Jewellery October 2011 www.jewelleryfocus.co.uk £5.95 ISSN 2046-7265
The New 2012 Tresor Paris Constellation Collection
Christmas special issue: ideas for gift stock, packaging and festive window displays XX Buying, making and selling aquamarine jewellery based on background knowledge XX How to reduce the risk of tarnishing caused by certain packaging materials
Jewellery October 2011
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Keith Fisher
Getting a head start on his Christmas shopping, Keith Fisher takes to the high street, and issues a reminder of the importance of affordability for this year’s festive season
Here comes Santa Claus…
Looking for inspiration as you plan your buying for Christmas 2011? Why not try this varied selection of stocking-ready jewellery
Focus on packaging and display 30 Jon Chapple looks at ways retailers can capitalise on the upcoming Christmas gift boom, where presentation is everything
Stay ahead of the competition during the festive sales season with some trend advice from the experts, and a little artistic licence
In the first of a new series aimed at jewellery retailers looking to diversify their product offering, luxury Christmas gifts take centre stage
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE Editor’s letter
The latest news from the industry
Recent jewellery trade and design events have showcased the creative talents of many new and established designer-makers, says Janet
Syreeta and Sam
The return of a traditional splendour 18
Louise Hoffman speaks with father and son team Ton and Jordy Cobelens of TW Steel, to find out more about their brand and its selling points
Michael muses over the sudden interest in the high street; questions if another initiative is really necessary; and calls for co-operation and clear thinking Syreeta Tranfield and Sam Willoughby report back from IJL 2011, which saw fresh initiatives, increased visitor numbers and new brand launches
Ones to watch
Trends in timepieces
Andreas Mitchell distills gem theory and commercial practice into information that can help in the buying, making and selling of aquamarine jewellery
New offerings from the industry
Designer of the month
How do they do that?
Voice on the highstreet
Louise Hoffman speaks to Sophie Harley to find out about her inspirations, her latest collections, and some of her famous clients Dippal Manchanda of the Birmingham Assay Office explains how some elements of packaging can cause or accelerate tarnishing and how to avoid it As the festive sales season approaches, Leonard provides lucrative advice on shifting old stock Exhibition and auction dates Prices, figures and outlook
Tony Preistnall of Arthur Kay & Bro, Manchester
Editor’s letter I
JL this year was especially busy for me, with a packed schedule of meetings and stand browsing. I had the pleasure of viewing the latest collections from Domino, London Road, Storm, Nomination and CW Sellors; the innovative new Chamilia branded display stands; and the see-it-to-believe-it Gemvision CounterSketch Studio software, as well as catching up with the faces behind many Jewellery Focus-featured brands such as Designed by Bond, Mishca, Andrew Geoghegan, Daisy, Muru, Hazel Atkinson Jewellery, Bonds of Union, Flash Jordan and Jeremy Hoye. Though attendance still seems a little way off the heady heights of the pre-recession years, the show was well supported, with much business conducted. It was refreshing to see many new brands mixed in with existing, established names – some of which you will see grace the pages of this magazine in the near future – and also to witness the extraordinary talent of the next generation of jewellery designers at the Bright Young Gems and BJA-sponsored KickStart stands. Speaking to Gina Melosi at the latter, it was clear just how much value these designers place on such initiatives, and how proud they are to have been selected. While the only slightly-lifted economic fog may be affecting business outlook, it certainly isn’t stifling creativity. In fact, if anything it is encouraging it – as I’ve no doubt said before, designers are now producing some of their most innovative and individual work in line with current trends (both fashion-related and financial) – and this was more than evident at Earls Court this year. So, here’s to further recovery between now and next September, and, more imminently, a lucrative Christmas sales season. Which rather neatly brings me to the special theme of this month’s issue of Jewellery Focus! In the pages that follow you will find a selection of jewellery and, in the first of a new article series, luxury giftware, to inspire you as you begin ordering stock for Christmas; creative ideas for festive window displays; and seasonal packaging to put the angel on top of your service offering. I hope you enjoy the magazine and the month ahead.
Editor Louise Hoffman
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Following success at the International Jewellery London (IJL) trade show, Tresor Paris says that it is continuing to grow. Based in Hatton Garden – in the Jewellery Quarter and Diamond Centre – the company was launched this year as part of the Hasbani Group, an already well-established jeweller operating within the diamond trade for over 40 years. Already a celebrity favourite, the new Neptune and Cygnus collections feature agate and pearls, and, along with their sister collections – Triton, Libra, Andromeda, Orion and Venus – are inspired by the Greek gods and constellations. “The design of the Neptune range captures the elegance, beauty and panache of the 1950s, with a graduated look combining crystals and matt agate finished with two, eight millimetre magnetite balls,” the company says. Information: 0203 355 4030 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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And briefly Sima Vaziry pieces added to British Museum’s core range The British Museum has added designs from Sima Vaziry’s handmade Afghan- and Persianinspired jewellery to its core range. Vaziry’s pieces – for which she draws inspiration from “Afghan and Persian art, calligraphy, architecture and textures” – were one of the museum shop’s all-time best-sellers during its recent Afghanistan exhibition.
Counterfeit jewellery trader loses stock A Cardiff market trader caught selling counterfeit branded jewellery and watches has had his stock seized by Trading Standards. The stallholder on Splott Market was selling fake jewellery branded as Gucci and Tiffany and 21 imitation Monte Carlo watches. The goods were seized as part of a larger operation focused on the market.
Nomination bracelets handed out on Big Brother Nomination’s Composable Link Bracelets have been featured in the launch of the latest series of Big Brother. Six specially-designed bracelets were delivered to the Big Brother house, spelling out ‘VIP’ in 18-carat gold and cubic zirconia. The bracelets were then handed out by Pamela Anderson as part of a task in which housemates competed to gain entry to a VIP area on the first night of the programme.
Swatch Group seeking damages from Tiffany & Co The Swatch Group has terminated its partnership with Tiffany & Co citing a “breach of contract”. The Tiffany Watch Co Ltd – a joint venture between the two companies responsible for the development, production and distribution of Tiffany & Co branded watches worldwide – will now wind down over the course of two years, with Swatch seeking damages for loss of potential future earnings. “This action became necessary following Tiffany & Co’s systematic efforts to block and delay development of the business,” said a statement from the group.
Demand for gold down in Q2 In spite of the strong market for gold as an investment, actual demand fell by 17 per cent to 905.3 tons in the second quarter of 2011, according to the World Gold Council’s latest Gold Demand Trends report. The report also confirmed that gold prices reached near-record levels in value terms in Q2, with gold at $1,798 (£1,139) per ounce at the time of going to print.
Vacancy rates stabilise in 2011 but north-south divide grows Shop vacancy rates may have stabilised this year, but 2011 has so far seen the gap between the best- and worst-performing towns widen further and over 14 per cent of shops in Great Britain still standing empty. That’s the message from the Local Data Company, whose latest shop vacancy report – entitled The Good, The Bad and The (Very) Ugly – revealed that although the three-fold increase in overall vacancy rates since 2007 has finally halted, in some centres – notably those in the north of England and Midlands – one in three shops stands vacant, while in others – mostly south of the Watford Gap – vacancies are at pre-recession levels. “The short and medium view is that this is unlikely to improve significantly due to the current economic climate, the rise of alternative sales channels and the number of shops the country has,” the report said. The study also provides increasing evidence that retailer pain is not spread evenly between the high street and suburban shopping centres, with results from several large, retail-owning property companies showing that their revenues have been surviving any tenant difficulties with ease. “Solid rental growth, footfall and occupancy levels demonstrate that prime properties are taking market share away from other locations,” it continues. “This report shows how fragile the British High Street is in parts of the country,” commented Local Data Company director Matthew Hopkinson. “The stark reality is that Great Britain has too many shops in the wrong locations and of the wrong size. The diversity of shop vacancy rates is clear evidence that a local approach is required that ties in with consumer needs and the realities of modern retailing. The market still has significant corrections ahead and the impact of these will vary significantly according to location.” For more information, please visit www.localdatacompany.com
Two per cent visitor increase at IJL Exhibitors at International Jewellery London (IJL) 2011 reported on the success of the show as the event closed, with IJL revealing an increase in visitors compared to the year before (two per cent increase to 9,084, unaudited). Exhibitor numbers were also high this year, with 580 including sharers. The Diamond Club brought more key figures from leading retail jewellers to the event, with 198 members hosted (an increase of 26.11 per cent from last year), all nominated and invited by the IJL Advisory Board. Many new designers and brands joined the established companies which showcase their new collections each year, while initiatives such as the IJL Runway – a catwalk running down the length of the Boulevard – added a vibrant energy to the show floor. The seminar programme was bigger than ever, and features such as the Editor’s Choice, Bright Young Gems and KickStart highlighted some exceptional talent. For more information please turn to page 38.
KP reacts to alleged abuse at Marange diamond fields Kimberley Process chairman Matthieu Yamba is seeking clarification from the Zimbabwean government regarding fresh allegations of torture in the country’s controversial Marange diamond fields. Human Rights Watch, an international human rights advocacy group, says it holds evidence that police and private security guards employed by mining companies in the region are “shooting, beating and unleashing attack dogs” on unlicensed local miners. The organisation claimed to have interviewed 10 miners in the city of Mutare who reported suffering such attacks. The allegations follow an August episode of the BBC’s long-running Panorama series that claimed to have uncovered ‘torture camps’ located in the area.
Image: London 2012
Retailers seek clarity on Olympics Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, is being urged to improve the information available to retailers ahead of next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has written to the Mayor to express concern about “the quantity and quality” of information businesses in London are being provided with in regard to transport arrangements and to emphasise the need for local authority delivery restrictions to be lifted to enable shops to re-stock their shelves overnight. It also asks for detailed road plans to be provided by the end of October, rather than December as is currently planned. BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “Time to plan and prepare is a crucial part of making sure businesses enjoy a successful Olympics and are able to provide a top-quality service to consumers. Retailers are being encouraged to put plans in place for next summer but that’s difficult to do without a full picture of what the situation is going to be. “The retail sector is always dependent on a good delivery network, and that is even more true at times of increased demand. Retailers will have to make deliveries overnight during the Games in order to satisfy customer demand. We need to know the necessary steps are being taken to lift local restrictions and to inform the public about what will be going on and why. “The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are a great opportunity for London and for the rest of the United Kingdom. Retailers want to play their part in making the Games a success – all we’re asking for is the information we need to help make that happen.”
Tributes paid to Gerald Rothschild The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and International Diamond Manufacturers Association have paid tribute to Gerald Rothschild, who has died in Germany at the age of 86. Mr Rothschild was a veteran Diamond Trading Company broker who served as managing director at I Hennig & Co and, later, as head of his own brokerage house. “Gerald was the impeccable English gentleman, whose gracious manner often hid from view his massive contribution to the diamond industry over the past 60 years,” said Avi Paz, president of the WFDB. “As our business grew, with new production and trade centres being set up in different countries, he more often than not was at the forefront, nurturing companies and individuals who eventually would become major players. “The diamond community will miss Gerald’s vision and innate understanding of our business. On behalf of diamond bourse members from across the WFDB, I send condolences and best wishes to his family.”
£3.7 million fancy vivid yellow to lead autumn auction at Christie’s Christie’s New York has revealed that it will offer the Vivid Yellow – a rare, highly-saturated fancy vivid yellow diamond of 32.77 carats expected to achieve in excess of $6 million (£3.66 million) – as the star lot of its 18 October sale of “magnificent jewels”. The golden yellow hue of the large, pear-shaped stone, which is about the size of a guitar plectrum, is reportedly so intense that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) ranks it among the rarest of gemstones in its class. Christie’s believes the stone has the potential to surpass the record per-carat price of $203,000 (£124,000) achieved for the Golden Drop; a pear-shaped yellow diamond of 18.49 carats sold in June 1990 at Christie’s London. “The Vivid Yellow literally blazes with colour, unlike any yellow diamond I’ve ever seen,” said Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry for Christie’s Americas. “In the world of diamonds, a naturally-coloured stone of this incredible colour and size represents a freak occurrence – an extremely rare geological phenomenon.”
HRH The Prince of Wales, Ellicott The Ellicott watch company had the “rare honour and privilege” of presenting His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales with its new Majesty MG3 wristwatch on the 16 June. The watch, designed in salute to King George III, was given to Prince Charles on the occasion of a medal presentation to the Parachute Regiment at Merville Barracks in Colchester. Accompanied by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince – also colonel-in-chief of the Parachute Regiment – saluted the “exceptional courage and grit” of the soldiers of 2, 3 and 4 Para, who had recently returned from Afghanistan. Ellicott CEO Pierre-André Finazzi commented that the presentation of the Majesty MG3 “was an honour and a source of pride” both for himself and for the company.
