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June 2010 FEATURES To have and to hold? 


Laura Jane Johnson examines the so-called ‘mengagement ring’ concept, which is proving increasingly popular on the high street

A charmed life 


The charm jewellery trend has been steadily evolving over the past year, maintaining consumer interest. Sam Guiry looks at the latest designs

Going for gold 




Sarah Jacotine discovers how the sector is dealing with the pressures of soaring gold prices, and continuing to provide for the consumer

Focus on gemstones 


With more fakes finding their way into jewellers’ hands, it is becoming essential for gemstone buyers to find a reputable dealer

Online optimisation 



Dean Benson of Visualsoft provides essential advice on AdWords and Analytics, explaining how they can help you boost internet sales


Editor’s letter 






Janet Fitch 


Taking stock 


Michael Hoare 


Working with… 


Inspired by the plethora of new designer exhibitions and degree shows, Janet turns her attention to fresh industry talent

Keith Fisher 

This month, Keith explains how stocking second-hand watches can be a viable and profitable route to success


Designer of the month 

Award-winning product designer Jasper Morrison discusses his recent collaboration with the Rado Watch Co

The latest news from the industry




New offerings from the industry Succession in family businesses is a vital consideration, so how should we encourage the next generation? Michael Hoare comments

Ones to watch 


Dippal Manchanda of the Birmingham Assay Office discusses the problem of tarnishing in precious metal alloys

Gems of a colour 


Leonard Zell 


Syreeta Tranfield 




Industry data 


Voice on the highstreet 


Trends in timepieces In the first of a new bi-monthly gemmology series, Lorne Stather of Gem-A explains simple techniques to identify different blue stones Diamonds have seen continued popularity despite the economic gloom, discovers Syreeta Tranfield

This month, Leonard reveals the truth behind the ‘awkward customers’ so despised by salespeople across the globe

Sophie Croydon of Winsor Bishop, Norwich

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Editor’s letter C

olour is the overriding theme of this month’s Jewellery Focus, as you will see in the rainbow of pages that follow this letter. An altogether suitable theme too, I might add, as we enter the summer season. On page 34 begins a new bi-monthly gemmology series from the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, this month focusing on blue stones. In the first instalment, director of education Lorne Stather explains some simple differentiation techniques that can be used at the counter. Also on the subject of gems is this month’s ‘Focus on’ feature, which provides details of a selection of loose gemstone suppliers (page 38). The charm jewellery trend has come a long way over the last year or so, with designers and manufacturers continuously developing fresh interpretations and imaginative designs to ensure the continued popularity of this jewellery. On page 24, Sam Guiry speaks with some of these companies to find out more about their latest collections. Sarah Jacotine investigates the ways in which the jewellery sector is overcoming gold price hikes, and continuing to provide for consumers without compromising on quality or design (page 30). Meanwhile, on page 20, Laura Jane Johnson turns her attention to the so-called ‘mengagement’ ring, which is receiving considerable interest on the high street. Where watches are concerned, you can find some of the latest models in our ‘Ones to watch’ section as usual (page 18), and on page 16 Keith Fisher explains how stocking second-hand watches can be a viable and profitable business strategy. Finally, turn to page 42 for the ‘Designer of the month’ interview, which this month features awardwinning product designer and recent Rado collaborator Jasper Morrision. I hope you enjoy the magazine and the month ahead.

Jewellery FOCUS


Louise Hoffman

Editorial Assistants Sam Guiry

Nick Aston

Production Editor Matt Bower

Group Advertisement Manager Kelly Smith

Senior Sales Executive Russell Collins

Sales Executive Katie Thurgood


Tina Pitcher

Customer Services 01206 767 797

Contributing writers:

Janet Fitch • Keith Fisher Laura Jane Johnson • Leonard Zell Michael Hoare • Sarah Jacotine Syreeta Tranfield


Arthouse Publishing Solutions Ltd

In support of:

Jewellery Focus

is published monthly by:

This month’s cover features GOLDMARK

Goldmark has been manufacturing bespoke jewellery for over 35 years, created by some of the most skilled craftsmen in the trade. The company says this experience has provided them with solid foundations on which to base their computer aided design technology service. Goldmark now offers a professional and free CAD service for all bespoke jewellery orders, describing the service as “truly amazing”. Rendered virtual images of designs are provided for the customer, before any manufacturing takes place. This allows the design to be tweaked to the customer’s satisfaction, without any cost of remanufacturing. In addition, the company’s website is populated with the latest mount designs, full customisable to any diamond quality, at very competitive prices. For more information on the services provided, see the enclosed insert. Information: 0844 736 5945 or

Mulberry Publications Ltd

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

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

Pink Sapphires

Exquisite Jewellery by

Sheldon Bloomf ield 0113 243 0100 www.sheldonbloomf heidi @ sheldonbloomf

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5/18/2010 11:28:53 AM


ROUNDUP AND BRIEFLY Keeping the old traditions alive Keen to keep the art of handmade jewellery alive, London Rocks has launched a website showcasing the talents of young designers. Jewellery retailer London Rocks prides itself on creating individual bespoke pieces made by hand with customers involved in the design process from start to finish. The work of the designers at the Hatton Garden store will be featured on the company’s website, along with interviews with the designers during the jewellery making process and footage of them as they attend various events across the country.

Half the British population shop online A recently introduced online survey has shown that over half the British population now shop online. This is a trend that companies cannot ignore, making it even more important to establish a website to sell their products. The e-Shopper Index will regularly monitor ecommerce activity and has been prepared for the IMRG by the British Population Survey (BPS). As chief executive of IMRG James Roper states, the survey provides a vital insight into online consumers and “a wonderful new window on the world.”

New website technology Swiss watchmaker Tissot is the first watch brand in the UK to use augmented reality technology on its website ( Customers will be able to hold their wrist in front of a webcam and choose different styles and finishes for their watches on their computer. Also just launched is Daisy Jewellery’s virtual ‘design a stack ring’ function, available at design-a-stack-ring Check out next month’s Jewellery Focus for more detail on the latest internet technology that is being adopted by the jewellery sector.

Jewellers team up for public art exhibition Two exclusive jewellery retailers have pooled their talents to create a lavish display for London’s biggest ever public art exhibition. The Elephant Parade will run throughout the capital this summer and has been organised to raise funds to save the endangered Asian elephant. The event will see over 250 life-size elephants throughout central London, each one decorated by a different artist or celebrity. SHO Fine Jewellery and Swarovski have teamed up to produce one of the more glamorous entrants in the shape of the ‘Pearly Prince’. He took over 480 hours to make and is embellished with over 20,000 Swarovski crystals and pearls. All the elephants will be offered for sale at auction and further details can be found at

Argos jewellery department revamp Highstreet store Argos is to revamp its jewellery departments as part of a £70 million refurbishment plan. Over 130 stores are set for a makeover during the next financial year, and it is hoped that over 500 stores will have been updated over the next three years. The Home Retail Group – Argos’ parent company – will introduce fresh branding, new catalogue browsers and kiosks.

Armed gang raids two of London’s most exclusive jewellers Two of the world’s most exclusive jewellers have lost over one million pounds in a smash and grab raid. The Tiffany & Co and De Beers boutiques in London’s Westfield Centre were hit by a gang of robbers carrying sledgehammers. They broke in through the fire doors and smashed the windows of the stores taking handfuls of diamonds and jewellery with them. Staff helped police compile a list of the stolen items said to be worth £1.6 million. The police have been quick to respond and at the time of writing three teenagers have been arrested and released on bail in connection with the robbery. This is the first time the Westfield Centre has been targeted since it opened in 2008, but this is just the latest in a series of jewellery raids that have hit London’s luxury stores. Cartier, Dolce and Gabbana and Watches of Switzerland have all suffered from this string of attacks, and last autumn fine art jeweller Mozafarian lost £1 million-worth of gems in less than a minute. Francois Delage, chief executive of De Beers, said: “This is an unfortunate incident, but is yet another reminder of the timeless allure of diamonds.”

Cat Deeley named new face of Links of London Links of London has asked Cat Deeley to become the face of its autumn/winter collection to be launched later in the year. Currently hosting both the British and American versions of So You Think You Can Dance, BAFTA award-winning Cat is considered to be one of the UK’s foremost female television presenters and a popular style icon. According to Links’ creative director Elizabeth Galton, Cat was chosen for her “beauty and fresh London feel – something that embodies the essence of the Links of London brand.” She has already modelled pieces from the Brit Lines and Surfaces collections, and will be seen across the UK, US and Asia as of September on a wide range of press and publicity materials for the autumn/winter 2010/11 range.

Prestons of Bolton joins Company of Master Jewellers Exclusive jewellery store Prestons of Bolton has joined the Company of Master Jewellers. Acclaimed as the ‘diamond centre of the north’, Prestons has a long and illustrious history, established in 1869 by master goldsmith James Preston and then remaining in the Duckworth family (via James Preston’s niece) for over four generations. Membership to the Company of Master Jewellers means that Prestons is now part of Britain’s largest independent jewellery retail buying and marketing group, which currently has 127 members representing 215 shops. Chief executive of the Company of Master Jewellers, Willie Hamilton, said: “I’m delighted to have attracted such a high profile retailer and we look forward to working with the team and learning from their highly successful business model at Prestons of Bolton.”


Collaboration results in world’s most expensive icing on the cake Two exhibitors at a fashion event in Glasgow have joined forces to create the world’s most expensive cupcake. ROX, the Scottish diamond and watch specialist, and Cupcake Glasgow, one of the UK’s best cake producers, have created a culinary confection worth £100,000. The cake was specially designed to coincide with the start of Scotland’s Glam in the City event – a three-day feast of fashion and beauty and the largest female consumer show ever to be staged in the country. Oli Norman, managing director of DADA, the company organising the show, said: “We needed to do something really glamorous to launch the occasion – what better way than teaming up with two of our exhibitors to create the world’s most expensive cupcake!” The cake is sprinkled with 21 diamonds and will be available to order at the ROX store in the Argyll Arcade or log on to

Showcasing the best in graduate design talent The next generation of jewellery designers are set to show off their skills at the New Designers Exhibition 2010. Held every July in London this prestigious two-week event allows thousands of design graduates to display their work to the industry, public and media. The whole spectrum of design is covered from architecture and animation, to fashion and furniture. Keen to be associated with the biggest trends and brightest ideas, leading commercial organisations such as the Goldsmiths Company and Hallmark Cards Plc will be sponsoring the event and presenting awards. Of particular interest for 2010 are the One Year On showcases, which explore how last year’s winners have progressed in their first year of business. The event is split into two parts, with textiles; fashion and accessories; contemporary applied arts; ceramics and glass; jewellery and precious metalwork taking place from 1 to 4 July. The event will be held at the Business Design Centre in Islington and further information is available at

Pulse 2010 event prepares to boost the jewellery industry Retailers looking for the most inspiring products and cutting edge designs will be heading to Earls Court this month for Pulse 2010. Showcasing the best in British and international brands, this unique trade show is designed to help buyers source the very latest products. Over 500 exhibitors in fashion, gifts and interior accessories will attend, including established companies and exciting newcomers such as Yumemiya, Design Six, Claudia Bradby Ltd and Malaya Jewellery. Thousands of new products will be on display including brands never seen before in the UK, and the surgeries and seminars will help retailers discover the trends and technologies that will influence the consumers of tomorrow. The event is open to the trade only and takes places from Sunday 6 June to Tuesday 8 June. For further information and to register visit

AND BRIEFLY Jewellery quarter wins gold The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham has been named as one of the UK’s top tourist spots by VisitEngland. The Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2010 are given by the VisitEngland Board to organisations or individuals who have had an exceptional impact on English tourism. The museum, which tells the story of Birmingham’s illustrious jewellery-making heritage, struck gold and was named Best Small Visitor Attraction.

