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Jewellery July 2011  £5.95  ISSN 2046-7265


Celebrating semi-precious stones and the creativity of designers who use them XX Catering to all budgets with the addition of quality fashion jewellery ranges XX Also inside: a preview of the 50th anniversary Harrogate Home & Gift event




Jewellery July 2011



FEATURES In living colour 


A celebration of the semi-precious stones available to the industry, courtesy of Mother Earth, and the creativity of some of the designers who work with them

Focus on loose gemstones 


Searching for the perfect stones for your latest jewellery designs? Jon Chapple takes a look at some of the suppliers that can help

Harrogate Home & Gift preview 


This year the Harrogate Home & Gift show has pulled out all the stops for its 50th anniversary, and over 900 exhibitors are set to showcase their wares

Following trends 


36 30

Purse strings may be tightened, but consumers still want to accessorise their summer outfits. Louise Hoffman asks: could fashion jewellery be the answer?

Silver: what does the future hold? 


Michael Northcott speaks with jewellery retailers across the UK to hear their experiences of the turbulent silver prices

Prepared for the worst 


Michael Ferraro, MD of T H March & Co, explains the importance of analysing insurance needs in terms of business recovery

A window of opportunities 

20 50

For those who do not already utilise the power of the internet, Charlene Laidley issues a reminder of its benefits

Regulars Keith Fisher 

Does Rolex have a contender for the top spot in the luxury watch market popularity stakes? Keith places his bet

Ones to watch 


Designer of the month 


Trends in timepieces


Louise Hoffman catches up with Kiki McDonough to hear about her bright colour combinations, wearable designs, and royal commissions

Editor’s letter  Roundup 

The latest news from the industry

Janet Fitch 

In preparation for the host of jewellery design exhibitions that are to be held this month, Janet highlights a few of her must-sees

6 8 14


Sam Willoughby 


How do they do that? 


New offerings from the industry Dippal Manchanda discusses the upcoming changes to cadmium legislation, and how the Laboratory will test that products comply

Leonard Zell  40

Sam speaks with the recently selected KickStart designers, to identify the benefits of supporting new creative ideas within the sector


Taking stock 


Customers are essential to the success of a retail business, so why are so many of them leaving stores feeling unimportant?

Industry data  Events  Voice on the highstreet 


Samantha Hansard of Charles Fish, London, High Wycombe and Chelmsford

56 58 66



Editor’s letter I nspired by the summer season, July’s Jewellery Focus magazine is a riot of colour and creativity, which I hope will both raise the spirits and provide fresh inspiration as we move into the third quarter of 2011. On the colour side of things, we take a moment to appreciate the beauty and qualities of semiprecious stones, and the awe-inspiring effect they can create when utilised to full effect in jewellery design. Indeed, I am continually impressed by the captivating collections that I am introduced to on an almost daily basis, and those that catch my eye when visiting shows, shops and galleries. You can find a variety of examples in the feature beginning on page 20. Our designer of the month is one such renowned creator of fine gemstone jewellery, so much so that she has earned herself the custom of royalty! Yes – Kiki McDonough counts Princess Diana and Catherine Middleton among her past and present clients, as well as celebrities such as Rosamund Pike and Hayley Attwell. You can view her colourful creations and read the full story on page 24. Fashion jewellery can also be relied upon when it comes to adding a splash of colour to display cabinets and to customers’ outfits. Not only this, it is also a low cost option that is perfect for widening the price range of a store’s product offering. Eager to find out more about the benefits that a quality costume jewellery collection can provide, I caught up with Nick Bartley of Lucas Jack, Louisa Hirst of Orelia Boutique, and Tracy Watson of Designsix – all of whom supply fashion jewellery to the trade. Turn to page 36 to find out more and to browse a selection of the latest designs.

Jewellery FOCUS

Editor Louise Hoffman

Editorial Assistant Jon Chapple

Production Assistant Lewis Bowes

Group Advertisement Manager Kelly Smith

Senior Sales Executive Katharine Opyrchal

Accounts Maureen Scrivener

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Contributing writers: Charlene Laidley • Dippal Manchanda Janet Fitch • Keith Fisher Leonard Zell • Michael Ferraro Michael Northcott • Sam Willoughby Design Arthouse Publishing Solutions Ltd 01394 410 490

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This month’s cover features GECKO

This year Gecko, Jewellery Supplier of the Year, celebrates 20 successful years in the jewellery industry. Its latest Elements Gold collection for 2011 to 2012 will be launched this summer. The range includes a vivacious range of new designs, incorporating bestselling classic, contemporary and vintage-inspired styles. Comprised of over 200 new designs, the collection features sumptuous coloured gem rings and nature-inspired designs perfect for the summer season, with fresh flowers and fluttering hummingbirds. The pearl collection continues to grow with new vintageinspired additions and fresh colour combinations in a mixture of both white and yellow gold. The company says this comprehensive gold range delivers a perfect mix at affordable prices. Information: 01376 532 000 or

Mulberry Publications Ltd, Wellington House, Butt Road, Colchester CO3 3DA Tel: 01206 767 797 Fax: 01206 767 532

The editor and publishers do not guarantee the accuracy of statements made by contributors or advertisers, or accept responsibility for any statement that they express in this publication. The opinion of the contributors may not necessarily be the opinion of the publishers. Articles are considered for publication on the basis that they are the author’s original work. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the permission of the publishers.



And briefly WFDB urges KP members to resolve Zimbabwe dispute The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has called on the members of the Kimberley Process (KP) to resolve their disagreements on the issue of rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe, and take the decision to allow the troubled country to export rough diamonds from all diamond-mining areas in the country; including Marange. “The KP, due to the deadlock in its decision-making process and its experts’ ensuing indecision to allow rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe to resume, is about to cause irreparable damage throughout the entire supply pipeline of our industry and trade, and threatens the livelihood of literally millions of people throughout the international diamond and jewellery sector” said WFDB president Avi Paz.

Boucheron welcomes new president and CEO Former Berluti managing director Pierre Bouissou has succeeded Jean-Christophe Bedos as president and CEO of Boucheron. Bedos, who had been with the French jewellery house for seven years, stepped down on the 10 June. Boucheron owner Alexis Babeau said: “With Pierre I am confident we have someone with the skills and experience necessary to build on the work done so far, and accelerate the positive trends that have already been put in place. We thank Jean-Christophe for his significant contribution and wish him the very best as he now turns to new challenges.”

Goldsmiths’ Centre seeks applications Application packs are now available to apply to rent one of the new Goldsmiths’ Centre’s 15 custom-built workshops and nine studios. The centre, a charitable enterprise initiated by the Goldsmiths’ Company, is located in the heart of London’s Clerkenwell and is set to open in October. To request a pack, email

Houlden Group welcomes Harrogate’s A Fattorini Jewellery- and watch-buying organisation the Houlden Group has announced A Fattorini the Jeweller of Harrogate as its latest member. Anthony Tindall, principal of high-end end jeweller A Fattorini, commented: “We are looking forward to sharing best practice, contacts and experiences with the other members and to the many other benefits that the Houlden Group provides, such as access to the best suppliers and training courses in the industry.”

Maurice Fischler elected ADB president The Antwerp Diamond Bourse has announced that Maurice Fischler has been appointed as its new president following biennial elections for half the bourse’s board members. Mr Fischler, 62, is the son of the late Antwerp diamond industry icon Bram Fischler and has served on the bourse’s board for the past six years. “With Maurice’s appointment, the Antwerp Diamond Bourse has chosen an excellent diamantaire. I am sure that under his leadership the Antwerp Diamond Bourse will play an active and visible role in the WFDB and will continue to help advance the World Federation’s initiatives and interests,” WFDB president Avi Paz stated.

May retail sales show decrease as customers rein in spending Retail sales values fell by 2.1 per cent year-on-year in May, owing to consumers’ “fundamental reluctance to spend”, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has confirmed. As the weather cooled, consumers’ underlying uncertainty about jobs and incomes resurfaced, with big-ticket purchases the hardest hit. Stephen Robertson, BRC director-general, said: “After two previous months distorted by the later Easter and extra bank holiday, this is a more realistic reflection of how tough conditions on the high street really are. “The first half of May was better than the second, when the weather turned unseasonably wet and cold in many parts of the country, but customers’ fundamental reluctance to spend is now clear to see. Households’ disposable incomes continue to be squeezed by uncomfortably high inflation and low wage growth, while uncertainty over the effects of government cuts is hitting consumers’ sentiment about future finances.” Robertson also said it is essential to keep interest rates at their current historic low. “The VAT rise since last year is flattering the sales figures for most non-food goods, while renewed weakness in the housing market made life particularly difficult for retailers selling furniture and household goods,” he stated. “This new evidence of weak spending shows how important it is to support this soft patch in the recovery by keeping interest rates low.”

Tanzanite supply “can last for over 100 years,” says mining boss Contrary to recent speculation that tanzanite is about to become extinct, mining company TanzaniteOne has stated that it believes the rare blue gemstone could be mined for at least another century. TanzaniteOne has been conducting a series of surveys of the Mererani hills in Northern Tanzania, the only place where the gem – which is said to be 10 times rarer than diamond – is known to be found. The company’s acting chief operating officer, Wessel Marais, has ruled out any possibility of finding tanzanite deposits elsewhere, but said there is a possibility of finding other important minerals in the area. “With responsible mining and careful digging, tanzanite deposits in the Mererani hills can last for over 100 years,” Mr Marais claimed. “There is no need for rushing, because the gemstone is only found in Tanzania. We can be extracting it on an instalment basis to extend the rare mineral’s shelf life, and it is very possible to have tanzanite for the next 10 decades.” The company’s corporate governance manager and secretary, Lusekelo Mwakalukwa, also expressed hope that the tanzanite industry could, with co-operation between large- and small-scale miners, in time be turned into a responsible and united industry with international prestige, “similar to what De Beers and Tiffany have so far accomplished.”

Trollbeads People’s Bead winner Trollbeads has announced the winner of its 2011 People’s Bead competition – an annual contest that encourages fans of the Danish charm bead brand from around the world to submit their own bead designs to be created by the company. The winning entry this year was submitted by Denise Tong of Hong Kong (pictured), who designed a bead – ‘Rolling Waves’ – inspired by the devastating tsunami that swept across Japan in March. The Rolling Waves bead will be hand crafted in 18 carat gold by a Trollbeads designer and presented to Tong, before the design is added to the Trollbeads jewellery range this autumn. One hundred semi-finalists also received the winning bead in silver, while 10 finalists are to be presented with an unspecified “extra special gift”.


NAG’s Michael Hoare appointed RJC forum representative The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has appointed National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG) CEO and Jewellery Focus columnist Michael Hoare as its UK representative on the Trade Association Forum. As a representative of the Forum, Michael will continue the work he does with the NAG on a daily basis, by encouraging members to adhere to the responsible policies set by the RJC while also working with the Council on an international policy that “will ensure the fair, safe and sustainable growth of the jewellery industry for years to come.” On the growth of the RJC, Michael commented: “The RJC is at an important point in its development, as the first tranche of member organisations become eligible for auditing against the code of practice. Signet, the NAG’s biggest member, has already successfully achieved certification, and a further 118 companies hope to achieve certification before the end of the year.” Michael also outlined the Council’s goals for the future, including plans for bringing more stringent ethical standards to the booming Chinese jewellery industry. “After formally adding the platinum family of metals to its documentation in 2012 – having already included gold and diamonds – the RJC has set itself the target of reviewing the addition of other jewellery materials in 2013,” he said. “Our shorter-term objective is to add a chain of custody standard by the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012. With China’s human rights record this proves to be the RJC’s next big challenge; to bring ethical and responsible training to the Eastern giant.”

Heart-shaped diamond fetches record amount in Geneva

Denis Hayoun — Diode SA

A 56-carat heart-shaped diamond that sold for more than $10 million (approximately £6.09 million) has set a new world record. The gem, which was sold at auction at Christie’s Geneva in the second half of May, became the most expensive heart-shaped diamond ever to be sold at auction. Other gems auctioned on the same date included a cushion-cut 130.5-carat Burmese sapphire, which sold for $7,122,742 – achieving another world record price, this time for a sapphire at auction – and an Imperial Mughal spinel necklace that fetched US$5,210,902 (£3,179,000); the highest ever amount for an Indian jewel. François Curiel, president of Christie’s Switzerland, commented: “The jewellery sale in Geneva was marked by strong bidding with moments of passionate enthusiasm… 42 years after our first sale in Switzerland, Geneva remains a vital, specialised auction centre in today’s global market.”

