammage
to dazzle with the wedding ring instead.” (www.bettsmetalsales.co.uk) While on the whole, wedding and engagement rings are becoming noticeably more contemporary in style, rings for men haven’t quite reached the bold, bright heights of some of the glitzier diamond designs for women. “We find that if ladies require a diamond-set ring, then the gents will have a similar pattern, but without the diamonds,” adds Betts Metal Sales, but that is not to say that men’s designs are being left behind. Lawson Ward & Gammage, in its 150th year of trade, offers a selection of gold and platinum gents’ wedding bands, which it says are made with “a combination of classic quality and contemporary looks.” The company’s collections include wedding rings for men that demonstrate “superb design and top quality manufacture,” and are available in many different carats, including the increasingly popular platinum and palladium. ((firstname.lastname@example.org) Though the days of matrimonial rings crafted from foliage remain firmly in the tombs of Ancient Egypt, and materials and styles continue to evolve with time, what can be deduced from this year’s wedding and engagement ring trends is that, as Betts Metal Sales has put it, “whatever ring is chosen, today’s bride wants it to be unique.”
Ring in the new Syreeta Tranfield, event co-director of IJL, speaks to Stephen Webster about his recently-launched wedding and engagement ring collection, and trends in the bridal market
’m sure brides-to-be everywhere were pleased to hear the news that Stephen Webster has launched a new bridal collection. Stephen’s signature style and strong brand continues to develop and is inspirational worldwide. He has had real success in the jewellery industry so, keen to hear his thoughts on the bridal market, I spoke to him as he launched the new collection.
Why did you decide to launch a bridal collection? Creating engagement rings and wedding bands isn’t a completely new thing to us, as although there has never been a complete collection, it doesn’t mean we’ve not been in the bridal business at all. We have already made a few of the world’s most famous wedding and engagement rings, such as Madonna’s, Guy Richie’s and Christina Aguilera’s.
How would you describe the collection?
We have always been a company that feels responsible for the product we sell, and so therefore we are proud to be working with Forevermark Diamonds on our bridal collection. More and more consumers are questioning the origins and journey of the things they buy and Stephen Webster likes to ask the same questions.
Earlier in the year we visited gold mines in Peru accompanied by Fairtrade in order to see firsthand the difference between Fairmined gold and a regular gold supply chain. We have since become a spokesman for Fairtrade gold and our partnership with Forevermark now allows us to be certain that our diamonds are responsibly sourced and cared for at every stage of their journey, as well as being among the finest in the world.
Where will the collections be available?
Our boutiques on Mount Street and in Beverly Hills will be exclusively stocking the bridal collection.
Could you please describe a couple of the major trends for bridal jewellery you have noticed?
There is certainly an increasing trend for engagement and wedding rings which interlock – almost a ‘two in one’. We find white gold and platinum are the most popular metals and at the moment rose gold is very fashionable. Brown diamonds are proving to be more popular so we have added these into the collection as well.
Exclusive trend report
As Stephen notes, bridal jewellery is influenced by trends in the same way that other jewellery sectors are. When speaking to trend forecasting agencies, it’s always interesting to find out how broader style trends filter into each consumer market – from food to fashion, interior design to jewellery. Fashion and jewellery are closely linked and Hilary Alexander of the Daily Telegraph has produced an excellent Trend Report exclusively for IJL, looking at the key fashion trends for spring/summer 2012 and the influence these will have on jewellery trends. Hilary is an iconic figure in the fashion and jewellery world, and the ideal person to give a heads up on the trends that will have a real impact. You can view the report at www.jewellerylondon.com/trendss. I hope you find it useful – for shaping buying and retailing plans and for inspiring your work.
Building on the success of its popular Crystal Pearl collection, So Jewellery has launched its new Orb collection. Available in three colours – ivory white, smoky black and Tahitian green – these simple, elegant and contemporary silver earrings and pendants are available to order immediately. “The classic simplicity of each pearl combines with the contemporary silver sphere to strike a perfect balance between modern-day elegance and timeless appeal – the core design principles which run throughout our collections,” explains product development director Jon Tompkins. Information: 0208 892 7483 or www.sojewellery.co.uk
Amanda Cox’s popular Lily Collection is perfect for brides to be. The 28-piece collection is available in silver or gold with a choice of white, peacock, pink or silvergrey pearls. There are rings, earrings, bangles and bracelets to choose from, as well as more unusual pieces such as a tiara and hairpins, and cufflinks and tie tacks for men. Information: 01422 842 446 or www.amandacoxjewellery.co.uk
A choice selection of jewellery that can add the finishing touch to a bride’s big day Now its 14th year, Lido Collection has found its niche in the lucrative bridal market. Its range of cubic zirconia and pearl pendants has been extended and offers something for all budgets. The company also offers both classic and unusual single and mixed rows, using numerous shapes and colours. Brides looking for statement pieces are also catered for, with a selection of pearl collars with gemstones and semi-precious stones. The bestselling seven-strand illusion necklace is now available in 23 colours and is suitable for the mother of the bride or for bridesmaids. For more information please contact Lorraine Thomas. Information: 01245 360 949, email@example.com or www.lido-collection.co.uk
Diamond by Appointment has just launched a new bridal collection called Mystique, which takes its inspiration from the vintage era, but with a modern edge. “More women are striving for an alternative jewellery choice which retains the classic vintage style that can be passed through generations,” the company explains. Available in 18 carat white gold earrings, pendants and bracelets, this collection provides a distinctive selection for any bride to be. Information: 028 9024 0339 or www.diamondbyappointment.com