Slow trading amidst price uncertainties, but strong growth for large jewellers Late august/early September saw slow trading on global diamond markets as buyers seeking stable price levels avoided making any large purchases. Prices of rough diamonds continued to fall in dealer markets following the elimination of premiums and some discounting of mining company prices; while expectations remained high for the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, which many hope will improve industry sentiment and help to stabilise prices through increased Far Eastern demand. ZAO ALROSA reported a 23 per cent increase in sales to $3.2 billion (£2.03 billion) in the first eight months of 2011, and large jewellers also reported strong growth, with Tiffany & Co seeing an increase in profits of 33 per cent to $90 million (£57.19 million) and Signet 71 per cent to $66 million (£41.94 million). Meanwhile, volatile gold set a new record price of $1,992.20 (£1,265) per ounce. In the United States, imports of polished diamonds rose 25 per cent to $2.06 billion (£1.31 billion) and exports 20 per cent to $1.42 billion (£0.9 billion). Source: Rapaport TradeWire
IJS organisers planning for next year following ‘best ever’ show The third annual Ireland Jewellery Showcase has been declared the “best yet” by exhibitors, who reported both strong orders and good quality follow-ups in spite of tough economic conditions. Around 200 jewellers representing 130 companies attended road shows in Limerick and Dublin in the Republic and Belfast in Northern Ireland, where they enjoyed a complimentary buffet lunch and morning and afternoon tea and pastries. Tony Obernik of jewellery group Fields said it was “great” that suppliers were there “supporting the Irish market,” while CW Sellors’ Chris Sellors said he was “extremely pleased with the response to this year’s collection.” John Ball, the show’s organiser and sales director at Brown and Newirth Ltd, added: “We started by bringing over just 10 companies from the UK, but this year we have included selected Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German and Italian suppliers, bringing the total to 25 and making the show more appealing to retailers.” The organisers said they have already started planning for a “bigger and better 2012.” More information is available from www.irelandjewelleryshowcase.com
Chairman retires after 64 years Desmond Walsh, chairman of H S Walsh and Sons Ltd, has announced his retirement after 64 years at the helm of the jewellery equipment manufacturer. He now intends to spend more time on his property business, supported by daughters Lisa and Sophie. Desmond has dedicated much of his life to the success of the company, which was founded in 1947 in the front room of his father’s house in Beckenham. From humble beginnings, H S Walsh has grown substantially, now boasting a head office in Biggin Hill and two branches in Hatton Garden and the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter. “Desmond will be keeping in touch with head office and both branches from time-to-time,” said a statement from the company, “and we wish him well for a long, healthy and happy retirement.”
Refurbishment and second store for identity the jewellers Derby’s identity the jewellers – featured as the Voice on the Highstreet in September’s Jewellery Focus – has completed a programme of expansion that has seen it acquire a second store in the city’s Westfield shopping centre. The independent jeweller has also refurbished its current shop, also located in the Westfield Centre, and unveiled a revamped website, designed by Chris Warner, son of owner Alison Warner. The new shop is dedicated solely to timepieces – the first in Derby – and complements identity’s existing store, which specialises in hand-made and designer jewellery. Both shops were opened by double Olympic and Commonwealth Games swimming champion Ross Davenport, who cut the ribbons accompanied by Alison and co-owner Stephen Warner (pictured).
And briefly BJA.org.uk undergoes revamp The British Jewellers’ Association (BJA) has unveiled a re-design of its web presence. Katie French, the organisation’s website and information co-ordinator, explained: “Our aim has been to create tabs that will clearly guide people to their desired location more efficiently, thus enabling the site to be used by both the trade and consumers. The new quick search facility highlights areas of interest, enabling users to easily find members, products or services via the dedicated shortcut.” New features include an RSS news feed displaying news from industry publications and updated members’ and consumer areas. The new site can be found at www.bja.org.uk
Houlden Group welcomes independents The Houlden Group has announced that it is “embracing the diversity” of the jewellery trade by revising its membership criteria to ensure that smaller, independent operators can benefit from its services. A statement from the group explained that the criteria – which include turnover and buying commitments – have been lowered in recognition of this, although the organisation’s focus remains on “accepting credible, quality operators and respecting the location of existing members.”
Baume & Mercier and Piaget gain RJC certification The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has announced that Swiss watch-makers Baume & Mercier and Piaget – both part of Richemont International SA – have achieved certification by meeting the “ethical, human rights, social and environmental standards” established by its Member Certification System. The successful verification assessment of both companies was conducted by SGS SA’s Michel Mooser.
Gurhan appoints European sales manager Fine jewellery brand Gurhan has announced the appointment of Marie-Pierre Champetier to the new position of European sales manager. Based in London, Champetier – who has extensive experience in the jewellery market, having worked at Qeelin, Graff, Hirsh and De Beers – will be responsible for the development of Gurhan’s business in Europe. She will also assist Eddie Lynch, the company’s general manager for its European office, with “global brand development.”
High St by Design winners revealed F Hinds and International Jewellery London (IJL) have announced the two winners of their 2010/2011 High Street by Design competition. Sian Hughes, a designer from Worcester, won the Newly Established Designer category with her Folded Heart collection, while the Student Designer award went to Letchworth’s Rosie Velk and her Fan collection. The High Street by Design contest was launched last year to assist two designers through the whole process of jewellery production; from the original concept through to packaging, promotion and launch. The finished pieces will be sold through F Hinds’ website and 110 stores across England and Wales. The judging panel included Andrew Hinds, F Hinds’ director and gold buyer; Bob Morrish of R E Morrish; IJL co-director Sam Willoughby; and award-winning jewellery designer Sarah Jordan. “The objective of this competition was to open up the route to the high street, which can appear to be strewn with challenges or even a complete mystery,” commented Andrew Hinds. “Our aspiration was to give the winners an indepth experience of all the steps, from sketch to the final sale. “We have promoted the winning pieces in all our stores and online… and also have plans to see how we can work with Rosie and Sian in the future.”
Dear Editor, How often do we think: ‘I wish I’d thought of that – what a good idea. Oh well, too late now’? Well it might not be too late for thinking a little ahea d. The hallmarking of gold and silve r items has been undertaken in the United Kingdom since 1327 so let’s move on 693 years! We are now in the year 2020 (just nine short years from now) and to me this has a look and sound about it that makes it a little more special than, say, 2017 or 2019 ; it has that significance, similar to 2000 – the millennium. That was the year that produced the millenniu m hallmark, and this without doub t aided jewellery sales in the UK. So, thinking ahead and with 2020 vision, should we have a 20 cara t (0.833) hallmark for the year 2020 ; a one-year-only promotional aid? For the consumer there’s a chance to own a limited edition item or colle ction of fine jewellery, and for the retailer and manufacturer an increase in sales and promotion of their store, webs ite and other services. Now, I got laughed out of the bar at Spring Fair this February for suggesting gold would go through $2,000 by Christmas this year; not sure they’re laughing now! So before your belly bursts with this proposal give it some serious consideration and then ask yourself what else can we do to promote our products and busin ess, because tempus fugit and ther e is growing competition from other nonjewellery companies that are think ing beyond what I’m suggesting here … So what’s it going to take? Well, once there is enough interest from YOU (that means from all sections of the trade making the effort to comm ent) the process, it seems, will take five year s to put through legislation; by the time we get enough interest and lobbying under our belts it will be 2013 for sure, so add the five years on and we’r e now at 2018 – perfect timing for design, production, sales and marketing to the retailer and on the shelves for 1 January 2020 ready for the cons umers of the world, and I do mea n world. Glad I thought of that!
Recent jewellery trade and design events have showcased the creative talents of many new and established designer-makers, and have been a source of inspiration for Janet Fitch, as she explains
The Copenhagen-based company Sägen, which as part of its expansion has just opened a flagship store in Copenhagen, showed its charming and unique collection of porcelain jewellery set in silver or brass – the porcelain is antique and buyers can hand pick their own favourites among the pieces. (www.sagensweden.com) Amidst all the frenzy of the international and London fashion shows, it’s always a pleasure to go to Goldsmiths’ Hall for Goldsmiths’ Fair, showing this year again for two weeks, with a change of exhibitors – week one from 26 September to 2 October, and week two from 4 to 9 October. (www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk) Among the highly talented 90 exhibitors, is Ornella Iannuzzi, showing in week two. Her collections go from strength to strength, and she is showing her opal collection – Lucy in Wonderland – and her pearl and sea treasure collection – Abyss. She polishes and hand carves her own opals, or leaves them rough cut, with 18 carat gold and diamonds for the opal collection; and for Abyss, her small production range, she uses various metals and colours, including silver, green vermeil and rose gold, with Tahitian, golden and freshwater pearls. (www.ornella-iannuzzi.com)
Images: Simon Armitt
t’s always a pleasure to go to the season’s shows, as I usually discover something new and exciting – whether from a long-established designer or a newcomer – or some nugget of information or visual image that sparks the imagination and leads on to a vista of future trends and opportunities. Definite themes are emerging – gold is so expensive, as is silver, so we are seeing both brands and individual designers producing silver jewellery that is as crafted and detailed as fine jewellery in a costlier metal. Coloured stones of all kinds feature in many collections, and it’s encouraging to see more unusual and rare semi-precious stones making an appearance. IJL has closed its doors, and there’s just time to process all that I’ve seen there before heading to the next show – Top Drawer at Olympia in London. Making a splash there is statement jewellery from the ever-flamboyant fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, launched this autumn in collaboration with leading costume jewellery brand Adele Marie. She incorporates her original textile work and dramatic prints with an eclectic mix of modern fashion trends, to produce a range of bold retro necklaces, brooches and earrings. (www.adele-marie.com)
William Cheshire And for a refined take on the fashionable friendship bracelet, William Cheshire is showing his Libertine waxed cotton and gold-plated silver adjustable bracelets, in week one. (www.williamcheshire.com) Origin, the contemporary craft fair, now part of the London Design Festival and held at Old Spitalfields market at the end of September, included new and established contemporary designers. Kimberley Selwood, a Goldsmiths award winner, unveiled her latest Baroque Dream collection, influenced by the romantic and intricate architecture of Barcelona and Havana, as well as her Plume collection, inspired by the plumage of birds, and Butterfly Effect range. (www.kimberleyselwood.co.uk)
I went to celebrate 60 years of Vienna-based Frey Wille at its flagship store in Piccadilly, London; one of its 100 or so stores worldwide. The company proves the enduring popularity of quality and artistic design, with collections that pay tribute to artists like Hundertwasser, Klimt and Monet. All the pieces are of handmade enamel â€“ the grinding, processing and firing takes a total of around 80 processes, and the entire procedure, from first drawings to finished product, takes two years. (www.frey-wille.com) For those in the Birmingham area, try to catch the upcoming All Golds exhibition of 100 alumni of the School of Jewellery, curated by Terry Hunt, recently retired deputy head of the School, and now chair of the Association of Contemporary Jewellery. Alumni exhibiting include designers, makers, gallery owners, academics and retailers from all over the UK and the world, each represented by two items â€“ a student and a current piece. (School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University, Vittoria Street, Birmingham B1 3PA from 24 October to 25 November)
Gill Galloway-Whitehead Fei Lui
Watch this space
Stocking fillers Getting a head start on his Christmas shopping, Keith Fisher takes to the high street, and issues a reminder of the importance of affordability for this yearâ€™s festive season
Watch this space
t must be said that my other half has a fearsome reputation. So it was with some trepidation that I agreed – on a rare day off together – to accompany her on a shopping trip. We descended upon our local high street, looking every inch the loving couple, until my lovely anaconda boomed loud and clear in that sweet baritone voice: “Meet me here in an hour – I have some things to do which will not interest you.” Yes dear. I am not a shopper, full stop. So it was pretty obvious that the only thing I would be interested in is – you’ve guessed it – watches. My first port of call was H Samuels. You know, some of the toffee-nosed people I deal with on a regular basis look down their noses at such retailers, and it really angers me. Everything is so affordable; the products may not be as flashy as those of the elite watch brands, but who cares? And with Christmas just around the corner, it is important to offer the punter an ideal choice of affordable gifts, which can mean so much in the festive season when money can be a little tight. And let’s face it – you cannot start shopping too soon. Anyway, a girlie watch in an inside display cabinet caught my eye straight away. In a range called Charmed by Accurist, the two-tone Shimmer bracelet watch was dainty, pretty and so feminine. I thought it might make a present for ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed’ but then I realised it might not fit her wrist. They are big! Calm down dear – only joking. Moving on, and my next stop was Hinds. I was like a kid in a sweet shop. I asked an assistant for details of a watch that had caught my eye. It was from Michel Herbelin; a gold-plated piece with two centimetre brickeffect integral bracelet, which linked to a two centimetre square dial with black Roman numerals and hour/minute hands, plus a date function on an antique effect face. It was so smart and stylish. Incidentally, as a retailer, your customers will undoubtedly be attracted by a superb after-sales service, including perhaps a 30-day exchange policy and 12 month guarantee.
Next, I remembered a pal telling me that Debenhams was now ‘in to’ watches, and so off I went. I immediately stumbled upon the Ben Sherman range, and, more specifically, a watch with a brown coloured face and gold effect round case. It was superb, and when I was told the price I nearly fainted; £25 and a five year guarantee! Truly staggering. Feeling very pleased with myself I moved on to Argos, where inside I was struck by a Sekonda Classique rose gold plated chrono with a superb silver-white dial and brown leather strap and presented in a luxury wooden box. Guess how much? Just £49.99! These days the market is responding to tightened purse strings, and it is certainly worth offering a range of price points across your timepiece collections this Christmas, to cater to a wider customer base. I was then brought back to reality – my mobile phone rang. Oops. I wonder who that could be? “I said an hour – it is nearly an hour and a half!” said the dulcet tones of my bouquet of barbed wire. “I am waiting for you in Prezzo and you can buy me lunch. You have been looking at watches I bet.” Me darling? She knows me well. Too well!