Celebrity endorsement

Joanna Lumley, Born Free Foundation Absolutely Fabulous actress Joanna Lumley has modelled a dazzling diamond-adorned solid gold necklace – the ‘Shere Khan’ – to raise funds for international wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation. The hand-crafted necklace, created by Catherine Best and named after the tiger in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, was auctioned by the foundation in June, and will provide funds to help Born Free’s work in saving the wild tiger from extinction. Lumley said: “It feels great, like a badge of office, but it’s incredibly comfortable and easy to wear.” She also described the necklace as “blingtastic”, and compared it to the famous jewellery collection of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor. The photographs were taken by the legendary John Swannell.




Celebrity endorsement

Zara Martin, Swatch Model, actress and television presenter Zara Martin was one of a host of celebrities to appear at the Swatch celebrity gifting suite, held in Chancery Lane last month, to endorse a collection of new plastic designs from the popular Swiss watchmaker. Zara, one of the faces of MTV, was photographed modelling the Colour Code timepiece in black. The Colour Code range consists of 26 models, each featuring a bold plastic strap, solid colour case and “dial complemented with elegant black hands and understated numerals.

Lancashire jeweller secures prestigious Rolex account A family-owned Lancashire jeweller is celebrating after securing the agency for luxury watch brand Rolex. The entire Rolex collection – with an estimated value of £750,000 – was showcased at a preview event at Blackpool’s Leonard Dews Diamond Jewellers, where it will sit alongside a number of other luxury watch brands such as Patek Phillipe, TAG Heuer and Chopard. The event also marked the unveiling of a £300,000 overhaul to the jeweller’s Church Street premises. “It has been 41 years in the making,” commented Michael Hyman, the owner of Leonard Dews, which now becomes one of just four such official stockists in the region. “It goes without saying that I’m delighted to represent what is arguably one of the most respected watch brands in the world. “The Rolex brand is synonymous with style, class and luxury. It is a name that has cropped up time and time again when discussing watches. The demand is fantastic, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to bring this line to our loyal base of customers.” The addition of Rolex and the extension to its flagship store follow a bumper 18 months’ trading. In addition to increased footfall to the Blackpool and Lytham Leonard Dews stores, the jeweller’s watch sales have also soared, with an 11 per cent increase in like-for-like sales from last year.

Tendence looks ahead to autumn/ winter retail opportunities With the all-important winter and Christmas gift season approaching faster than many of us would like to admit, the Tendence consumer goods fair is to be held next month (26 to 30 August), providing an opportunity for exhibitors to round off their jewellery and gift collections for the second half of the year. The Frankfurt show, which expects to see around 57,000 trade visitors in attendance, is to be split into two sections – ‘Living’ and ‘Giving’ – that the organisers say offer buyers a “perfect synergy” between home and gift ideas. The international Living section presents modern interior design elements, including furnishing, small pieces of furniture and design and luxury products; while over in the Giving area, everything revolves around presents for the upcoming autumn, winter and Christmas seasons and the following spring trends. There will also be a lecture programme, which will “radiate fresh ideas” and highlight examples of best practice in the industry, and competition areas – ‘Talents’ and ‘Next’ – to highlight new and upcoming talent throughout the sector. For more information about Tendence, visit

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And briefly Jacobs Jewellery Design enters liquidation Hatton Garden jewellery studio Jacobs Jewellery Design has entered liquidation. The business’s owner, Barry Jacobs, has, however, set up a new venture – known as the Handmade Jewellery Company – which will be based in the same office and will continue to offer the exact same product and service as Jacobs.

Company fined for importing black coral A Caribbean jewellery manufacturer has been fined $2.5 million (£1.5 million) for the illegal importation of environmentally-protected black coral. Gem Manufacturing, based in the Virgin Islands of the United States, was charged under the US Endangered Species Act after it purchased 8,000 pounds of raw black coral from a Chinese company. The species is internationally protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Bremont to sponsor Flying Legends Airshow British watch brand Bremont has declared that it will continue its long-running partnership with classic aircraft operator the Fighter Collection by sponsoring the Flying Legends Airshow. Bremont watches have long taken inspiration from the aeronautical world, and 2011 will see the company launch its P51 timepiece, built using parts of the famous ‘Fragile but Agile’ Mustang fighter that will be flying at the show.

Theo Fennell CEO quits for a second time Premium jewellery retailer Theo Fennell has parted ways with its chief executive officer, Barbara Snoad. It is the second time Snoad – who reportedly left the company by mutual consent – has stepped down from the same position in four years. Theo Fennell chairman Rupert Hambro said: “Barbara has been an integral part of a successful turnaround of the business during a challenging period.”

Fish Brothers joins the CMJ The Fish Brothers Group, the parent company of contemporary jewellery retailer Charles Fish, has become the newest addition to buying group the Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ). Fish Brothers director Samantha Hansard said the decision to join the CMJ was motivated by a desire to play a greater role within the British jewellery industry. The group joins other recent CMJ retail members such as Pressley’s in Worthing, Prestons of Bolton, Michael Matthews Jewellery in Bournemouth and Joule in Hampstead. You can read more about Charles Fish in this month’s Voice on the Highstreet interview on page 66.

Roamer makes new appointment Inter City Group has appointed Dale Rowe to the position of key account manager, where he will oversee sales and brand development of Roamer watches. Dale, who has also worked at TISSOT watches, will be responsible for building and developing Roamer’s presence in the UK watch market. “I am very excited about the prospect of working on the Roamer account. I feel that with its history and background it has great potential in the UK market,” he said.

Consumer Confidence Index points towards ‘a nation of savers’ Consumer confidence levels in Britain were a disappointing nine points lower in the first quarter of 2011 than at the end of 2010, according to new data released by the Nielsen Company and the British Retail Consortium (BRC). In sharp contrast to a global backdrop of growing optimism, the GB Consumer Confidence Index suggested that, despite continuously low interest rates, the UK is fast turning into “a nation of savers”, with an ever-increasing number of people choosing to put away spare income instead of spending it. Thirty per cent of respondents in Great Britain also said that they had “no spare cash” – the highest percentage the survey has ever recorded. “The long, hard winter and continuous media coverage of UK debt levels and cuts in the public sector are all taking their toll on consumer confidence,” commented Chris Morley, group managing director of Nielsen UK & Ireland. “I would envisage a continuation of lower confidence as consumers are still being very cautious in their spending intentions.”

IJL reveals this year’s KickStarters The organisers of International Jewellery London (IJL) have revealed a full list of KickStart designers for 2011’s show. IJL describes KickStart, which is supported by the British Jewellers’ Association (BJA), as a unique initiative that acts as a “commercial launch-pad” for the designers selected to take part, providing a boost for the industry and allowing retailers to source products from the best new design talent of 2011. The designers – which include BJA members Cabbage is King, Emma Turpin, Sarah Ibrahim and Amy Keeper (whose Vintage Postcard collection is pictured) – will exhibit their work at the event from the 4 to the 7 September. “KickStart is supported by the British Jewellers’ Association and was launched as a bursary scheme for fledgling jewellery designers,” said IJL event director and Jewellery Focus columnist Sam Willoughby. “We recently hosted a workshop with the new designers ahead of the show to prepare them as they enter this challenging commercial world and develop their business.” A full list of the KickStart designers for 2011 is available from the IJL website, at

Parkhouse Cardiff announces new general manager appointment Cardiff jewellery and watch specialist Parkhouse the Jeweller has welcomed a new general manager with a wealth of high-profile experience within the sector. Tony Watkins spent 40 years with Watches of Switzerland, having worked with and visited all the major Swiss watch factories, including those of Rolex, Longines, Omega, Patek Philippe and Breitling. “This is an exciting opportunity at Parkhouse,” Mr Watkins commented. “What attracted me to the role was working for a family business with traditional values at its core. It will be vital for me to listen to both customers and staff to ensure we retain the high standards Parkhouse is renowned for.” Michael Laing OBE, Parkhouse the Jeweller owner, added: “Tony was the ideal candidate for the general manager position. His experience, expertise and customer rapport will ensure Parkhouse retains its reputation as the place for fine jewellery and the largest watch collection outside of London.”

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Masterpieces of design This month sees the culmination of a host of design projects, as the fruits of many jewellery students’ and designers’ labour are revealed. Janet Fitch highlights a few must-sees


uly, and it’s hard to believe that we’re already in the second half of the year. But if your mind is set on rest and relaxation, think again. This month is buzzing with shows and events that are not to be missed if the aim is to keep up with the latest trends in jewellery. Let’s start with the young ones – there are all the college degree shows, of which the Royal College of Art’s Graduating Jewellery Students show is worth a visit. The work is radical and conceptual, like that of Birgit Marie Schmidt, a trained architect who learned her silversmith father’s skills as a child, which she now combines with digital technologies. Her graduate show collection includes necklaces and earrings made from wax carving, combining hand and digital skills, casting and polishing. Horses and unicorns are a recurring theme (see below), and she has recently completed an internship with the highstreet store River Island, where a couple of her pieces will go on sale later this summer. The show runs until 3 July. (

New Designers New Designers is the perfect opportunity to see the pick of this year’s graduates under one roof at the Business Design Centre, London, from 29 June to 2 July, or if you can’t be there, you can visit the website instead ( Jewellery is strong this year, especially in the ‘One Year On’ section of the show, where the talented work of those with a year’s experience since college is displayed. A trip to Harrogate is always a delight, and the Home & Gift Show is a timely buying opportunity for Christmas. There are fresh new collections from two established brands, including Kleshna – known for its sparkly poppies, worn by Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue – which is launching a sterling silver Origami Love Birds collection there. Derived from the ancient art of origami, the hand-folded silver birds face each other suspended from a silver chain with Swarovski crystal drops. (


Royal College of Art


Alex Monroe

Martick Following a trip to a remote island in Mozambique, Martick has worked with local silversmiths, providing them with tools and materials, and producing a designed collection – Shipwrecked Silver – based on the local traditional style, and embellished with ‘shipwreck’ beads, made for trade over a century ago and collected from the beach by local children. The story is a magical selling point, and the pieces are unusual and beautifully crafted. ( Two established jewellery designers have their own new shops. Lilly Hastedt has opened a jewel-like boutique in Chelsea, London, selling her gemstone and diamond jewellery, including her distinctive ‘bon bon’ rings, with a single cabochon stone flanked by two small diamonds or other coloured gemstones on an oval 18 carat gold shank. (

Alex Monroe has just introduced a new delicate and detailed collection – Chrysanthemum – that harks back to the 1950s longing for glamour after the years of war and post-war austerity. There are ladylike statement necklaces, big stud earrings and cocktail rings, with pearls and topaz nestling in the chrysanthemum flowers. And later this month his new shop in Snowfields, London Bridge, will open its doors. ( I am making a pilgrimage to Masterpiece, a fine and decorative arts show with everything from classic cars to the best in contemporary design, including several collections of antique jewellery. This year there is a real treat from 21st Century Jewels, which is showing work by David Courts and Bill Hackett, two legendary and now reclusive goldsmiths, best known for making Keith Richards’ skull ring in 1973 (pictured). This is the first time they have shown for 20 years, so it’s a one-off chance to see a selection of their works. Masterpiece runs from 30 June to 5 July at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London. (

21st Century Jewels

Lilly Hastedt © Marc Schlossman



Watch this space

Battle of the brands Does Rolex have a contender for the top spot in the luxury watch market popularity stakes? Keith Fisher places his bet

Watch this space


olex is the most identifiable watch brand on the planet. If you were to ask 100 people in the street at random which watch they would choose between Rolex or the more elite Patek Philippe, I guarantee 99 would choose Rolex. Brilliant marketing, publicity-awareness, outstanding brand identification and, of course, undoubted quality mean the name Rolex is the watch on the tip of everybody’s tongue – irrespective of whether or not you are ‘into’ the world of watches. The brand has just carried on from where it began in the roaring 20s – its very first marketing ploy was to place a waterproof Rolex Oyster in a fish tank in every major city in the world, and watch as people queued up outside in awe and amazement to see the Rolex ticking merrily away and to witness for themselves what was in those days the eighth wonder of the world. No other giant watch manufacturer gets near Rolex. But are things slowly but surely changing? I talk to watch dealers up and down the country on a regular basis, and unless I am mistaken the name Breitling is becoming more and more popular with those who choose to wear something classy on their wrists. It is much too early, of course, to say that Rolex is under threat. But Breitling is now recognised by people in the trade as a potential heir apparent. Breitling has become synonymous with action – in outdoor sport, sailing the world’s oceans, diving beneath them or flying above them. And the sheer breathtaking quality of its huge range of timepieces makes it a choice brand these days. Whether from the Navitimer range, Airwolf, Chronomat, or Montbrillant Olympus, all of the watches truly represent genius. And an added marketing ploy demonstrated by this company, which seems to think

An added marketing ploy demonstrated by this company, is that it has  allied  itself with most people’s dream c ar – the Bentley

Unless I am mistaken the name Breitling is becoming more and more popular with those who choose to wear something classy on their wrists faster than most in the industry, is that it has allied itself with most people’s dream car – the Bentley. Its unique Bentley range honours the car manufacturer’s prestigious workshops in Crewe, Lancashire. It is there that custom automobiles are produced specifically according to their future owners’ wishes. The Breitling for Bentley can be ordered much the same way, with custom colours and engravings, and even wood finishing on the case’s back bezel to match a car. Hold on – there’s more. A watch that can save lives? The Breitling Emergency can. In essence the lower part of the case contains a miniature transmitter with an activating antenna, which has a range of between three and 12 miles. Its unmodulated AM signal will transmit at two pulses per second, uninterrupted, for between 20 and 28 days at extreme temperatures, high and low. For my shame I did not know such a watch existed until I started my research. Innovative is not the word. Fantastic? Incredible? No. There is simply no superlative to describe it. The history of Breitling dates back to Léon Breitling, who opened a studio workshop in St Imier, Switzerland (later relocated to La Chaux-de-Fonds) in 1884. Soon after, in Germany, Gottlieb Daimler had patented his internal combustion engine, and Karl Benz had produced the first gasoline-driven car. Léon Breitling conceived that these and other new machines and scientific and industrial processes would require timing instruments. The name Breitling was born, and the company subsequently developed its line of magnificent watchpieces. History lesson over, and my advice is to drool over any Breitling you may encounter, especially if you can afford to buy one of your very own. Expensive? Yes. But worth every penny.