Watch created from volcanic ash While air companies were counting their losses under a cloud of volcanic ash, Swiss timepiece manufacturer Romaine Gerome spotted a potential business opportunity. The company has taken ashes from the Icelandic volcano and encased them in a watch. This is a one-off piece with no price tag, and thankfully doesn’t erupt on the hour.

Design innovation winners revealed The eight winners of the Lonmin Design Innovation Award 2010 have been announced. Lonmin is one of the world’s largest producers of platinum, and for the past eight years has been staging the competition to nurture new talent and draw attention to the work of exciting established designers working with this precious metal. Those taking the top places in the Emerging Designers category included Alexander Davis, Haruko Horikawa, Fangfang Qiao and Katie Rowland. The winners in the Established Designers category included John Bradley, James Powell, Luke Rose and Miranda Wallis. All the winners’ designs will be featured on the Johnson Matthey Precious Metals Marketing stand at International Jewellery London (IJL) in September.

London Diamond Bourse elects board London Diamond Bourse, the UK’s foremost diamond trading floor, held elections in May to nominate electing officers and the board of directors for new terms in office. Freddy Hager retained his seat as president; Harry Levy was elected vice president; David Joffe is treasurer; and Menachem E Prager is executive member. Others chosen for the board of directors include Anita Bruce, Paul Koppelman, Lewis Malka, Cyril Ruttenberg, Daniel Seller and David Weinberg.

Sales of second-hand watches soar With sales of traditional gold jewellery falling, jewellers are looking for alternative sources of revenue. Watch traders are turning to some of the most iconic and prestigious brands in the hope that selling them second-hand can boost flagging profits. Ian Schaffer, director of BQWatches, has seen a 40 per cent upsurge in the sale of pre-owned watches with strong demand for top brands such as Rolex, Cartier and Longines. He said: “There has been intense interest for gents steel models with added diamond bexels.”   Turn to Keith Fisher’s article on page 16 for more information about stocking second-hand watches.



ROUNDUP AND BRIEFLY Silver jewellery maker makes an impression Jewellery maker Smallprint, which specialises in casting children’s fingerprints from silver, has reached the finals of the HSBC Franchiser Awards 2010. The 15 finalists in the competition were selected by the judges for their innovative management techniques and ability to successfully build and maintain their brand despite the economic downturn. Director general of the British Franchise Association (bfa) said that winning the award “can provide the platform for businesses to truly shine and demonstrate that they are leading the way in franchising best practice and are the industry’s widest recognised.”

Seiko announces key staff changes Seiko UK has announced the appointment of David Harnby to the board of directors. He continues in his role as general manager of Binda UK but also now assumes overall responsibility for sales and marketing of all Seiko watch corporation brands. Two further important staff changes see Simon Bates appointed as national account manager for the Lorus brand, and Stuart Kendrick promoted to the new position of sales manager for Binda UK.

Trollbeads enthusiast is Knot disappointed An avid fan of Trollbeads has added a rather special item to her collection after coming first in an online competition. Eva Smithers of Sanderstead, Croydon, entered a draw on Trollbeads’ website to win a Lucky Knot bead worth £264. The bracelet is one of only 500 available in the UK and is engraved with a numbered silver scroll marking it out as a true collectors’ piece.

Treasure the talk of the London Jewellery week The Birmingham Assay Office will be hosting a series of workshops and clinics for consumers during London Jewellery Week. ‘Treasure Talk’ will feature guest speakers including Sally Baggot, curator at the Birmingham Assay Office, and Craig O’Donnell, an experienced senior valuer. Topics under discussion include reading and understanding hallmarks and what to look for when buying diamonds. The workshops are followed by clinics where individual pieces of jewellery can be examined and the event is being held at Victoria House in Bloomsbury, London. Tickets are available from

Huge savings on NAG courses Membership to the National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG) can save up to £120,000 a year on education and training courses, according to figures for 2009. The figures also show that NAG members joining these courses received up to 51 per cent off course fees. Those signing for the Professional Jewellers’ Diploma automatically receive £60,000 discount. The benefits of membership are not just financial as NAG education and training manager Victoria Wingate states: “Better trained staff are more likely to make sales. It’s a win-win for employers.”

First time exhibitor scoops prestigious jewellery award A jewellery designer based at London’s prestigious Cockpit Arts Studios in London has scooped the British Jewellers Award for Excellence at the British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF). Teri Howes beat off competition from over 180 other exhibitors in the jewellery and silversmith category. One of the judges said that Teri’s “body of work was beautifully executed and competitively priced.” Teri’s designs involve long hours of painstaking and detailed work as she hand crochets precious silver and 18-carat gold. She takes her inspiration from a love of textile patterns and geometry and said: “My mother’s profession as a dressmaker means I have always been around rich patterned fabric and colourful thread.” This was the first time Teri exhibited at the trade fair, and the award and the attention her range of jewellery received are sure to bring future success. For more information on the winning designs, log on to

London’s jewellery quarter stages one-day street festival June will be a busy month for London’s jewellers, with a wide range of activities taking place across the capital. The Hatton Garden Street Festival, part of London Jewellery Week, is a one day outdoor celebration of the ‘best in British’ jewellery talent. Those attending can watch high-end jewellery being created, join in ‘flash’ workshops to create their own pieces, and check out some of the 500 jewellery-related businesses within London’s jewellery quarter. Jacobs Jewellery Design will be in charge of proceedings in the Manufacturing Tent, with demonstrations of how jewellery and silverwork are produced, and during the course of day four precious gem set rings will be made and raffled off as prizes. The festival takes place on Saturday 12 June and further details can be found at

Alex Monroe joins ‘Fight for Sight’ campaign with bicycle necklaces British jewellery designer Alex Monroe has turned his talents to creating gold jewellery to raise funds for charity. The delicate 18-carat bicycle necklaces complete with spinning wheels have been designed as part of the EyeCycle fundraising scheme, which aims to raise money for Fight for Sight. Alex is keen to promote the work of this charity that funds research into blindness as he has suffered from uveitis, an inflammation of the eye, and as a jeweller can understand the effects of sight loss. The necklaces will be auctioned to the highest bidders, and Alex and friends – scientist John Greenwood and actor Lloyd Hutchinson – will cycle 1,000 miles from John O’ Groats to Lands End. To track their progress, make a donation or bid for the necklaces go to

Jeweller reaches finish line in fundraising marathon run Jonathan Stoner, managing director of Phillip Stoner the Jeweller in Leeds and Halifax, has raised over £3,600 by running this year’s London Marathon on 25 April 2010. All the proceeds will be donated to the British Heart Foundation, the charity which helped to save the life of his father, Phillip Stoner. After weeks of intensive training Jonathan completed the race in four hours and 12 minutes. His finishing place was 14,191th out of 36,997 runners. “This was my first marathon and although I trained very hard I wasn’t sure what to expect,” said Jonathan. “I felt strong until about 20 miles and then felt like I couldn’t run any further. Knowing that all the money I was raising was going to a fantastic cause was what motivated me to keep going, along with the roar of the crowds. My dad and my wife, Helen, were waiting for me at the finish line – I’ve never been so pleased to see them!”

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Next generation

design Having visited various recent exhibitions and degree shows, this month Janet Fitch turns her attention to new industry talent


arly summer brings with it the promise of newness and freshness – warmth, flowers, new leaves on the trees, strawberries, picnics, and girls in floaty summer dresses. It’s a time to be (or at least to feel) young, and indeed the Young Ones is my theme for June. On show around this time are the results of so many initiatives to support, foster and promote young jewellery designers, and degree shows, which prove what a wealth of potential talent we have in the industry. Getting Started – the Goldsmiths’ Company’s course for recent graduates in jewellery, silversmithing and allied trades, which takes place each January – will celebrate its 30th birthday in 2011. Twelve of this year’s participating graduates had the extra privilege of exhibiting their work in a selling exhibition at Cox & Power in central London in May. Haruko Horikawa trained at Yamanashi Institute of Gemmology and Jewellery Arts, then at Central St Martin’s in London. Her sculptural pieces are influenced by the beauty of the natural world, like her striking Egg ring, made of diamonds, garnets, synthetic ivory and gold-plated silver. 

Laura Kirkwood, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art, is inspired by medieval circle brooches, which were a form of betrothal jewellery. Her rings, earrings and brooches retain classic elements along with innovative stone cutting and colouring, with unusual stones like beryllium treated sapphires, combined with oxidised silver and inlaid, sometimes hidden, 18-carat gold. ( (  At the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate, where many individual jewellery designer makers show, the Design Space stand featured the work of 17 new jewellers and silversmiths. Design Space is a scheme supported by Birmingham City Council, giving free fully equipped workshop space with administrative facilities to up to 20 new makers for a 12-month period, with mentoring and free participation in a trade event. Lydia Feast, who also completed the Getting Started course, showed her silver and vitreous enamel Chaos and Calm collection, which experiments with surface pattern. ( 


Tiny doll’s house furniture is the unusual theme of Gemma Holz’s ‘I’m a Tiny Chair’ range – quirky threedimensional pendants with miniature traditional chairs or teapots in 24-carat gold plated or silver-plated finishes. ( (Design Space –  At the Royal College of Art’s 2010 Graduate Show – Show One which is on until 6 June includes jewellery and silversmithing – new ideas abound. There are brooches made from reindeer skin, and necklaces that can change colour. My pick of the crop is the work of Marta Mattsson, using lacecut reindeer skin and insects to create miniature sculptures of the sort of species found in 18th century cabinets of curiosities, like her beetle juice brooch of electroformed copper, cubic zirconias, silver and resin. ( (  Treasure is an exhibition of over 70 of the country’s innovative contemporary jewellery designers, taking place

during London Jewellery Week. It’s a golden opportunity for trade buyers and the public to see cutting edge designs under one roof. Katie Rowland, winner of the 2009 Coutts New Designer Award, makes jewellery that is rebellious, sensual and celebrates femininity. She already has fans like Cheryl Cole and Daisy Lowe, and has designed jewellery for the lingerie brand Agent Provocateur. Glitzy gold, smoky quartz glitter balls, citrine and black pearls all make the jewellery both flattering and provocative. (  Meanwhile, Sarah Eyton’s collection, launched last year, of sleek modern Perspex bracelets and cuffs in clear, mirror effect or bright colours, is attracting lots of celebrity, buyer and press interest. (  Treasure runs from 11 to 13 June at Victoria House, Southampton Row, London WC1B 4DA (




The pros of


This month, Keith Fisher elaborates on his previous suggestion that stocking second-hand watches can be a viable and vastly successful business strategy


t is fair to say that in certain sections of society there is still a stigma about buying second-hand goods. But not so in the world of watches, where it is boom time for preowned luxury timepieces. That old musical hall favourite about people looking down their noses at ‘Second Hand Rose’ definitely does not apply here! In fact, I have never known the demand and interest to be so high. Matt Bowling, sales director at watchfinder., says: “We have found over the past two

years that people are shifting away from buying new watches and moving into the pre-owned market for a number of reasons – they look like new, depreciate very slowly and cost less in the first place. “If you are buying a watch as an investment then Rolex is the brand to go for, and within that brand choose the larger sized sports watches like the Submariner Date, the Sea Dweller or GMT Master… These are the watches that there is the highest demand for and hold their value best. “Another factor that makes pre-owned watches good buys is that retailers are constantly increasing the price. Twice last year Rolex put prices up and they did so again in February in the UK, which is great news for people who have pre-owned watches – as the retail price rises, so does the value of the watch.” Matt then listed the top five pre-owned watches, which in his expert opinion are so eagerly sought after by dedicated punters.