Long associated with purity, faith, wisdom and sincerity, pearls have been highly regarded and valued throughout history; these lustrous treasures are at the heart of many enchanting tales. Dower & Hall’s new pearl collection – Pearlicious – includes lengthy strands of freshwater pearls mixed with flat, brushed silver discs; classic onepearl necklaces, which are threaded delicately onto fine silver chains; and statement pieces such as the long, multi-strand pearl and silver chain layered necklace, as well as matching earrings. With pearls in a variety of colours – including peacock grey, dove grey and classic white – there is something to suit everyone. Information: 0207 377 5544 or www.dowerandhall.com
Although amber may not be an obvious choice for weddings, Mayanna says that white amber can really fit the bill for the bride. Furthermore, little sets in other colours of amber often work well to complement the bridesmaids’ dresses. The company also offers a range of elegant amber cufflinks for the groom and the best man. Information: 01494 524 124 or www.mayanna.com
Sophie Harley’s unique collection of wedding jewellery is designed using her trademark understated style, with contemporary juxtaposed with classic vintage. In addition to the Sophie Harley Bespoke range of bridal rings, the mainline collection includes a variety of pieces that are perfect for the bridal party – cufflinks for the groom and best man; tie-pins for the ushers; and an array of earrings, necklaces and bracelets for the bride and bridesmaids. Information: 0207 430 2070 or www.sophieharley.com
lOVe is iN the AiR
FOCUs ON 4
Jon Chapple views some of the romantic collections available to stock in the run-up to February
nlike other so-called ‘Hallmark holidays’, the celebration of St Valentine’s Day – named for several similarly-named Christian martyrs in ancient Rome – is a tradition that stretches back into antiquity. However, as with the likes of Grandparents’ Day, Bosses’ Day and the oddly specific Administrative Professionals’ Day, Valentine’s Day is a holiday that many consumers love to hate. Despite this, the 14 February and all it brings is second only to Christmas in terms of its earning potential for jewellery retailers. After all, what says “I love you” (or, alternatively, “please love me”) better than an item of tasteful, carefully-chosen jewellery for that special person in your customers’ lives? Here we present a selection of some of the latest trends for retailers to stock this Valentine’s season. Timeless and romantic, Trollbeads original hand crafted charm beads make excellent Valentine’s gifts. There’s a huge selection of exquisite beads to choose from, including over 20 different heart beads; cheeky cherubs; an array of beautiful flowers; and innovative, modern pieces such as the Double Heart with its cleverly interlocking silver hearts. For something a little more quirky, customers may like to opt for the Snails in Love bead; while Pure Passion says it all in sterling silver with pearls and garnets. Also available from Trollbeads are the Secret Heart earrings, which hide a tiny 18 carat goldplated heart within a sterling silver heart.
Kleshna will be donating 15 per cent of sales of her Valentine Heart collection – which features necklaces, bracelets and earrings adorned with Swarovski Elements crystal hearts – to the British Heart Foundation. The ‘Heart 2 Heart’ bracelet makes the perfect heart-felt gift, with crystal hearts on a sterling silver chain in a mix of romantic reds, while the ‘With Love From…’ friendship bracelet with silver toggle and Kleshna signature heart comes with a blank gift card to write a personal message. Affordable luxury is the speciality of British-based jeweller Argent of London. Its ‘I love you’ pendant is set to be a must-have accessory for 2012, and a great gift for a loved one. Made in a choice of gold or silver, the pendant can be rotated to reveal the words ‘I love you’. Also available are the ‘Two Peas in a Pod’ necklace, in silver and gold vermeil with earrings to match, and the Dancing Silver Heart friendship bracelets. And finally, “forget the chocolates and the flowers,” says Silver Fantasies, “and celebrate your romance by giving your partner the three beautifully designed Lucet Mundi Silverdust hearts to wear on their sleeve this Valentine’s Day.” The bracelets are created using individual diamante stones, 925 silver and black cord. 1) 2) 3) 4)
Argent of london: 0208 870 0247 Kleshna: 0208 401 6789 silver Fantasies: 0844 736 5707 or 0208 211 7286 trollbeads: 0117 3774214
Mixed Emerald Octagons. Photograph by Andreas Mitchell
An investment in good taste
he fashion press is loud about ‘jewel tones’ in the colour palette this winter; strong colours that remind us of nature, but fit within the urban environment, are in demand. Along with the primary coloured gemstones ruby and sapphire, emerald finds itself a gemstone of the moment. With colours ranging from minty grass to deep leaf green, emerald is a timeless stone finding an ever greater appreciation with a modern audience.
The story goes that Lucifer possessed the first of all emeralds set into a glorious crown, but when cast down from Heaven the jewel tumbled to the earth, finding its way into legends and the dreams of man. No other gemstone has so many tales and magical powers attributed to it. The word ‘emerald’ itself has had a long passage through antiquity. From the Sanskrit marakata, meaning ‘a green stone’, it travelled via Egyptian, Persian, Greek and finally into Old English as esmeralde. A ‘green stone’ suggests that just about any green gemstone could be confused with an emerald, and in times past it often was. From the legendary 4,000-year-old emerald mines of Cleopatra, to the exquisite prayers inscribed on the Great Mogul Emerald, the single largest collection of emeralds – some 2,000 carats – is reputed to be in the crown jewels of Iran. Notable admirers have been Elizabeth Taylor and Angelina Jolie, while Marlene Dietrich had a suite of dramatic emerald cabochon jewellery. Once, a 37 carat emerald ring she had removed and thought lost was dramatically turned up by one of her guests in a piece of the cake she had baked! The birthstone for May, emerald symbolises calm, bountiful nature. It is considered to have restorative powers, to promote harmony and wisdom, and to induce fertility. To this end it was often swallowed powdered and mixed with
Andreas Mitchell looks at emerald from the point of view of jewellery makers and retailers, distilling gem theory and commercial practice into practical information for buying and selling the gemstone water, or worn as an amulet. Ancient sources have written about a therapeutic benefit to the eyes when an emerald is gazed at. Modern science tells us the visual system is more sensitive to green than any other colour, and that it can indeed help recalibrate tired and strained eyes.