One of last year’s big sellers, the Destiny collection by Versace has been enhanced by four new designs, which the company says “promote its playful spirit, making it more vivacious but… more luxurious.” Tiny precious stones – blue, pink and yellow sapphires and green emeralds – move freely under glass with every movement of the wrist. The stainless steel or IP yellow gold plated watchcase has a Clou de Paris decorated bezel that surrounds a small watch face in white mother of pearl, with diamond-embedded indices. The movement is Swiss quartz, and the colours of the lizard skin watchstraps match those of the precious stones. Information: 0207 447 3900 or RRP: £2,700 (green and pink); £2,800 (gold and blue)


to watch Bremont has announced the release of its new BC-SOLO wristwatch. Designed as a classic pilots’ watch, the entry-model SOLO is a perfect choice for those wanting to enter the world of Bremont automatic chronometers. The watch, which will be available either this month or next, comes in two different dial variants, with legibility playing a significant role in the timepiece’s slick dial design. The company has also developed a new, slimmer case for this model than seen before. Information: 0845 094 0690 or RRP: £2,550

The Grimoldi family have been designing watches and jewellery for three generations, and they state that their latest designs under the Vabene brand are “selling alongside expensive Swiss brands to the rich and famous.” Vabene has launched two new collections for summer 2011: the Baby Sole, which comes in a range of fun colours, and the Classico (pictured). Information: 01425 279 312 or RRP: £99 (Baby Sole), £398 (Classico)

TechnoMarine launched in 1997, becoming the first watch brand to mix diamonds with plastic, carving out a new niche for everyday luxury. As part of a new era of creativity and repositioning, the brand is launching the Cruise Original Lipstick collection; a trio of watches in on-trend block colours of fuchsia, coral and violet that also come with a free lipstick in a matching shade. Information: 0121 233 4680 or RRP: £395


Semi-precious stones

In living colour Let’s take a moment to celebrate the beauty and qualities of the semi-precious stones that are available to the jewellery industry, courtesy of Mother Earth, and the skill and creativity of some of the designers who work with them…

In addition to her ever-popular ‘Enchanted’ collection, Jesa Marshall’s newest collection – ‘Shhh…’ – continues to be a great success in 2011, comprised of intriguing lockets and fascinating poison rings. Beautiful spectrolite, opal and diamond rings contain secrets bound by enchanted trees, which wrap themselves around the finger. Victorianesque lockets, hung from watch chains, perched upon by ominous birds and delicate moths beg to be opened and yet are uncomfortably guarded. Each piece is individually handcrafted and is completely unique, offering a truly collectable, personal piece of wearable art. Information: 01258 881 690 or

Muru uses a variety of semi-precious stones in its Monaco collection. The collection features stones such as lapis lazuli, turquoise, tiger’s eye, and blue and pink chalcedony, as well as purple jade and sandstone. The stones have a striking checkerboard cut to maximise the lustre and sparkle of each piece. Muru director Phil Barnes says: “We are always trying to find new and interesting stones because vibrant colours are extremely prominent in fashion at the moment. This is set to continue for the rest of this year and well into 2012.” Information: 0208 245 1920 or

Semi-precious stones

Gemelite reports that its colourstone range proved a big hit during 2010, and, building on that success, the company has extended its range with new designs for 2011. In addition to the traditional colourstone ranges with clusters of three stones and five stones etc, Gemelite has launched more designs incorporating semiprecious stones. Many of the new ranges come as sets with matching rings, pendants and earrings, and all are priced competitively. Information: 0208 958 4890 or

In just 10 years Nikki Gewirtz has made Lola Rose a formidable fashion force internationally. For the autumn/winter season angles are fluid and shapes are organic; dewdrops, petals and pebbles softened by time. The company’s new collection boasts settings of 22 carat gold, featuring filigree detail to create a look of luxury, and shades inspired by the earth, forest, sea and sky: sumptuous earth tones of gold sandstone and smoky obsidian; green of fern quartzite; and the exotic blues and purples of peacock and iris quartzite. Information: 0207 372 0777 or

Trollbeads, the original Danish charm bead jewellery, offers an extensive selection of semi-precious stone jewellery in its current range of over 400 individually hand-crafted beads. Obsidian, quartz, amethyst, ruby, tiger’s eye, aventurine, labradorite, onyx, amazonite, chalcedony, agate, amber, jasper and jade are all included in the vibrant collection of semiprecious stone beads. Meanwhile, the Trollbeads earring collection also features semi-precious stones with five accessories in amethyst, rose quartz, black onyx, chalcedony and green prehnite. “Semi precious stones are very popular with Trollbeads fans,” says Sarah Morfoot, managing director of Fable Trading Ltd, sole supplier of Trollbeads in the UK and Ireland. “In addition to their visual appeal, stones also have their own individual meaning, which is an attractive selling point and can be a significant influence, particularly on gift purchases. For example, aventurine is thought to encourage creativity and is a lucky charm for true love; obsidian represents purity; and labradorite is known as the star stone, which is said to contain dust from the stars, giving strength and good health.” Information: 0117 377 4214 or



Semi-precious stones

Dutch jewellery brand Choices By DL is now available to the UK market. Dubbed ‘a jewellery wardrobe in a box’, this contemporary customisation concept allows wearers to adapt fine jewellery to any outfit, mixing and matching gemstones with yellow, white or pink 18 carat gold bases thanks to the three interchangeable, separate parts. A rainbow of colours are available, with semi-precious gemstone choices including topaz, amethyst, citrine, quartz, moonstone, agate, aventurine and onyx. The stones can also be replaced with 18 carat faceted white gold, yellow gold and pave white, brown and black diamonds. Information: 01727 893 661 (ext 3) or

Mishca Nite by Mischa Jewels London is a bespoke collection of special pieces inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night paintings. The jewels are exclusively crafted with passion and love; full of inspiration, colours and shapes from Vincent’s beautiful paintings, they are created as a tribute to the artist. This luxury collection merges classic style with creative flair, and is made up of elegant swirls adorned with shimmering semi-precious gemstones. Included in the collection is the striking Amazonite Smoky Bracelet, comprised of faceted balls on a unique gold vermeil chain. Meanwhile, the Mishca Luxury Statement Ring collection is a special addition to the Mishca Nite Collection, crafted in 18 carat rose gold vermeil, gold vermeil and sterling silver with fine semiprecious gemstones. Information: 0207 193 1995 or

Semi-precious stones

Fran Barker’s ‘Sinners’ collection is a breathtaking reflection of contemporary jewellery with classic roots. Fran’s designs are recognised for creating huge dramatic impact, especially evident in the serpentlike metalwork which weaves its way around glittering gemstones of lustrous black onyx and garnet; envious green tourmaline and amethyst; and proud blue topaz and aquamarine. The collections are comprised of various sized rings – some stackable – as well as pendants and earrings. Information: 07748 821 358 or

For this season Tresor Paris has introduced a hand-finished collection of bracelets, ankle bracelets, rings and necklaces, made from sparkling spheres with a variety of precious natural materials believed to have healing properties. “Magnetite is a type of iron oxide with natural magnetic properties. It works with the body’s own magnetic field. It is believed to be good for asthma sufferers, maintaining healthy skin and healing muscle cramps. Many believe amethyst is beneficial for headaches, blood sugar imbalance, left brain imbalance and edginess. It can also facilitate healing, inner peace and psychic insight. Tiger’s eye is known as a protective stone that is good for healing eye disorders and broken bones. Finally carnelian – the word derived from Latin meaning flesh – helps lower abdominal pains, especially in woman, and helps during pregnancy,” the company says. Information: 0203 355 4030 or




Celebrating colour

Louise Hoffman catches up with Kiki McDonough to hear about her bright colour combinations and wearable designs, through which she seeks to bring a smile to the face of each customer I understand you have been working as a fine jewellery designer for 25 years now. What led you to this vocation?

I grew up surrounded by jewellery – two generations of my family before me worked with antique fine jewellery so it was natural that I developed an interest in jewellery too. I made the decision to start my own business 25 years ago, when I realised how expensive fine jewellery was becoming. I wanted to offer affordable, wearable and modern fine jewellery, so I launched my first collection, through a concession in a friend’s shop, with prices ranging from £95 to £950.

Which materials do you most enjoy working with and why?

I have always loved the colours of semi-precious stones; peridot, citrine, amethyst and blue topaz are my favourites – they have a wonderful ability to light up the face. So many of us seem to wear all-black outfits, especially in winter, that a pair of coloured stone earrings is the perfect antidote. Coloured stones are also extremely versatile – I have such fun creating striking and bold colour combinations and love being able to design jewellery that I know will complement all complexions.

Is there a single most important goal you have striven to reach with each piece of jewellery throughout your career?

Every piece of jewellery I design should make the wearer look and feel prettier than they did before they put it on. My jewellery is designed to lighten up the face and hands and make people feel altogether more positive. I also aim to make my designs as wearable as possible – although it is fine jewellery, the wearer shouldn’t feel nervous about putting it on. I’m a busy working mother and understand the challenges of dressing for every occasion, so it is important to me that my jewellery can go with everything and go everywhere. I hope my customers agree that my designs can be worn every day, whether teamed with a cocktail dress or with a simple shirt and jeans.

As a high-end jeweller, has the rise in precious metal prices posed any problems for your business?

The rise in the price of gold has made it very difficult for jewellers and manufacturers everywhere. As well as semiprecious stones, I use white, rose or yellow gold in every piece of jewellery I design, so of course I have noticed the rising prices. However, my aim has always been to offer my customers beautiful and affordable fine jewellery, and this hasn’t changed. I have tried to absorb as much of the rising cost as possible so that my designs remain as appealing as ever.


In terms of clientele, you have quite a few famous followers I believe! Do tell us more…

I have a wonderfully loyal client base that includes friends, family, customers in the UK and abroad, and some celebrities too. Rosamund Pike, Hayley Attwell, Rachael Stirling and Diana Rigg are followers and are always delightful to deal with because they love the jewellery. Most recently, Joanne Frogatt attended the British Independent Film Awards 2010 wearing one of my show-stopping amethyst bombe rings, while Heart FM’s Harriet Scott chose one of my popular ‘Opera’ pendants and a colourful cocktail ring to team with her dress for ‘Grey Goose Character & Cocktails: The Elton John AIDS Foundation Winter Ball’. We keep a regularly updated gallery of ‘stars wearing Kiki’ on my website,

“I always enjoyed seeing Princess Diana in my jewellery as she took enormous pleasure in wearing it and we had such fun choosing the pieces”

And perhaps most impressively, you count Princess Diana and Catherine Middleton among your customers! How does it feel to see your jewellery adorning royalty?

I always enjoyed seeing Princess Diana in my jewellery as she took enormous pleasure in wearing it and we had such fun choosing the pieces. It is wonderful to now be able to count Catherine Middleton as a follower too – she wore a pair of my white topaz and diamond ‘Grace’ studs to the official launch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s new lifeboat – her first public engagement as Prince William’s fiancée. Since then, she has chosen to accessorise with my designs for several public engagements and always looks beautiful wearing them. Pippa Middleton also wears my jewellery.

“My jewellery is designed to lighten up the face and hands and make people feel altogether more positive”

Are you currently working on any new designs?