They are: 1 Rolex Submariner Date The benchmark against which all other watches are compared. A classic design, largely the same as when first introduced in 1954. 2 Rolex GMT Master II Originally designed for Pan American airline pilots, this watch has experienced a massive resurgence in demand. 3 Omega Seamaster Co-axial Reliable, hardwearing and very James Bond! 4 Rolex Sea Dweller Designed and first produced in the 1960s for ocean floor workers. 5 Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean A hardwearing diver’s watch, and very popular.

Images courtesy of Watchfinder

It is time for me to add a note of warning, which is, whether you are in the trade or not, always rely on bona fide dealers. Because the truth is, in this particular market you never know where the watch has come from and how the piece has been treated/handled/serviced down the years. The scenario is not dissimilar to buying a second-hand car. The more reputable dealer will offer history, warranties and guarantees as part of the package, which all adds up to peace of mind. You only have to listen to Matt and the ethics of to understand what I am getting at. Why buy pre-owned? Let him explain: “If a customer is looking for a quality watch there are a number of alternatives available. One of these options is to buy a preowned watch. If you’ve not considered it before you may be hesitant. Here’s some information that may change the way you buy watches for the rest of your life. “Nothing is more important than the authenticity of our products. Any watch made available on our website will have been fully authenticated by our team of experts. Serial numbers, movements, parts and paperwork are all checked and verified in association with the manufacturer wherever possible. “There’s a big difference between a watch that’s been worn and a pre-owned watch that we offer for sale. Firstly, every watch

is fully refurbished by our technicians so that it is in excellent condition and virtually indistinguishable from a brand new item. “The timekeeping is also thoroughly tested to ensure that the watch is as accurate as it was when it was brand new. We can provide diagnostic printouts with every watch. We also make sure that all watches are water resistant to the original manufacturer’s specifications. “Wherever possible the original manufacturer’s warranty will be supplied with the watch. If for any reason these are not available, a 12-month Watchfinder warranty will be supplied in its place. “Pre-owned watches are excellent value for money when compared to brand new watches. New watches, like new cars, will almost certainly depreciate the moment they leave the showroom. It can be a shock to buy a new watch and then discover that your prized possession has depreciated quite a bit. Buying pre-owned not only saves your customers money in the first place, it also narrows the gap between original money spent and the money returned if they decide to sell it.” These are certainly impressive comments, which are not surprising when you consider Watchfinder has been established for over 10 years and during that time has sold over 30,000 watches, more that 15 per cent of them to returning customers. Based in Maidstone in Kent, the company has 25 full time members of staff working to make sure every aspect of the buying experience goes as smoothly as possible and everybody, trade or Joe Public, is welcome to visit the showroom. There is, however, another argument, which Matt will not mind me pointing out, because if I didn’t I wouldn’t be doing my job. And that is, if your customer has the dosh, is there anything more satisfying than buying brand spanking new? But how many of us have that sort of wealth? Quality timepieces, whether Rolex or Patek Philippe, now cost an arm and a leg. That is the price you pay for distinction. Second-hand enables your customers to fulfil a dream without breaking the bank.




Luminox has introduced the BlackOut Stealth, featuring a completely blacked out appearance. Paying homage to the jet fighter bearing its name, the model is part of the EVO F – 117 Nighthawk Series and is crafted of black PVD stainless steel to give a sleek, stylish look. With a black PVD coated steel bracelet, telling the time is made simple thanks to a tone on tone look via matt black dials and polished black numerals. A blue coloured glow on the hands and hour markers offers night time reading for the wearer. Water resistant to 200 metres, the 45mm watch is constructed with a screwed back, screw in crown, rotating bezel and anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Information: 0845 331 1468, or RRP: £530

Charmed by Accurist is a new collection of bracelet watches which feature charm beads that can be changed to suit the wearer’s mood. Available in two unique styles nicknamed ‘Daisy’ and ‘Crystal Row’, the timepieces are crafted in stainless steel. Both include white mother of pearl dials. Swarovski crystals are used in the detailing of the ‘Crystal Row’ design and both models are guaranteed for three years. Accurist says that a variety of charms from the leading brands can be added to the bracelets. Information: 0207 447 3934 or


RRP: £90 (Crystal Row) or £75 (Daisy)

to watch

With the World Cup commencing in South Africa this month, Ice Watch has launched ‘England’. Available in Unisex with a 43mm face and Big with a 48mm face, the white face of the watch is emblazoned with a red Saint George’s flag motif. A red band is included on the white silicon strap. Other nations are represented, including Argentina, France, Germany, Italy and five times World Cup winners Brazil. Information: RRP: £65 (Unisex) or £75 (Big)

The RAF has commissioned luxury watchmaker Christopher Ward to create the C5 Battle of Britain to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the event. The design of the automatic watch displays the king’s crown and laurel wreathed RAF crest of the period. The numerals are also similar to those on pilots’ watches from the 1940s. Additional features developed in conjunction with the RAF include hour and minute hands shaped like Spitfire propeller blades. Limited to 1,940 pieces, the C5 comes in a limited edition box. Five per cent of the retail value of each watch will be donated by Christopher Ward to the RAF Benevolent Fund. Information: 08708 500 918 or RRP: £330 (silver bracelet model), £299 (brown and black leather strap models)

Buying and selling the world’s finest quality watches... adsjune10.indd 13


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To have and to hold? T A new trend or a passing fad? Laura Jane Johnson investigates the increasing popularity of the male engagement ring

he delicate flicker of candles fills the room with romance, soulful music fills the air and the man looks lovingly into his girlfriend’s eyes. Slowly, hesitantly, she gets down on one knee, opening a ring box and uttering with a faltering voice: “Will you marry me?” Her boyfriend smiles. He takes the orange and yellow Haribo ring from the box, stretching it proudly over his wedding finger. No diamond in sight. The ring is just a gesture after all – boys don’t wear engagement rings. Or do they? We’ve all heard about guyliner and the mankini, but now it’s time to introduce a new cringeworthy male marketing pun, because the mengagement ring is going mainstream. With civil partnership ceremonies on the rise and increasing numbers of women choosing to get down on one knee, men are being proposed to more than ever. And apparently, the gesture is no longer enough; men are beginning to want a ring too. In February 2009, H Samuel was the first highstreet chain in the country to launch an engagement ring exclusively for men. A move it says was in response to demand from its female customer base. “Women are no longer waiting until the man pops the question,” the chain’s buying controller Natasha Gregory explains. “We are equals in the workplace, equals in our relationships and we make our own decisions. Over 60 per cent of our customers think it’s a good idea for women to ask men to marry them.” Branded as the masculine sounding Tioro, the jeweller almost sold out of the titanium band embedded with a small diamond in its first week on the market. The concept appeared to be popular.


Above: H Samuel

Above: James Newman

“The H Samuel ring aims to redress the balance of one side giving and the other simply receiving, as well as being an outward and visible sign of being ‘taken’,” Natasha adds. “Both sides of the partnership can now wear a symbol to celebrate their forthcoming nuptials.” As well as supporting the sentiments of modern day equality, the act of both parties wearing a ring also adds to the excitement of the engagement. Recently engaged Jonathan Harrold is beaming. “My male partner recently proposed to me, which was a complete surprise,” he says. “A ring was presented and it turned out he had the same ring too.” But unlike the H Samuel version, Jonathan and his fiancé aren’t displaying the traditional sparkly engagement stone. “We have matching rings made of three thin strips of silver, plaited together, so it’s quite Roman looking, very masculine, and very fantastic,” he says. “A diamond is certainly not essential. Neither is a ring. But having one, particularly matching ones, has made the whole sense of occasion that bit more exciting and memorable.” Andrew Shanahan, editor of men’s wedding website, agrees a diamond is a step too far for most men: “Even if they are happy to wear an engagement ring, most men typically don’t favour jewels in their rings, instead opting for strong, solid bands,” he says. “The association of diamonds and women – they’re a girl’s best friend, remember – is just too strong for a bloke to think about adopting. The grief they’d get from their mates would be deafening.” “People these days appreciate P Diddy and the hip hop elite may embrace seeing how something has ‘bling’, but anything more than a watch and a been designed, where it’s simple chain is generally viewed with caution by been designed and how it’s most males. “We’ve not had hundreds of readers asking us been made” where they can get one after we’ve mentioned them on the website,” Andrew says. “My guess is that it will stay as a pretty niche product, certainly in the UK. The reason I say in the UK is because engagement rings for men are already popular in other countries, where it wouldn’t be considered odd for a man to mark his engagement with a ring.” While male engagement rings are commonly worn in parts of Scandinavia and the Basque regions of Spain, they remain a relatively rare sight in Britain. Jewellery designer and maker James Newman agrees that the market for male engagement rings in the UK remains specialist. The mass jewellery market is still out of touch when it comes to men and jewellery. “I think a lot of highstreet jewellery for men is really quite big and bulky,” James says. “Guys don’t always want a big chunky ring or a massive necklace with a thick chain. It’s almost like people think that’s what all guys like.” His designs are subtler. With couples, he looks to build in connections between their pieces. “You might do platinum and 22 carat gold rings, and the gold might be on the outside and platinum on the inside, and then flip it and do it the opposite way round,” he explains. “Or the profile might be curved on the inside for one and then curved on the outside for the other.” As a result both members of the couple have pieces that mirror the other’s; something unique for each of them but also has that important connection to each other. It is this design-focused, bespoke approach that James feels can convert male jewellery cynics. He has found that men appreciate understanding the technical detail that goes into making the ring; you could call it the engineering. “People these days appreciate seeing how something has been designed, where it’s been designed and how it’s been made and having that input,” he says. “Being able to sit down and say, well I would like it to be a little bit wider than that, or I’d like the stone to be a little bit bigger.” The jury is out on whether the mengagement ring is a modern trend or a fad. Every couple is different. Some say it with diamonds and for some a sugary sweet alternative says it all. “I did actually propose to Craig with a Haribo ring,” recently married Mel Hanford admits, “which he has still kept in a little box in our bedroom.”


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5/18/2010 11:34:24 AM

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5/18/2010 11:34:24 AM



A charmed



Sam Guiry looks at the popularity of charm jewellery and asks whether the trend is set to continue


ook at the wrist or the neckline of any of today’s high profile women and you are likely to see a piece of charm jewellery. Paris Hilton favours a firebird, Michelle Obama has a dog tag pendant spelling ‘Hope’, while Keira Knightley’s bracelet is her grandfather’s watch chain hung with keepsakes from her grandmother. Charms weren’t always seen as fashion statements but had a greater symbolic meaning. In Neolithic times they provided protection against enemies and were worn by the Egyptians to ensure their passage into the afterlife. However, it is Queen Victoria who is credited with taking charms from spiritual talisman to fashion item in the 1890s. Fondly referred to as ‘the Charm Queen’ she had a collection of bracelets adorned with beads and jewels, and lockets that contained photographs of her family. This is the beauty of charm jewellery and the reason for its popularity – the wearer can create an individual and totally unique piece that is personal to them. The charms can be changed to reflect any occasion or mood and there is a limitless choice of styles. As Deborah Alun-Jones and John Ayton write in Charming: The Magic of Charm Jewellery: “From ancient Egyptian scarabs and Chinese tortoises to today’s high