Nature and market
Emerald is genuinely very rare. A member of the beryl family of gemstones, which includes aquamarine (blue), heliodor (yellow) and morganite (pink), emerald differs only in trace elements, which cause the distinguishing colour. Impurities of iron cause yellow and blue, while vanadium and chromium can both cause green. Chromium is the very same element that gives ruby its red, but in emerald the colour is transformed by a crystal structure which contains beryllium. These two elements are found in very different rocks that
The magnificent Great Mogul Emerald carved with a Shi’ite invocation dated approx 1695. Photograph by Christies
Above: Matching pair of Zambian emerald drops. Photograph by Andreas Mitchell Left: The Gachala Emerald, 858 carat from Colombia. Photograph by Cliffords Photography
Despite rising global production and economic uncertainty, emerald prices are increasing by at least 10 per cent per year rarely meet in nature, so the formation of emerald requires a freak geological coincidence. Today there are barely 100 known locations for the gemstone worldwide. The inclusion of chromium in emerald also causes stress within the crystal structure. This can weaken a stone and create inclusions, and makes finding stones in larger sizes increasingly difficult. This is also the reason why the price goes up exponentially with carat weight. Surprisingly, there is no widely agreed definition of what defines an emerald. Previously it had to be coloured by chromium, but in 1963 the American gem trade chose to include stones primarily coloured by vanadium to accommodate new finds in Brazil and east Africa. Green beryl also often contains vanadium and thus an emerald is really a judgement of colour rather than chemistry. Mines in Colombia, Brazil and Zambia produce most of the emeralds on the market. The former produces nearly half of the global supply, while in the latter a single company, Gemfields, produces around 18 per cent of global supply from one mine. Fine stones also come from Russia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Despite rising global production and economic uncertainty, emerald prices are increasing by at least 10 per cent per year. Demand is strong in Asia and also with investors looking for hard assets. As there is limited production and little chance of a market oversupply, this is set to continue. Unfortunately it seems there is never a good time to buy emeralds; putting it off only makes them more expensive, which makes now a better time than any!
emerald is higher than for yellow or for weak saturations. Therefore when selecting cheaper material, look for green with a little blue and good saturation, rather than for no blue and less saturation. Emeralds from different sources can have recognisable characteristics – Colombian emeralds are prized for purity of green; Zambian often have blueish tones; while Zimbabwean are often a little yellow. The fact is, however, that a wide range of colours can come from any source, and colour alone cannot suggest where a stone is from. A notable property of some high chromium emeralds, particularly those from Colombia, is their fabled ‘glow’. The perception that an emerald can be greener than green, and seemingly lit from within, is not a figment of the imagination. The effect is called ‘fluorescing’ and occurs when an ultraviolet (UV) component of daylight, which is not visible to the eye, is robbed of energy by the crystal structure and emerges as green light that we can see. Thus a fluorescing stone is not only reflecting visible light, but actually producing it. Any chromium-bearing emeralds from any location can fluoresce, and though rarely perceptible this should be taken into account when best displaying stones or jewellery. Emeralds look their best in daylight and are considered quite stable in artificial light, however incandescent illumination will tend to darken a stone, and LED lights often accentuate any blue. The best choice for display illumination is fluorescent lighting because it reinforces the green, and a high UV component to the light may also fluoresce a stone. Shopfront or showcase glass reflects away most UV from daylight, so always combine natural and direct artificial light sources. A matt dark background will show emeralds to their best advantage, but also robs light from stones and jewellery, so ensure a little separation, illuminate directly, and use mirrors and other lighter surfaces nearby to help light a stone. Finally, because of the colour tones and vitreous lustre, emeralds are unlike diamonds where small (one carat) stones can look great. Bigger emeralds will genuinely look better and will return the investment!
The perception that an emerald can be greener than green, and seemingly lit from within, is not a figment of the imagination
Colour is everything
Unlike other gemstones, emerald is judged by its colour first and clarity second. It is expected a stone will have ‘jardin’ (a garden of flora-like inclusions) so colour is the primary criteria. The ideal is often described as that of young, freshly-cut grass – ie pure spectrally green. The colour should be vivid, medium to deeply saturated, but not so dark as to look blackish. Blue tones are common, yellow ones less so, while the appearance of grey is least desirable. Preferences vary, but most people’s tolerance for blue in an
Left: Designer sterling silver ring with emerald oval. Photograph by Aleksey Gnilenkov Right: Designer sterling silver ring with emerald barrel cabochon. Photograph by Aleksey Gnilenkov
Left: Platinum, emerald and diamond tiara by artist Ernesto Moreira. Photograph by Ed Uthman Centre: Black pearl and emerald earrings. Photograph by Paolo D’Innocenzo Right: Gold set with tablecut emeralds and hung with an emerald drop from Spain, currently exhibited at V&A Museum. Photograph by Jinho Jung
The emerald cookbook
Treatments bring more, better-looking emeralds at lower prices to the consumer. It used to be said that most emeralds are treated to improve appearance or hide flaws, but today this is increasingly untrue. Although the majority of emeralds in the UK will be treated, an increasing number of Zambiansourced emeralds have not been treated, largely due to the market influence of the miner Gemfields. Finest quality material is also not treated where the stone is good enough not to need it, or it would be devalued by the process. Oiling and fracture filling are the two main types of treatment. In both cases, the idea is that a clear substance with similar optical properties to emerald is introduced into the stone where it bridges voids and fractures which would otherwise disrupt the passage of light to render them less visible. Oiling is done by literally forcing oil into a stone, usually under pressure. Fracture filling pushes a clear resin into a stone where it bonds and cures hard. The industry considers oiling need not be disclosed, while resin treatments must. There are practical ramifications of this for the jeweller and retailer. Oil can leave discolouring residues in an emerald or be yellowed by light over time. Natural oils or waxes such as cedarwood are prone to this, while synthetics such as baby oil are less so. It can usually be detected by an experienced eye and care should be taken to detect any serious flaws in a stone that treatment may hide. Objections to the use of resin are its ability to stick weak stones together and hide this fact; and it can be very hard to detect and makes a stone more sensitive to thermal shock, rough wear and can work loose. Both treatments can have green dye added to improve the colour of a stone, which is considered unacceptable. It is also important to note that rubbing loose emeralds with oil is standard practice to protect the stones from damage and to better show their qualities. This is substantially different from the invasive process of deep oiling discussed above. Customers who cannot afford the scope of their emerald ambitions, and for jewellery makers nervous of damaging emerald, there are good substitutes when a green gemstone is needed for jewellery. Tsavorite garnet is a favourite that seldom comes in large sizes, but has fantastic colour, great lustre, and a hardness making it durable for everyday wear at about a quarter of the price. Peridot and green tourmaline can also substitute well and are considerably cheaper again.