I’m always working on new designs – my summer collection has just arrived in-store and is really beautiful. I’ve added to my ever-popular range of cocktail rings with some truly show-stopping pieces. I’ve also created mini versions of my well-loved ‘Opera’ pendants; a new collection of rings and earrings decorated with diamond ribbons; as well as an affordable collection of delicate gold pieces inspired by nature and featuring flowers and bees, called ‘Eve’. As well as fine jewellery, I recently had great fun designing my first perfume, which is as vibrant and colourful as my jewellery and has proved to be very popular in-store. In June I look forward to launching a capsule collection of small leather goods, which I hope will be a great success.

Finally, what are your predictions for the short-term future of the fine jewellery sector?

I’m confident that the future of the fine jewellery sector is secure – jewellery has always given people enormous pleasure and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so. Regardless of economic climate or the mood of the country, putting on a special piece of jewellery should always make the wearer feel special and more positive. It is important that now, more than ever, that feeling can continue.


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To see more about our range of stones, pearls, beads and unusual or collectors’ items please visit our new, regularly updated website. If you have specific requirements, you can contact us from the website or using the details below.




ROOM 27-31, NEW HOUSE 67-68 HATTON GARDEN, LONDON EC1N 8 JY TELEPHONE: +44(0)20 7405 2169 FACSIMILE: +44(0)20 7405 9385

Little gems



Focus on

loose gemstones

Gemstones remain a perfect option for designers seeking to create a unique and personal piece of statement jewellery, and Jon Chapple takes a look at some of the suppliers that can help


emstones – distinctive pieces of precious mineral forged by seismic and volcanic activity deep beneath the earth’s surface – are part of the foundations upon which the tradition of fine jewellerymaking is built. From classic styles, such as the rich hues of sapphires and rubies, to rarer and more unusual stones like cornelian and lapis lazuli, the creative incorporation of a distinctive and carefully-chosen gem is a sure-fire way to set a piece of jewellery apart from others; adding instant collectability and providing the perfect way for the designer-maker to add that all-important personal touch. Coloured stone supplier Marcia Lanyon Ltd states that it is ready to deliver a wide and colourful range

of stock for the summer season. The company has provided coloured gemstones and pearls to jewellers all over the world for 33 years, and says that it is well known in the industry for its friendly customer service, competitive prices and excellent standard of quality. From unique pieces to calibrated sizes of cabochon and faceted stones, Marcia Lanyon can supply anything from a string of deep blue chunky lapis beads for a statement necklace, to a pair of on-trend fuchsia-coloured tourmaline for earrings. “Our friendly west London office is ready to help you find what you need; whether it’s beads, stones or pearls,” the company adds. The launch of Marcus McCallum’s expanded website (

means that its customers can now view its stock wherever they are. The new site will have photos and details of much of the company’s stock of individual precious and semi-precious stones and pearls and beads, and will be updated on a weekly basis, with new stock available to view on the ‘New Arrivals’ page, and rare and unusual pieces in the ‘Collectors’ Pieces’ section. The company reminds customers to keep a close eye on the ‘Latest News’ page for when Marcus will be going on buying trips, “so you can be among the first to see the new stock when it arrives back.” R M Weare & Company says that it has gained a reputation as one of the most trusted and respected gemstone suppliers in the UK through its attention to customer service, same-day turnaround on orders, and an extensive range of commerciallyused stones. It stocks a wide variety of shapes, sizes and qualities in diamond and coloured gemstones, as well as exquisite, one-off certificated stones, with gem-testing, valuation and cutting services also available.



Little gems




G F Williams & Co stocks an extensive range of rare and fine coloured gemstones, offering both calibrated goods in standard shapes and sizes and one-off single pieces. “Our friendly staff are trade qualified, and with over 100 years of combined experience, the company is well able to assist clients with their sourcing needs for commercial or collectable and rare gemstones,” the company states. “As an active trading business, we are closely in touch with supply markets and the availability of goods on world markets. We are also gold corporate members of the Gemmological Association and work closely in following the latest industry trends and guidelines.”

G F Williams is renowned for holding a large range of gemstones in stock, and uses its online presence ( as both a reflection of current available stock and a valuable trading tool for trade clients. Finally, Capital Gems is a jobbing gemstone dealer, specialising in calibrated goods in all varieties of gemstones. The company says it is increasingly being asked for fracturefilled ruby, as it would appear that many retailers are being asked to

work on and repair pieces of jewellery unaware that the ruby piece they are attempting to work on is in fact fracture filled. “When heat is applied to these pieces, the infilling, which is either quartz lead or glass, fractures and the ruby is then completely ruined. Although these stones are very inexpensive, locating a suitable replacement is not always easy, as they are often uncalibrated, and therefore very difficult to replace exactly,” the company explains.

1) Capital Gems: 0207 253 3575 • 2) G F Williams & Co: 0207 405 5477 3) Marcia Lanyon: 0207 602 2446 • 4) Marcus McCallum: 0207 405 2169 5) R M Weare & Company: 01904 693 933

Harrogate Home & Gift


A milestone event

This year the Harrogate Home & Gift show has pulled out all the stops for its 50th anniversary. Read on to discover the delights that await you…


aunched in 1961, the Harrogate Home & Gift show is now in its 50th year! Commencing on the 17 July at Harrogate International Centre and at other locations across Harrogate town, visitors to this year’s event can look forward to four days of exclusive golden anniversary celebrations, as well as opportunities to source products from over 900 exhibitors at the optimum time for Christmas ordering – all within the pleasant surroundings of Harrogate Spa. With many new companies exhibiting for 2011, the show continues to be organised into product sectors including Gift, Home, Jewellery & Fashion, Greetings & Stationery in order to help visitors navigate their way around and maximise their time. New for this year is the Men’s Gifts sector, created to cater to this emerging market, and returning for a third year is the Intro North sector, which will again showcase new and original design talent sourced from across the UK, with each exhibitor having been selected for their creativity, quality and commercial potential. Home & Gift also offers visitors the opportunity to attend free retail surgeries. Leading trend forecaster Trend Bible is confirmed to speak, following its popular run of seminars at Top Drawer London. The 50th anniversary celebrations will run for the duration of the show, with various events planned to commemorate this special occasion. A unique and interactive ‘Timeline’ will run alongside Design Point 1, giving visitors an insight into the history of the show, as well as the gift industry itself. Meanwhile, a local Farmer’s Market has also been introduced to help celebrate local produce and encourage visitors to make the most of the special outdoor environment unique to Home & Gift. So, to whet your appetite in advance of your visit, why not take a look at the offerings of some of the jewellery designers, manufacturers and suppliers that will be exhibiting…

Absolute Jewellery is a stunning range of pearl, crystal and silver jewellery, and its latest collections will be launched at Harrogate Home & Gift. There are three distinct ranges: Pearl, Crystal and Goddess. Absolute Pearl features contemporary pearl and enamelled details with Swarovski elements. Absolute Crystal comprises classic pieces set with Swarovski stones to create beauty in design. Meanwhile the glamorous ‘Goddess’ collection provides statement pieces, with a focus on chunky silver neckpieces and glistening crystal bangles that stack and layer. The brand adds that its jewellery is handmade in Italy with meticulous attention to detail. Information: 00 353 4943 62680 or Stand: C32

Harrogate Home & Gift

Banyan Jewellery has been a wholesale jeweller since 1997. Its uniquely designed silver jewellery is adorned with gold, copper and brass. Opalites and semi-precious stones are used to add depth of colour and light. Inspired by cultures of the world, the jewellery ranges from bold, contemporary pieces to ever popular delicate hearts and flowers. Banyan’s designs are conceived in its Devon workshop, and the jewellery is then created by a team of talented silversmiths. Information: 01626 853 384 or Stand: QS-13

Sterlinx is seeking to build on its success at the recent JCK Las Vegas show with this crystal bracelet, which it says will allow retailers to gain maximum profits. This bracelet is available in sterling silver and base metal and with a variety of crystals. Since Sterlinx’s parent company is, it has also developed the product using magnets to add therapeutic qualities. Information: 07971 544 914 Stand: D20

Newcomers to Home & Gift, Midastouch Jewels draws inspiration from the North Wales coast and mountains to create stunning handmade jewellery. Each piece is a fusion of sterling and fine silver with flamework glass, and is created in the Midastouch workshop, based in Conwy, North Wales. Since it was established in 2010, the company has featured in a variety of consumer and trade publications; has designed tiaras for the Miss Every Model and Miss Talent Expo pageants; and has been identified as one of the top 20 exhibitors at Top Drawer. Information: 01492 583 646 or Stand: E115



Harrogate Home & Gift

Elran Ltd has recently taken over the distribution of Amaro Jewellery, offering a new affordable stone range set in today’s popular silver and gold colours. Visit the company’s stand at Harrogate Home & Gift to find out more. Information: 0208 208 4409 Stand: QS-114A

Kali Ma is proud to announce the launch of its new ‘Ruby B.’ children’s range of silver jewellery at Home & Gift 2011. Beautifully crafted miniature strawberries and hearts detailed in enamel with polkadots in pretty colours feature in pendant, bracelet and stud earring sets. Precision-cut silver animal charms are also available, as well as a kaleidoscope of colours in Austrian crystal. Designed as a collectable, keepsake range, each piece comes complete with an organza pouch & ‘Ruby B.’ bag for safekeeping. Branded point of sale displays are also available. Information: 01803 872 555 or Stand: C46

Valentina is showcasing five brand new collections for autumn/winter 2011, including Berrylicious – a fusion of genuine Murano glass beads and crystals in delicious autumnal colours; Equinox – contemporary handstrung Murano glass and sterling silver bead necklaces and bracelets in both rich and vibrant colours, perfect for the season’s trends; and Romance – stunning large Murano glass hearts in black and white two tone, rich red and pink filigrana (featuring ribbons of baby pink glass ‘floating’ in transparent glass), suspended from mineral and crystal bead hand-strung necklaces and bracelets. Information: 01638 552 879 or Stand: QS-19

Midhaven says its range of top quality bolo leather and stainless steel friendship bracelets, which are new for Harrogate, offers excellent margins for retailers. Ladies’ and gents’ styles are available in black, brown, tan, reds, blues and purples in 15 styles. Information: 01299 851 513 or Stand: C37

Get your Christmas profit wrapped up… 17-20 July 2011, Harrogate

Home & Gift is the crucial trade event for retailers, perfectly timed for your Christmas ordering. Visit Home & Gift this summer to profit from the: • Huge selection of fabulous products to suit your budget from over 900 exhibitors.

• New autumn and winter lines – be the first to see hundreds of product launches in time for the festive season.

• Exclusive access to over 350 companies who will not be exhibiting at any other UK trade show.

• Free business advice, designed to boost your profits and put you ahead on the high street.

ReGisteR now for free entry at:

Home / General Gifts / Design-led Gifts / Men’s Gifts / Collectables & Traditional Gifts / Jewellery & Fashion / Greetings & Stationery


Harrogate Home & Gift

With the addition of a national sales team, Jo for Girls says it has been enjoying a bumper year – again! The company’s jewellery designs are girly and sparkly, with the addition of ‘very grown-up’ packaging. Designer Linda has also taken some of her adult creations – such as the charm bead collection – and made them smaller for little girls who want to emulate their mums or aunties. Meanwhile, for summer brides, the company offers classic, single freshwater pearl pendants and earrings and sparkly cubic zirconia heart pendants and earrings in five colours. Pictured is the Strawberry Collection, which is especially suited to the summer season. Information: 01887 820 760 or Stand: DP1-103

Add some colour to your displays with the eyecatching collection of vibrant and unusual jewellery on offer from Jules Jules. The company says that one of its most popular ranges is the colourful glass jewellery designed and handmade by Juli Miller in the UK. Layers of glass are hand-cut and kiln fired to create these unique, individual pieces with colours selected to suit current trends. Information: 07970 057 866 or Stand: QS-1

Paradise Jewellery’s new Carnival collection of crystal features heart, flower, spotted and striped designs, offering widespread appeal. At Harrogate Home & Gift the company will be offering plenty of choice for the discerning buyer, with many individual gemstone pieces, sumptuous crystal, contemporary silver and unique designer jewellery. Information: 0117 377 4280 Stand: C09

For more information about the event visit

or call 0207 370 8214.