World of Charms

heeled shoes in silver… the astonishing range of shapes and materials mean that there is a charm to appeal to everyone.” The bracelet is perhaps the most common form of charm jewellery, and in its traditional form has a chain of gold, silver or stainless steel onto which dangling ornaments can be attached. The motifs can include anything from small hearts to keys and crosses, which represent major milestones in the wearer’s life. A trend towards the sentimental rather than stylish is something that fashion pundits are predicting for the coming year. Guardian writer Imogen Fox says: “Charms, friendship bracelets and tiny crucifixes are taking centre stage.” This would seem to be supported by jewellery sales at high street chain H Samuel, which reported greater demand for St Christophers. World of Charms, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of charms, has introduced a new range that marks a return to the more traditional style of charm jewellery. The company is the UK distributor for Amore & Bacci, the hugely popular Italian jewellery brand whose name literally translates as ‘hugs and kisses’. The new dangling charm range in red and black is strung with stylish keepsakes including a cowboy boot, lipstick, angel wings and motorbike. There is also a black beaded


bracelet that is bang on trend with silver skull, guitar and rock star emblems. Interest in charm jewellery has fluctuated in the 20th century, almost disappearing off the fashion scene in the 70s. A boom in antiques and collectibles in the 1990s prompted a revival in vintage charms, and the introduction of an innovative Italian design at the start of the new millennium brought charm jewellery firmly back in vogue. In contrast to the traditional chain hung with trinkets, the Italian version looked more like a watchband with flat interlocking segments. Individual charms embellished with letters, symbols or enamel pictures that had personal meaning to the wearer snapped on and off to constantly create new configurations. A further idea from Europe was to come that took commercial jewellery design a stage further with companies such as Pandora pioneering the use of beads. This craze soon spread stateside and in 2002 Killian Rieder and Jeff Julkowski formed the company Chamilia with the aim of putting jewellery design back into the hands of the customer. Jewellery designer Tracy Zabar explores the enduring appeal of charm jewellery in her book Charmed Bracelets, referring to “an oh-so-feminine autobiography on a chain.” The beaded charm bracelet goes beyond this allowing a woman to change the beads to match her every outfit or mood. This is very much the ethos behind Chamilia or ‘chameleon’, where women can pick from a rich palette of colour and materials to create a unique conversation piece. Chamilia’s beads are made from solid sterling silver, 14 carat gold and Swarovski crystal and each is designed and handmade by experienced craftsmen. Today, the company is fast becoming known as the leading brand in the rapidly growing customised jewellery category and has seen a “significant growth” in sales in the past 12 months. Vice president of business development/partner of Chamilia Michael Flaherty asserts that charms are currently appealing to customers because of their “emotive nature and the affordability of individual components.” The popularity of beaded jewellery has also reached the point where many avid enthusiasts are now accumulating vast collections. Many jewellers are recognising the lucrative potential for beads, with artisan shops to highstreet stores reporting that customers are becoming hooked on the concept of creating their own jewellery. Danish-owned Trollbeads is a company that has witnessed this phenomenon first hand, developing a passionate and committed following. A special forum for collectors of



Trollbeads shows how some devotees admit to owning more than 500 beads obtained either as gifts or self-purchases. Sarah Morfoot of Fable Trading, the sole distributor for Trollbeads in the UK, says there has been “a dramatic increase in sales over the past couple of years,” adding that “this isn’t just a one off purchase – people are drawn to develop bespoke collections.” It’s therefore clear that people who are buying these beads collect and come back, creating a great breeding ground for customer loyalty. Historically speaking Trollbeads is the original maker of beaded bracelets and necklaces, established over 34 years ago in Copenhagen. Today Lisa Aagaard continues the family tradition using a mix of sterling silver, 18 carat gold, Italian Murano glass, natural pearls and precious stones. She believes the interest in charm jewellery is set to continue as “people are fascinated by the selection of different designs, symbols and colours, and because the jewellery is individual, dynamic and constantly changing.” If companies are to sustain this interest in charm jewellery they are going to have to keep coming up with innovative collections. This is a fact recognised by Robert Adams, managing director of Charms UK, who asserts the importance of having “a rapid turnaround of new designs which constantly keeps the product fresh and exciting.”




beautifully coloured Murano glass drops with evocative names such as Enchanted Forest and Ocean Blue. This clearly shows a move towards larger style charms that give more movement to the bracelet, twisting and turning with the wrist. The main target market for charm jewellery has always been women, but Ole Lynggaard seems to be taking the concept to a whole new sector with his Spot On collection for men. Comprising leather bracelets in a variety of colours, they can be added to over time with a combination of engraved flat-surface charms and stones. It also appears that jewellery makers are turning to a whole new generation of customers, with companies such as Chamilia opting for a well-known cast of childhood characters for inspiration. The company’s special Disney edition bead collection includes Winnie the Pooh, Tinkerbell and a 14 carat gold Mickey Mouse complete with diamond eyes. It appears that charm jewellery has certainly come of age, and whether it’s a simple pendant necklace or beaded bracelet it can be as unique as the person who wears it. Clearly the humble bead has brought a lot to the jewellery trade, not just in terms of saleability but also in its ability to cross many market segments. As for the future of the genre it seems that charm jewellery is very much here to stay. As Anna Pirie of SilveRado comments: “The adaptability and the collectable nature of charms will give them a long life. I think they will become a standard type of jewellery; one that every jeweller should have.”

Charms UK

Since the company was established in 2003, it has seen significant expansion with over 600 stockists worldwide from the UK and America to the Middle East. He says that summer has brought greater demand for beach or holidaythemed jewellery, from flip-flops to fruit charms such as pineapples, melon slices and cherries. Future trends in jewellery design seem to suggest greater optimism and an explosion of colour. Anna Pirie of global charm brand SilveRado also thinks there will be “more focus on individuality and a continuation of the mix and match theme.” The company has made its mark by offering a kaleidoscope of coloured beads and charms from silver, precious and semi precious stones. The collection is also characterised by a preference for working with one of the most beautiful materials in the world – Murano glass, renowned for its incredible luminosity. The recently introduced dangle charm range incorporates high detailed silver charms and


Supplier listing Amore & Baci: Chamilia: Charms UK: Magnetic Jewellers: Mancini: SilveRado: Silver & Co: Tingle London: Trollbeads: Unique Jewelry: Valentina Jewellery: Zoppini:


Branded silver 150 new models RRP £15-£40 per charm Rhodium plated Lobster catch ROHS compliant FREE designer point of sale FREE quality gift box FREE quality gift bag & bow


Contact Tingle London Tel: 020 7405 7587 Email:

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design your own

design your own

Unique Jewelry Ltd Suite 126, 100 Hatton Garden І London EC1N 8NX tel: 020 7405 5523 І fax: 020 7405 5524

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5/18/2010 11:37:55 AM


Going for gold

Image by Giorgio Monteforti


Sarah Jacotine explores the reasons behind the hike in gold prices and how jewellers can rise to the challenge


hile the oil price has declined and the euro remains weak, the price of gold has surged in recent months in nearly all global currencies. The FTSE 100 may be below the level it was 10 years ago, but the sterling price of gold soared to a record £754 per ounce in April 2010. Undoubtedly, the 3.4 per cent rate of inflation has contributed to this staggering rise. After all, saving must have its rewards in order to be attractive, and inflation discourages saving, prompting investors to turn to gold in order to protect their reserves. In short, investors are buying the hard asset as a safety net and causing the price to shoot up; if diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then gold is an investor’s. Against this backdrop, the ash cloud caused by Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull temporarily halted European shipments of gold to the

Indian subcontinent and caused a sudden incline in prices with traders and dealers in India, according to Reuters. The eruption came at a bad time, not least for Easter holidaymakers, as the financial crisis is continuing to wreak havoc with the UK economy. And while the Financial Times has pointed out that the current gold price is unsustainable, precious metals consultancy GFMS has predicted it’ll move even higher before the inevitable fall needed to stimulate demand in the jewellery sector. All aspects considered, it appears that now is not a prosperous time to be a jeweller, as people must quickly react before they’re forced to price themselves out of the market. Nigel Blayney, managing director of Cymru Gold, a company that has manufactured jewellery using Welsh gold for the past 16 years, discusses how jewellers have been affected and


All images on this page: Cymru

“The jewellery industry needs to re-emphasise the prestige of gold to customers” which responses can yield success. “There’s an air of trepidation in the jewellery trade as shoppers have become cautious. If gold had remained at a normal price we’d be offering discounts, but that marketing tool is taken away when your raw material price increases by a few hundred per cent. “I remember when gold was sold at £170 per ounce and now it’s nearly £760 per ounce, which is way beyond four times as much. Even if you think of gold being £250 per ounce, which is the traditional figure, it’s still three times as much today. That’s a 300 per cent mark up on your raw material. The wealthy are putting their money into gold because it’s secure, can be moved around and is tradable the world over. Powerhouses India and China are both big users of gold and many people in these two massive countries are buying gold because it’s a wonderful hedge against inflation.” While the rising price has to be endured, jewellery manufacturers’ shrewd reactions can seek to redress the situation. Cymru Gold took the decision to use pure Welsh gold inlaid into some of its wedding rings, which is a fresh idea. While this made the rings more expensive, Nigel astutely noted that people are happy to splurge on certain items. “Recession or not, if

a woman is planning to get married, she will get married,” he asserts. “This is especially true as weddings are planned in advance and all a wedding requires is an official, witnesses and rings, putting jewellers in an excellent marketing position.” Cymru Gold also reacted to the rising gold price by launching a lighter range of Welsh gold jewellery called Starlight, as Nigel explains: “If you were putting in X amount of grams last year to sell at £250, now you have to put fewer grams in to still sell at £250, which means concentrating on new designs. When the gold price rose, we made lighter products without compromising on aesthetics. Starlight showcases exciting designs as we have used a lattice effect, so the pieces appear delicate. Crucially, weight has been saved, meaning money has been saved.” This approach has also been adopted by boutique jeweller Leblas, a company that fuses traditional techniques with modern design and sustainable practices. Commercial director Clare Winfield told Jewellery Focus: “The gold price swing is a challenge, particularly as it comes at a time when customers are expecting a better price for products. The squeeze is constantly being put upon retailers and manufacturers. We’ve been flexible with





“I remember when gold was sold at £170 per ounce and now it’s nearly £760 per ounce”


products and collections, and reviewed our designs to reduce the quantity of gold, in order to help keep costs down, while maintaining competitive retail prices.” While Leblas has made efficiencies where possible, the company believes in reminding customers that gold is a precious metal. “We emphasise the value of gold to customers and we’ve explained the market price, as well as the fact that gold is a finite raw material,” Clare reveals. “Mass consumerism over the last few decades has caused huge price deflation, and it’s our job to convey the value of the product and the skills involved in making it. The jewellery industry needs to re-emphasise the prestige of gold to customers. We not only compete as jewellers but also with luxury branded products, such as shoes, which determine high prices. “Customers are encouraged to purchase these by the media and we should create more events, which are perfect for driving forward the design and desire of jewellery. We need to work harder with the media to ensure that jewellery is as important as, and more valuable than, the latest ‘it’ bag.” Highlighting the worth of gold goes hand in hand with exploiting the cachet that comes from being a British manufacturer, alongside the convenience this affords customers.