With Christmas just around the corner, it is important to offer the punter an ideal choice of affordable gifts, which can mean so much in the festive season when money can be a little tight
Designed as the perfect dress watch, the Pangaea Automatik is a new design from MeisterSinger. With no winding, no minute or second hands and no second and third time zones, the Pangaea Automatik seeks to automatically slow down the wearer’s perception of time passing. The 40mm diameter case, curved exhibition case back — which reveals the watch’s engraved automatic movement — and high-quality calf-skin strap are all designed to appeal to both men and women. Available in anthracite and chocolate with a sunburst design, white, black and MeisterSinger’s trademark ivory. Information: www.meistersinger.net RRP: £1,425
Featuring a sporty, edgy design accommodating 11 dynamic functions, Tissot describes its RacingTouch touchscreen timepiece as a “lifestyle cockpit” for the young and driven wearer. With full chronograph capability, a useful logbook for recording personal results and data, dual time zones, two alarms and a backlight, its diverse functionality possibilities are matched by a versatile range of colour schemes and material combinations “to express specific style statements.” Distinctive accents include a black and orange model with a bright orange rubber strap; a sophisticated steel bracelet option; and a predominantly white version designed to reveal the line’s feminine side. Information: 0845 272 6400 or www.tissot.ch RRP: £395 to £420
Philip Stein is the first brand to bring Natural Frequency Technology to the luxury watch market. This exclusive technology – embedded on a metal disc in each watch – has reportedly been proven in a study by sleep specialist Dr Michael Breus PhD to “reduce stress, increase focus and improve sleep and overall wellbeing.” When wearing the watch, Philip Stein says that the individual’s “energy field interacts with the frequencies of the watch,” making the energy fields stronger and the wearer “more resilient to the stress of modern living.” Information: 0041 44 782 0990 or www.philipstein.com RRP: £3,350 (men’s) or £2,240 (women’s)
Longines’ Conquest line – part of the brand’s Sport Collection – has been given an extra sparkle thanks to a scattering of diamonds. A first glittering model is set with 120 diamonds around the bezel, while a second combines the brilliance of the stones with the strength of ceramic. “The dynamic beauty of the Ladies Diamond Conquest models, achieved through a marriage of sporty design and glittering diamonds, echoes the fine balance between performance and elegance that characterises the Conquest line,” the company says. Information: 0845 272 6400 or www.longines.com RRP: £1,320
Doing it big speaks with father and son team Ton & Jordy Cobelens, chief design officer and CEO of TW Steel respectively, to find out more about their brand and its selling points
What is the philosophy behind the TW Steel brand?
Jordy Cobelens (JC): For me the philosophy behind TW Steel is the strapline we use for promotion – ‘Big in oversized watches’. That’s exactly what we set out to be when we started to develop the TW Steel collection, and I believe, more importantly, that it is exactly what we’ve become after just a few years in the business! Behind that philosophy there are many layers of course. It goes without saying that to be successful at our price point we have to maintain our Swiss-standard build quality while being contemporary with our designs to uphold the brand’s appeal to the consumer. We offer an affordable luxury and we purposefully don’t categorise TW Steel into any one demographic as we always say: “Anyone can wear a TW Steel and everyone can afford a TW Steel.”
How does this philosophy reveal itself in your product design?
Ton Cobelens (TC): All our models are oversized so you can see we’re always thinking big in terms of our design and development. Through our various collections – Canteen Style, Diver, Grandeur, Goliath, Icon, Tech and CEO – we have a wide offering and undoubtedly something that appeals to the consumer in each of these ranges. For me the challenge is finding something unique in each model to improve its design and keep TW Steel moving forward.
Did any specific life experiences influence you in the development of your business plan? TC: From my perspective it was simply the choice to design the kind of watches I wanted to see on the market and be able to study what would appeal to consumers. Coming from an extensive advertising and marketing background, where I ran my own agency for many years and worked with Switzerland’s biggest watch group, TW Steel has allowed me to simply follow my passion for design while maintaining an interest in studying trends and, more importantly, setting them.
“ TW Steel has allowed me to simply follow my passion for design while maintaining an interest in studying trends and, more importantly, setting them” JC: As an entrepreneur I’ve always followed my instincts, and TW Steel proved to be so successful, even in its infancy, that I knew we had the foundation to really build a major international brand. It wasn’t something we wanted to hand over to anyone else so we decided to build it for ourselves and use our own experiences and respective skill sets to develop our business plan and ultimately grow the brand.
What makes TW Steel watches a good choice for retailers?
TC: A TW Steel watch makes a statement! Being oversized they naturally stand out in any retail environment, but crucially, because of their bold design and build quality, they look a lot more expensive than they actually are, and this really is without question one of our most important and unique selling points. We are successful because of our price point and our desire to continue to offer a platform of affordable luxury.
How does your company work to promote itself to the end consumer? And how is this of benefit to your stockists?
JC: As a brand we have taken a lead in ensuring we have a universal approach to both our marketing and advertising. Both the brand and our global partners are pro-active in reaching out to the consumer. We have some amazing brand ambassadors whom we work with globally and locally, including Dario Franchitti, David Coulthard, Emerson Fittpaldi and Mick Doohan.
We’re pro-active in using our ambassadors for the likes of in-store appearances, consumer promotions and online PR content. They add further credibility to the TW Steel brand, which is only six years old, but more importantly they love the watches. We also have our global marketing platform in the form of our role as ‘Official Timing Partner’ to Lotus Renault GP in F1.
Can you tell us more about this status as Official Timing Partner?
JC: We made both the decision and the investment into securing Official Timing Partner status with Lotus Renault GP (LRGP), so we had a global marketing platform for further awareness of the TW Steel brand. We’re currently in our second season with the team and it’s been a fantastic initiative for us and for our distribution partners worldwide. TW Steel has enjoyed substantial visibility through the branding secured on both the LRGP race cars and driver uniforms, as well as on things like the timing monitors and pit-garage walls. We’ve already enjoyed podium appearances thanks to the likes of Robert Kubica, Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld. With a global audience and the creative input of our partners in each territory, TW Steel has definitely benefited from its partnership with Lotus Renault GP and the exposure generated.
Do you have plans in the pipeline for any new watch designs or other exciting developments? TC: Our partnership with Lotus Renault GP saw the introduction of our new TW Steel LRGP Collection in
“Both the brand and our global partners are pro-active in reaching out to the consumer”
September, which we’re naturally very excited about, not least due to the tremendous success of last year’s collection. We also have a few additions to some of our existing collections, which will again enhance the range. We will shortly be introducing a Swiss Made collection, and this should retail in early 2012. Again, we’re very excited about this due to the feedback we’ve received from our partners. This range will include six models based on existing timepieces, but given a CEO upgrade, as well as two limited edition pieces.
How will you be looking to adapt your business strategies over the coming year, in line with fashion trends and changes to the economic climate?
JC: Thanks to our price point we haven’t been affected by the economic climate; we’ve sustained growth and I’ve purposely been aggressive in terms of our investment as the past few years have seen many brands scale back. It’s been an opportune time for a bold lifestyle brand like TW Steel to capitalise on these factors. We’re a privately-owned, familyrun company, which definitely affords us the ability to be decisive and fast in our approach!
Finally, what do you both love most about wearing a good timepiece?
TC: Being a designer I naturally need to feel a connection with its design. I appreciate, and obviously have an insight into, the process required to bring a watch to life. Irrespective of price, it is the design and styling that I appreciate the most in a good timepiece. JC: For me it’s simply a case of wearing a timepiece that reflects who you are; it’s important to make an impression on the people you interact with. I’ve worn a lot of expensive watches but there’s no doubting that a TW Steel is a reflection of me and they prove to be more of a talking point than any other brand. As we said earlier – you make a bold statement wearing a TW Steel!
Taking to the streets Michael Hoare muses over the sudden interest in the high street; questions if another initiative is really necessary; and calls for co-operation and clear thinking
uddenly everyone is interested in shopping again, or rather the issues that surround it, and there have been a flurry of initiatives aimed at dissecting and ‘improving’ both the regulatory and the physical environment in which we work. First the Government launched its Red Tape Challenge, with a poke about in the retail regulation cupboard. While we were transfixed with trying to ‘save’ a hallmark that was never in any real danger, we needn’t have worried about missing other important policy changes, because the enquiry only turned up a couple of burdensome anomalies on age verification and licensing on low risk products lurking in the back of a drawer. In July Mark Menzies MP tried to upset the apple cart by tabling a Ten Minute Rule Bill, aimed at allowing temporary relaxations of Sunday trading regulations during the Olympic Games, and giving local authorities the power to amend the legislation for special one-off events. His Sunday Trading (Amendment) Bill is scheduled for a second reading at the end of November, and will either allow retailers freedom to maximise the opportunities provided by Olympics tourists, or prove the thin end of the wedge that eventually tears the Sunday Trading Act apart, depending on your point of view. Most visibly, Mary Portas has been hired by the Government to lead an independent review into the UK’s troubled high street. It aims to identify what the Government, local authorities and businesses can do to promote the development of more “prosperous and diverse high streets.” Action for Market Towns (AMT), a national charity that has already done a lot of the spade work on the vitality and viability of small towns, magnanimously welcomed the focus on town centres and David Cameron’s comment that “the high street should be at the very heart of every community.” But I wonder what, apart from publicity, the ‘Queen of Shops’ can bring to the party that AMT hasn’t already thought of? Lastly, a report from the Local Data Company, published in September, shows no let up in the vacancy level for shop units in the second half of the year; surging from five per cent at the end to 2008 to 14.5 per cent today as one in seven shops pull down the shutters. We know from previous reports that multiple retailers are having a tough time of it, closing 20 stores a day, and with clothes and shoe shops
I foresee a return to unspectacular growth; a revival of the high street; local shopping supplemented by ecommerce; and a refocusing on specialist shops
and jewellers among the hardest hit in 2011. Supermarkets, convenience stores, cafés and pawnbrokers have bucked the trend, but since the start of the recession financially troubled retailers have closed, or plan to close, on average half their store portfolios as the high street comes under increased pressure. Some high street retailers have also seen a drop in footfall as customers seek out bargains online, and inevitably a proportion of shoppers will transfer their allegiance entirely to the internet. But, in reality, the UK has been over-shopped for a decade or more, and fresh shop developments arrive all the time. Some of the big retailers’ estates have grown because of machismo rather than economics, and weak brands have proliferated. Plus, where a retailer once required 250 stores for national coverage, today they only need 150 stores and a transactional website to achieve the same effect. All these changes have happened just as our belief in easy credit and reliance on ‘services’ as the driver of the UK economy have crumbled. So the retail explosion couldn’t last – the bubble had to burst sometime – and now we are going through one of our periodic adjustments of the market. It’s going to be tough, but every now and again old wood has to be cut back to allow new growth to flourish. Personally, I don’t welcome the short-term effect on the high street, as I prefer its charms to the gloomy monotony of the out-of-town alternative. But hopefully empty shops will lead to realistic rents; to adventurous new formats; and truly local initiatives supplanting ubiquitous clones. There is still more pruning to be done, but I foresee a return to unspectacular growth; a revival of the high street; local shopping supplemented by ecommerce; and a refocusing on specialist shops. And if market towns can get to grips with issues like car parking, out-of-town shopping, transport links and stubborn local authorities, I think they are well placed to lead the charge. After all there are about 1,600 towns in Britain, more than 22 per cent of the population lives in them, and although some are in decline the majority grew by more than four per cent between 2001 and 2009. Many are experimenting with initiatives like loyalty schemes, virtual local department stores, and ‘benchmarking’ to help towns to improve. As Mary Portas points out, Whitehall already has a cupboard full of reports gathering dust, on the future of the high street. Whether they need another is debatable. But if she can shine a light on the best practice that already exists, and, crucially, break down the entrenched attitudes of retailers and local government, then we might see a rosy future for the local high street.
His and hers gifts
Here comes Santa Claus… For those seeking inspiration as Christmas approaches once again, here is a selection of stocking-ready jewellery for 2011
His “Christmas is a time when larger, more expensive pieces will be hunted down for the style-conscious male,” says designer Chris Hawkins. “Apart from the ever-popular cufflink market, I find that I sell a lot of bracelets and necklaces in the festive season. Big ticket items that have been admired, weeks or even months before, will be carefully selected for that intimate and thoughtful gift.” Information: 01273 554 632 or www.chrishawkinsjewellery.com The new Berserker cufflinks from Drew Perridge of London feature black freshwater pearls in sterling silver and black gold plate. “The Berserker collection for men harks back to the Dark Age warriors who were masters of their own fate; the bear representing their independence and strength in the face of a hostile world. The modern berserker is a man of fashion who is bold in the face of the world and forges his own identity,” says Drew. Information: 07985 635 536 or email@example.com Set with Swarovski Elements, these silverplated cufflinks have been specifically designed to inject a new colour dimension to the Fred Bennett cufflink collection. They come in a range of cuts and colours and offer great price points.