Ethics and care
Demand for ethical gemstones has been increasing and emeralds are no exception. Unfortunately the value of emerald makes it a target for questionable activities and
“ Though they can be bought, filched and bor rowed, emeralds can never really be possessed. They are the unknowable stone, possessing their wearers, not the other way around”
there is currently no agreed set of standards or ethical certifications for their sale, or that of any coloured stone. There is no way of quantifying what political, criminal, environmental or humanitarian issues may affect them. Even stones bought from source in well-organised markets are likely to have passed through an internal market before being bought by a foreign dealer. Therefore the two options are to either buy from the market and accept an opaque supply chain, or buy from a trusted supplier who can provide assurances of provenance and production ethics. Choosing trusted suppliers is a matter of research, confidence and personal judgement. More than any other stone, a combination of potential weakness and high value scares many off emeralds. In truth, a good emerald is not that fragile. They are unlikely to scratch and when set well are able to take the knocks of regular wear. For those making, maintaining and selling emerald jewellery the two big issues are shock and oil. Physical and thermal shock can be avoided with commonsense: don’t drop an emerald, soak it in hot water, or expose it to flame. An oiled emerald requires a little more knowledge and periodic re-oiling in order for it to look its best. This is done by soaking a stone in the oil with which it was originally treated, avoiding mixing oils as this can have unpredictable results. Prolonged exposure to water can induce cloudiness into a stone, as water entering fissures reacts with the oil. Hot display cabinets and window positions should be avoided as these environments will evaporate oils more rapidly. When cleaning loose stones or jewellery use warm soapy water and a toothbrush, followed by a rub with a polishing cloth. With a modest lustre, emerald can be easily dimmed by superficial dirt and foreign substances, so care should be taken to clean around the back of a stone to remove any debris and skin oils. Dealers confident of their material may often use ultrasonic or ionic cleaning, but immersion cleaning methods are not recommended for the reasons mentioned above.
Author Diane Morgan has written: “Though they can be bought, filched and borrowed, emeralds can never really be possessed. They are the unknowable stone, possessing their wearers, not the other way around.” Truly there is something ineffable about emerald that has always fascinated us and always will. Although not a particularly versatile stone for jewellery makers, it offers a unique aesthetic not replicated by any other gemstone. It is genuinely rarer than ruby, sapphire and diamond, and is a sound financial investment as well as being fashionable. Emeralds suggest an appreciation of finer things. They are simply an investment in good taste. Andreas Mitchell holds a degree in Gemmology, an FGA, and has been involved with gemstones most of his life. He is currently director of UK Geminvestments Ltd, a specialist supplier of wholesale beryl gem materials. He travels widely to mines and gemstone markets around the world and is interested in promoting clear, practical information about gemstones. You can find out more at
Olympic opportunities It’s estimated that during the 2012 Olympic Games, consumer spending will increase by £750 million*. To capitalise on this increased demand, jewellery retailers need to start planning now, and Mark Evers, director of Games transport for TfL, outlines his tips for keeping businesses running smoothly in the run up to, and during, the Games
he Olympic and Paralympic Games will be a fantastic opportunity for the nation’s retailers. However, with hundreds of thousands of visitors expected, the transport network will be severely affected. To fully benefit from the anticipated increase in demand, your organisation needs to plan ahead. The Games will not only impact upon employees and customers, it will also have a knockon effect for ordering, delivering and supplying products. With less than a year to go until the Games, this means jewellers should consider how employees, customers and suppliers can get around. Firms that supply or manufacture products for the jewellery trade also need to plan their business activity around the Games and how they might be affected by the busier transport network. If you run one of the 700-plus jewellers in London, consider how the Games might affect your organisation. If your firm is based outside of the capital you also need to review your options as the Games are taking place across the UK. Eton Dorney, Weymouth and Portland, Lee Valley, Manchester and Cardiff are just a few hotspots outside of London that are hosting the
Image: London 2012
Games, and may experience busier than usual transport networks.
Keep on running
You may be concerned about how to keep your business running smoothly, particularly if you are in a Games hotspot. To help, we’ve developed a range of tips for jewellers: • Check if your business is in an affected area: Use the maps on the London 2012 Travel Advice for Business website: www.london2012.com/ traveladviceforbusiness to identify the impact on transport in your area. If you supply to other locations, review the impact on these areas too. More updated information will be available by the end of the year. • Check the event timings and schedules: If you know your business is in an affected area, review the Olympic and Paralympic schedules to see when your area will be affected, at www.london2012.com/olympic-schedule • Try to change your hours of operation: Consider opening early in the morning or later in the evening to benefit from footfall trade, and encourage passers-by into your premises. By changing the opening times your staff will also be able to travel during quieter periods.
• Tell others about your plans: Communicate them to everyone who will be affected, including your employees, and update them as the Games get closer. • Attend a free advice workshop: London 2012 and TfL are running dedicated travel advice workshops. There are several types of free workshops available, including SME workshops for small businesses with under 200 employees, and multi-site workshops for firms with more than 250 employees in more than one site located in a hotspot. To see if you’re eligible, and to register, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Make the most of free specialist advice: Site-specific advice (SSA) is available if a business is in an affected area and has over 200 staff located at one site, until the end of 2011. To sign-up please email the address above.
Scheduling meetings off-site
• Move meetings to avoid travelling at busy times: Bring them forward or back to avoid peak hours around Games time, if possible. • Offer alternatives to face-to-face meetings: Use online webchats, telephone conferences, or offer
alternative locations out of transport hotspots.
All jewellers, manufacturers and suppliers either located in travel hotspots, or supplying a customer in a travel hotspot, will need to plan their deliveries and think about how they may be affected. Tips to manage deliveries include: • Stockpile low value goods in advance: Organise low value stock so that it is on the premises before the six weeks of the Olympic and Paralympic Games begin. If deliveries cannot be arranged in advance of the Games, arrange to supply or receive them outside of spectator peak times – earlier in the morning or later in the evening, or even overnight, where possible. • Work together: Work with customers, suppliers and especially your delivery companies on a tailor-made solution for your business. You could co-ordinate deliveries and think
about whether you have a space (for example in a basement parking area) which you can all use as a storeroom to stock up on low value items. • Check online postcode data and alert suppliers to any changes: You can check whether individual postcodes in the capital will be affected by the Olympic Route Network (ORN), Paralympic Route Network (PRN), Central London Zone (CLZ) or road events at: www.tfl.gov.uk/developers • Re-route your deliveries: Be mindful that although the vast majority of the ORN will be open to general traffic, Games lanes – around a third of the busiest parts of the ORN – will be available to the Games family only – athletes, officials, media and others working at the Games and on-call emergency vehicles. It might be worth considering a different route as the roads on the ORN will have different signal timings, side road closures and many suspended parking, loading and waiting bays.