When times are tough, and even low-cost manufacturing countries have raised their prices, a British manufacturer can play on a marketing advantage in so far as local businesses can supply products easily and react quickly to requests. As Nigel outlines: “Cash strapped consumers are fussier, but if you supply a product to their specifications, payment will be handed over happily. Life’s harder for mass producers and those bringing goods in from the Far East. In my opinion, British manufacturers have the edge.” It seems that though market conditions are unfavourable and the price of gold shows no sign of dramatically reducing in the near future, the situation isn’t a hopeless one for jewellers. Enjoying success throughout this challenging period is largely about adapting, innovating and communicating with customers. “Jewellers have to beat competitors by carving out a niche in the market. If you work hard, change your approach and carefully market your products, you can still have a good year,” Nigel concludes. Supplier listing Cymru Gold: Gecko: Hanalex: Leblas: Mayanna: Sheldon Bloomfield:


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Gems of a To be sure we know what we are buying or selling, it is essential that we are able to differentiate between stones of a particular colour. Gem-A’s director of education, Lorne Stather, explains simple techniques that can be used at the counter or at a trade show. In this issue we look at blue stones


Above right: a selection of different blue stones that can be differentiated with the CCF Above (from top): sapphire, tanzanite, aquamarine, blue spinel and iolite All images © Gem-A

oses are red, violets are blue, or so the poem goes. But are all blue flowers violets? The answer is obvious – no! So are all blue stones sapphires? Again it is safe to say, no. Colour is almost the first thing we notice about a stone, but do we sometimes jump to conclusions without checking things out first? We hear many stories involving confusion over stones of a similar colour. For example, a parcel of blue stones described as blue spinels was purchased, one of which proved to be a tanzanite; when re-sold the tanzanite more than paid for the original parcel of goods. On the other hand, a dealer sold a pair of stones as tanzanite, but they were returned to him as they were identified as iolite. Unfortunately for the dealer this left him quite red faced and unhappy about the loss of what should have been an important sale. So what is out there and what are the advantages or disadvantages of these stones? There is a great deal of information on stones available on the web but how much of it is reliable? Keeping abreast of recent developments is essential in today’s market, to promote consumer confidence and encourage repeat purchases. In the various courses and workshops run by Gem-A we look at a wide range of gem materials, from the important commercial stones to rarer collectors’ stones; but here we will concentrate on some of the most widely available transparent blue stones that are on the market today, all of which are covered in our Foundation in Gemmology course. Although some blue stones may look similar, their values are very different and, with customers being increasingly cautious with their purchases since the economic downturn, it is more important than ever to get it

colour right. Observation and experience are key to differentiating gemstones, but there are also some quick tests that can help speed up the process. With these blue stones there are two very useful hand-held instruments — the dichroscope and the Chelsea Colour Filter (CCF).

The dichroscope

A very handy and portable pocket instrument, the dichroscope can aid identification or rapid separation of similar stones, whether rough or cut, loose or set in jewellery. A dichroscope tests a stone’s pleochroism – a property possessed by some doubly refractive coloured stones such as

A tanzanite crystal in various directions viewed through the London dichroscope © C G Zeng



The table below sets out the effects seen through the dichroscope and CCF for most of the blue stones you are likely to encounter today.

Durability and care

How to use the London dichroscope tanzanite, iolite and sapphire. The intensity of pleochroism varies very widely, and is usually classified as being strong, distinct, weak or very weak. While the strength of pleochroism varies from material to material, it can also vary considerably in specimens of the same material. The dealer who sold the pair of iolites could have saved himself embarrassment if he had first checked the stones with a dichroscope. The effects seen with the dichroscope for iolite differ from those shown by tanzanite, and would have alerted him to the need for further investigation. Similarly, the tanzanite could easily have been identified in the parcel of spinels as it is the only one that would have shown more than one colour through the dichroscope.

The Chelsea Colour Filter (CCF)

As important as knowing the identity of a stone is knowing any durability issues associated with each stone. As part of the ongoing customer care offered by many retailers to encourage return business, jewellers are offering care advice and cleaning services. Although it is possible to generalise on the best way to handle the different gem materials, it should also be kept in mind that there are many treated or ‘enhanced’ stones currently on the market. As with the synthetics, enhanced stones give consumers a wider selection of gemstones to choose from within their budget. But, it is important that the customer knows what he or she is buying, as the impact on durability, not to mention price, may be considerable and can affect how a stone should be handled and cleaned. In the chart overleaf is an overview of the relevant properties of blue stones and their care requirements.

Blue irradiated topaz © Gem-A

How to use the Chelsea Colour Filter

An advantage of the CCF is that it is a very quick and effective way of sorting mixed parcels or for checking parcels of stones to ensure that they have not been seeded in with cheaper goods. Those stones not giving a strong reaction under the dichroscope can be tested further with the CCF. Between these instruments you should have a good indication of what you may be dealing with, but for confirmation on a stone’s natural, synthetic or treated origin a second opinion should be obtained from a trained gemmologist.


Typical effects that may be seen using a dichroscope

View through CCF


Two colours: colourless/sky blue

Pale greenish-blue


Two colours: blue/greenish-blue

Mostly dark green


Two or three colours: violet blue/paler blue/pale yellow


Blue topaz

Two colours: different shades of blue

Pale flesh-coloured or apparently ‘colourless’

Blue tourmaline Two colours: light blue/dark blue Tanzanite (treated and untreated)

Two or three colours: treated: often show deep blue/violet untreated: trichroic blue/greenishyellow or yellow-brown /violet

Greyish to pink

Blue spinel

No difference in colour seen

Grey-green, rarely reddish

Synthetic blue spinel

No difference in colour seen

Red to pink

Blue glass

No difference in colour seen

If cobalt coloured – red to pink If iron coloured – greenish to grey-green

The Chelsea Colour Filter and London Dichroscope. Both available from Gem-A Instruments Order online at or call 0207 404 3334



Aquamarine and diamond ring © Just Gems

Durability, care and caution of transparent blue stones Gemstone


General care

Workshop care



Hardness – 7½ Toughness – Good Stability – Good

Avoid rough handling

Avoid: • ultrasonic and steam cleaners

Commonly heat treated — this will not effect its durability.

Glass, blue

Hardness – 5-5½ Toughness – Fair to good Stability – Good

Glass is brittle Avoid: so avoid knocks • heat • thermal shock

This artificial material can be created in any colour and shade.


Hardness – 7-7½ Toughness – Poor Stability – Fair to good

Avoid any Avoid: rough handling • thermal shock or knocks • warm chemicals/ acids, detergents • ultrasonic and steam cleaners • knocks because of the brittleness

Iolite is brittle and great care is needed when setting this material to avoid damage.


Hardness – 9 Toughness – Excellent Stability – Very good

Safe to use in jewellery dips. Usually very durable

Avoid: • coating with borax before applying heat as may eat into the corundum • polishing diffused or coated stones

There are many treatments that can have an impact on durability including glass-filling and surface diffusion.


Hardness – 8 Toughness – Good to excellent Stability – Very good

Safe to use in jewellery dips. Usually very durable.

Caution when using Spinel and synthetic ultrasonic and steam spinel have very cleaners similar durability.

Tanzanite (zoisite)

Hardness – 6½ Toughness – Fair to poor Stability – Good to fair

Avoid: Avoid any rough handling • thermal shock • ultrasonic and or knocks steam cleaners


Hardness – 8 Toughness – Fair Stability – Good

Avoid leaving for long periods in strong light as in some cases the colour may fade. Avoid any rough handling or knocks.

Avoid: • thermal shock • ultrasonic and steam cleaners Caution as topaz liable to cleave

Blue topaz is commonly irradiated. The majority of this irradiated material is safe.


Hardness – 7-7½ Toughness – Good Stability – Very good

Attracts dust readily so needs frequent cleaning.

Avoid: • ultrasonic and steam cleaners Caution when using heat as colour may alter and fractures could worsen

Some blue tourmaline can be heated but there is also a lot of natural material available, this treatment does not impact on durability.

Gem-A Education Gem-A’s courses and workshops are available at their London headquarters based near Hatton Garden. In addition 40 Accredited Teaching Centres (ATCs) worldwide also offer Gem-A courses. To find out more about blue stones and to practice testing techniques, come along to Gem-A’s London trade evening on Tuesday 20 July. For more information on this or about Gem-A’s education courses please contact or visit

Most tanzanite is heat treated but this will not effect its durability.

NB: Please be aware the above information is a general guide only and each individual stone should be checked for any problems that may be unique to that stone.

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With more fakes finding their way into jewellers’ hands, it is becoming essential for gemstone buyers to find a reputable dealer


ith mines being depleted around the world and gemstones of all types becoming harder to find, more and more imitations are appearing on the market. It is clearly a case of caveat emptor or ‘buyer beware’, and it has become even more imperative for jewellery makers and manufacturers to find a reliable and trustworthy source. Technological advances mean labs are being set up with the sole intention of producing stimulants as was seen with the case of moissanite – a substance so authentic in its replication it fooled countless experts. Synthetic gemstones are a great alternative for jewellers who want to create a more accessible and affordable collection, but the problems arise when less-than-reputable dealers pass these stones off as the real thing. It’s one thing to want to buy a

synthetic gemstone, but quite another to purchase one under the assumption that it is the genuine article. Clearly it is important to buy from sources that are widely recognised and accepted as being reputable. Capital Gems LTD, a company that has supplied gemstones to the UK jewellery trade for the past 100 years, is one of the UK’s premier wholesale gemstone and loose diamond merchants, carrying a huge range of precious and semi-precious gemstones in a variety of shapes and sizes, including a complete synthetic gemstone selection. The company also supplies loose cut diamonds, from large GIA certificated stones to small mixed mellee parcels. A same day phone order and a next day special delivery service along with no minimum order and a fully insured jewellery repair service are also on offer.

Often described as the gemstone of the 20th century, tanzanite can only be found in one place worldwide – the mines of Tanzania. Famed for its vivid blue colour, and a favourite with Tiffany’s of New York, it has become one of the most sought-after stones for jewellers. Color Jewels is the only accredited Tanzanite One Sightholder in the UK market, making it the number one destination for tanzanite. Holding the biggest supply of loose stones and jewellery, from calibrated stones and single stones in all shapes and sizes, the company is well-equipped to meet customer enquiries. It has licensed access to the Tanzanite One mines and receives quality stones at great prices. The company also specialises in natural colour diamonds, emeralds and semiprecious coloured stones. The Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) is the world’s longest established provider of gem and jewellery education. Offering guidance on testing gemstones and spotting fakes, membership to the organisation gives essential skills to those dealing with gemstones. Marcia Lanyon, of Marcia Lanyon Ltd, is a member of Gem-A and for 32 years has been a leading supplier of quality coloured gemstones and pearls to jewellers all over the world. With a wide range of stunningly individual pieces along with all the calibrated







sizes of cabochon and facetted stones, the company can supply anything from classic pearls or candy pink tourmaline, to a string of turquoise for a piece of statement jewellery. Another member of Gem-A, G F Williams & Co, began trading in the 1960s, offering an extensive range of popular coloured gemstones. The company continues to stock fine coloured stones ranging from calibrated goods to high quality single pieces. As an active trading business the company is closely in touch with supply, and as a gold corporate member of Gem-A follows the latest industry trends and guidelines. Renowned for holding a large range of gemstones in stock, many trade clients rely on the company’s online presence not only as a useful resource but as a valuable trading tool. If a customer’s request cannot be met from stock, the company has an extensive network of contacts to find a solution. G F Williams will also be exhibiting at IJL. In recent years the jewellery trade has seen a rise in synthetic rubies, which are almost identical to their natural counterparts and very difficult to detect. RM Weare & Co has seen these worthless jewels first hand when its buyers identified the so-called ‘mutant gems’ while in the Far East. As a one stop shop for the A to Z of stones

used commercially in the repair and manufacture of jewellery, RM Weare & Co provides a same day turnaround on orders. The company says that its ‘can do’ approach to enquiries and attention to customer service has firmly established the business as one of the most trusted and respected gemstone suppliers in the UK. The company stocks everything from old cut diamonds to coloured stones in contemporary cuts for specialist commissions, all at very competitive prices. A gem testing, valuation and cutting service is also available. Ruby and sapphire specialist Apsara offers a large collection of fine quality untreated rubies and sapphires in a variety of colours. New deposits in Mozambique and Tanzania are producing some beautiful bright, untreated rubies, with prices starting at £300 per carat. All natural untreated sapphires from Madagascar, Thailand and Sri Lanka are available in shades of blue, yellow, pink and green, along with many other colours. As always, the emphasis is on fine quality and value. One of the most popular materials in jewellery making is jade. Regarded as a ‘royal stone’ in the Far East, it has been used for more than 5,000 years. Its wide appeal has also led to it becoming the most imitated stone, with colour intensified nephrite, dyed

quartz and green marble all being passed off as jade. London-based Marcus McCallum has a wide range of nephrite jade carvings, beads and jadeite cabouchons, which like many of the other materials he stocks have been sourced on regular trips around the world. He has acquired fire opals from Mexico, garnets from Namibia, and blue kyanite from Nepal. Established in Hatton Garden in 1984, he specialises in supplying rare and one-off stones to the trade. He has a wide range of precious and semi-precious stones, a fine selection of stone beads and quality freshwater pearls in strands, pairs and loose pieces. He ensures that all of the stock is carefully selected from specialist suppliers and cutters from around the world, recognising the importance of forging links with reputable gemstone dealers. Clearly it seems that the line between fake and genuine is becoming increasingly blurred, and with sophisticated methods of man-made manufacture it is difficult to spot a fraudulent stone. The beauty and value of gemstones will always spawn imitations but the best advice to jewellery makers and manufacturers is to establish a good working relationship with a reputable supplier so you can protect yourself and more importantly your customers.