Tribe bracelets are stylish stainless steel and leather bracelets, available in a choice of sizes and over 30 designs in black, brown, tan and other colours. Available from Midhaven, “the prices are keen and service is fast.” Retailers can order by individual designs or the company will put together a pack to suit the store’s needs. Midhaven is also offering free point of sale material and pouches with orders of £200 or more. Also available in ladies’ and petite styles and sizes. Information: 01299 851 513 or www.midhavensilver.co.uk
Information: 01376 532 000 or firstname.lastname@example.org Mondaine says its Simply Elegant collection, a stylish slim-line version of its classic watch design for men and women, “offers the gift of timeless, stylish elegance this Christmas.” The case is a slender seven millimeters, and its specially-designed lugs allow it to adapt to any size of wrist. The watches come in two sizes, with 41 millimetre or 36 millimetre stainless steel cases, and are available in a variety of colour combinations, with either a milanaise mesh bracelet (pictured) or leather straps. The Simply Elegant range is water resistant to 30 metres and features a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass to protect the iconic Mondaine dial. Information: www.mondaine.com
Nexus Pearls introduced a new range of silver jewellery at IJL 2011. “Keeping the high quality we are known for, beautiful Tahitian and South Sea mother of pearl cufflinks have been introduced to give retailers the ability to stock pearl gifts ‘for him’,” says the company. The ladies weren’t forgotten though, as new launches also included silver and pearl jewellery, as well as new collections in both nine and 18 carat gold. Information: 0121 554 9999 or www.nexuspearls.co.uk
His and hers gifts
21st Century Silver has just launched Limelight – a new range of rhodium-plated jewellery. Aimed at today’s busy woman, it is eyecatching but affordable. Another bonus is that, being rhodium-plated, it needs almost no cleaning and will keep its like-new look day in, day out. A full range of packaging is available.
International Jewellery London saw the official introduction of Lucet Mundi. After just three months of trading, Lucet Mundi’s power bead friendship bracelets have already captured the attention of football stars – including Chelsea’s Nicholas Anelka and Everton player Silvan Distin – actresses such as Emma Rigby and television personalities like Jenny Powell, as seen on ITV1’s Daybreak. Lucet Mundi says retailers flooded to Earls Court to catch a glimpse of the range of power bead bracelets, as well as its handcrafted diamante silver dust strings and Amulet friendship bracelets. Information: 0844 736 6202 or www.lucetmundi.com
Information: 0208 339 3731 or email@example.com New designs from Fi Mehra include nugget pendants (pictured) – each one made by taking 10 grams of silver and melting it until a natural air bubble forms underneath, blowing through the molten silver, and then set in a five-millimetre round faceted stone – and the Imprint and Ingot range, which is influenced by the deep seal engravings on display at the British Museum. It also makes a feature out of the Diamond Jubilee hallmark. Fi also makes a range of earrings, bangles, rings and pendants. Information: 01380 818 606 or www.fimehra.co.uk
Hazel Atkinson Jewellery says women of all ages will appreciate its range of anodised aluminium jewellery. Each piece of lightweight, vibrant and colourful jewellery is hand-made in the UK and is absolutely unique. Hazel has also spiced up her Natural Selection range with new seasonal colours for a special festive feeling. Information: 0115 958 6183 or www.hazelatkinsonjewellery.co.uk
Chrysalis is excited to be launching its new collection of interchangeable pendants. Sterling silver chains, in lengths ranging from 16 to 36 inches, can be enhanced with semi-precious and precious stones, such as faceted ruby, sapphire, blue topaz, cut amethyst, tonal blue lacey agate, soft shades of rose quartz and uniquely-shaped turquoise pendants with blue hues and extracts of invigorating green. “Versatility and creativity are what Chrysalis has to offer you,” says the brand. “Personalisation is the next big, hot-selling concept.” Information: 01823 698 898 or www.silver-willow.com
His and hers gifts
Devon designer Banyan Jewellery is known for its eclectic and affordable, hand-crafted ranges. Working with sterling silver, Banyan’s creations are adorned with gold, copper and brass, plus semi-precious stones and vibrant opalites to add accent and colour. Established in 1997, Banyan – which says its essence is “to create jewellery that can be worn, enjoyed and afforded” – has a growing customer base, which it describes as a testament to its “personable, friendly approach.” It adds: “Ensuring our pieces are in stock and ready to be dispatched to our customers enables them to make the most of the Christmas season.”
Hot Diamonds’ new Gemstone Orbs collection represents a timeless celebration of eternal love. Available in a variety of gemstones, the collection features its much-loved Arabesque, Selene, Paradise and Just Add Love design motifs, and is perfect for the Christmas gifting market. For more information, contact Tom Lerwill. Information: 0118 975 3331 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“Silver jewellery is very trendy, and the all-time high price of gold leads the focus to gold-plated silver. It’s affordable and gives the designer endless possibilities,” says Tezer. “Our spring collection already showed numerous light and delicate pieces, and this very fine and feminine pendant with matching earrings – light as a feather – is the perfect match for modern women. It’s amazing how a piece of jewellery changes from cool and timeless to having more warmth and value just by the change of colour.” Information: www.tezer-design.de
Information: 01626 853 384 or www.banyanjewellery.co.uk Andrew Neilson Photography
Amber has been enjoyed by mankind for at least 10,000 years. Over this time it has been prized not only for jewellery, but also for carvings, caskets, decorative panels, glassware, walking sticks and in many other applications. Mayanna specialises in amber jewellery, but also carries many other amber artefacts. The company supplies working jewellers with amber pieces and cabochons in a wide variety of colours, shapes and dimensions for use in their own creations.
World of Charms says the latest in fashion is its Bulle d’Amour collection of matching necklaces and bracelets and stud earrings that use 925 silver fittings. Comprising hand-set crystal beads in a whole range of colours, the jewellery comes with matching cord, fully adjustable in length. There is also a magnetite range with contrasting coloured crystal, which the company says makes an exciting addition to the collection. POS and brand support are available.
Information: 01494 524 124 or www.mayanna.com
Information: 0871 900 1899 or email@example.com
Deema is a designer based in Oman which seeks to “capture the latest trends of prestigious jewellery markets.” Combining this with an Arabian Gulf heritage, Deema has come up with state-of-the-art designs for Arabian jewellery with a modern look. “Our creativity and adherence to excellence are expressed in hundreds of forms and styles,” says the company, “delivering a unique appeal and jewellery that is finely finished and in exclusive and limited editions.” The Deema collection includes rings, pendants, necklaces, earrings, brooches, bracelets and bangles in precious metals and incorporating an array of precious and semi-precious stones and pearls. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
His and hers gifts
Perfect for the new season, Candy Bling bracelets are the latest accessory from Charms UK. Candy Bling is part of the Candy Bracelet collection, which includes over 70 bracelets and necklaces created in sterling silver with CZ, crystal and different colours of silk cord. Picking up on this season’s trends, Candy Bling bracelets feature colourful crystal beads, and bracelets in a variety of colours and styles, and can be stacked or worn singly.
New from Curteis are sterling silver, British-made family lockets, available in an oval shape with a plain or engraved finish. “Hand-assembled to an extremely high standard, when fully opened the locket reveals four places to accommodate treasured images,” the company says. Information: 0800 195 6771 or www.curteis.com
Danish brand Svane & Lührs’ lambskin leather bracelets saw a successful launch at IJL in September. Available in tailor-made sizes, the bracelets can be embellished with a choice of 450 charms made from semi-precious stones, 925 silver and gold-plated with magnetic clasps. Presented in a soft leather purse, they are perfect his and hers gifts for the Christmas season. Information: 0191 214 7074 or email@example.com
Information: 0117 968 3979 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Julia Burness Jewellery’s Lost Lace collection is a body of work that includes earrings, rings, cuffs and neckpieces inspired by pieces of vintage lace. Information: email@example.com or www.juliaburnessjewellery.com
When it comes to gifts for ladies, The Silvery has something to appeal to all ages, with the Tiny Shell collection for little girls, chunky silver pendants for teens, the best-selling Dancing Feathers range for mums, and gorgeous brooches for grandma. “The fact that each piece is a true one-off, hand-made in the UK and with a POS card and gift box included, ensures not just sales, but return customers who are thrilled with the reaction of the recipient to such beautiful, unusual gifts,” the company adds. Information: 01273 472 570 or www.thesilvery.co.uk
Tresor Paris’s 1950s-inspired Chartres graduated bracelet is made up of 11 grey crystals and three matt black agate precious stones with two eight-millimetre magnetite balls. These matching his and hers bracelets – the female version named Lille – are great gifts for Christmas. Information: 0203 355 4030 or firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s a wrap
packaging and display
Jon Chapple looks at ways retailers can capitalise on the upcoming Christmas gift boom, where presentation is everything
o-one apart from children, masochists and members of Wizzard wishes it could be Christmas every day, but for jewellery retailers – many of whom are continuing to find the going tough in 2011 – the festive season provides a welcome opportunity to capitalise on seasonal buying trends and maximise the potential sales they can bring. However, even at such a potentially lucrative time of the year, jewellery and gifts won’t sell themselves, and having packaging – often referred to as the ‘silent salesman’ – that is attractive, durable and, above all, distinctive, can make a bigger impact on sales than many might think. After all, what is Tiffany & Co but a high street jeweller with a very famous little blue box? A well-presented product will have packaging that is both practical and physically appealing. Johnson-Baker not only offers packaging that protects its items of jewellery, but it promises to clearly meet customers’ emotional needs for a special gift with its range of
leather boxes in blue, black and gold. Established in 1932, the company takes pride in a personal and efficient service that caters to the jewellery and promotional gift sectors. It has several new vibrant colour box ranges for this year, and continues to offer a complete packaging service with co-ordinated ribbons, bags, wrapping and boxes. Ch Dahlinger has introduced a limited-edition Christmas collection that it says is “contemporary yet captures the magic of the season.” Featuring Christmas colours of red and white, its boxes – designed to “enhance the jewellery gift customers are buying for that special person in their life” – are stylish, up-to-date and come with additional elasticated ribbons and bells. A selection of co-ordinating carrier bags with a variety of special Christmas imprints are also available to help add that finishing touch. “Renewing your window dressing colours will also add to that seasonal look and help bring customers through your door,” says the company. “With
a wide range of colours and styles available, new busts and pendant displays in accent colours, such as cream and red, are particularly popular.” Established in 1978, Karina Krafts also recognises the importance of smart presentation and packaging in increasing sales. Karina says it has been an exciting year at the company, with the introduction of a new catalogue – its first for four years – and the addition of a new purpose built, 10,000-square-foot warehousing facility; developments that have gone hand in hand with the expansion of its product range and a stated commitment to hold stock in-depth. “We are very grateful to our customers for their continued support during difficult economic times,” the brand comments, “and are looking forward to repaying this support during 2012 with a continuingly competitive pricing policy and first class quality products.” The company will also be exhibiting at Giving & Living in Exeter (15 to 18 of January). For those in need of wrapping paper, in-store gift wrap specialist Something Classy has produced a new collection of premium quality, 22-gram, custom-print bespoke tissue and gift wrap in small quantities. Available as both sheets and on-counter rolls, the company can produce as little as six reams of tissue or four counter-rolls of gift wrap, giving retailers an opportunity to make a cost-effective statement with their brand in time for the festive season. 1) 2) 3) 4)
Ch Dahlinger: 01473 620 720 Johnson-Baker: 01747 853 445 Karina Krafts: 01443 815 595 Something Classy: 01543 480 914
For further information about our brands please email Malene Taylor at email@example.com
Christmas creativity As Rebecca Hoh-Hale discovers, staying ahead of the competition during the approaching Christmas sales season can be easier than you might think – all it takes is some trend advice and a little artistic licence…
t might be way too early to get our Christmas lists ready and think about what time we are going to put the turkey in the oven, but now is most certainly the time to order your gift stock ready for the festive sales season. With competition from other retailers on the high street and in out-of-town shopping centres, as well as the internet, the way that you display your products can be a big draw for customers, whether passing by or making a targeted visit to your store. The same basic rules apply all year round: a clean and tidy display window is first and foremost; effective lighting is essential in ensuring your stock dazzles through the wintery days and evenings; often less is more when dealing with tiny objects like jewellery so pick your ‘hero’ pieces and give a lot of thought as to how they are displayed rather than cramming in as much possible; and finally, tell a story, but make sure it is the right story for your product. But what about the trends and current or new ideas? Here’s what is hot for 2011’s holiday season windows and point of sale (POS) and how you can achieve the look…
I’m dreaming of a... Vintage Christmas: retro, just like I used to know
One of the biggest style trends in general at the moment is still ‘vintage’, and it appears that our love for all things retro is equally applicable to Christmas, with festive window dressing and display centred on imagery and emotions tied up in the Christmases of years gone by; the Christmases of our childhood.
Who’s doing it?