The Games will not only impact upon employees and customers, it will also have a knock-on effect for ordering, delivering and supplying products
• Modify the mode or type of transport needed for deliveries or collections: Although vans and lorries are most commonly associated with freight movement, it may be worth discussing with your suppliers or customers whether some deliveries or collections could be completed by bicycle or motorbike. • Consider supplying or collecting from a different location: could you walk or cycle the last part of the delivery? Work with customers and suppliers for the best solution.
Next steps for your business
Wherever you, your customers and suppliers are based, start speaking to your industry trade body and other businesses in your building, street or business improvement district to see how you can work together during the Games. Businesses of all sizes that wish to receive free travel advice simply need to visit www.london2012.com/ traveladviceforbusiness to sign up, or to find more information and advice. * Visa Olympics Economic Impact Report, 11 July 2011:
How do they do that?
Certificating a diamond
Anu Manchanda, senior gemmologist for AnchorCert, the gemstone certification division of the Birmingham Assay Office, explains the rigorous processes that should be undertaken when certificating a diamond
he value of two diamonds of apparently the same size can vary hugely depending upon the quality of the stone and the way it has been cut. Such differences in quality are difficult for the untrained eye to assess, and as a result many diamonds are sold accompanied by a diamond certificate defining the characteristics which determine their value – ie colour, clarity, cut and carat weight. Diamond certification is an extremely skilled task, requiring experience and high tech equipment if it is to be undertaken properly. However, it is an unlicensed trade in so far as anyone can set up as a diamond grader and standards vary significantly between different grading bodies. This can prove problematic in terms of enabling retailers to compete on a level playing field, and can devalue the worth of a diamond certificate, which should in reality be an excellent selling tool. Reputable providers such as AnchorCert (which is one of only three diamond grading facilities in the world accredited by UKAS to ISO 17025) and GIA follow similar procedures,
relying upon the experienced eyes of their gemmologists and backed up by readings from sophisticated equipment, which is increasingly important as treatments and synthetics become more prevalent and harder to detect. Diamonds arriving at AnchorCert may be loose or mounted. They are given a unique barcode number and photographed on receipt. Loose diamonds are weighed to three decimal places, and mounted diamonds are measured precisely using either a Presidium gauge, Schindler or C-Master gauge. An accepted formula will then be applied to estimate their weight to within a tolerance of five per cent of the true weight. For very small stones a Meleemeter gauge may be used. Once the weight has been recorded, all diamonds undergo a screening test on the ‘Diamond Sure’ instrument, which refers any diamonds which might be a Type IIa and Type 1aB for further testing. These diamonds are susceptible to colour enhancement by high pressure high temperature (HPHT) treatment and require further testing to determine whether their colour is still natural. A quick test on the FTIR spectrometer is carried out to eliminate any referrals which may be due to other causes, such as heavy inclusions or the stone being a moissanite or other diamond simulant. Further testing is undertaken on the Raman spectrometer. The diamond is cooled to -196°C in a sealed cryostat using liquid nitrogen and a reading is taken using a 514nm argon laser. The resulting spectrograph is then scrutinised by an experienced gemmologist who is looking for specific telltale peaks, which indicate that the colour of the stone has been enhanced by HPHT treatment. If the stone is found to be treated it will still be graded but the certificate will clearly disclose that the stone has been HPHT processed.
The value and appearance of a diamond is also influenced by the shape or cut of the stone. The stones may be cut in a way to give the optimum brilliance, fire and scintillation, or in some cases the cut is compromised to retain weight. Loose diamonds are measured on a Sarin DiaMension machine, which scans the diamond and delivers the accurate proportions. These will be unique to that particular diamond and will be reported on the Diamond Grading Report. The GIA cut grade is also assigned to round brilliants using the DiaMension, with the expert intervention of the diamond grader in assessing the finish proportions, such as polish, symmetry, girdle thickness, and culet.
hOW DO they DO thAt?
Assessment of colour and clarity is carried out under a special ‘diamond light’, which is a daylight equivalent lamp that provides consistent and appropriate illumination for the grader to grade the stone. The clarity assessment is conducted using a 10x magnification loupe, but if the grader identifies anything that needs further investigation the stone will be examined under a microscope using up to 40 to 120x magnification. Treatments such as laser drilling, to permit the bleaching of inclusions, can be seen using the 10x loupe, but more sophisticated treatments such as internal laser treatment (KM treatment) can only be properly identified using a microscope. Other treatments such as fracture filling can also be identified by skilled graders with a 10x loupe. These diamonds are not graded for colour and clarity as the treatment is not permanent and may change in time. Once the gemmologist has identified the inclusions and is satisfied with his or her assessment, the final grade will be set according to the view under the 10x loupe. The clarity grade depends upon five factors relating to the inclusions visible in the diamond: their nature, size, quantity, colour and ‘relief ’ (how evident they are). If disclosable treatments have been identified they will be noted and included in the final report. If a full report is required then the inclusions in the diamond are shown on a facet diagram on the certificate. The gemmologist will use a microscope to accurately place the characteristic inclusions and plot them onto the diagram, but will only show the inclusions visible under a 10x loupe.
FOCUS ON THE EXPERT Anu Manchanda MSc, GG, DGA, FGA, P J Dip, FNAG Pearl Graduate (GIA)
and good judgement, but is inevitably more of an assessment than grading the loose stone, and the grade may be shown as a split grade – for example H-I instead of a single grade if it was graded loose. The fluorescence of the diamond is checked under long wave ultra violet light and is reported on a Full Diamond Grading Report. It may be reported as faint, medium, strong or very strong. Once the full grading of the diamond has been completed by the first grader, the entire process is carried out again independently by a second grader, unaware of the results from the first grader. If the two opinions do not match then a third grader will be asked to adjudicate. It is only by this continual independent benchmarking that a consistent standard can be maintained. Once all these processes have been completed, the results are compiled, giving the jewellery industry and the consumer the reassurance of an independent, expert AnchorCert Report.
Anu manchanda holds a masters degree (msc) in Geology from india, an FGA, DGA from the school of Jewellery, birmingham, and the Professional Jewellers’ Diploma (PJ Dip) with distinction from the National Association of Goldsmiths. she is also a Fellow of the National Association of Goldsmiths (FNAG) and a Pearl Graduate of the Gemological institute of America. she is recipient of the Christie’s Prize for Gemmology (2004). this is a trade prize awarded to the best candidate of the year who derives his or her income from activities essentially connected with the jewellery trade. Anu tutors for the Gemmological Association of Great britain’s Correspondence course students for both the Diamond Diploma and Gemmology Diploma courses (DGA and FGA). As an AnchorCert senior gemmologist Anu is responsible for accuracy and for new initiatives in the diamond grading and gem testing laboratory.