Valentina Advert June2011



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Visit us at Harrogate Home & Gift 2011 Stand QS-19 Te l / F a x : 0 1 6 3 8 5 5 2 8 7 9 i n f o @ v a l e n t i n a j e w e l l e r y. c o . u k w w w. v a l e n t i n a j e w e l l e r y. c o . u k


Fashion jewellery

Following trends With consumers now watching their pennies, yet still looking to accessorise their summer outfits, a fashion jewellery offering can be a wise investment. Louise Hoffman asks three sector representatives for their views


hese days, all businessmen and women’s eyes are on finances – from managing increases in outgoings and reductions in incomings; to formulating the most lucrative strategies; to planning for an uncertain future. On a smaller, more personal scale, the same goes for the consumer, who is making crucial decisions over his or her spending on a daily basis. What has not changed, however, is the desire to buy – whether out of necessity or as a treat – and so one way or another, the retail sector can continue to supply the demand. Last month was the Jewellery Focus diamond special, which issued a reminder that higher-end jewellery is still being purchased, by those with fewer financial concerns and by those who have saved up for a one-off treat or gift for a special occasion. But what about the everyday purchases; the ‘while I’m here’ add-on sales; the quick, colourful additions to a new outfit; and the low cost gifts? For small, independent highstreet retailers, a quality fashion jewellery product offering may well be the answer. “Although the country is going through one of the worst recessions of recent years, our own experience suggests that the fashion jewellery industry is actually thriving,” asserts Louisa Hirst of fashion jewellery supplier Orelia Boutique, which supplies many independent jewellery shops and has concessions in chain stores such as Topshop. “For most consumers, spending £100 on a new outfit may be prohibitive, but transforming an existing outfit with gorgeous accessories at a snip of the price is far more realistic.” Nick Bartley of jewellery brand Lucas Jack shares this sentiment, so much so that he has recently introduced a new brand to the market in order to cater to consumers looking for affordable style: “The current economic climate is focused on cost,” he explains. “We conducted customer research and found they wanted a strong look such as Lucas Jack, but at a lower price. Punch jewellery is more fashion forward, and at a lower price, to have a wider appeal across the broader market.” “The main material we work with is resin to keep the jewellery price competitive,” Nick continues. “With Lucas Jack the designs are based on gold plate with resin detail, whereas Punch is the opposite. Using a resin base with gold plate details helps keeps the price down.” I also enquired as to how such jewellery should be selected and displayed, in order to complement existing product ranges. “Retailers can complement their current retail offering by providing [specific] colours, for example, but they can also use our collections to enhance best sellers – we love to do this by designing statement pieces with a difference,” Tracy Watson of rapidly expanding fashion jewellery supplier Designsix suggests. Nick offers further advice: “Fashion jewellery collections need to be well branded to avoid looking as though they’ve been mass produced. Retailers should think about how the jewellery will be presented and how

In keeping with the current vintage trend, Balagan’s Summer Vintage collection is unmistakably feminine and romantic. This flower collection features roses and daisies in four nostalgic colourways – black, cream, turquoise and peach – with sterling silver and oxidised base metal chains. All of the pieces come with ‘powder puff ’ vintage jewellery boxes based on original designs from the 1950s, which make a fabulous talking point. Information: 0845 260 0925 or

Fashion jewellery

Introducing the new It bracelet by Svane & Lührs, and available from KM Jewellery. This hand-sewn sheep’s leather strap comes in 30 brightly coloured leathers, cool metallics, and reptile or snake look, with over 350 charms to choose from, all made of semiprecious stones set in 925 sterling silver with rhodium plating or gold plating. Information: 0191 214 7074 or

Dutch brand Bulatti has been designing and manufacturing for 27 years, aiming to deliver quality and style in costume jewellery. The range features Swarovski crystal and stones from all over the world, and is supported with beautiful gift packaging, guarantee certificates and after-sales service. The company is also exhibiting at Harrogate Home & Gift, stand C48. Information: 01245 360 949 or

much space they want it to take in their shop. We’ve set up vertical bangle bars to minimise space and highlight the bold fashion look of Punch’s designs. Well branded and well designed is the key.” And for readers who are thinking about branching out further with their product range, or are already doing so, Louisa Hirst makes an interesting point: “These days, shoppers expect to be able to buy a full new look from one shop. Buying from one outlet gives the discerning shopper the guarantee that all the elements in their outfit will augment and flatter each other. Retailers therefore need to select jewellery and accessories that reflect the styles of any other fashion items they sell. The beauty of our products is that we reflect all the key trends of any season, therefore fitting with most fashion brands.” Looking into the crystal ball, it seems Nick, Louisa and Tracy are all in agreement that the retail market will continue to struggle for some time yet, but that fashion jewellery can offer a helping hand to the highstreet. “Most economic commentators agree that the current recession is set to last for a while longer, which may be positive for the fashion jewellery industry. We foresee the popularity of costume jewellery rising steadily over the next year,” says Louisa, adding: “If buying 18 carat gold rings encrusted with diamonds is out of your customers’ grasp, companies like ours offer the next best thing.” “The forthcoming year is going to be hard for the jewellery retailers,” Tracy concurs. “We believe consumers want to see a change in what is currently offered on the highstreet, and our forthcoming collection will aim to do this.”



Fashion jewellery

Kleshna’s bold designs are colour explosions inspired by 70s hedonism, with a mix of techno couture. The Prism Swag collection pays homage to the glamorous glitz of the era, with a mass of Swarovski crystal sparkling in vivid colour swags that sweep down the body. Bringing movement to the collection are the tactile gyroscopic earrings – loops of Swarovski crystal, spiral in and around one another creating a blur of colour. “This collection is energetic and makes you smile!” comments Kleshna on her colourful creations. Information: 0208 401 6789 or

Orelia Boutique was founded by Louisa Hirst and Collette Flood. The company offers a wide range of jewellery, hair accessories and bags, selling worldwide via its website, as well as through concessions within selected Topshop stores, and other independent retailers in the UK. Using Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones and eye-catching charms, Orelia creates costume jewellery for style-savvy women. Driven by a love of shopping and travel, the Orelia team seeks inspiration from the colourful markets of Bangkok to the boutiques of St Tropez. Having both been buyers for some of the UK’s leading highstreet names, Louisa and Collette have gained valuable experience in costume jewellery. Information: 01273 675 556 or

Designsix is run by husband and wife team Mark and Tracy Watson, and their factory in Bali is run along highly ethical lines. The company’s costume jewellery is currently stocked at retail outlets including several museum shops such as the V&A, and it has produced exclusive pieces to coincide with major exhibitions. Information: 0208 766 7823 or

Fashion jewellery

The brand new Stained Glass range from Jessica Jewellery Design captures the bold colours and patterns from Jessica’s own photographic images of stained glass. Each piece is individually handmade, ensuring no two items are identical, and the acrylic has a unique optical effect created by applying matt and polished surface finishes. Jessica has a wide selection of designs within her overall collection, inspired by images of nature and manmade structures. She will be exhibiting at IJL in September. Information: 07977 676 232 or

Punch London is a fresh and funky range of fashion jewellery made from brightly-coloured resins and embellished with 22 carat gold-plated detail, ideal for the summer. The range consists mainly of bangles, which look fantastic on their own or even better layered up, and has matching necklaces, rings and earrings. Each piece is bold, vibrant and attention-grabbing, and colours can be kept uniform or mixed together. The jewellery comes with its own branded packaging and point of sale material.

Fatlip is spreading the love with new heart jewellery lines for the summer. The Amarella necklace is a simple, attractive resin heart backed with brushed aluminium and hung on a rigid wire, and is available in four colours; while the longer Aurora necklace features nine acrylic hearts in a mix of summery colours. Both necklaces are available on the company’s fully transactional website, and all jewellery can be bought in singles or chosen quantities. There is also a wholesale showroom in Worcester with extra lines available. Information: 01905 612 955 or

Information: 0845 257 7418 or

NOA’s jewellery is a unique marriage of silver, brass and specially-designed colourful ceramics that create a beautiful and affordable collection. The company says that each year its team pushes the boundaries to discover new and exciting possibilities, and this year is no different. You can request a download of NOA’s trade catalogue on its website to see the latest collection, which includes pendants, necklaces, bracelets and earrings that can all come as matching sets. A wide range of ceramic designs is available for each item to suit any style or season. Most of NOA’s jewellery is packaged in specially-designed presentation boxes, and it is all handcrafted in the UK. The company is also exhibiting at Harrogate Home & Gift, Queen Suite 58. Information: 029 2075 8409 or




Why stock new designers? Sam Willoughby speaks with some of the jewellery designers set to exhibit as part of this year’s KickStart initiative, to identify the benefits of supporting new design ideas


ll industry needs to develop and progress – it’s the only way for business to stay healthy. It’s all about the ‘new’ – new innovative technology; new design; new contacts; and new methods of doing business. I personally think the UK jewellery industry is very good at supporting new designers as they launch their careers, and this is essential in such a creative business. We have just announced the line-up of KickStart designers who will be showing at IJL, and the British Jewellers’ Association is supporting this initiative, which acts as a bursary scheme for new talent with the aim of injecting ‘newness’ into the industry. When speaking to new designers, I always find it interesting to hear about their inspirations and how they got into the industry. It’s life experiences that often inspire creativity. For example, KickStarter Sarah Ibrahim’s work is inspired by her heritage, travels, and interest in small containers! Some designers have wanted to design jewellery for their whole lives, while others have moved into the industry from very different backgrounds. KickStart designer Johnny Mirpuri is a former City banker who now creates elegant and sleek jewellery, drawing on a combination of computer-aided technology and traditional hand-crafted techniques to bring them to life. “I believe retailers will gain great comfort and assurance from the fact that all MIRPURI jewellery is made entirely in the UK using reputable UKbased vendors, ensuring a timely, quality-controlled and price-competitive delivery to market,” comments Mirpuri, who is keen to cultivate important and longstanding relationships with both UK and overseas buyers. New designers often create jewellery with a very contemporary feel – perhaps a sign that they are keen to push boundaries. KickStarter Gina Melosi’s first collection features jewellery with a crystallised design, where glass shards create a delicate yet dangerous effect. Gina casts broken glass fragments into recycled sterling silver, and each piece is finished with textured edges and polished surfaces. It is then plated in white rhodium or rose gold, the latter pave-set with fair trade sapphires. “My work has a very directional focus and also an artistic sensitivity, and I believe it fits in very well with boutiques such as Kabiri or Opening Ceremony, and higher-end department stores like Liberty or Barney’s,” says Melosi. “I wasn’t aiming to make a conventionally commercial jewellery product; I think that market is already saturated. I believe customers more and more are looking for something fresh, exciting and aspirational. But within that aspiration there is still a price

range, so the customer can buy simply a small pair of studs and feel part of the brand persona.” Just because designers are new, this doesn’t mean they aren’t savvy – both in terms of business nous and technical skills – indeed, they are quite the opposite in many cases. Natasha Faith and Semhal Zemikael founded their own company – La Diosa – after travelling the world for a year to seek inspiration, learning invaluable skills while living in Mexico and training with a small group of women who taught them how to make their striking jewellery. Their new business is already multi-award-winning and they keep the customer at the forefront of their minds: “All of our designs tell a story and that really engages the consumer,” Faith informed me. “Our main aim is to keep making interesting pieces that tell a story and are created from colourful and vibrant gemstones. La Diosa aims to grow bigger while remaining small; this way the customer always feels special.” One thing I have really noticed when speaking to new designers is how ambitious and keen they are – this can be such a driving force. “I am full of anticipation and excitement at the opportunity to present my work alongside the founders of contemporary jewellery and those who set the trends,” KickStarter Abigail Stradling was eager to tell me. “I feel that this is a really liberating time in jewellery. Retailers are more willing to embrace avant-garde forms and support new ways of working with materials.” This drive is very visible among the other KickStart designers and companies – Claire English of Special Jewellery Co, Doreth Jones, Cabbage is King, Emma Turpin and Amy Keeper. It’s refreshing to meet these designers as they embark on their fledgling careers and I think this enthusiasm is infectious, adding to the industry as a whole.

Left to right: Mirpuri, Gina Melosi, La Diosa

Sam Willoughby is event director for International Jewellery London (IJL).

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Your views

Silver: what does the future hold? Rocketing silver prices were beginning to cast a worrying shadow over the jewellery market in the first quarter of 2011, but it has since seen somewhat of a reprieve. Retailers share their experiences with Michael Northcott

Your views


t seems the bubble could be bursting. Having endured 12 months of continual ballooning of silver prices, jewellers may now be breathing a sigh of relief as the price has peaked and seems to be rapidly on the way down. After reaching a height of more than £950 per kilogram, the commodities markets shaved £300 off that figure in the two weeks to the end of May. If it lasts, the slump will be welcomed by jewellers and retailers alike, as lower prices draw larger numbers of customers to the shopfloor. Jewellery Focus has spoken to a range of independent highstreet jewellery stores from up and down the country, to gauge the reactions of shop owners and to find out if they expect to cash in on the market flux.