Chelmsford-based Charming Grace has got the look down to a tee and will be displaying jewellery on vintage Christmas cards this year. The company has previously filled transparent baubles with trinkets and its own jewellery pieces – an idea based on company founder Johanna Meadow’s memories of her father placing her mother’s present, such as a beautiful bracelet, in with the Christmas tree decorations. Total nostalgia! “I filled baubles with vintage buttons, charms, cabochons etc in the colours of the piece of jewellery I was highlighting and hung them from a small Christmas tree,” Johanna explains. “I also made up DIY kits for these – they were very popular and completely sold out. “This year my inspiration will definitely come from childhood memories,” she continues. “I can remember getting a birthday card that had a necklace hanging on it; I loved the fact that I received a card and a necklace. I found some old stock of cards (such as those pictured
on facing page) and purchased them instantly, so my customers can do the same for Christmas.” The owners of Blanche and Lola also feel that vintage is key in how they display their products. Additionally, they incorporate the style and palette of their logo and company colours, even creating a mood board inspired by this, as well as exciting windows and images they see in order to put their thoughts together for their festive POS. “It’s important to think outside the box and try and use unconventional display ideas and props rather than the same old display busts, which so many other retailers use,” says founder Amy Evans. “However, I think it’s really important to maintain your brand identity throughout the year, so that people understand what your style is about. So there will still be lots of pink, black, polka dots, birds and birdcages, with a little festiveness thrown in with white fairy lights and snowflakes. All this combined means our theme this year is vintage-Parisian-chic!” Evans will also be ‘up-cycling’ many found, pre-loved items, giving them new life by transforming them into display pieces.
“I have been scouring flea markets and second-hand shops for decorative old picture frames, mirrors, shelving units, letterpress trays and display cabinets, and I’m currently in the process of giving them all a shabbychic makeover ready for Christmas displays. I love this vintage display cabinet (pictured left) which I bought on eBay for £13! It is going to be stripped, painted a creamy-white and re-wallpapered inside with some pretty birdcage wallpaper.
Get the style
Have a look on online auction sites or in antique shops for authentic period cards, from the Victorian era upwards, for displaying necklaces and other items. Companies like Hello!Lucky design old-fashioned-looking cards and could also make larger versions of the motif so it could be used as a bigger prop in the window or in-store. A quick search online will turn up many places to purchase transparent, opening baubles, which you can fill with decorative items or jewellery. Try to re-create the homely essence of Christmas with smells as well as sights; burning a spruce candle immediately evokes nostalgic memories. Flea markets, charity shops and even car boot sales can yield amazing ‘pre-loved’ objects, which can be used as display cabinets or simply vintage props to catch the trend-aware eye. Great items to look out for are typewriters, suitcases, glassware or vintage Christmas tree decorations.
I’m dreaming of a... Woodland wonderland: winter beasties and blooms
Another big visual merchandising trend that will transfer to Christmas windows is woodland chic; you can’t walk past many storefronts on Bond Street and Oxford Street without seeing a fox, antlers, twiggy branch or mossy tree trunk. So for winter windows this will mean snow-covered pine trees, deer and robins as well as winter flowers and icy scenes. Liberty displayed some of its jewellery pieces in actual tiny bird’s nests this year, so the more realistic the better. White woodland motifs will reign over domestic scenes, with a whimsical, Scandinavian folklore look and plenty of snowflakes or icicle references in silver and white.
Who’s doing it?
Eclectic Eccentricity is an online boutique and wholesaler but always creates eye-catching retail display points and event stands. “We always consider both current jewellery and visual merchandising trends,” explains Lucy Crick from the company. “At the moment, the emphasis is still very much on nature and animal-inspired pieces, so we will often use such imagery in our displays. At last year’s Clothes Show Live event, we created a winter wonderland theme centred around snow-covered leaves, glittery birds and snow white roses entwined around birdcages with small deer motifs dotted around the tables.”
Lucy raises a good point, that it may be better to go with a more seasonal approach rather than a complete Christmas grotto:
“A full Christmas display can deter general shoppers, so a winter theme that suggests Christmas while still remaining neutral works well to boost both gift buying and impulse purchases.” Another of the company’s ideas to maximise gift sales at this time of year is to promote a gift service and include examples of gift boxes and gift cards, featuring your logo, within displays. “This instantly puts the idea that the item is ‘gift ready’ into the mind of the buyer; particularly for male customers, as the idea that the jewellery will be packaged and presented as a gift makes the whole shopping process as easy as possible!” Silver Willow has picked up on the theme, with its stack rings being shown on flower stems throughout the year and now on silvery-blue thistles for the winter and Christmas season (see page 33). London-based Pearl and Queenie stocks a variety of British designer jewellery and is “channelling a little bit of Narnia, fairytales, theatrics and winter wonderland” for Christmas 2011.
“The Christmas window is so important,” says Kathy Dyton at the store. “A lot of my inspiration comes from thinking how window displays used to fascinate me as a little girl, and I use that inspiration to create a grown-up ladies version of this!” Kathy will also draw upon the ‘Snow Queen’ look of the Grace Kelly quartz necklace by Anton Heunis for the window, so this will be a central part of the scheme and will also dictate the colours and textures used. Meanwhile Eclectic Eccentricity will make sure its pieces with star motifs (pictured below) take pride of place in displays for that Christmassy feel.
Get the style
and also to imagine it on themselves. Plush, tactile finishes are great for this look, such as red velvet for opulence. And why stop at decorating the interior, when you can decorate the whole building, as seen at Winsor Bishop’s in Norwich!
This also means maximum impact for passers-by with minimal change to the actual store itself. “Avoid trying to make the store look like a home, with normal-style Christmas decorations,” says Jianhui. “There should be a difference between a house and a shop, so use the opportunity to get creative.” Jianhui will carry on the performance theme in-store, with jewellery displayed on vintage musical instruments, and French music – from and inspired by the cabaret club – will be playing to get customers in the mood.
Look for the piece or pieces which most say ‘winter wonderland’ to you, and give them pride of place in the window. Stick to the colours seen in the jewellery for the props and dressing you use for the rest of the window. Venturing into local woodland is a fun way to find flora and fauna you can use in the window display, like branches and pinecones. Don’t move anything that is still being used by its original owner though! Buy some straw, shape it into a nest shape à la Liberty, and spray the edges silver, to house your more delicate pieces for a winter woodland look. Fake flower stems and garlands can also be given a makeover with a white or silver spray paint.
I’m dreaming of a... Glitz and glam Christmas: embrace the party season
Don’t forget that Christmas doesn’t only mean gifts – it’s a time for dressing up, which of course means more jewellery! Many jewellery retailers use this idea for festive windows, where mannequins are essential for customers to see the product as part of an outfit Jianhui
Who’s doing it?
The aforementioned Winsor Bishop was the talk of the town last year, with its red velvet bow that wrapped the whole shop up (see page 32), similar to Cartier’s flagship store on Bond Street. “Our red bow definitely got people talking,” says managing director Sophie Fulford. “One of the funniest things was standing behind a couple of ladies in the queue at a supermarket and overhearing them discussing it! Our goal is to be at the forefront of people’s minds when they are considering making a jewellery or watch purchase in our area. So if people are talking about Winsor Bishop we are doing something right!” Jianhui has a beautiful shop in Oxo Tower, London, and has chosen a Moulin Rouge theme this year. Jianhui will optimise the power of the window itself by commissioning a painter to emblazon the window with Parisianstyle images of the exciting cabaret club in all shades of red and gold.
Get the style
Search for local artists, or perhaps contact your local college for art and design students to enlist their help with creating an illustration for your shop window or posters in-store. Think of your shop as a gift itself, so look for velvets and satins in colours that match your packaging or products and get wrapping inside and out. Oversized bows on walls or hanging from ceilings are a great way to conjure up the Christmas feel. Choose your most glamorous pieces and get them onto mannequins and perhaps collaborate with a nearby fashion or accessory shop to put your jewellery in the party context.
In the first of a new series aimed at jewellery retailers looking to diversify their product offering, luxury Christmas gifts take centre stage. Read on to be inspired…
The Bijou Box Company The Bijou Box is a high quality contemporary jewellery box available in a range of stunning colours, and cleverly designed with interchangeable inserts so that the interior can be matched to the customer’s jewellery storage needs. Bead rods and pods, charm trays and ring rolls provide practical storage for contemporary jewellery, while other insert options cater for fine jewellery and travel needs. Inserts are also available to purchase separately. Information: 07590 516 224 or www.bijouboxes.co.uk
Emma Bridgewater Blueprint Collections produces pottery designer Emma Bridgewater’s stationery and bag collections, and the brand is a bestseller for the company. Its latest Emma Bridgewater collection is Starry Skies, launched in September, but Pink Hearts is also worthy of note as it has been one of Blueprint’s bestselling collections. Products include various notebook formats, photo albums, a travel wallet and even small and large shoppers. Information: 0845 217 2400 or www.blueprintcollections.co.uk
Wingfield Digby Wingfield Digby is a quintessentially English luxury brand that appeals to tourists, country bumpkins and city slickers alike. Its unique range of finely crafted placemats, photo frames and trays make ideal gifts for those friends or relatives who seem to have everything. The company’s placemats feature hand laid feathers (cock and hen pheasant, guinea fowl and peacock) set beneath a layer of heatproof glass and are backed with velvet. The placemats come in sets of four of the same feather type, although the pheasant mats are often bought in conjunction with one another (one cock and one hen set). Meanwhile, the photo frames come in four different feather types: hen pheasant, cock pheasant, guinea fowl and Lady Amherst pheasant. The feather and glass frames come in two different photo sizes: 5 x 7” and 8 x 10”. All products come with a beautifully presented Wingfield Digby box. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.wingfielddigby.co.uk
Designers Guild These Designers Guild candles will bring a touch of colour and elegance to any home, and are available in four attractive designs/fragrances: Lily of the Valley, Peony, Lime Flower and Iris. Each candle is intricately detailed with a floral design, and packaged in a multi-layered box. Gift-packed soaps and room sprays are also available. Information: 0208 595 8878 or www.stoneglowcandles.co.uk
Edwin Jagger “Based in Sheffield, England, Edwin Jagger is now regarded as the foremost European manufacturer and supplier of finest wet shaving accessories,” says the company. Its current collection comprises handmade badger hair shaving brushes, razors with three popular blade types, shaving sets, gift sets and the highly regarded 99.9 per cent Exquisite & Fragrant selection of shaving preparations. The range offers perfect gifts for all occasions and includes something for every budget. Information: 0114 275 3739 or email@example.com
Maccessori Following on from its successful iPhone covers, Maccessori has now developed a unique range of ladies’ bags, all handcrafted in genuine Harris Tweed and Nappa leather. The Shopper is an elegant bag with plenty of room for everyday use; the large CrossBody Bag is again an ideal everyday bag; and the small Cross-Body Bag, which has already become a favourite, is ideal for occasional and evening use. These bags are all available in three Harris Tweed colour ways, and the company also offers a co-ordinating range of coin purses, wallets, glasses cases and credit card holders. Information: 07725 225 312 or www.maccessori.com
FooFitch FooFitch is the newly launched luxury dining brand created by Hatton Garden contemporary jeweller Nicholas James and Digi Foo-Kune, MD of creative agency Wonderberry. Set to satisfy the growing appetite for fusion cuisine, the range embraces the best of western and oriental cultures; providing the right co-ordinated cutlery to elevate the overall dining experience. ‘Arc’ is the first design in the collection and is a definite luxury statement, comprising a pair of slender chopsticks, complementary European style spoon and fork by cutlery partner Arthur Price, and two cutlery rests. They are made of sterling silver, silver plate and hand finished with pavé diamonds. Every piece is completed with the brand’s signature finishing touch – a diamond solitaire. Information: 0207 404 9594 or www.foofitch.com
Show stopping! Event co-directors Sam Willoughby and Syreeta Tranfield look back on International Jewellery London 2011 – a show where trends were unveiled and new designers launched alongside major brands What were the visitor and exhibitor figures like as IJL closed this year?
We were up on visitor numbers in comparison with last year, which was great news – we are constantly developing the show and creating new initiatives to keep it fresh, and we were really pleased to receive an increase in footfall (two per cent increase, to 9,084 visitors). There was also an increase in Diamond Club members attending (26 per cent). The Club brings key figures from leading retailers to the event, and is the most senior level and largest VIP programme at a UK jewellery trade event. Exhibitors this year increased by 13 per cent to 580, including sharing companies, and we received a lot of positive feedback as the show closed – it seems that the show was not only busy, but there was also a lot of business being done. There was definitely a real buzz on the show floor this year.
Was the new IJL catwalk a success and why did you launch this?
The new IJL Runway added to the excitement on the Boulevard. We actually had a catwalk at IJL in the 90s and this was a great time to bring it back as we had such a diverse range of quality brands and designers at the show – the Runway really brought this to life and added to the overall atmosphere at the show. Boulevard exhibitors such as Domino and Euro Pearls commented on how well the show went for them, with Euro Pearls noting the luxurious feel of the show this year and Domino commenting on the excellent timing of the show as buyers come to IJL with Christmas in mind. We also had other events on the Boulevard stands – Aagaard, for example, launched its new Soldier to Soldier collection with a drinks reception for press and retailers, describing IJL as the show where some of the best producers of jewellery are exhibiting.