1) Capital Gems: 0207 253 3575 • 2) Color Jewels UK: 0207 242 2962 • 3) Marcia Lanyon Ltd: 0207 602 2446 4) G F Williams: 0207 405 5477 • 5) RM Weare & Co: 01904 693 933 • 6) Apsara: 0845 056 0055 • 7) Marcus McCallum: 0207 405 2169

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Diamonds are a retailer’s best friend Diamonds have seen continued popularity despite the economic gloom, discovers Syreeta Tranfield


iamonds are forever – regardless of the economic climate or current jewellery trends, these rocks stand the test of time and make up a large proportion of the jewellery retail market. At IJL this year, Martin Rapaport will be giving his annual seminar on the latest trends in the diamond industry. The presentation will cover all the latest hot topics on diamonds – ranging from economic variables and what’s happening on price points, to the relationship between rough and polished diamonds. I decided to speak to Martin ahead of his seminar in September, about his views on diamonds – the retailer’s best friend – and the current state of the industry.

Consumer demand

The Rapaport Diamond Report is a useful tool for the industry, which provides details about the pricing standards for diamonds and market information. “Our point of view is unique,” Martin told me, “we tell it how it is! We want to inform and advise the sophisticated jeweller.” As there have been recent reports in the consumer media about smaller diamonds being more in demand, I asked Martin for his view: “It’s logical that in a recession, the market for smaller diamonds may pick up due to a demand substitution in line with what people can afford. However, what is great about diamonds is that there is always something people can buy as it is an affordable luxury, so there will be a consistent demand even if the price points have shifted. It is also an emotional purchase and this is something that hasn’t changed.” According to Martin, this consistency in demand for diamonds continues despite changing trends: “In terms of broader market trends affecting the diamond jewellery industry, globalisation has had an impact. While the US market has declined, China and India are expanding. The UK is not where it used to be economically, but there is still a good market for diamonds. It is ostentatious consumerism that has declined, but discreet luxury is still in demand.”

Retail strategies for success

While diamonds are clearly still in demand, the retail climate is constantly evolving and, as buying diamonds is very much a special

experience, I asked Martin what advice he would offer retailers: “I would recommend that retailers avoid aiming to simply sell products and instead remember to sell the idea and reasons behind the products, especially in terms of diamond jewellery. Remember the customer comes first and never forget that.” I also spoke to diamond wholesaler L and R Josyfon, a third generation family business that has been running since 1915. I asked the owner about current diamond trends and what advice he can offer retailers based on his significant experience of this sector: “In terms of selling single round stone diamond rings, traditional retailers can’t afford to work on large margins now because of the internet,” stated Neil Josyfon. “People are more likely to shop online for this particular product if there is a vast price difference in comparison with going in-store. This isn’t the case with fancy shapes and other styles, as people like to view these designs in person when they make their purchase. As 70 per cent of the engagement ring business is for round diamonds, it’s important to be competitive specifically in this area. “Once a customer has come in to a store to buy a single round stone ring at a competitive price, they are likely to return for future diamond jewellery purchases – eternity rings, earrings etc,” continued Neil, who agreed with Martin Rapaport about the importance of customer service: “This is how retailers can make up the profits elsewhere. Building customer loyalty and having good customer service is essential for all retailers but this is even more important when selling diamond jewellery in-store, as this is a luxury, emotional purchase and this is what will set you apart from other retailers, including those selling online.” In conclusion, Neil adds: “Ultimately, it is the staff who are customer facing, so they should make sure that they have a good knowledge about diamonds as this will help to build customer loyalty. Staff who have learnt about diamonds, and have been trained specifically in this area, will know what is available and what’s in demand.” The messages are clear – knowledge and customer care are essential when it comes to retailing diamond jewellery, which is definitely still in demand from consumers.

For more information on IJL please visit







Product designer Jasper Morrison discusses his recent collaboration with the Rado Watch Co What is your approach and objective to design?

Always the same: to ensure that the design has all the qualities to be useful, beautiful and long lasting.

How do you get new ideas? From your surroundings; from your everyday life; in your dreams? By looking at everyday life, seeing what’s good about it and what’s bad. By noticing when I use things what makes them work, or why they don’t work. It’s really a game of common sense, then for whatever reason (I tend to think of it as a mis-wired brain) I am able to make random associations of all these practical and visual experiences and reprocess them into something new.

What motivates and drives you?

Mostly it’s the satisfaction of designing things which people enjoy using, but it’s also nice feeling that you are shaping the man-made world.

Do you personally use the products that you design?

Absolutely – that’s a very important part of the process, as it’s the only way of knowing if what you designed really works in every sense, or if it fails to understand why and make sure you get it right the next time. It’s a learning process.

How did you define your own signature style?

I don’t think about it at all; I have a sense of when something is right and the whole design process is taken up with getting to that point. If I have a signature style it’s probably easier for others to describe it.


Has there been a key moment in your life when you decided to become a designer? Was there a mentor in your professional life? I think I knew I wanted to be a designer from quite early in my life. My parents had an early Braun record player, which I remember looking at all the time. It was the one with the wooden sides and the Plexiglass lid, designed by Dieter Rams and Hans Gugelot. In that sense you could say Dieter Rams was my mentor, and continues to be one of them.

How do you cope with failure, and what is a failure for you personally? Very badly. Failure is me noticing that one of my designs doesn’t do what it should do. It’s a terrible feeling knowing that all the effort that went into making it happen has been wasted for everyone.

You have won many awards in design, which one was a big surprise for you?

I never pay any attention to awards, they’re always made of Plexiglass and all I can think when I get them is that the material is wasted. They should make them in the shape of something useful, like an ashtray or something!

The development of the r5.5 is actually the third phase of your collaboration with the iconic Swiss watchmaker Rado. How did it all start back in 2007 and what project did you realise with Rado?

It began with a meeting at my Paris office and a request by Rado to design a dial for their 50th anniversary using the Ceramica case. A design for the packaging was also requested. The concept I proposed was to issue the design in five different gold finishes as five separate editions of 10 – 50 watches in total. The packaging idea was to present the watch in a wrist shaped leather case with a strap and hoop closing derived from an ordinary watch strap.

What level of creative freedom do you require to take on a job? Did you get carte blanche from Rado?

I don’t always need carte blanche, in fact sometimes it’s very helpful to have some direction from a company. After all they know better than I do what the customers are looking for, and this kind of input can be helpful. But in the case of the r5.5 I did have carte blanche because I think Rado were curious to see what would come out of the collaboration.

The r5.5 is the first watch you have ever designed fully. Was it an easy task for you, and how did you actually approach the creative process? It wasn’t easy at all – I had to quickly acquire the knowledge that others may have learnt over an number of years in the business. It had to be a convincing design or it would probably have been the only watch design I ever did!

What was your objective with the design of the r5.5?

I wanted to distance the design from the prevailing tendency of big, over-detailed status watches, and to create a watch for people with the confidence to wear something more elegant and discrete.

Was it the first time you actually worked with hi-tech ceramics? How did you experience and appreciate this material? Did it restrict you in any way?

Yes, I had worked with porcelain before, but never with its more technical cousin. One of the first questions I asked was whether we could have a matt finish for it, and when the tests came back I was amazed by how beautiful it was. It’s a very versatile material for a designer, as it’s moulded it allows a great freedom of form. It was the perfect material for the design although we had to make a lot of adjustments to make the case strong enough.

Do you personally design all products that are signed Jasper Morrison? Yes, I like to generate the ideas, and then between my team and the manufacturer we are working with, we make the necessary adjustments along the way. I enjoy the discussion generated by the design process.


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Add some sparkle to your summer style with Verado’s new bling dangles – attractively crafted clip-on charms to add to your collections. Information: 0208 275 1600 or


Renowned for its expertise in high quality castings, Kent-based ABT Design Ltd has recently added another service. As well as casting daily in platinum, palladium, gold and silver, the company can now additionally build customers’ CAD files using its state of the art rapid prototyping facility. Information: 01474 324 428 or


Tedora is a well-established jewellery brand that prides itself on being made in Italy. The brand’s most popular line is the Personality collection, a composable charm range. Tedora says that it has one of the most comprehensive collections of beads on the market. The range includes Murano glass, silver, gold, pearl, Swarovski crystal and wood in many designs. Guarantee cards are included with all of the Tedora collections, as well as branded gift boxes, tissue and gift bags. The starter pack includes a full window display, a counter top abacus and a beech bead box to store the collection. Information: 07884 002 312 or


Taking Taking stock

Unique Jewelry’s One Jewels concept follows the popular bead trend. The range offers a variable jewellery system to create (in combination with beads) jewellery pieces such as rings, necklaces and earrings. Unique Jewelry says that the One Jewels ring has been particularly successful and will fit nearly all beads from a wide range of brands. A pin that screws onto the ring is available in different stone colours to match with the various colours of bead. All of the pieces are manufactured using 925 sterling silver, and Unique Jewelry offers retailers effective point of sale material including displays, packaging and leaflets. Information: 0207 405 5523 or


Sterlinx says that it is fast becoming a reliable supplier of silver beads and charms. The company specialises in sterling silver with or without stones, as well as Swarovski crystals. Sterlinx will be exhibiting at the Harrogate show and will showcase its new range of wooden beads. In addition to non-silver items, the company has a diverse range of sterling silver charms. For more information, see the advert on page 28. Information: 07971 544 914 or


With fans including Cheryl Cole, clip-on fruit charms are set to be highly popular this summer and Charms UK has an eye-catching range to choose from. All of the designs are created in sterling silver with enamel, Murano glass, coloured cz, crystal and gold plate. With over 350 detachable charms available, as well as an extensive collection of sterling silver bracelets and necklaces, Charms UK offers a versatile, contemporary, affordable and fun way to express your style. Information: 0117 968 3979 or



Tingle London has recently added more stylish charms to its contemporary range. Concentrating on high quality sterling silver designs, the brand is proving to be a popular addition to retailers’ stores. Tingle London says that it offers retailers “a beautifully designed but compact point of sale with full brand support.” Elegant packaging and bags complement the product to give the consumer a ‘feel good’ shopping experience. Full details including the entire range can be viewed on the Tingle London website. Information: 0207 405 7587 or


Charles Aston, based in London’s Hatton Garden, specialises in crafting bespoke handmade jewellery, pocket watches and dress watches. The company also provides diamond mounting and master making services, in addition to consultations with all designers. Information: 0207 831 4816 or


As the popularity of silver beads rises in the UK, Jolie Beads says that it is the fastest growing new range of silver beads in Europe. As the choices for the UK market widen, Jolie Beads adds that the demand from jewellery shops is for high quality silver beads to satisfy customer requirements. The versatility of Jolie Beads means that they can be worn with most bead systems. Information: 01481 701 577 or


Hanalex is again launching its traditional promotion of offering extended credit, where goods will be delivered now and payment will be due on 1 January 2011. The company’s extensive jewellery range will be increased in June, with a further 195 new gold lines and over 300 new silver lines. Information: 01270 872 395 or