Colour grading is carried out by carefully comparing the colour of the diamond against a set of diamond master stones certified by GIA. AnchorCert uses masters at the top of each grade, so for example its highest colour master stone is ‘E’ colour. Any stone more colourless than this is graded as ‘D’. If the stone to be graded is mounted, the diamond grader will hold the master stone in an appropriately coloured stone-holder to try to create as fair a comparison as possible. Grading mounted stones requires experience
the birmingham Assay Office was founded in 1773 to provide a hallmarking facility to the rapidly expanding local silver trade. Over 238 years it has become established as the largest UK assay office. During the past decade the Assay Office has expanded its services further, far beyond its statutory assaying and hallmarking duties, and offers independent expert opinion on every aspect of the precious metal, jewellery and gemstone trade. For more information please visit
Acknowledging customers Sales can be lost during both busy and quiet periods if customers are not greeted and offered assistance, warns Leonard Zell
oo many sales are lost during the busy holiday season by not acknowledging customers, or by acknowledging them incorrectly. It happens all the time in most stores and salespeople are often not even aware of it. It happens for these five reasons: • The salespeople are off the shopfloor doing some work at the back of the store, which could actually be done later. • They are on the phone or talking to another salesperson. • They are out too long on their break. • They develop tunnel vision because they do not want to be distracted or have their flow interrupted. • They do look up and notice another customer, but in their rush to acknowledge that customer they upset the customer they are assisting at the time, and consequently lose the sale. Too many times the owner or manager is in the back office and does not see what’s going on, and because they are located back there the salespeople also gravitate that way, talking to each other and unaware of the waiting customers. Unfortunately, these customers see them and they become annoyed and leave. Worse yet, they may be repeat customers and are lost forever. I am sure this has happened to all of you when you have been attempting to make a purchase in a store; be warned – this may also be happening in your store! No store is immune. I have written several times telling jewellers that when your managers and salespeople are not busy they must never drift to the back of the store, but be nearby to assist other salespeople, or at the front of the store ready to acknowledge customers. I recommend owners stay on the
floor during busy times as much as possible to prevent this. Your time will be well worth it. The fifth problem listed at the beginning of this article also happens too often, because the salesperson has no idea how to acknowledge the second customer and continue with a sale. There is also the salesperson who does try, but loses the customer. The following technique takes care of both of those situations; it takes patience and the salesperson must not be in a hurry when carrying it out, otherwise it could be offensive to both customers. When the salesperson first notices the new customer, he or she should not look that way, but instead keep looking at the current customer, which takes great deal of discipline. This is because the current customer must be the priority. The salesperson should then say to him or her: “Please pardon me for a moment while I acknowledge this customer…” Beware also of taking your eye off the customer halfway through the sentence, as this will again result in the him or her feeling second best, and no one wants to hear the dreaded words: “That’s OK, I was only looking anyway – go ahead and wait on her.” There is an even bigger problem, and that is that the owner is seldom aware of the situation because the salesperson is embarrassed by his or her mistake and says nothing, while customers are lost forever. To stop losing these customers jewellers should rehearse with all their salespeople in a role play situation until it is done correctly. You will find the salespeople will first rush through it and will have to learn to slow it down to a normal pace. Be aware that even though the holiday season is the period of time that you will close the most sales, it can also be the time that you can lose the most customers.
you will find further details on the techniques in this article in leonard’s 180-page sales manual of proven jewellery selling techniques. And for the perfect complement, order – a full day of sales training seminars recorded live on three CDs. you may order them both from his website,
“Monnickendam Diamonds,, based in London, is one of the oldest and largest suppliers of loose polished diamonds to the UK. We provide value to our clients with a consistently excellent service and supply of superbly-cut round and fancy-shaped polished diamonds, from extensive inventory held in London,” says the company. Its diamonds are sourced in strict adherence to the Kimberley Process and UN resolutions, and it offers a range of services, including rough diamond cutting; re-cutting and remodelling; repairs; trimming; and grooving. Information: 0207 242 2333 or email@example.com
Allumer has created what it has dubbed the “ultimate friendship charm”, made from nine carat gold and featuring diamonds, cut-out hearts, flames, letters or messages. Also available is the diffusion line Allumette (pictured), which boasts clashing colours and tiny bells, and is described as “the only necklace to be heard in as well as seen in this winter.” Information: 07889 059 030 or www.allumer.co.uk
MSK Display Works offers a range of ready-to-go showcases, bespoke and unique tailormade solutions, plus a range of showcases for hire, all designed and manufactured at its facility in Leeds. In addition, it provides an innovative brand design service, for retailers who are looking to grow market share from integrated brand communications. For more information please contact Sue Peng. Information: 0113 238 2527 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Candy Bling collection from Charms UK includes over 180 brand new pieces, including bracelets, necklaces and earrings created with coloured crystal, pearls and sterling silver. The company says that the frosted onyx, zebra crystal and pearl bracelets and amethyst crystal pendant and earrings are perfect for the party season. Information: 0117 968 3979
Among Mishca’s latest collections is the innovative Desire Collection, which features intricate ‘Medialuna’ pendants and earrings in sterling silver, gold and rose gold vermeil, as well as lavish gemstone cocktail rings. Also available is the Hidden Desire statement cuff (pictured); a signature statement piece set with aquamarine, topaz, smoky quartz, pink tourmaline, green amethyst, purple amethyst and lemon quartz. Information: 0207 193 1995 or www.mishca.co.uk
S T Dupont
S T Dupont has been an ambassador of French art de vivre since 1872, creating special objects adorned with rare and precious materials. The Rosé Champagne collection is made from solid pink gold, and is inspired by the fun and lights of Paris by night. “The 125 diamonds set on the pen and the 93 diamonds that sparkle on the lighter bring to mind the iridescent bubbles of champagne or the Eiffel Tower at night, glittering with a thousand lights,” the company describes. Information: 01626 821 990 (lighters) or 01732 771 771 (pens) RRP: £24,500 (lighter), £22,800 (fountain pen)
Information: 07789 111 480 (Mark Riddle) or email@example.com
The fascinating functioning of the Atmos Classique clock’s mechanism, which famously achieves quasiperpetual motion, is left open to view in a transparent cabinet, mounted on a crystal base. “There are two versions of the Atmos Classique. In one, the months are indicated on an openwork disc at the centre of the dial in glass, while a second dial, positioned beneath in a rhodium-plated cradle bearing the Jaeger-LeCoultre logo, is home to the most precise moon phase display in the history of horology – accurate to a single day every 3,821 years,” adds the company. RRP: £8,350
Lulu Guinness OBE launched her company in 1989, and has since opened shops in London, New York and Tokyo. Her collectable bags have been described as ‘tomorrow’s treasures’, and have been collected by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and featured in two exhibitions in Sotheby’s London and New York. The new collection of handbag accessories for Stratton by Lulu Guinness showcases Lulu’s classic designs as well as the quality and heritage of Stratton – a company that has been making powder compacts and handbag mirrors, glamorised by stars of the silver screen, since 1923.