What was the reaction to the seminar programme and Great Debate this year? The seminars were well attended – highlight seminars such as Stylesight’s presentation on upcoming trends were completely full. Our Diamond Club members commented on the quality of the seminars this year – Sanjay Pattni of Joule attending one each day! The Great Debate was very interesting this year and the feeling was that this was
truly international thanks to the guest speakers – Gaetano Cavalieri, president of CIBJO, and Catherine Sproule, chief operating officer of the Responsible Jewellery Council. Stephen Webster’s film on his visit to the artisanal mines of Peru and the improvements made thanks to their involvement with Fairtrade Fairmined also gave the audience a first hand insight into some of the issues to be addressed.
There were 170-plus new exhibitors at the show this year – have you received any feedback from these exhibitors?
Some of the new exhibitors – Jeremy Hoye, for example – are established designers returning to the show. Jeremy reported that the show went well for him, describing IJL as an upmarket show with the right buyers. He joined jewellery stars in the Design Gallery, in the new Designer Brands section, alongside designers such as Rachel Galley who opened more new accounts than ever before. Henig Diamond also returned, having not appeared at IJL in recent years, and described it as a great show. Other designers and brands were new to the UK, bringing a real international feel to the event – US-based Raymond Hak, for example, told us he also had a great show as he launched his brand in the UK, and Norwegian newcomers Bjorg Design said they had received a lot of interest from quality retailers and buyers. Many designers were brand new. We really try and support budding new talent at IJL, as it’s so important for the British jewellery industry as a whole, and we know that buyers and retailers like to see new talent at the show. The KickStart and Bright Young Gems designers were outstanding this year and I’m positive we’ve seen some new jewellery stars being launched on these stands based on the reactions of visitors.
to watch videos and interviews from the event.
The return of a traditional splendour Andreas Mitchell distills gem theory and commercial practice into information that can help in the buying, making and selling of aquamarine jewellery
n ancient India it was said that of all the gemstones to come from the earth, aquamarine was the only one that contained an ocean. The Latin root aqua marina –‘water of the sea’ – suggests a transparent gemstone coloured from the myriad hues of the ocean. The likeness does not disappoint. With deep blues to electric greens and an infinite swatch in between, aquamarine captures nature’s watery palette in a truly stunning gemstone. Aquamarine is a member of the beryl family, which includes emerald (green), heliodor (yellow), and morganite (pink); it shares the same composition and structure as these gems, but differs in that it contains trace elements which cause the distinguishing colours. Iron causes green and
blue in aqua, while chromium and vanadium give colour to emerald. Crystals are usually found as hexagonal columns, which can be diminutive or quite large. In 1910 a 110 kilogram half metre giant was found in Brazil. Historically aquamarine was worn as a charm or amulet by seafarers to ensure safe passage. In the Middle Ages it was thought to reawaken love in troubled relationships, and when powdered was popular in medieval courts throughout Europe as an antidote to poisonings. In 1912 the American National Association of Jewellers declared it the birthstone of March. Aqua can be found all over the world, notably in Brazil, Russia, India, Afghanistan, and increasingly in east African countries.
For jewellery makers, traditional margins on diamond jewellery have eroded due to internet sites which enable like-for-like comparison of diamonds and direct consumer purchase. Many makers today are pushing coloured stone jewellery because good margins are still achievable. Aquamarine has benefited from this trend as it is a stone where a great deal of effect can be had for reasonable money.
Heating and colour
Left: Faceted 51 carat aquamarine oval, natural unheated. Image by Andreas Mitchell Above: Mixed rough aquamarine and blue barrel cabochons. Image by Andreas Mitchell Below: Rough, unheated aquamarine from South India. Image by Andreas Mitchell
The downs and ups of aqua
During the 20th century the popularity and eminence of aquamarine waned somewhat compared to Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras, when it was in demand for brooches and rings. This may have been due to the growing power of diamond marketing or the increased availability of cheap sapphire and ruby gemstones. The North American market began to favour ‘Santa Maria’ and ‘robin egg’ blues over the more traditionally appreciated ‘sea foam’ colour, which contained greens and blues. This, combined with the use of heat treatments to make stones more blue, increased the yield for miners, but commodified aqua, thus decreasing its rarity and overall appeal. Today, aqua is undergoing a resurgence with jewellery makers and buyers – it looks good in silver when gold prices are high; a large variety of cuts are available; and with a hardness of 7.5 to 8.0 (Mohs scale) it is durable in mountings. Because of its subtle colours, aquamarine is easily paired with clothing and makes for excellent evening wear as it performs well under artificial lights. Growing awareness of the environment also helps sell a gemstone that so evokes the colours of the natural world.
As mentioned, today most aquamarine is artificially heated, mainly to appeal to North American tastes. Generally the process is automatic, not disclosed, and can be assumed to have occurred. Disclosure is considered unnecessary as heating can occur as a natural geological process which man is just copying. Most heated material comes from Brazil where the process involves exposing gemstones to temperatures of 500 to 600°C. This converts green hues into blue, while the colour intensity remains unchanged. Therefore aquamarine containing green colours is unlikely to have been heated. In the current market the better the blue, the higher a stone’s value. However, the relationship between colour and desirability is not fixed across cultures. In Japan, pastel colours are often preferred to strong, hard colours in gemstones. Australasian consumers are more open to lighter shades of aqua and traditional ‘sea foam’ colours than Americans. As Asian markets rise and North America exerts less dominance, other influences will shape market preferences. Today there is a steady and growing demand in the UK for a wider palette of aqua colours and those in the industry may do well to explore this trend to satisfy developing tastes. Heating can cause the introduction of grey/silver tonal masks in an aquamarine as it cooks blue. This is a subtle effect which is sometimes just discernible in commercial grade stones, especially from Brazil and east Africa, and is not apparent in unheated or natural blue material. Party to this, I have a subjective impression that in such stones the lustre is somewhat subdued. Whether this is an effect of the grey masking, polishing compound, or some structural effect of heating on the crystal is unknown. However, with its vitreous lustre (similar to glass), aquamarine needs all the sparkle it can get to stand out. Makers and sellers should consider these two points when setting aqua in silver or displaying with other jewellery, as grey metals accentuate the effect by colour association and a dull stone can be lost amid other jewellery. There is a small percentage of unheated aqua that has a strong, attractive blue, but has low lustre and a slightly greasy appearance. In India this is referred to as ‘oily aqua’, and one should not be fooled into thinking it will polish up bright, as it will not and should therefore be avoided.
Proportions and display
Gemstone proportions are often discussed because they can have a marked effect on price and appearance. Aqua is naturally a pastel coloured material so proportion becomes more important than in many other gems. As colour saturation diminishes with the stone size, colour can be completely lost or reinforced by the cut. Many stones will fail to please because they have a table facet which is too big and one can see through the stone. This ‘windowing’ should be avoided because skin or fabric behind a mounted stone will be visible and kill both life and colour. On a well proportioned aquamarine, the table will generally be more ‘closed’ and smaller when compared to the crown than on many other gems. Besides closing the ‘window’, this causes light to bounce around inside the stone
for longer before it reaches the eye, giving it a chance to pick up more colour. The size of the pavilion is the other important proportionality for aqua gemstones. A common complaint is that a pavilion has been cut deliberately large to preserve weight, making a stone more costly. This is less likely to be true in the case of aqua than other gemstones because colour intensity is so dependent on the bulk of the pavilion. All things being equal, with smaller stones it is worth being forgiving of slightly larger pavilions because this may be the sole cause of decent colour. Anyone with an interest in buying or displaying aquamarine should consider the light with which it is viewed. As with most gemstones, to see colour accurately indirect daylight or a daylight bulb is best. Due to its low colour saturation, aqua can be fickle about daylight bulbs. The colour composition of white light is called colour temperature, and is measured in kelvin (K). The colour temperature used by photography studios and diamond graders of 5,500K works well, but much below that, or above 6,000K, tends to wash stones out. Many purported daylight bulbs do not operate at 5,500K so for best results try to use one that does. When displaying, incandescent, standard fluorescent, and LED bulbs tend to subdue the colour and darken the stone. Some halogen lights can work well and even enhance the perceived colour and also have the benefit of being point light sources, which can give stones sparkle. Aqua will very easily pick up colour from its surroundings. Any hints of blue nearby can accentuate the colour markedly while other colours such as reds can wash it out. This can be used to good effect in display design.
Caring for aquamarine
As with any gemstone, aquamarine should be treated with care. It is possible to damage stones with impact and abrasion, but this is relatively uncommon as it is a tough stone with indistinct cleavage and does not have a natural tendency to break. Any weaknesses in a crystal are usually mitigated by the way the material is cut to maximise the colour, which coincidentally makes the exposed crown of a set stone resistant to sideways impacts. The fact that the material is transparent gives confidence that defects in a stone will be readily apparent on inspection. In normal domestic use, aqua is very colour stable, however jewellery makers should be careful of heat shock and aware that braising or heat during setting can affect colour. Stones already heat treated will remain unaffected, but unheated aqua (with green tones) can be susceptible to change. There are anecdotal stories of colour changes at temperatures perhaps as low as 200°C, so beware. When cleaning loose stones or jewellery, hot soapy water followed by a rub with a polishing cloth is best. Ultrasonic cleaners are inadvisable as they may damage the stone or mounting, but ionic cleaners should be fine. The use of chemical cleaning agents, polishing oils or waxes is not recommended. This is due to a common inclusion in aquamarine called ‘rain’, which may or may not be visible to the naked or aided eye. The inclusions are fine tubular crystals or cavities which run parallel through a stone giving an effect like driving rain. The tubes are cut through and exposed upon faceting and any substances that get inside may later dry and discolour the stone. With aquamarine, the ‘bling’ of a stone can easily be dimmed by surficial dirt or foreign substances. For best results when displaying, care should be taken to clean around the back of a set stone to remove any debris and skin oils if worn.
Top left: Natural aquamarine crystal, 15,256 carats. Image by Cliffords Photography Top right: Single natural aquamarine crystal. Image by Shiny Things Bottom: Single natural aquamarine crystal. Image by Ed Uthman
An ethical gemstone
We are in an age where the ethics of what we buy and sell are increasingly important. Questions of ‘where did it come from’, ‘what were the circumstances’, and ‘where will the money go’ are topical as gemstones become implicated in the funding of regimes, environmental devastation, and sweat-shop treatment of labourers. As an ethical gemstone aquamarine acquits itself well. Although there are no large organisations offering mine-to-market product transparency or agreed ethical certifications, the realities of aquamarine production insulate it from worst practice. A lower material value compared to other precious stones means it is not a source of funding for criminal activities. Deposits are often compact in size so not attractive to large mining concerns which may damage the environment. Aqua is usually mined by small groups or businesses (often families and communities) in a type of mining known as artisanal, so money stays within the region, and with the community focus, the use of forced labour is very rare. Cutting is usually done in cities such as Jaipur and Bangkok where there is peer oversight and labour conditions are monitored. So even without a transparent chain from mine-to-market, aqua can generally be brought and sold with considerable ethical confidence.
Top: Faceted aquamarine, natural unheated. Image by Andreas Mitchell Centre: Faceted aquamarine ovals. Example of different aquamarine colours from left to right: unheated blue, unheated green, heated blue. Image by Andreas Mitchell Bottom: Faceted aquamarine oval, heat treated. Image by Andreas Mitchell
The tide comes in
For the last few years uncertainty in the global and domestic economy has caused discretionary spend items like jewellery sales to be lacklustre. Consumers are looking for greater value for money while increasingly favouring natural materials, colours and ethical products. Makers and sellers are searching for ways to keep prices down while maintaining margins. Aqua occupies a sweet spot between these tensions, and consumers are reawakening to it. With creative design, good selling strategies and knowledge such as that presented here, aquamarine is beginning to regain its historical popularity and become more of an equal with other precious gemstones today.
Andreas Mitchell holds a degree in Gemmology, an FGA, and has been involved with gemstones most of his life. He is currently director of UK Geminvestments Ltd, a specialist supplier of wholesale beryl gem materials. He travels widely to mines and gemstone markets around the world and is interested in promoting clear, practical information about gemstones. You can find out more at
Top: Fancy cut aquamarine ring. Image by Gnilenkov Aleksey Centre: Fancy cut aquamarine ring. By Gnilenkov Aleksey Bottom: Aquamarine pendant. Image by Gnilenkov Aleksey
Not an aqua Maxixe (pronounced mah-she-she) is a blue beryl family member that is not an aquamarine. Originally found in Brazil the material has a deeper, almost sapphirelike colour saturation than aqua, which is caused by an altogether different mechanism (nitrate and carbonates instead of iron). The colour is affected by natural irradiation but once out of the ground is not stable and will rapidly fade in sunlight and at temperatures above 100°C. The colour can be reactivated by artificial irradiation. These stones are not common and are more for collectors than for use in jewellery, however there is still sporadic production of maxixe beryl and it is important that the properties of this stone are not confused with its sister stone aquamarine. Other stones commonly confused with aquamarine: • Synthetic spinel • Topaz • Zircon • Beryl glass Of these stones only beryl glass and topaz may fool the unwary as the others have a noticeably brighter lustre. Glass may be found mostly in antique jewellery, and topaz will under scrutiny have no green colours and be a more electric shade of blue.