Celebrating its fifth birthday this month, Valentina Jewellery has created an attractive collection of handstrung Murano glass and sterling silver bead bracelets in six of the company’s best selling colours, together with matching handmade earrings and pendants. Valentina Jewellery has additionally added more Murano glass charm beads to its popular Valentina Beads collection along with elegant Murano glass hearts suspended from sterling silver barrel beads. An ideal addition to any charm bead bracelet, the beads are available in 19 different colours including hot pink, orange and cobalt blue, well suited to this season. Information: 01638 552 879 or


Always trying to identify ways to minimise the down time of a new shop fit or refurbishment, the Watts Design team has introduced quick and simple to install display cabinet modules. Light in weight and lockable, the units combine a handy amount of storage space with an elegant look. Information: 01598 710 215 or




Jewellers: the next generation! Michael Hoare discusses the changing attitudes to succession, and the importance of providing for young business executives


any years ago, when I first joined the NAG, I set out to meet as many jewellers as possible in focus groups. One of my favourite questions to my mainly middle-aged participants was ‘what’s your exit strategy?’ – meaning, what are you going to do when the time comes to retire? Of course many answered: “I’m going to sweat the assets and sell up”; others declared that they would employ a manager and retire to the sun and live off the income generated; while some planned to build the business and sell it as a going concern. A surprisingly large number hoped that one day a son or daughter would take over the business. I think the desire to pass a business down the generations is entirely understandable and many of our most successful members have done just that, with the result that the jewellery sector probably has more fifth and sixth generation businesses than most others. But times have changed and many of the young people who might have joined their family firms have been encouraged to go to university and pursue professional careers. Thus when I dug a bit deeper I discovered that many of the ‘kids’ who were the focus of their parents’ aspirations were in fact successful accountants, solicitors, advertising executives, you name it! In other words, they were well-paid professionals, who wouldn’t be tempted away from their chosen careers by the prospect of running a small jewellery business. Certainly not if money was the only motivator; perhaps on ‘lifestyle’ grounds, but then only much later when the ‘high life’ had taken its toll. Now, nearly 10 years later, it’s a different story. With jobs in short supply; new graduates finding it hard to get appropriate posts; and some commentators suggesting that degrees have been devalued by their abundance, some young people are concluding that a degree is not a ticket to instant success. Add in the fact that getting a degree these days leaves you at least £12,000 in debt, and many youngsters are deciding to forgo university and take up opportunities in the family firm. At the NAG we believe that this trend is to be encouraged, not least for the health of our sector. We have already logged an increase in enquiries about training

from youngsters joining the family firm, and we have been adding to our existing portfolio of programmes to accommodate their needs. Five years ago we fashioned the Executive Development Forum (EDF), designed especially for the needs of current business leaders, and while we haven’t finished with them yet we’re starting up EDF groups catering specifically for the next generation. Succession is the greatest long-term challenge that most family businesses face. Willingness to plan for succession is often the key factor determining whether a business survives or fails. Psychological and cultural pressures stack the odds against passing the business down to the next generation. Fear of mortality, reluctance to let go of power, and worries about seeming to prefer one child at the expense of another are just a few examples of complex forces favouring avoiding the succession issue and adopting the ‘do nothing’ option. So we’re under no illusions. We know that training young business executives will be as much about educating their parents as inculcating the principles of commerce; that the new generation sometimes feels stifled by their elders; but that repeating the mistakes of the past is not an option. We have narrowly escaped a double dip recession and now is the ideal time for optimistic and forward thinking jewellers to re-energise their business; instil excitement; reinforce peerless service; and re-carve the niche that the best independents used to inhabit. And who but the young have the greatest reserves of optimism? But optimism needs to be underpinned by solid business foundations. At the Oxford Congress at the end of this month current business owners will be learning how to excite, entice and retain a loyal band of followers, and if you want to know more about this, the Executive Development Forum and its next generation offshoot you’d better book a date ( and come along!

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What can we do about   tarnishing?

Tarnishing can be a big problem for precious metal alloys, particularly sterling silver and low carat golds. Dippal Manchanda MSc CSci CChem FRSC, technical director of the Birmingham Assay Office, explains the problem and offers some solutions


any jewellers have sought advice about tarnishing from the Birmingham Assay Office – a problem which soon alters the colour, brightness and appearance of the jewellery, eventually rendering it unwearable. In response, the Laboratory team has carried out research which has subsequently been applied to develop tests to determine susceptibility to tarnishing, particularly in relation to packaging materials.

What causes tarnishing?

Tarnishing of silver, which is typically a blue/ purple/black colour, is triggered by its reaction with elements such as sulphur, moisture, oxygen and chlorides. Silver reacts with sulphurcontaining gases in the atmosphere to create silver sulphide, which appears as a visible black residue on the surface of the metal.

Oxygen and sulphur compounds in the atmosphere all contribute to the tarnishing process, which is also accelerated by perspiration, perfume and deodorant sprays. Some foodstuffs such as fruit juice, pickles, onions and garlic release high levels of acid and/or sulphurous compounds. In addition to these natural accelerants, jewellery manufacturers may inadvertently contribute to the tarnishing process. The leaching of acid or residual cleaning solutions from surface micropores of cast jewellery can cause corrosion and may even trap perspiration during wear, exacerbating the problem further. Organic sulphur-containing compounds present in storage box materials, particularly adhesives, are another well-known source that can cause severe tarnishing.

How can tarnishing be prevented?

Tarnishing of silver plated articles cannot be prevented completely as elements that accelerate tarnishing are ever present. However, there are measures that can be taken to delay the inevitable. To slow the onset of the tarnishing process there are some metallurgical interventions, for example the addition of de-oxidising metals such as germanium or silicon to the alloy mix. The composition of the alloy therefore influences the speed at which tarnishing


  occurs. There are now some tarnish resistant alloys available which significantly reduce susceptibility to tarnishing. The onset of tarnishing can also be delayed by specialised processes such as e-coat, lacquer, ‘chromate conversion treatment’ and other coatings. This ensures that no further oxidation occurs and therefore no tarnishing can commence. However, the majority of measures that are taken to increase tarnish resistance can lead to other undesirable properties in jewellery items. All surface coatings will be removed by polishing and long-term wear. Repairs and additional working, such as sizing, can become extremely difficult or even impossible when the composition makes the alloy too hard or brittle. Re-melting and recasting these alloys is also difficult as complete refining is usually required, which increases the costs associated with these low intrinsic value metals.

Packaging – the most common tarnishing accelerants

In the UK, the average level of sulphur in the atmosphere is only a few parts per billion and this is not sufficient in itself to cause rapid tarnishing. However, when an item is packaged

in a small, sealed environment the levels of sulphur can become concentrated, especially in warm humid conditions. Experimental evidence has shown that even one small adhesive label can have drastic effects. Packaging has been identified as the most common tarnishing accelerant of jewellery items. High sulphur and other tarnishing causing compounds released from paper, cardboard, certain cloths, foams and adhesives are a common problem. Research has shown that packaging material with less than 0.0008 per cent (8 mg/kg or 8 ppm) reducible sulphur, may be assumed to be non-tarnishing, but if more than 0.0008 per cent it may cause staining or tarnish silver, the extent of which depends upon the sulphur concentration. Some synthetic foam contains high levels of chlorides and fluorides as well as sulphur – all of which will cause tarnishing of silver and other metals used in jewellery.

Hazards at the point of sale

Retailers have also approached the Birmingham Assay Office to investigate why product is tarnishing while on display. Findings from intensive site surveys have identified specific display pads and some glass cleaning products as major culprits. Well intentioned staff vigorously polishing finger prints off showcases may inadvertently make the tarnishing problem worse.

The accelerated tarnish test procedure utilised by the Laboratory of the Birmingham Assay Office involves the identification of components responsible for tarnishing or staining silver products. This procedure is primarily used for testing packaging or display material that is in direct contact with silver, low carat gold and base material items. Test results indicate the type of tarnishing or staining and the relative distribution of the materials causing such tarnishing. Tarnish treatments are still relatively new and the Birmingham Assay Office continues to engage in proactive research and development in an effort to fully understand, assess and restrict tarnishing.

FOCUS ON THE EXPERT Dippal Manchanda MSc CSci CChem FRSC Dippal 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 over 20 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 to date 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




Are there difficult customers? Leonard Zell reveals the truth behind the ‘awkward customers’ so despised by salespeople across the globe


difficult customer is in fact the rare exception, not the rule. I have found, in my 25 years of selling fine jewellery and training jewellers worldwide, what salespeople unknowingly do can put their customers in a negative mood when they have come in with a mood to buy. Salespeople prejudge their customers and are not aware they in turn are being prejudged by their attitude. I ask them if they prejudge salespeople when they enter a store themselves, and they agree they do all the time. Now they understand that when it comes to selling jewellery, they are only as good as their opening act. Customers come in the mood to buy, otherwise why would they enter your store? Therefore it makes sense salespeople should be in a mood to sell, otherwise how can they connect to their customer’s emotions? To do so, salespeople should greet customers with a smile and enthusiasm as soon as they see them entering their store. I do not mean they should run up to them, which is not necessary and offends some customers, but rather they should just stay where they are to conduct the greeting, and their customers will then come towards them. What salespeople do is wait until their customers take several steps into the store, or worse yet, wait until they approach the showcase and give them a so-so greeting and hardly a smile. During my seminars I ask them: “Why

do you act defensively? Would you wait that long to greet your best friend with that lack of enthusiasm and with your hands behind your back?” They always say no. Then I ask: “How do you greet the same customer coming in for the third time?” Their reply is: “Oh, right away because we know who they are and are more comfortable with them.” I ask: “Do you smile more at these customers?” They always reply: “Yes, because we know them.” The next question I ask is obvious: “Why don’t all of you greet your first time customers like they came in for the third time?” Then they see the light! They have been prejudging and greeting their first time customers like strangers, and this is why they have difficult customers. This next question is the important one: “How do you expect to get these first time customers as repeat customers?” Jewellers have no idea how much business this costs them. I tell my students it all comes down to the first rule of Zelling: sell

Why not pass the following tips on to your salespeople… Angry customers – These customers may be dissatisfied from a previous sales encounter they had in your store. Be careful when you see a negative look on their face. Don’t let them make you react to them because you will struggle. Zip up your smile and enthusiasm and make them react to you. This will neutralise them immediately and their blood pressure will drop. Avoid asking how you can help them. You are not a receptionist in a hospital. Just say your favourite greeting with a smile and enthusiasm and let them talk. Warning – if you interrupt them when they pause, it will be like pouring gasoline on a fire. Let them talk and talk and let it all out. What you have to say is not important. Keep your smile and this will calm them down.