We’re not selling any gold at the moment because the price is too high, so the only thing we can shift is silver. But for silver the price has actually gone up from our suppliers so we’re yet to see any benefit. If the price does drop, we will buy in a bit more to take advantage. Pauline Yearley of Drake Fine Jewellers, Plymouth

We wouldn’t just jump in and buy a load of silver. I have a stable amount of stock, which I am keen to maintain and get sold. I think customers have a fixed view of how much silver should really cost, so it can’t just keep climbing in price otherwise people will generally stop buying it altogether. Also, the price hasn’t actually dropped with our suppliers yet, and the higher the price goes, the more likely we are to sit tight instead of just buying up. Philip Goldberg of Argentium, Edinburgh

When the silver prices first went up, we re-priced all of our silver stock, and basically stopped buying in more. It was a good excuse to sell some of the older stock and obviously we bought it before the prices soared, leaving us with good profit margins. We haven’t been ordering silver for a while, apart from Pandora whose prices remain reliably consistent. We didn’t do the same thing with gold as we’ve just got used to the high price. Some suppliers try to maintain their prices when there’s a slump, but lots of them will pass on the savings to us. Adrian Batchelor of Upchurch & Sons Ltd, Colchester

We actually make some of our own silver pieces in the workshop here. It can be both a good and bad thing if the prices change like this. We didn’t have a lot of old stock that we could sell while prices were rising – two or three years ago we had a good sale and sold a lot of the pieces that we had been unhappy with, so we were left mainly with stock that we were happy with. That meant we had to continue buying silver pieces while the price was soaring. We won’t be ‘buying at the bottom of the market’ even if the slump lasts, as we’re not in a cash flow position to invest heavily like that. Pippa Stephens of Cathy Stephens Jewellery, Nottingham

We’re not typical because we just hold our stock and have an annual collection. I think most companies are probably not in the position to do a big buy-up just because the prices dip a little. We’re more likely to just take the hit on the stock we already have here. We’d still like to see the price come down a bit more to be honest. I think generally the prices are still seen as high, so we certainly won’t just be rushing to buy silver. Monica Langford of Baybrook & Britten, London

We wouldn’t really take advantage of the price drop in that way – we work on an annual basis. Our supplier warned us that the prices would rise in advance of May, so we bought up then, ahead of the fiscal year, but of course now they’ve dropped a little. We’ve had a bit of an administrative nightmare re-adjusting our prices again to compensate, and our profits have taken a bit of a hit. We tend to re-stock according to customer demand, rather than buying up a lot of silver just because the price gets a bit lower. Claire of Diana Porter Contemporary Jewellery, Bristol

It’s just a real pain in the neck for us to be honest! Anonymous, Faversham nr Canterbury

Normally when we order jewellery we’re notified by our suppliers about price changes – they’re usually pretty upfront with us. We don’t stock according to the market fluctuations, we just put up our prices if we have to pay more to the supplier. As long as people keep buying jewellery, the silver prices will not affect us, and at the moment people are buying so the commodity prices aren’t really affecting us. If people slowed down buying, then we would be forced to order less from the suppliers. Usually our suppliers pass on the savings, so we will be able to bring our prices back down. Our stock-buying patterns tend to echo customer demand rather than metal prices. Mr Eastwood of Aristia Ltd, Southsea

Buying in stock in these conditions is tricky, because as with any commodities traders, it is impossible to know when it has reached the bottom of the market, and when it will begin to climb again. At least the price of silver is not remaining steadfastly on the plateau that it had reached, as gold has to the cost of suppliers. If suppliers pass on their savings with the lower prices it could prove useful in getting customers through the door, and the industry could see a surge in sales of silver items. But with many suppliers as yet not willing or not able to pass on any savings, it may be some time before the highstreet sees the benefits. Additionally, with world economies still sputtering back into life after recession, the commodities markets may not stabilise in such a way as to make ‘buying at the bottom of the market’ a legitimate strategy. So, let’s see what the third quarter brings…





Eternity Range aims to deliver to the highest standards with its handmade eternity rings, combined with reliable, experienced and friendly customer service. While keeping prices competitive, only fine coloured gemstones and G/VS diamonds are set into 18 carat gold and platinum. Perfect for summer 2011, Candy bracelets are the latest Not only does the company boast over 90 different styles must-have accessory from Charms UK. Created in sterling within the collection, the rings are in stock and available on silver with cubic zirconia and crystal, these eye-catching approbation as quick as next day. A bespoke design service bracelets will prepare your customers for the sunny days ahead. is also available to accommodate specific customer requests, Information: 0117 968 3979 or with a delivery time of two to three weeks, and a one-year manufacturer’s guarantee on all rings. Interested retailers can view the complete collection online and register to view prices and receive a monthly newsletter. Appointments are also now being taken for a representative to pay a personal visit to your premises. Information: 0207 831 8573 or


Takin Taking

stock ­­

The exquisite Dragonfly collection from Fiorelli Silver is inspired by these most elegant symbols of strength and regeneration. The intricatelycrafted pendant features an array of blue and green crystal pavé that capture the iridescent hues of the dragonfly in nature, set delicately in rhodium-plated 925 silver. The earrings and ring complete the collection, all crafted to capture the ethereal quality of flitting wings. Information: 01376 532 000 or



Pretty, delicate flower designs by Tezer are perfect for the summer months. Wear the necklaces long or short with matching bracelets, earrings, rings and pendants. All are available in both sterling silver and gold plate. To view the complete collection, contact UK sales agent Sharon Acton. Information: 07774 928 045

Delcam has launched ArtCAM JewelSmith 2011 – the latest version of its CADCAM software for jewellers in both 32-bit and 64-bit applications. With this release, jewellers can now assemble complete pieces of jewellery even faster, thanks to its extended and enhanced component libraries. With 150 additional components, jewellers have access to over 550 individual components to create their jewellery. The library includes new models for clusters, collets, tiffany-style shanks and channel rings, among many others. Image courtesy of ArtCAM, customer Miriam Rowe. Information: or

When you need premium mounts there’s only one name to remember

Premium Mounts from Treasure House are some of the finest mounts you can buy. We only use high detail castings with extra finishing, using premium white alloys to give you the quality you want at affordable prices. Most styles are available in 9ct and 18ct white gold

or yellow gold, and platinum. All of this is combined with the large stocks held by Treasure House and our next day delivery promise. Call us now for a copy of our Mounts, Weddings Bands and Findings brochure on 020 7400 0000.

45 Kirby Street, Hatton Garden, London,EC1N 8TE Tel: 020 7400 0000 Fax: 020 7400 0010


How do they do that?

Cadmium testing

Changes to legislation surrounding the use of cadmium are on the horizon, and will affect jewellers making, importing and selling both fine and costume jewellery. Dippal Manchanda, technical director of the Birmingham Assay Office, explains the situation and how the Laboratory will test that products comply


admium is widely used in the jewellery industry, despite having long been recognised as a toxin and a known carcinogen, harmful when it is ingested or inhaled. Increasing concern with regard to consumer and employee health and safety has pushed it into the spotlight, and this has been accelerated by a recent trend for Far East manufacturers to substitute cadmium for lead, which is now tightly restricted in many countries. The EU has extended the restrictions on cadmium in the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of

Chemicals (REACH) Directive. A new regulation, EU 494/2011, was issued on 2 May, enforceable from 10 December 2011. The regulation restricts cadmium content in jewellery to 0.01 per cent (100 mg/kg) by weight of metal, and this applies to “metal beads and other metal jewellery components, metal parts of jewellery and imitation jewellery articles and hair accessories (ie bracelets, necklaces, rings, piercing jewellery, wristwatches, wrist-wear, hair accessories, brooches, cufflinks). Jewellers at all stages of the supply chain clearly need to respond by ensuring their products are compliant.

Cadmium: where and why is it present in jewellery?

Cadmium is a heavy metal, which has been used for over a century in both fashion and fine jewellery products. Small amounts of cadmium may be added to alloys used to make jewellery to impart specific technical and functional attributes to the metals. It may be present in jewellery as part of the metal alloy, solder or gold coating for electroforming/electroplating, or as a pigment or stabiliser in non-metal components. Cadmium is used for various specific reasons: De-oxidiser in silver alloys When silver is melted it takes up oxygen – about 22 times its own volume – and the copper that is usually alloyed with it also introduces more oxygen in the form of cuprous oxide. This creates the phenomenon known as ‘spitting’ or

How do they do that?

‘sprouting’, when silver cools after pouring. The presence of oxygen also interferes with rolling and drawing operations. Cadmium has proved to be the most effective de-oxidiser to resolve this problem. Improved malleability Sterling silver alloys containing cadmium are significantly more malleable and ductile, rendering them easier to spin and to draw. Cadmium may also be alloyed with tin to improve melt and flow. This property has also resulted in cadmium being widely used in solders and such solders melt and flow better at a lower temperature than non-cadmium products. They are also widely used in gold and silver solder-filled wire. Colour Cadmium is used in gold alloys in place of silver to obtain different shades of colour such as pale yellow or pink. Certain mixture of cadmium with gold gives green alloy, like the Cu-CdAg-Au mixtures. Greenish 18 carat gold alloys have traditionally been obtained with mixtures containing as much as 12.5 per cent cadmium. Adhesion and corrosion resistance Cadmium is used in some plating processes to promote adhesion and minimise corrosion. Plating baths may contain trace amounts of cadmium from earlier platings that could be incorporated in the final plated item. Cadmium in paints, colours and glaze Cadmium in various forms is used for colouring glass and porcelain and in the preparation of enamels. Such colours are absolutely stable on exposure to light and air, as none of the modifications of cadmium take up oxygen at ordinary temperatures. In addition to use in metals, solder and solder-filled jewellery, cadmium is used as a stabiliser in certain plastics and may be used as a pigment in crystal, glass, ceramics, enamel or plastics, or in paint and surface coatings. Scrap With such widespread use the jewellery supply chain needs to audit and review its practices in respect of cadmium. Its prevalence is apparent when gold and sterling silver scrap is melted. While levels are generally low, below 300 ppm for 95 per cent of the time, cadmium may be present at levels of 1,000 ppm and occasionally very much higher in both gold and silver melts.

How will articles be tested for cadmium compliance?

The Laboratory at the Birmingham Assay Office has a variety of techniques available for measuring the concentration of base metals in jewellery. Most popular are: X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (XRF); Analysis, Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES); and Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS). X-ray Fluorescence Testing (XRF) This technique is reasonably accurate for measuring cadmium content but, as a surface analysis method, the presence of coatings on the tested item can interfere with the detection of metals below. As many costume jewellery articles have some form of coating this could result in an inaccurate analysis. XRF method sensitivity also depends on the composition of the alloy, the shape and size of the object and the calibration models available for use. The Birmingham Assay Office proposes that a proper validation of testing jewellery articles to the new cadmium levels using XRF be undertaken before making a final decision on the suitability of XRF for accurately determining the concentration of cadmium in articles. XRF could certainly be used for initial screening of articles and quick measurements of cadmium content before a more accurate (and also more expensive) method such as ICP-OES could be used. If it is not necessary to determine the concentration of the metal but merely to confirm its presence, XRF is definitely a viable option. Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy AAS Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) has also been suggested as a possibility for determining cadmium content; a detection limit of 0.005 mg/l for cadmium has been suggested. ICP-OES ICP-OES is a destructive technique that is capable of reporting several elements simultaneously. The turnaround times are slightly longer than the XRF method of analysis, however the accuracy levels are far superior. This method can only be used by (accredited) laboratories. When a sample of the jewellery article is dissolved, the method can find even trace elements; for metals the results can be at the parts per million. An estimate for the detection limit is 0.001mg/kg so this method is currently the recommendation to ensure that products comply with the new regulations.

Focus on the expert Dippal Manchanda MSc CSci CChem FRSC Dippal Manchanda is the chief assayer and technical director at the Birmingham Assay Office, responsible for maintaining high analytical standards and providing scientific and technical expertise in all divisions of the business. Dippal holds a Masters degree (MSc) in inorganic chemistry and has over 26 years of experience in assaying and the examination of precious metals and alloys. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and has attained the level of membership of ‘Chartered Chemist’. The UK Science Council has awarded him the status of ‘Chartered Scientist’, a recognition awarded to those scientists who demonstrate the application to stay up-todate in their field.