RRP: £55 (round, pictured) and £125 (rectangular, pictured)
The Soulmate Lion, designed by Mario Dilitz, shines in Golden Shadow crystal on a base of cut mahogany granite with a protective felt layer underneath. Meanwhile, the Soulmate Bull, designed by Heinz Tabertshofer, is an equally contemporary and masculine symbol, crafted in fully faceted Silver Shade crystal, and standing on a Black Galaxy India granite base with a protective felt layer. Information: 01737 856 814 or www.swarovski.com RRP: £720 (lion), £945 (bull)
PRiCes • FiGURes • OUtlOOK Retail sales volume: September 2011 Between September 2010 and September 2011, the volume of retail sales increased by 0.6 per cent, with the value of sales increasing by 5.4 per cent. From August 2011, all retail sales saw the volume of sales increase by 0.6 per cent, with the value of sales increasing by 0.8 per cent. Upward pressure to all the retailing figures between September 2010 and September 2011 came from nonstore retailing, which increased by 15.5 per cent and provides 0.8 percentage points. Fuel also increased by 2.8 per cent and provides 0.3 percentage points. Downward pressure came mostly from non-food stores, which decreased by 0.7 per cent, lead by decreases in textile, clothing and footwear stores. During September 2011, approximately £31.9 billion was spent on retail goods; an increase from £30.3 billion in September last year. Source: ONS
Sterling silver (£/Kg)
Scrap metal prices
Sterling silver scrap (£/kg)
9ct Gold scrap (£/g)
14ct Gold scrap (£/g)
18ct Gold scrap (£/g)
22ct Gold scrap (£/g)
Platinum (95%) scrap (£/g)
Data supplied courtesy of Cookson Precious Metals. www.cooksongold.com All prices shown on this page enjoy indicative status only. Jewellery Focus and Cookson Precious Metals accepts no responsibility for their accuracy or for any use to which they may be put
Seasonally adjusted figures
The table above has been prepared by SafeGuard and is an average of the retail selling prices of round brilliant cut diamonds per carat including an average retail markup and VAT. There is no allowance for the mount but the prices have been taken from mounted goods prices. The table is also compared with International diamond prices for additional accuracy. Compiled at 1st November 2011 / Dollar Exchange Rate 1.5994
Hallmark ďŹ gures - Oct 2011 Oct 10
1,294 3,896 957,498 5 962,693
1,232 121 537,374 0 538,727
-62 -3,775 -420,124 -5 -423,966
-4.8 -96.9 -43.9 -100.0 -44.0
17 1 35,745 109,889 37,532 558,358 741,542
13 2 28,694 80,446 7,430 330,175 446,760
-4 1 -7,051 -29,443 -30,102 -228,183 -294,782
-23.5 100.0 -19.7 -26.8 -80.2 -40.9 -39.8
3 22,624 8 5 22,640
0 19,259 7 0 19,266
-3 -3,365 -1 -5 -3,374
-100.0 -14.9 -12.5 -100.0 -14.9
4 8,373 45 8,422
0 5,761 1,872 7,633
-4 -2,612 1,827 -789
-100.0 -31.2 4,060 -9.4
Silver 999 958 925 800 Gold 999 990 916 750 585 375 Platinum 999 950 900 850 Palladium 999 950 500
The continuing high precious metal prices, coupled with the squeeze on consumer spending, has provided a recipe for a particularly difficult October for the four UK assay offices, which between them saw a drop of 41.7 per cent in the total number of units submitted for hallmarking (representing 722,911 units). All categories of metal were affected, with gold down 39.8 per cent, silver down 44 per cent, platinum down 14.9 per cent, and palladium down 9.4 per cent. Source: Birmingham Assay Office
eVeNts AND AUCtiONs
2 – 5 December China International Gold, Jewellery and Gem Fair Shanghai World Expo Theme Pavilion, Shanghai, China
3 – 11 December VICENZANTIQUARIA Fiera di Vicenza, Vicenza, Italy www.vicenzafiera.it
9 – 11 December Mumbai Jewellery and Gem Fair Bombay Exhibition Centre Bombay, India www.jewelleryfair.in
10 – 11 December Luxury Asia Resorts World Sentosa Singapore www.myluxuryexpo.com
6 – 9 January 2012 Malaysia International Jewellery Fair – Spring Edition Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia www.elite.com.my
11 – 14 January 2012 International Jewellery Tokyo Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo, Japan www.ijt.jp
14 – 16 January 2012 Jewelers International Showcase Miami Beach Convention Center Miami, Florida, United States www.jisshow.com
15 – 17 January 2012 Top Drawer – Spring/Summer Earls Court, London www.topdrawer.co.uk
16 – 20 January 2012 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) Genève Palexpo Geneva, Switzerland www.sihh.org
17 – 19 January 2012 EUROGUSS Exhibition Centre Nuremberg Nuremberg, Germany www.euroguss.de
18 – 20 January 2012 London Asia Expo Olympia, London
20 – 23 January 2012 Eclat de Mode Pavillon Porte de Versailles Paris, France www.bijorhca.com
22 – 24 January 2012 Scotland’s Trade Fair Spring The SECC, Glasgow www.scotlandstradefairs.co.uk
29 – 31 January 2012 Printor Eurexpo Lyons, France www.printor.fr
29 January – 1 February 2012 Chic The Ricoh Arena, Coventry www.chicuk.com
Auction dates 24 November Thomson Roddick & Medcalf Antique jewellery and silver Edinburgh www.thomsonroddick.com
25 November Wellers Auctioneers Pawnbroker and secondhand jewellery Chertsey, Surrey www.wellersauctions.com
5 – 9 February 2012 The Jewellery Show at Spring Fair International NEC, Birmingham
26 November P F Windibank Antique jewellery Dorking, Surrey
9 – 13 February 2012 Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair IMPACT Challenger Bangkok, Thailand
26 November Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Victorian and later effects, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone, Kent
10 – 13 February 2012 IIFJAS Bombay Exhibition Centre Goregaon Bombay, India www.iifjs.com
10 – 13 February 2012 Inhorgenta New Munich Trade Fair Centre Munich, Germany www.inhorgenta.com
10 – 14 February 2012 Ambiente Messe Frankfurt Frankfurt, Germany ambiente.messefrankfurt.com
12 – 14 February 2012 Pure London Olympia, London www.purelondon.com
16 – 20 February 2012 HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewellery Show Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Hong Kong www.hktdc.com
29 November Capes Dunn Antique jewellery, silver, watches, wares and coins Manchester www.capesdunn.com