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Few CAD jewellers can cite René Lalique and computer games as inspiration for their work, but Mouse Jeweller is not your average CAD jewellery service. Morgan Morey is the self-titled ‘CAD sculptor’ able to create and manufacture anything from sculptural human forms to natural shapes wrapped around non-standard stones or highly-detailed heraldic seals. Mouse Jeweller is able to cover all parts of the CAD process, from initial design and printing to providing moulds and finished one-off pieces. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.mousejeweller.co.uk
Glitterati Creative Goldsmiths launched four pieces of ladies’ jewellery at Treasure during London Jewellery Week. Helios – named for the Greek sun god – is an 18-carat yellow gold and silver, half-cleaved, marquise-shaped, single-stone citrine ring; Hephaestus – named after god of fire and metalworking – is an 18-carat yellow gold and palladium two-stone, natural yellow and white diamond ring; Artemis – the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals and the wilderness – is a palladium trillion-cut, single-stone diamond ring; and Eclipse is a black spinel necklace that features an 18-carat yellow gold sun and stars opposite a palladium moon and stars. Information: 0118 933 3332 or www.glitterati.gb.com
Bunny Love, an expanded array of floppy-eared treats “ripe to add playful sparkle to the most discerning of necks, wrists, ears and fingers” is the latest addition to the Hillier London collection. “A solid gold bunny pendant – head of the Bunny Love family – hangs from a delicate gold chain; the bunny doodle’s diamond eye replaced with an elegant crust of pave diamonds,” says the company. Forming the rest of the Bunny Love range are two fine gold chain bracelets; a quartet of stacking rings; a fine gold band topped with a unique fluorescent diamond; and a set of gold bunny stud earrings dotted with “diamond winks”. Information: 0207 033 4224 or www.hillierlondon.com
Retail IT this month celebrated 10 years providing EPoS and retail management software to British retailers. Its event, held on the 15 September, was attended by a number of top UK retailers including Garrard, Theo Fennell, Anya Hindmarch, L K Bennett, Issey Miyake and Vivienne Westwood. Retail IT provides real-time retail software for stock control, reporting, point-of-sale, merchandise management, production and wholesale, among other areas. Jewellery-specific functionality includes assay tracking; metal, carat and material tracking; and automatic catalogue generation. Information: 0208 605 9768 or www.retailit.com
Born to design Where did your journey into jewellery design begin and where has it taken you?
My journey into jewellery design began with a bracelet, which was owned by my grandmother. She was born in Turkey and had an amazing Turkish gold charm bracelet, which I absolutely adored when I was about five years old. She also had beautiful boxes of jewellery and gold-embroidered clothing, which for a child was fascinating to see and touch. Some of my relatives also built the railway across Turkey in the late Victorian era and the train carriage interiors were stunning, with amazing chandeliers hanging in them. I still have pictures of them and loved the stories I was told as a child, including the infamous tale of my great grandfather escaping Turkey during an invasion with his whole family on board the Orient Express to Paris, while holding a pistol to the head of the driver. As a child I was always the one drawing and became quite the classroom artist – I was the kid who made a Roman mosaic out of sweet wrappers! This passion for art, design and my grandmother’s charm bracelet carried forth and culminated in two degrees – firstly a BA Honours in Metal Work at Farnham Art College, and then an MA in Goldsmithing and Jewellery at the Royal College of Art (RCA). My creative and artistic experiences there proved invaluable, and after graduating from the RCA I developed my own business straight away. Full of creative energy and high hopes, I didn’t want to dumb down my artistic talent by working within a corporate company, and felt starting my own business was the best avenue for me. On leaving the RCA, not only did I set up my own business immediately, but I became part of a multimedia and interdisciplinary group called the New Renaissance. We had all graduated recently from the RCA, and created spellbinding installations, exhibitions, events and fashion shows, which allowed me to create bigger pieces including incredible metal seahorse bustiers and tiaras.
Since establishing her studio and brand in 1990, Sophie Harley has seen huge success, with her jewellery designs proving popular with celebrities and royalty, as well as the general public. Louise Hoffman finds out more
“I’ve found I’m working a lot more with gold, even though there’s talk of going into a double dip recession!”
Designer “To see my designs worn on television, featured in magazines, catwalk shows and on the big screen is always a great thrill”
The sketchbook pages displayed on your website are fascinating – what inspires your art and design?
I was always drawing and painting as a child and I have to say drawing really is my first love; I’m incredibly passionate about the design process and I spent most of my five years at college with my head buried in a sketchbook. I have spent many hours drawing in museums all over the world, but especially the V&A, the Museum of Mankind (which sadly no longer exists) and the British Museum. I was always interested in ancient artefacts and the amazing stories behind them. Seeing the wonderful displays of beautifully handcrafted work from the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, North American Indians and so forth has always fascinated me, and the cross-cultural references are clearly evident in my work. I consider my work to be a mixture of contemporary and ancient skills, sometimes with a bit of philosophy thrown in!
Which materials do you most enjoy working with?
I enjoy working with precious metals, especially yellow gold as it is so malleable and such a beautiful colour. At the moment I am enjoying an obsession with some amazing coloured gemstones, including diamonds in black, green, pink, yellow and blue.
Have you had to adapt your design style over the years, in line with specific changes in the market? I’ve never designed things specifically to fit in with the marketplace as I have a very strong personal vision and people still love the work I designed from 20 years ago. That said, I do love to design new pieces all the time as part of my creative process and I find I’m using far more stones now than I ever did in the past. I’ve also found I’m working a lot more with gold, even though there’s talk of going into a double dip recession!
Which is your most recent collection?
My most recent collection features some incredible chokers, earrings and rings. They are set with dazzling faceted precious and semi-precious stones in an array of delicious colours including orange, citrine, amethyst, blue and pink topaz, green quartz, peridot and aquamarine. These collections are available in gold vermeil and 18 carat gold.
Are you currently working on any new designs?
I’m currently working on a new set of opulent rings featuring silver and intricate 18 carat yellow gold wire work. These precious metals encase precious stones including cognac diamond briolettes based on the gods and goddesses of the various seasons, evoking their mystical and magical stories. I’m also working on a new collection called ‘Brilliana’, which is based on a wonderful part of my family history dating back to the 1600s. My ancestor Lady Brilliana Harley became an unlikely heroine during the English civil war, defending the family castle at Brampton Bryan against the Royalists (even melting down the family silver to help ends meet during the war). As Brilliana is connected with the word ‘diamond’ in Russian, I intend to make a strong yet feminine collection featuring white and coloured diamonds in honour
of my famous ancestor. The collection will nod towards design motifs connected with the Elizabethan era.
I understand you have quite a celebrity following! Can you tell us more about this, and how it makes you feel as a jewellery designer? It is true I have had a number of well-known names coming through the doors of my studio! I have developed pieces that have been specially commissioned for music videos that have featured Prince, Muse, George Michael, Enya and Bryan Ferry. I have sold to royalty including a sheik; established personalities that are seen daily on our TV screens; models; film directors; actors; and of course the beautiful Eva Green (pictured above) who wore my Algerian Love Knot necklace for almost all of her screen time alongside Daniel Craig in the Bond movie Casino Royale. As a jewellery designer it’s wonderful to have such positive feedback about my work from any of my clients, but of course to see my designs worn on television, featured in magazines, catwalk shows and on the big screen is always a great thrill.
Finally, what are your long-term goals for your business?
I aim to extend my collaborations with other people as it is not only great fun, but great for my business to be associated with like-minded designers. I have previously engaged in high profile special projects for illustrious, internationallyrenowned brands such as De Beers, Mappin & Webb, Boodle & Dunthorne and the World Gold Council and hope to do more of these collaborations in the future. My new website has been a year in the making and is almost ready for launch, at which point we will be making further in-roads into retail partnerships both in the UK and worldwide. An important part of my website is a new section for my ‘upcycling’ service. I can transform inherited or old jewellery into exceptional new pieces, whether removing stones or using the gold itself. This fits in perfectly with the current economic climate and my huge interest in making one-off bespoke pieces for people. Meanwhile, as a company, we will continue to extend our private client base, especially our in-house bespoke jewellery design service.
How do they do that?
The Birmingham Assay Office is actively involved in the research and development of tests to identify the causes of tarnishing in jewellery items. Dippal Manchanda, technical director of the Birmingham Assay Office, explains how some elements of packaging can cause or accelerate tarnishing and how to avoid it
arnishing is an ongoing problem for jewellers, particularly for silver and low carat gold articles. Silver naturally interacts with oxygen and sulphur-bearing pollutants to create silver sulphide, resulting in a visible discoloration of the metalâ€™s surface. Silver tarnishes in environments containing various sulphuric gases, even in very low concentration. The amount of tarnishing is determined by the relative humidity, ambient temperature, gas concentration, and the length of time the silver is exposed to the gases. After extensive research, paper and cardboard materials used for packaging have now been identified as one of the factors that can accelerate tarnishing. High sulphur and other tarnish-causing compounds released from paper, cardboard, certain cloths, foams and adhesives are a common problem. Most types of paperboard in contact with silver, copper and certain copper-zinc based low carat gold alloys cause localised tarnish stains on the metal surface. The tarnishing agent is most likely to be free sulphur or a volatile sulphur-liberating compound, which can still cause problems even if not in direct contact with the product. The blackening of silverware wrapped in tissue paper and packed in paperboard boxes is not due to the direct effect of any corrosive substances in the tissue but to the vapourphase action of sulphur compounds from the boxes, which penetrate through the paper to the metal surface. Moisture may also be a vital ingredient. Paper/paperboard containing 0.5 or 2.5 per cent sodium sulphide tarnishes silver only in the presence of moisture. Similarly, various types of paper containing sulphur compounds which, on alkaline extraction and acidification, liberate hydrogen sulphide do not blacken silver unless they are moist. On the other hand, filter papers impregnated to contain 0.006 per cent of free sulphur can cause tarnish stains, even when the papers are completely dry. The tarnishing of silver, copper and certain copperzinc alloys can be avoided with certainty only if a free sulphur content of less than 0.0008 per cent can be assured in the paper or paperboard with which the metal articles are in contact. Recycled paper and cardboard may be helpful as they have lower sulphur content than virgin paper, as well as lower levels of other harmful tarnish-causing constituents. As far as paper/cardboard packaging material is concerned, it is not only sulphur that is involved. All wood products have some level of
How do they do that?
Focus on the expert Dippal Manchanda MSc CSci CChem FRSC
formaldehyde present, which converts to formic acid over time and thereby increases the acidity of the paper product. Unless manufacturers employ rigorous quality control practices to their input stock paper and board, large variations in the tarnish-causing constituent can occur. If the pH of paper is low, for example 4.0 to 4.5 (cold extraction), as little as 0.0002 per cent of reducible sulphur may cause tarnishing, whereas if the pH is higher, even a much higher quantity of sulphur may not cause tarnishing. So-called ‘acid free’ paper has been found to contain high concentrations of sulphur and other contaminants. ‘Acid free’ and ‘acid neutral’ have very different meanings: ‘acid free’ is a process to remove the acids from the board and often relies on non-wood components (rag is typical). ‘Acid neutral’ is simply a pH buffering material (which leaches out over time, leaving behind an acidic board or paper) added to the paper or board to bring the pH of the system to neutral. ‘Acid free’ paper/ cardboard is therefore preferable. In the UK, the average level of atmospheric sulphur is only a few parts per billion – not sufficient itself to cause rapid tarnishing. However, when an item is packaged in a small, sealed environment with sulphur-releasing agents such as sulphurous adhesives etc, the levels of sulphur can become concentrated, especially in warm, humid conditions. Experimental evidence shows that even one small adhesive label can have dramatic effects. Some synthetic foam, besides sulphur, contains high levels of chlorides and fluorides – both of which will cause tarnishing of silver and other metals. Some plastic bubble wraps in direct contact with silver objects can also encourage tarnishing. Two kinds of tarnish have been noted; firstly an even clouding with a mild orange colour where the smooth side of the bubble wrap made contact with the silver,
and secondly a heavier layer of tarnish with clean voids where the bubble surfaces had pressed against the silver. The bubble wrap is made from polyethylene coated with ‘liquid saran’ to keep the air from escaping from the bubbles. The saran is deduced to be the culprit causing tarnishing.
Testing packaging to identify tarnish accelerants
The accelerated tarnish test from the Laboratory of the Birmingham Assay Office for testing packaging materials involves the identification of the presence or absence of components responsible for causing tarnishing or staining of products. This test is primarily for packaging that is in direct contact with silver, low carat gold and base metal items. Test results indicate the type of tarnishing or staining and the relative distribution of the materials causing it. Test conditions are such that if any volatile sulphides or any other compounds which cause tarnishing are present, then they will cause the control sample of uncoated silver to tarnish. This can be a very valuable ‘early warning’ system for retailers, preventing unsuitable packaging from causing large shipments to tarnish and become unsalable as has often happened in the past.