The Birmingham Assay Office was founded in 1773 to provide a hallmarking facility to the rapidly expanding local silver trade. Over 235 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 visit




Prepared for the worst Michael Ferraro, managing director of T H March & Co Limited, reminds jewellery retailers and suppliers of the importance of analysing insurance needs in terms of business recovery


t is a sad fact that high proportions of businesses that do not have business interruption insurance and are affected by major damage can go out of business within 12 months. The reasons are not hard to see; business depends on cash flow, and a major fire or flood, for example, will destroy or severely diminish cash flow until the business can recover. Recovery is not just about repairing the damage; it is also about recovering turnover. That recovery may have to cope with competitors who have taken advantage of your absence from the market to steal your retail or trade customers; supposedly loyal trade customers who have had to commit to long term contracts with other suppliers; and loss of agencies which may not be easy to replace. Business interruption insurance replaces the gross profit for the business for the period that the business is interrupted by an insured risk, which includes the recovery of customers phase. It is subject to a ‘maximum indemnity limit’ – the maximum period of interruption the policy will provide cover for. While even cover with a short maximum indemnity period is better than none, many businesses select dangerously short maximum indemnity periods so you’ll need to consider some of the factors which may be involved in recovery from damage. Many of the following steps can be heavily delayed if damage is widespread, for example after a major flood or storm, because builders, architects and plumbers etc become over-stretched: • Initially you may be unable to access the site until it or nearby properties are rendered safe. • Liaison periods with insurers, architects and builders to assess the damage. • Decision to repair, demolish and rebuild, or move permanently.

Demolition, if necessary, will involve: • Tenders and acceptance • Delays before work begins • Demolition

Moving permanently will involve:

• Search • Negotiation • Legal delays, possible change of use • Fitting out

Major repairs or rebuilding may involve: • Architects and design work • Planning permission • Tenders

Construction period and delays:

• Before work begins • In finding specialist contractors, eg for listed buildings, special features or equipment • Local regulations limiting deliveries of materials • Lack of on-site storage • A need for additional works to meet new building regulations • Shopfitting or fitting out of manufacturing facilities, availability of equipment

Post-construction recovery:

• Build up of stock, especially if antique or unique • Recovery of customers Assessing accurately the maximum indemnity period needed by a business is a highly skilled process that usually needs input from local architects or surveyors. However, a few moments’ thought about some of the above stages in relation to other personal experiences, or knowledge of friends’ building and planning work, shows that selecting just the minimum 12-month period is very unlikely to be adequate in the event of major damage. Some locations, for example in pedestrian access areas, narrow streets, or, worst of all, shopping centres, can significantly extend the period. In some cases, shopping centres have taken up to four years to re-open fully after major damage. A common response by businessmen considering longer indemnity periods is that they would move to temporary accommodation if disaster struck. That can be an excellent solution, and in the right circumstances one that insurers will encourage, but can you be sure in advance that suitable accommodation will be available if and when you need it? How will trading from a less prestigious location affect your turnover? You may have to sign a lease for more than 12 months on less attractive terms than you currently pay. Moving may be sensible, but if the location is poor the turnover may continue to be reduced beyond the maximum indemnity period. Extending your maximum indemnity period is likely to be less expensive than you might think. Doubling the indemnity period will not double the premium since the majority of interruptions will be of shorter duration. Business interruption cover may seem extremely complex, but it is well worth discussing with your broker. It may save your business. T H March & Co Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority

Pr io : de Co S U y rit OC



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A window of


For those who do not already utilise the power of the internet, Charlene Laidley issues a reminder of its benefits


he jewellery business is not the same as it was 10 years ago, and while almost every other industry has realised that doing what they had been doing was not going to get them what they had gotten, and has subsequently taken the appropriate action, the majority of independent jewellery retailers are still yet to respond to overcome many of the challenges they face. Although many have embraced online options and are starting to reap the rewards, the jewellery industry has mostly been caught flat-footed amid counterfeit fears, and a general hope that ‘the whole internet thing will go away’. But even with traditional marketing methods, British jewellers all too often fail to step outside the realms of what they’ve always done. The sentiment is: “Well, we’ve always done this and were going to do it again,” and that’s exactly where the industry is missing out


big time, because let’s face it, the market is the one thing that isn’t staying the same – it is changing every day. Consumers today, no matter whether they shop at traditional stores or online, do all their research online – they all want to know who the business is, who the jeweller is and what service is offered. Amazingly, many jewellers can’t even be found online; they either don’t have a website or their website is buried in a local directory listing or is one page on a larger buying group site. A beautiful shop with appealing product lines and premium customer service is wasted if nobody knows it exists. Ignoring the importance of online visibility and marketing is ignoring the desires and wants of your customers. A recent report by the New Face of Affluence has estimated that 78 per cent of affluent internet users are active on social networking sites, with 66 per cent conducting research online before making major purchasing decisions. It’s therefore little surprise that luxury firms such as Fabergé, Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Burberry are making serious investments in growing and engaging their social media audiences and enhancing their sites – even Hermes can now be found on YouTube. Taking back market share, therefore, must start with the internet. This is not necessarily referring to jewellers selling online with fullyfledged ecommerce websites, but at the very least integrating the web into their business strategies. From ecommerce to search engine optimisation (SEO), to blogs and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook – online offers some particularly fantastic opportunities to independent retailers. The majority of British jewellers that have an established online presence do so as a multi-channel business. This is using their website as an additional sales channel and not

A beautiful shop with appealing product lines and premium customer service is wasted if nobody knows it exists as a replacement for their store. However, the benefits of online shopping are both obvious and numerous. Firstly, it’s fast – one needs only to click a mouse button and it’s done; it’s cheap, and lower costs means lower prices; it offers a huge selection – shoppers have entire inventories at their fingertips, spanning many suppliers across multiple continents without ever leaving home; and its convenient – with limited parking places and increased fees, many customers might wonder why they should wrestle their way through the crowds when they can get what they want without leaving their couch.

Of course there are certainly plenty of risks involved in buying anything of value online, let alone something as expensive – and as poorly understood – as fine jewellery. But the market has improved immeasurably since the birth of ecommerce in the late 1990s. Ecommerce also has another major significant advantage for independent jewellers – it allows them to jump on new market trends over chains and department stores in ‘real time’, tailoring their stock and products to suit their local market, both quickly and easily. So what of social media? An independent jeweller with very little time or money to spare would be forgiven for asking if social media is worth the effort. The social media platform has many benefits for jewellers, not only because of the opportunity it presents to build an interactive relationship with the people you want to walk into your physical store, but also because its presents an opportunity for jewellers to cater to the individual requests and desires of consumers in a way that the chains, who prefer a ‘one size fits all’ approach to their stock, could not do. There is simply a much greater ability to, and usually willingness to, respond to a customer’s individual needs, which creates a huge opportunity for personalised jewellery and oneoff commissions. Developing a blog for your company is another way of making your products and service offering feel more unique and personal – something which is achievable for jewellers at any level of the market. By personalising the digital experience, jewellers leverage a customer’s desire for a personal experience and individual attention, which can result in both short- and long-term sales growth. It’s also important not to forget that social media platforms are free. Digital is here to stay. Jewellers stand still at your own peril! Charlene Laidley is the founder of Latiénne, the marketing and public relations consultancy specialising in watches and jewellery. For further information, visit


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How to make your customers feel important

Leonard Zell delivers his six top tips for creating forever-customers


here should be a tag line onto this title: ‘So they will be customers forever’. Most jewellers think they already make their customers feel important, but do they? I am going to bring up six important sales techniques, which if followed will make your customers feel so important they will want to return again and again. 1. Your greetings: This may sound simple to you because you are sure this is not a problem in your store. Look again – it probably is. Just ask your salespeople: “Do you greet customers coming in for a third time with more enthusiasm than you do with first time customers?” They will all admit they do. This is why they get so many ‘just looking’ customers – because they felt they were not important enough to get a decent greeting. I tell my students the best way to greet your customers is the way you greet a good friend in your home. In other words, bring your home into the store. 2. Acknowledging customers’ jewellery: This is seldom done in any store I have been in; even the luxury jewellers on 5th Avenue in New York are neglectful. The reason is that either the policy of the store is not to mention anything about a customer’s jewellery if it was not bought in that particular store, or the salesperson is afraid that the customer will say: “Thank you, but it was not purchased here.” These are five reasons why you should compliment a customer’s jewellery:

• Why do you think customers wear jewellery? So it will be noticed. • Whose store are they in? The store they bought it from, or yours? • Since they are in yours, don’t you want to keep them as a customer forever? • Jewellery is the most sentimental item a customer wears. Shouldn’t you at least acknowledge it? • Of all people who should notice a customer’s jewellery, and whose comments would mean the most, wouldn’t it be a jeweller? • By not acknowledging their jewellery you are implying it is not important. Then how can they feel important? 3. Introducing yourself: For some strange reason, jewellers will often not tell customers who they are, and couldn’t care less who their customers are either, until they see their name on their credit card, at which point they finally address them by their name. This implies: ‘Now that you’ve finally purchased something from me I care who you are and I will tell you who I am.’

If you want to make your first time customers feel very important, remember their name when they return to pick up their diamond ring


4. Remembering your customer’s name: If you want to make your first time customers feel very important, remember their name when they return to pick up their diamond ring. Every shopper wants to go where they remember their name. However, if the salesperson does not remember their customer’s name, it implies that they are not important. Why should they return? On the other hand if you had introduced yourself and your customer’s name selectively, like you would when talking to a friend in your home, you would have remembered it and would have said: “Mrs Smith, good to see you. I have your ring ready,” when she re-entered the store. Now your first time customer feels very important and is yours forever. 5. Let your customers talk more than you: Practically all salespeople admit to me that they talk more than their customers. Your salespeople will likely say the same. The reason is they get nervous and when there is a pause they feel they must fill the void and keep on talking. My students are surprised when I tell them that when they go on and on connecting their sentences, their customers forget what they said in the first sentence. Why don’t they pause after every sentence and let their customers talk? The more you let them talk, the more important they feel. 6. Calling your customers: I would only recommend doing this if you applied these first five techniques. If you did then you have made a friend of your customer and he or she would welcome a call to say that you have something in mind for a forthcoming occasion. Of all the techniques this is the most powerful and can more than double a salesperson’s sales! This technique is a great way to show your customers that you really care. Most men wait until a few days before and even the day before a birthday or anniversary, because they have no idea what to get their wife. A phone call from you would be most welcome and will make him look like a hero because he thought about her gift so early. Believe me – he is your customer forever. All of these techniques have one thing in common: they make good sense, and when you use these selling skills you will create great word-of-mouth advertising. Your sales will keep creating customers forever, and all of this didn’t cost you a penny. Leonard Zell has been training fine jewellers throughout the world for 25 years. He will be conducting sales seminars for jewellers this autumn. To find more about his sales training seminars go to his website, or contact him by email at or phone on 001 503 412 9521 anytime after 4pm (GMT). You can also take advantage of Leonard’s best-selling 180 page sales manual on proven jewellery selling techniques, and for the perfect complement, order – a full day’s sales training seminar recorded live on three CDs. These can be ordered from his website at the address above.


Industry Data


Prices • Figures • Outlook Retail sales volume: April 2011 Retail sales in April 2011 compared to the same period a year previous saw sales volume increase by 2.8 per cent and the value of retail sales increase by 6.2 per cent. Barring household goods stores, all sectors experienced year-onyear volume and value growth, with the royal wedding and consistent warm weather contributing to strong growth. Non-store retailing saw the largest increase in year-on-year growth, with sales volume increasing by 19.6 per cent. Non-store retailing accounts for 4.5 per cent of the retail sector. Over the period from March to April 2011 retail sales volume increased by 1.1 per cent and the value of retail sales increased by 1.6 per cent. The Office for National Statistics advises that care should be taken when using monthly growth rates due to their volatility. 

Source: ONS

Metal prices

Apr 11

May 11

Jun 11


Sterling silver (£/Kg)




Minus 3%

Gold (£/g)




Plus 2%

Palladium (£/g)




Plus 8%

Platinum (£/g)




Plus 1%

Rhodium (£/g)




Minus 1%

Iridium (£/g)




No Change

Ruthenium (£/g)




Plus 1%

Scrap metal prices

Apr 11

May 11

Jun 11


Sterling silver scrap (£/kg)




Minus 3%

9ct Gold scrap (£/g)




Plus 2%

14ct Gold scrap (£/g)




Plus 2%

18ct Gold scrap (£/g)




Plus 2%

22ct Gold scrap (£/g)




Plus 2%

Platinum (95%) scrap (£/g)




Plus 1%

Data supplied courtesy of Cookson Precious Metals. 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

Diamond prices






2010 Seasonally adjusted figures










0.05 Carat






0.10 Carat






0.25 Carat






0.50 Carat






0.75 Carat






1.00 Carat






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 June 2011 /Dollar Exchange Rate 1.6452

Industry Data

Hallmark figures May 10

May 11







Silver 999 958



















Gold 999


































Platinum 999
















































The economic uncertainty has had an on-going effect on hallmarking volumes as the downward trend continued throughout May. The total number of units hallmarked across the four UK assay offices was down 32.5 per cent against last year. Once again, all categories of metal were affected, with the exception of palladium, which was 27.4 per cent up, reflecting perhaps its increasing popularity in the bridal market. Silver volumes continue to be affected with a reduction of 37 per cent in the number of units submitted for hallmarking, hardly surprising given the continuing high price of silver which reached an average of £22.50 per troy oz in May compared to May 2010 when the average was £12.58. Gold was 27 per cent down and platinum 15 per cent down.