29 November Christie’s Important jewels King Street, London www.christies.com
30 November Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London www.bonhams.com
30 November Lyon & Turnbull Fine jewellery and silver Edinburgh www.lyonandturnbull.com
2 December Thomson Roddick & Medcalf Antique jewellery and silver Carlisle www.thomsonroddick.com
6 December Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood Antiques and collectables, including silver and jewellery Honiton, Devon www.bhandl.co.uk
7 December Bonhams Jewellery Edinburgh
8 December Bonhams Fine jewellery New Bond Street London www.bonhams.com
9 December Wellers Auctioneers Jewellery, watches, silver and plate Chertsey, Surrey www.wellersauctions.com
10 December Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Victorian and later effects, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone, Kent www.kentauctiongalleriesltd.co.uk
13 December Campbells Jewellery, silver, clocks and watches Worthing West Sussex www.campbellsauctions.co.uk
13 December Dreweatts 1759 Jewellery, silver, watches and coins Bristol www.dnfa.com
14 December Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London www.bonhams.com
16 December Wellers Auctioneers Pawnbroker and secondhand jewellery Chertsey, Surrey www.wellersauctions.com
17 December Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Christmas gifts sale, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone, Kent www.kentauctiongalleriesltd.co.uk
17 December Wellers Auctioneers Watches and contemporary and antique jewellery Guildford, Surrey
18 January 2012 Christie’s Jewels South Kensington, London www.christies.com
4 February 2012 P F Windibank Antique jewellery Dorking Surrey www.windibank.co.uk
14 February 2012 Dreweatts 1759 Jewellery and silver Bristol www.dnfa.com
15 February 2012 Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London www.bonhams.com
21 February 2012 A F Brock & Company Limited Jewellery, watches and silverware Hazel Grove, Stockport Cheshire www.afbrock.co.uk
28 February 2012 Bonhams Watches and wristwatches Knightsbridge, London www.bonhams.com
14 March 2012 Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London www.bonhams.com
17 March 2012 P F Windibank Antique jewellery Dorking Surrey www.windibank.co.uk
18 April 2012 Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London www.bonhams.com
28 April 2012 P F Windibank Antique jewellery Dorking Surrey
11 January 2012 Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge London
16 May 2012 Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London
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NEVILLE CLARK of Isis Clocks and Jewellery, Oxford How long have you been in the trade?
I have worked in the trade for over 30 years – I began working in my father’s business straight from school and have stayed in the trade ever since.
When my father sold his business I began repairing clocks and watches from home and our address was Isis Close – we thought ‘Isis Clocks’ would make it easy for customers to remember where I was located. Also, I have very strong Oxford connections, and the Isis is the name given to the part of the River Thames that flows through Oxford. I then was lucky enough to have the opportunity to buy the shop in Kidlington, north of Oxford, so I carried the name across as I’d built up quite a good reputation locally.
What kind of services do you offer?
I am primarily a clock and watch repairer (a member of the British Horological Institute), but at our shop we also sell clocks, watches and jewellery, and we offer a full jewellery repair service. We try to stock a wide range of jewellery and aim to get stock from individual suppliers. We pride ourselves on giving a quality service with familyrun friendliness.
Who works alongside you?
I have a wonderful team of work colleagues – an excellent full-time assistant, Heather, who is my ‘right-hand girl’ and who has a good eye for quality and fashion; and three invaluable part-time staff, Pat, Claire and Ellie, all of whom have extensive knowledge of jewellery along with a friendly approach. Customer service is very important to us.
What’s selling well at the moment?
At the moment, gold seems to be making a bit of a comeback following silver’s domination for so long – and silver jewellery has always been a popular mainstay for us. People are a lot more knowledgeable about jewellery these days; they seem to be buying investment pieces and are looking for a quality product that will last. We are extremely busy with the repair side of the business at the moment – both jewellery repairs, which are carried out by an excellent local craftsman, and clock and watch repairs, which I do myself. Often we find that customers who come in for repairs will buy some jewellery while they wait.
Is Oxford a good place to trade?
Oxford is an excellent place to trade. Our shop is situated five miles north of Oxford in Kidlington – a contender for the largest village in England. We have a good mix of customers – Oxford is often said to be split between ‘town and gown’ and our customers come from every walk of life – and we are lucky to be near enough to Oxford for commuters
and businesses, but far enough away to be small and homely and to be able to keep our prices competitive.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing retailers like yourself?
I think that small retailers face the challenge of having to offer a wide range of services to compete with the large chains. We have to offer something extra, whether that be ‘different’ jewellery, individual service or the willingness to go that extra mile to help our customers.
What are your plans for the future?
We hope to continue to provide a quality, friendly service, but we are also planning to launch an online service in the foreseeable future, as I feel that it is important to embrace new technology.
Jewellery Focus is a magazine dedicated to all retailers in the jewellery trade. Targeting high street stores, this magazine caters for comp...
Published on Nov 29, 2011
Jewellery Focus is a magazine dedicated to all retailers in the jewellery trade. Targeting high street stores, this magazine caters for comp...