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
Selling dated jewellery As the festive sales season approaches, Leonard Zell provides lucrative advice on shifting old stock
E v e r yone needs a n i ncentive to s e l l more than t h e y have been s e l ling; this is h u man nature
f you don’t get rid of your old stock now, it will be with you for another year. Anything more than two years old that does not have to be reordered is considered dated, and the longer it remains in your store, the more it costs you. If you ever wondered why you are stuck with dated jewellery every year, this is why: you are a victim of the ‘80-20 rule’, which means you have been selling 20 per cent of your jewellery 80 per cent of the time. What has been sold is mostly new, and what is left is the 80 per cent. The reason is that your salespeople always like to show the newest jewellery first. This is because they think it is easier to sell, and they avoid the old stock. Like me, you may be a victim of the 80-20 rule in your personal life. Men – take a look at your neckties and put together the ones you have been using the most. If you are like me the figure would be worse – I realise I have been wearing 10 per cent of my ties 90 per cent of the time! This is where we get fooled. Our friends don’t know how old our ties are unless the shape is radically different, and maybe not even then. This also holds true in your store – most of your customers don’t know which jewellery is the oldest either. If you think they do, or if your salespeople are convinced they do, then this is what I recommend: • Make a complete change of the way your jewellery is displayed. • Get new backdrops for the windows. • Put the jewellery in different showcases and group them differently. • Make sure the newest jewellery is mixed in with the old. This is the best time to take an honest look at your displays and ask yourself these questions: • Are they getting old? • Are the colours dark when they should be light? • Do they show off your jewellery to the fullest extent?
• Are you really proud of the way your jewellery is displayed? This will be a worthwhile investment, especially before the festive season. Everything in the store will look new to your customers and your salespeople will have fewer excuses; you will be surprised how much of your dated jewellery is sold! However, you may still have more to sell, especially in the higher price ranges. What do some jewellers do? They put their dated jewellery in a separate showcase with discounts of from 25 per cent to 50 per cent. Some of it will sell, but much of it will still be there because they have labelled it as old stock. A better method, which makes good sense, is to reward your salespeople for selling that jewellery. Sell it for the full price and give your salespeople that discount, and watch that jewellery fly out of your store! Be careful about the double standard, though – some jewellers cannot tolerate rewarding their salespeople with £250 when they sell a necklace for £1,000, or with £1,200 for selling a diamond ring for £3,000, but they think it is perfectly fine to give this money to their customers. I know jewellers who used the double standard and reduced the amount they paid to their salespeople, and they ended up with at least half of the dated merchandise left to get rid of. Everyone needs an incentive to sell more than they have been selling; this is human nature. When your salespeople see the additional amount of money they will earn, think how much money you will make. You will be rewarded with the following: • They will turn your dated jewellery into cash to buy new jewellery. • This will rescue you from the 80-20 rule. • This increases your turnover. • When you increase turnover, you increase your profit. How can you top that?
Increase your sales with Leonard’s 180-page sales manual of proven jewellery selling techniques. And for the perfect complement, order , a full day of sales training recorded live on three CDs. Available to order at . Leonard will also be conducting sales seminars in the UK in October and still has a few dates available. To find out more about his sales training seminars go to his website, , or email him at
REGENTâ€™S PLACE, 338 EUSTON ROAD, LONDON NW1 3BT T: 02075448572 F: 02075448401
Events and auctions
30 September – 3 October INTERGEM Messe Idar-Oberstein Idar-Oberstein Germany www.intergem-messe.de
6 – 9 October Liverpool Design Festival St George’s Hall Liverpool
7 – 10 October Malaysia Jewellery Festival Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Kuala Lumpur Malaya www.mij.com.my/MJF
8 – 10 October ZAK Jewels Expo Vivanta by Taj Connemara Madras, India www.zakjewelsexpo.com
15 – 18 October Jewelers International Showcase Miami Beach Convention Center Miami, Florida United States www.jisshow.com
29 – 31 October Jewelers International Showcase Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Nevada United States www.jisshow.com
10 – 13 November Dubai International Jewellery Week Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre Dubai United Arab Emirates www.jewelleryshow.com
18 – 20 November Desire Jewellery and Silversmithing Fair Guildhall Winchester Winchester
9 – 11 December Mumbai Jewellery and Gem Fair Bombay Exhibition Centre Bombay India
16 – 20 January 2012 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève Palexpo Geneva
2 – 5 December China International Gold, Jewellery and Gem Fair Shanghai World Expo Theme Pavilion Shanghai, China
10 – 11 December Luxury Asia Resorts World Sentosa Singapore
22 – 24 January 2012 Scotland’s Trade Fair Spring The SECC Glasgow
14 – 16 January 2012 Jewelers International Showcase Miami Beach Convention Center Miami, Florida United States
31 March – 2 April 2012 Jewelers International Showcase Miami Beach Convention Center Miami, Florida United States
8 December Bonhams Fine jewellery New Bond Street, London
13 December Dreweatts 1759 Jewellery, silver, watches and coins Bristol
3 – 11 December VICENZANTIQUARIA Fiera di Vicenza Vicenza, Italy www.vicenzafiera.it
4 October Dreweatts 1759 Jewellery, silver, watches and coins Bristol www.dnfa.com
7 October Wellers Auctioneers Jewellery, watches, silver and clocks Chertsey Surrey www.wellersauctions.com
8 October Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Victorian and later effects, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone Kent www.kentauctiongalleriesltd.co.uk
18 October Campbells Jewellery, silver, clocks and watches Worthing West Sussex www.campbellsauctions.co.uk
22 October Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Antiques and fine arts, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone, Kent
3 November Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London www.bonhams.com
4 November Bonhams Jewellery Oxford
5 November Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London www.bonhams.com
5 November Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Victorian and later effects, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone, Kent www.kentauctiongalleriesltd.co.uk
8 November Bonhams Jewellery Oxford
22 November A F Brock & Company Limited Jewellery, watches and silverware Hazel Grove, Stockport Cheshire www.afbrock.co.uk
25 November Wellers Auctioneers Pawnbroker and secondhand jewellery Chertsey Surrey www.wellersauctions.com
26 November Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Victorian and later effects, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone Kent www.kentauctiongalleriesltd.co.uk
29 November Capes Dunn Antique jewellery, silver, watches, wares and coins Manchester www.capesdunn.com
11 November Jacobs & Hunt Silver and jewellery Petersfield Hampshire
28 October Wellers Auctioneers Pawnbroker and secondhand jewellery Chertsey Surrey
11 November Wellers Auctioneers Jewellery and watches Chertsey Surrey
30 November Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge London 7 December Bonhams Jewellery Edinburgh
9 December Wellers Auctioneers Jewellery, watches, silver and clocks Chertsey, Surrey www.wellersauctions.com
10 December Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Victorian and later effects, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone, Kent www.kentauctiongalleriesltd.co.uk
13 December Campbells Jewellery, silver, clocks and watches Worthing, West Sussex www.campbellsauctions.co.uk
14 December Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London www.bonhams.com
16 December Wellers Auctioneers Pawnbroker and secondhand jewellery Chertsey, Surrey www.wellersauctions.com
17 December Kent Auction Galleries Ltd Christmas gifts sale, including jewellery, silver and coins Folkestone Kent www.kentauctiongalleriesltd.co.uk
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Prices • Figures • Outlook Metal prices
Retail sales volume: July 2011 Compared to July 2010, the seasonally-adjusted value of all retail sales in July 2011 increased by 4.3 per cent; up 0.3 per cent from June. In the same period, seasonallyadjusted growth was flat, while the implied deflator increased by 4.4 per cent in the highest year-on-year rise since July 2008. An estimated £26 billion was spent on retail goods during July 2011; up from £24.9 billion year-on-year. Downwards pressures came from predominantly food stores; clothing and footwear stores; household goods stores; and other stores, while upwards volume pressures came from nonspecialised stores; non-store retailing; and fuel.
Sterling silver (£/Kg)
Sterling silver scrap (£/kg)
9ct Gold scrap (£/g)
14ct Gold scrap (£/g)
18ct Gold scrap (£/g)
22ct Gold scrap (£/g)
Platinum (95%) scrap (£/g)
Scrap metal prices
Data supplied courtesy of Cookson Precious Metals. www.cooksongold.com All prices shown on this page enjoy indicative status only. Jewellery Focus and Cookson Precious Metals accepts no responsibility for their accuracy or for any use to which they may be put
Seasonally adjusted figures
The table above has been prepared by SafeGuard and is an average of the retail selling prices of round brilliant cut diamonds per carat including an average retail markup and VAT. There is no allowance for the mount but the prices have been taken from mounted goods prices. The table is also compared with International diamond prices for additional accuracy. Compiled at 1st September 2011 /Dollar Exchange Rate 1.6237
Hallmark figures Aug 10
917 492 639,995 2 641,406
2,246 321 515,878 2 518,447
1,329 -171 -124,117 0 -122,959
144.9 -34.8 -19.4 0.0 -19.2
34 2 28,813 86,579 16,873 271,505 403,806
68 1 21,998 73,214 7,854 252,226 355,361
34 -1 -6,815 -13,365 -9,019 -19,279 -48,445
100.0 -50.0 -23.7 -15.4 -53.5 -7.1 -12.0
3 21,893 5 9 21,910
10 17,921 3 1 17,935
7 -3,972 -2 -8 -3,975
233.3 -18.1 -40.0 -88.9 -18.1
6 6,796 3 6,805
0 7,159 388 7,547
-6 363 385 742
-100.0 5.3 12833.3 10.9
Silver 999 958 925 800 Gold 999 990 916 750 585 375 Platinum 999 950 900 850 Palladium 999 950 500
The total number of units hallmarked across the four UK assay offices was down 16.3 per cent in August 2011 with a total of 899,290 items hallmarked compared to 1,073,927 in the same month last year. With the exception of palladium, all categories of metal were down. The number of gold units hallmarked was down 12 per cent, silver 19.2 per cent and platinum 18.1 per cent. On a positive note, a total of 7,547 palladium articles were hallmarked in the month â€“ an increase of 10.9 per cent on August 2010.
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ONE OF THE WORLD’S LEADING PACKAGING STOCKISTS PRESENTATION CASES BOXES POUCHES WINDOW DISPLAY BESPOKE PACKAGING SUNDRIES TICKETS ARCHCROWN TAGS CARRIER BAGS LIGHTWEIGHT STOCK TRAYS CAD/CAM
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Repair Services Is your Rolex watch bracelet stretched and worn?
Full shop refurbishment service Unique hardwood points of sale Fabulous lighting Bespoke display cabinets Watts Design, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 4EN Tel: 0844 5611932 or 01598 710215 Email: email@example.com www.wattsdesign.co.uk
bqw rolex specialist
At BQ Watches we can make it look brand NEW
We now specialise in the repair and refurbishment of Gold Rolex Watch Bracelets
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Tony Preistnall of Arthur Kay & Bro, Manchester Arthur Kay & Bro has been trading since 1897 and has since become something of an institution on Manchester’s high street. Could you tell us a little bit about the history of the shop?
I started working for Mr Alan Kay – an original to the Kay family. In the late 60s the company changed ownership, joining the Burns Jewellers Group, which has kept it exactly as it was. When the manager of the store retired, I was duly promoted by the chairman of the group and I have held this position for 40 years. Surviving two world wars, six monarchs and the Manchester IRA bombing, the shop still stands proudly on Manchester’s high street. The store has also played host to numerous television programmes, including Coronation Street.
What has been the secret to your success? Do you think traditional independents still have their part to play in the modern retail environment?
Kays has always been a friendly, family jeweller, giving all the services you would expect, including valuations and repairs, and our professional and impartial advice to all aspects of the jewellery trade really makes us stand out from the crowd. All of our staff members are highly trained in everything we sell; whether it be traditional items such as wedding rings, or modern jewellery concepts. As a part of the Burns Jewellers Group umbrella we have been able to move quickly with trends. What separates us from the pack is that we buy lots of second-hand goods, such as gold and watches, some of which we refurbish and sell on again. If it’s unsalable we send the items to the bullion smelters for processing.
What do you think are the main problems facing retailers like yourself today?
The main problem is that the ‘cake’ is getting smaller because of increased competition on the internet. The ease of price comparisons means we have to be on the ball and flexible in order to match online offers. We have a dedicated team within the Burns Group, which is constantly checking rivals’ pricing structures and promotions, and matching our pricing online and in-store accordingly. Also, the amount of money in people’s purses has declined, meaning it has become a much harder job to persuade the customer to part with his or her cash. However, despite this, sales have been rising, showing that our heritage and history is counting for something.
What’s selling well at the moment?
We have recently seen a huge rise in palladium wedding band sales, and TW Steel and diamond rings are also popular.
How many people do you have working alongside you?
We currently have six members of staff. Pre-world war two we had 14 employees and a doorman!
Is it important for jewellers to be online nowadays? How essential is the Burns Group web shop to your overall business?
Being online is absolutely fundamental. Burns Jewellers identified this around 10 years ago, and our website has grown at around 150 per cent year-on-year. As a result, our office staff numbers have grown by a similar percentage too.
Finally, what are your plans for the future?
To keep the traditional element of business alive and to keep doing what we’ve been doing best for over a century. We are a landmark in the north-west and intend to keep our place proudly on Manchester’s high street by serving customers for many more years to come.
For more details please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our UK sales office on 01530 588166
Published on Sep 28, 2011
Jewellery Focus is a magazine dedicated to all retailers in the jewellery trade. Targeting high street stores, this magazine caters for comp...