Platinum 2010 review Platinum jewellery demand fell by 14 per cent in 2010 Gross demand for platinum in jewellery manufacturing fell by 14 per cent in 2010 to 2.42 million ounces. Demand declined in China after a record level of purchasing in 2009 and was marginally lower in Japan and Europe. Demand increased in North America and in India. Recycling of platinum from old jewellery – mainly in Japan and China – grew by 32 per cent to 745,000 ounces. Net demand fell to 1.67 million ounces from 2.25 million ounces in 2009. Demand for platinum jewellery eased in Europe, grew in Indian Platinum demand in the European jewellery industry softened to 175,000 ounces in 2010 as economic uncertainty in the Eurozone, elevated platinum prices and the lingering effects of recession affected the jewellery trade. Numbers of hallmarked jewellery pieces produced in the UK and Switzerland showed an increase in 2010, demonstrating some underlying growth in consumer demand. However, the total weight of hallmarked platinum in these markets declined, suggesting that consumers were choosing smaller, lighter pieces in response to the price change. Platinum jewellery continued to gain popularity in India, where sales to young, urban consumers have been strong. Gross demand for platinum from China was lower in 2010 but still robust The Chinese jewellery sector performed solidly in 2010, with gross platinum demand at 1.65 million ounces. This represented a fall of some 430,000 ounces compared with the exceptional year of 2009, when lower prices and stock levels led to large amounts of metal being purchased. A combination of higher metal prices, adequate levels of manufacturers’ stock and a greater focus on producing gold jewellery contributed to the decline in 2010. However, demand in China was robust compared with historical levels: purchases of platinum were substantially higher than in 2008, when platinum traded at similar price levels to 2010. Platinum jewellery demand increased by 30 per cent in North America Purchasing of platinum by the jewellery sector in North America strengthened by 40,000 ounces to 175,000 ounces in 2010 as the economy recovered and consumer confidence began to return. Some larger manufacturers raised production levels, and medium- to high-end retailers introduced new platinum product lines in stores. The launch of lighter-weight platinum pieces by some retailers to meet key price points also helped to lift demand. Partly offsetting this, a narrowing of the price difference between platinum and gold helped lift purchases of platinum at the high-end of the market. Japanese demand for platinum was marginally lower than in 2009 Although consumer spending on jewellery items in Japan appeared to be improving in 2010, platinum demand declined slightly. As the trade responded to elevated metal prices by offering lighter-weight pieces, total platinum purchased by the Japanese jewellery industry softened by 10,000 ounces to 325,000 ounces. Platinum remains popular in the bridal jewellery segment, but was affected by downward trends in marriage rates and also the trend towards reduced piece weight. The platinum fashion jewellery segment remained subdued, partly due to price and also due to competition from cheaper jewellery metals. Platinum jewellery recycling increased by 32 per cent Recycling of platinum jewellery last year was 745,000 ounces – 180,000 ounces higher than in 2009 – as consumers and retailers took advantage of elevated metal prices to trade in old and broken jewellery. Recycling levels were highest in China at 450,000 ounces as, in the rising price environment, consumers traded in old platinum pieces for other platinum jewellery or cash. Platinum jewellery recycling in Japan grew to 290,000 ounces in 2010. Outside Japan and China, platinum jewellery recycling was minimal. Palladium demand in the jewellery sector fell by 20 per cent Gross palladium demand in the jewellery sector fell by 20 per cent to 620,000 ounces. Declining manufacture of palladium jewellery in China was responsible for this reduction and more than offset increases in Europe and North America. Recycling of palladium jewellery rose by 14 per cent to 80,000 ounces. Demand for palladium in Europe increased by 40 per cent Palladium demand in the European jewellery sector reached 70,000 ounces in 2010 – a 40 per cent rise over the previous year. Much of this came from increased production of palladium jewellery in the UK market. A good deal of interest in palladium jewellery has been generated by the trade in the UK recently, with manufacturers adding to their product ranges and retailers augmenting their stock levels. Palladium continues to gain popularity as a metal for men’s wedding bands, where larger, chunkier designs can be made at a price competitive with white gold. Purchasing of palladium in China reduced by a third Gross palladium purchasing by the Chinese jewellery sector fell by almost one third in 2010 to 380,000 ounces. Rising palladium prices combined with sufficient levels of stock were mainly responsible for the decline. Some manufacturers and retailers ceased offering palladium due to weak consumer demand and competition from yellow gold. Palladium jewellery continued to sell in certain cities and outlying metropolitan and rural areas, but demand suffered from a lack of promotion and competition from other luxury goods. North American palladium jewellery demand grew Gross demand for palladium in North American jewellery increased in 2010 to 65,000 ounces. This followed a number of manufacturers and retailers adding palladium to their product range in 2009. Demand for men’s palladium rings in the wedding band market was robust in the first half of 2010. However, the rising palladium price and competition from non-precious metal alternatives moderated its progress later in the year. Palladium jewellery recycling increased by 14 per cent Recycling of palladium jewellery went up by 14 per cent to 80,000 ounces in 2010 as manufacturers and consumers alike took advantage of elevated metal prices to trade in unwanted jewellery, mainly in China and Japan. As a result, net jewellery demand for palladium in 2010 was 540,000 ounces, down from 705,000 ounces in 2009. Platinum 2010 is Johnson Matthey’s free survey of platinum group metals supply and demand. It can be downloaded as an electronic file or can be ordered in printed form at



Events and Auctions

Events 29 June – 2 July & 6 – 9 July New Designers Business Design Centre London

5 – 6 July Jovella Tel-Aviv Fairgrounds Tel-Aviv, Israel

7 – 10 July Malaysia International Jewellery Fair KL Convention Centre Kuala Lumpur, Malaya

9 – 11 July Hyderabad Jewellery, Pearl and Gem Fair HITEX Exhibition Centre Hyderabad, India

24 – 26 July JA New York Summer Show Javits Convention Center New York City, New York United States

26 – 30 August Tendence Messe Frankfurt Frankfurt Germany

3 – 5 September MIDORA Leipzig Leipzig Exhibition Centre Leipsic Germany

17 – 20 July Home & Gift Show Harrogate International Centre Harrogate

27 – 31 July Singapore International Jewellery Show Marina Bay Sands Singapore

28 – 30 August JAA International Jewellery Fair Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour Sydney, Australia

4 – 7 September Autumn Fair International NEC Birmingham

7 – 9 August JCK Toronto Metro Toronto Convention Centre Toronto, Canada

1 – 3 September Japan Jewellery Fair Tokyo Big Sight Exhibition Center Tokyo Japan

7 – 9 August Pure London & Pure Spirit Olympia Grand Hall London

2 – 4 September Times Glamour Vivanta by Taj President South Bombay, India

25 – 28 August Copenhagen Jewellery Fair Bella Center Copenhagen, Denmark

2 – 5 September Eclat de Mode Paris Porte de Versailles Paris, France

22 – 24 July Times Glamour Hotel J W Marriott North Bombay, India

4 – 7 September International Jewellery London Earls Court 2 London

10 – 14 September VICENZAORO Choice Fiera di Vicenza Vicenza Italy

17 – 21 September Junwex Moscow All-Russian Exhibition Centre Moscow Russia


Auction dates 2 July Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Victorian and later effects, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone, Kent

5 July Capes Dunn Antique jewellery, silver, watches, wares and coins Manchester

8 July Wellers Auctioneers Jewellery, watches, silver and clocks Chertsey Surrey

9 July P F Windibank Antique jewellery, silver, watches and clocks Dorking Surrey

13 July Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London

19 July Bonhams Jewellery Oxford

20 July Woolley & Wallis Silver Salisbury Wiltshire

21 July Woolley & Wallis Jewellery Salisbury Wiltshire

22 July Wellers Auctioneers Pawnbroker and secondhand jewellery Chertsey Surrey

23 July Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Victorian and later effects, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone Kent

26 July Campbells Jewellery, silver, clocks and watches Worthing, West Sussex

10 August Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London

7 September Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London

29 July Jacobs & Hunt Silver and jewellery Petersfield, Hampshire

19 August Wellers Auctioneers Pawnbroker and secondhand jewellery Chertsey, Surrey

8 September Bonhams Jewellery and silver Edinburgh

5 August Wellers Auctioneers Jewellery, watches, silver and clocks Chertsey Surrey

20 August Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Antiques and fine arts, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone Kent

6 August Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Victorian and later effects, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone Kent

23 August A F Brock & Company Limited Jewellery, watches and silverware Hazel Grove, Stockport Cheshire

9 August Dreweatts 1759 Jewellery, silver, watches and coins Bristol

6 September Campbells Jewellery, silver, clocks and watches Worthing West Sussex

9 September Wellers Auctioneers Jewellery, watches, silver and clocks Chertsey, Surrey

10 September Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Victorian and later effects, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone, Kent




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Your Views




Samantha Hansard of Charles Fish, London, High Wycombe and Chelmsford How did you first come to be involved in jewellery retail?

After leaving school I worked in fashion retail and buying for Fenwicks in Bond Street. I left there to do a degree in English, and from there went into the City, where I worked for a big retail bank. I had roles in HR, marketing, strategy and business development, and left after my first baby to work for Fish Brothers. The Fish Brothers Group is a family-run business. After having my first child, my stepfather asked me to do some consultancy for the business, and, 11 years on, I’m still here! It was a really good time to come on board, as there were a number of younger family and non-family members eager to take over the reins; including my cousin, Richard Fish, who has been closely involved with me on the design and development of the Charles Fish concept. This job has given me the opportunity to combine my love of business, fashion, interiors and jewellery – it doesn’t get much better than that!

Charles Fish now has three retail stores. Do they all stock the same items, or is each specialised?

Canary Wharf was our first Charles Fish store, but has recently been re-launched, as we have refitted it. Our shop in Chelmsford still operates under the name of Fish Brothers, but will be transformed into a Charles Fish early in 2012. The second Charles Fish shop in Wycombe stocks very different pieces to our shop in Chelmsford, which in turn stocks different items to our Canary Wharf shop. I conduct the buying with a colleague, Duncan Groves. We treat each shop differently, editing the stock selection to suit demand; though it’s not an exact science, so we are constantly tweaking our offering to make sure it looks fresh and exciting for our customers.

What’s selling well at the moment?

What sells well in one store won’t necessarily sell well in another. Pandora and Thomas Sabo of course sell well in our highstreet-based stores (we have more Fish Brothers-branded shops in Romford and Harlow), but in Canary Wharf it’s the more fashion-led collections like Bjørg and Alex Monroe that our customers are drawn to.

You have an extensive online store – would you say this has had a positive effect on your business? Has the web been good for the jewellery sector in general? We only launched our Charles Fish ecommerce website two weeks ago, so it’s difficult to say, but we are keeping our fingers crossed! The internet has absolutely been good for most businesses, and jewellery is no exception. What’s more, customers expect a website these days – even if they don’t buy from it directly, then they use it to browse. It’s an important tool in creating the right brand image and building trust with the consumer.

Do you have any favourite collections or designers?

That’s a difficult one, as I absolutely love the buying aspect of my job – every time Duncan and I find someone new that we think our customers will like, it’s very exciting. For example, we are thrilled that we are going to be introducing Tomasz Donocik to the mix at Canary Wharf, just as we were when we found Bjørg and Tirisi Moda. However, from a personal perspective, I absolutely adore Shaun Leane. I have a number of his fine pieces, and he and his team are such genuine people to work with.

What’s your biggest day-to-day challenge? Fitting it all in!

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the industry?

Retail is not an easy business to be in. It’s increasingly competitive, and consumer expectations of retailers continue to grow. Research is key: look at what other people do well (and what they do badly!) and think about what you would want as a customer. Have a clear idea about what you are trying to achieve but also be prepared to be flexible. Having said all that, jewellery retail is a lovely business to be in – it’s absolutely packed full of characters and individuals that are happy to help and support you, and, at the end of the day, if you aren’t enjoying yourself then it’s just not worth it!

Finally, what are your plans for the future?

To keep on getting better at what we do. There is no room for complacency in our business.

26 – 30. 8. 2011

Time for business – time for trends Make a strong start – at the most important international consumer goods trade fair for the home and gift sectors in the second half of the year. Take advantage of outstanding sales opportunities for the autumn, winter and Christmas seasons and obtain an early preview of the latest product ideas and trends for the coming spring. For further details and tickets visit: Tel. + 44 (0) 17 84 41 59 50

Jewellery Focus July 2011  

Jewellery Focus is a magazine dedicated to all retailers in the jewellery trade. Targeting high street stores, this magazine caters for comp...

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