Know it all customers – Be quiet, never interrupt them and let them show their ego. When they pause, smile and let them continue. Salespeople like to challenge these customers and show off their product knowledge, which is a huge mistake. The only ego that counts is your customer’s. You should say: “Bob, you really took the time to do your research.” Chatty customers – This happens most often because some salespeople don’t know what to say when they are about to close a sale. They change the conversation to the weather, sports, or anything but jewellery. They never let the customer have the last word. The customer comes back and tops the salesperson and it

goes on forever. This can be stopped by acknowledging what the customer said, and then turning the conversation back to the jewellery: “Mrs Johnson I have something for you I wouldn’t want you to miss.” Indecisive customers – Salespeople think these customers are real time wasters. They are wrong. The salesperson created that time waster. The reason most customers cannot make up their mind is because the salesperson doesn’t know how to put jewellery back in the case if there is no further interest. They leave it out and bring out more. There is so much out there the customer has trouble making up their mind and can take forever. Welcome to the two-hour customer! This also creates a security issue. An ex-jewellery thief told

me when there are more than three or four diamond rings out on the counter pad it’s easy for him to take one without the salesperson noticing. Cynical customers – These customers believe salespeople have their own agenda and are concerned they are going to meet some high pressure salesperson and end up buying something they don’t want. This is a good example of customers prejudging salespeople. You can win that customer’s trust by introducing yourself. If they don’t know who you are how can they trust you? Would you trust a salesperson selling you the most personal and lasting item in the world if they refuse to tell you who they are? There it is again, sell the same way you would like to be sold.


the same way you would like to be sold. If a sales technique passes this test you know you are on the right track. If it does not, guess what you have? Those difficult customers. You may ask: “What about that customer who won’t look at you when they walk in or won’t even smile?” That was because you didn’t greet them immediately with a smile and hold your eyes to theirs like you would a friend in your home. Instead you reacted to them, waiting to see how they were going to act first instead of having them react to you. Lack of that friendly smile and enthusiasm; negative body language with hands behind the back; poor hygiene such as bad breath; appearance; and general overall attitude – it takes only one of those to affect a customer’s mood negatively. That is why my students ask me: “Leonard, why are some customers so difficult?” My answer is that there are no difficult customers. Look in the mirror. There is the problem. The salesperson who rarely encounters these so-called difficult customers is the one who has an outgoing personality, and greets his or her customers immediately with that great smile and enthusiasm. This will disarm the most negative customer because there is one thing they cannot fight – a smile. To take it a step further, that salesperson always introduces his or herself – not necessarily at the beginning of the sale, but before the jewellery is shown. The customer is addressed by name, and the name is used during the sale and again at collection time a week later. These salespeople are always the top producers regardless of their experience or product knowledge, because their outgoing personality attracts customers to them and they in turn connect with their customer’s emotions. Smile and the world will smile with you! Leonard Zell is scheduling jewellery sales seminars for individual jewellers in the UK throughout the year. To find out more about his successful sales seminars and increasing your sales, go to his website, You may also call Leonard in the US on 001 503 412 9521, or email him at   For further information on the techniques in this article and the keys to increasing your sales, take advantage of Leonard’s best-selling 180-page sales manual of proven jewellery selling techniques. And for the perfect complement, order ‘Leonard Zell Live’ – a full day’s sales training seminars recorded live on three CDs. You may order from his website,

Impatient customers – These customers want to be waited on immediately, regardless how many people are before them. If they are not acknowledged, they can be very demanding. They want to get in and out of your store right away (probably to see what your competitor has). The salesperson again has brought this on themselves. All they had to do was notice the customer who is waiting, but first say to their customer: “Please excuse me a moment.” Then look at the person waiting and say: “Someone will be with you as soon as they are free.” Then go back to your customer. If the salesperson looks away from their customer before excusing themselves

they are making the mistake of implying the waiting customer is number one and their customer is number two. Also, be careful because that person who is impatient could be a thief and the other person an accomplice. Before you know it a diamond ring is missing and since you had so many out you never noticed it until they left. Be careful, this could be you. For store owners I recommend that to protect yourself from all of the above it is important for you or your manager to be on the sales floor and not in the back of the store. Otherwise you may never know the sales that leak out of your store and those customers who may never return.




Online optimisation

Dean Benson of Visualsoft provides essential advice on AdWords and Analytics, explaining how they can help you get closer to customers that are ready to buy online


ouldn’t it be absolutely wonderful if every customer that entered your shop knew exactly what they wanted, knew that you stocked it and they were ready to buy it? To achieve that goal is virtually impossible, but the internet is proving there are ways of getting closer to this dream – and it’s all about gathering customer information and what you do with it. The great advantage of websites over traditional highstreet shops is that when people enter your site and browse without buying, they still leave behind crucial information about themselves and their visit – whether they like it or not!


Gathering and interpreting the information they leave behind is fundamental to helping you refine your online presence in order to target those visitors who are much closer to making a purchase than people who are just ‘window shopping’. To help you gather and interpret this data, there are a number of business services and tools on offer. Here, we are focusing on three inextricably linked procedures which can give you competitive advantage and go a long way to helping you make your ecommerce offering a success – they are AdWords, Analytics and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Analytics and AdWords (which is paid-for) are services provided by Google, the undisputed king of internet search engines. So it’s important to start with Google and what it can offer your online business. SEO is a process you can carry out yourself but, once again, there are thousands of companies specialising in it as a business service.

Here’s how they work together:

There are two main ways of driving traffic to your site – traditional and online marketing/ advertising combined with SEO. SEO is where your website is fine-tuned with keywords, phrases and tags that are going to show up in searches for products and services related to your business. However, on its own, the search process can be very ‘hit and miss’ – both for you and potential customers. For example, a customer may have searched for a product or service which you have listed, but you didn’t stock the right style, size, shape, colour or brand. The outcome is that you end up with low conversion rates because the traffic to your site is being driven by search terms that are far too broad. To overcome this, you need a way of driving the right sort of traffic to your site – people who have educated themselves (via searches etc) about the product(s) they want and are, therefore, much further down the road to making a purchase. This is where Google AdWords comes in. This service lets you buy advertising space on the internet search engine – you pay a ‘fee’ each time someone clicks through to your site as a result of the AdWords. For example, you


could pay for a series of AdWords like ‘gold jewellery’ or ‘diamond earring’. However, as these terms are generic and broad, they could feature in many searches and, depending on your agreement with Google, could be very expensive without generating the level of sales to justify your outlay. Clearly, another process is now required to refine your AdWords in order to better target customers. You need to gather data for analysis that will help you understand what is driving people to your site. With Google Analytics you can gather precisely the information you require to feed back into your website and your products and into the SEO – ie to change the search words/ phrases. Analytics show you key information about who is visiting your site such as what search terms they used, did they come direct to your site, what territory they are from, and the time of their search/visit.

Here’s how it may work:

You have just launched your website selling gold jewellery – with a focus on Art Deco style – and want to drive traffic to it. You decide to invest in Google AdWords and choose several product names and generic industry terms to include in your paid-for search terms – you decide when you want to run the AdWords, and, most importantly, how much per day you want to spend on them. This is crucial as you must set and keep to your marketing budget – in the early days/weeks you may spend more to gather the data you require for refining your search terms. To build a clear profile of visitors and their behaviour on your website could take at least a month but, by then, the combination of AdWords and the data harvested from Google Analytics will have provided enough market intelligence to enable you to refine your AdWords and feed that information into the SEO process. For example, you chose ‘gold jewellery UK’ as one of your AdWords and it proved very costly with a low level of sales conversions. However, the Analytics show that if you changed the phrase to say ‘gold art deco jewellery’ you would get fewer hits (reducing the AdWords costs) but significantly increase your customer conversion rate. In effect you have cut out the ‘window shoppers’ that were costing you money and now you have serious shoppers who are ready to buy your products. Crucially, the data collected by Analytics is real-time, which means that it enables you to respond to trends and sales spikes much more rapidly, ensuring you are in the right place at the right time with the right product or service. So, through AdWords, Analytics and effective SEO, you have a continuous circle of refinement which helps you streamline your business and puts you closer to the marketing dream that every customer visiting your site knows what they want, knows that you stock it and that they are ready to buy it.

Dean Benson has more than 10 years’ ecommerce experience as a founding director at Visualsoft. Visit for more information.



Events Until 6 June Royal College of Art 2010 Graduate Shows (Show one) Kensington Gore London

Until 26 June Park Life – Ring Showcase The Craft Centre and Design Gallery City Art Gallery, Leeds

6 – 8 June Pulse London Earls Court London

3 – 4 July Rock, Gem ‘n’ Bead Show Newcastle Racecourse High Gosforth Park Tyne & Wear

18 – 21 July Home & Gift Harrogate

29 July – 1 August Singapore International Jewellery Show Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

22 – 25 August The Autumn Gift & Home Show RDS Simmonscourt Dublin

24 June 2010 NAG Oxford Congress Saïd Business School Oxford

1 – 3 August Pure London Olympia London

8 – 10 August JCK Toronto Metro Toronto Convention Centre – North Building Toronto Canada

7 – 13 June London Jewellery Week London

Spring Fair


27 – 31 August Tendence Frankfurt, Germany

5 – 8 September International Jewellery London Earls Court 2, London

5 – 8 September Autumn Fair International 2010 NEC, Birmingham

12 – 14 September Top Drawer Autumn/Winter Olympia, London

Auction dates 8 June Lyon & Turnbull Fine jewellery and silver Edinburgh

1 July Fellows & Sons Antique and modern jewellery Birmingham

9 June Bonhams Fine watches and wristwatches New Bond Street, London

2 July Wellers Auctioneers Pawnbroker’s Unredeemed Jewellery and Watches Chertsey, Surrey

16 June Bonhams Jewellery Knightsbridge, London

16 June Dreweatts Fine silver, jewellery and watches Donnington Priory Donnington

18 June Gerrards Auction Rooms Jewellery St Annes on Sea

2 July Biddle & Webb Jewellery Birmingham

10 July P F Windibank Antique clocks, watches and barometers Dorking, Surrey

14 July Christie’s Jewels at South Kensington London

16 July Sotheby’s - Watches New Bond Street, London

16 July Wellers Auctioneers Silver, Jewellery and Watches Chertsey, Surrey

11 August Biddle & Webb Pawnbroker’s auction of unredeemed pledges Birmingham

19 August Fellows & Sons Secondhand jewellery and watches Birmingham

24 August A F Brock & Company Antique, vintage and modern jewellery Stockport

7 September Campbells Auctions Watches, clocks and jewellery Worthing

11 September P F Windibank Antique jewellery Dorking, Surrey

18 December Kent Auction Galleries Jewellery and Christmas gifts Felixstowe

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Jewellery FOCUS

Where else can you enjoy the adventures of Keith Fisher in the world of watches, take a tour around a month’s worth of treasure with Janet Fitch and read the advice you know you can trust from Leonard Zell, plus get a heads-up on all the latest trends, products and services all in one package? Get Jewellery Focus delivered to your door


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Mar 10

May 10


Sterling silver (£/Kg)

338.23 352.23 371.19


Gold (£/g)





Palladium (£/g)





Platinum (£/g)





Rhodium (£/g)





Iridium (£/g)





Ruthenium (£/g)





Scrap metal prices

Mar 10

Apr 10

May 10


Sterling silver scrap (£/kg)

317.57 330.72 348.52


9ct Gold scrap (£/g)


Apr 10




14ct Gold scrap (£/g)





18ct Gold scrap (£/g)





22ct Gold scrap (£/g)





Platinum (£/g)





Data supplied courtesy of Cookson Precious Metals. All prices shown on this page enjoy indicative status only. Jewellery Focus and Cookson Precious Metals accepts no responsibility for their accuracy or for any use to which they may be put

Diamond prices Weight






0.05 Carat






0.10 Carat






0.25 Carat






0.50 Carat






0.75 Carat






1.00 Carat






The table above has been prepared by SafeGuard and is an average of the retail selling prices of round brilliant cut diamonds per carat including an average retail markup and VAT. There is no allowance for the mount but the prices have been taken from mounted goods prices. The table is also compared with International diamond prices for additional accuracy. Compiled on 4th May 2010 with the Dollar exchange rate being 1.5235

Hallmark figures



Apr 09

Apr 10



999 958 925 800

330 257 473,433 73 474,093

541 379 594,986 1 595,907

211 122 121,553 -72 121,814

63.9 47.5 25.7 -98.6 25.7

999 990 916 750 585 375

237 7 40,729 84,294 6,557 320,167 451,991

25 2 28,083 81,421 11,632 261,783 382,946

-212 -5 -12,646 -2,873 5,075 -58,384 -69,045

-89.5 -71.4 -31.0 -3.4 77.4 -18.2 -15.3

29 21,653 36 5 21,723

95 22,888 89 1 23,073

66 1,235 53 -4 1,350

227.6 5.7 147.2 -80.0 6.2

0 0 0 0 947,807

0 11,350 4 11,354 1,013,280

0 11,350 4 11,354 65,473

0.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 6.9

Platinum 999 950 900 850 Palladium 999 950 500 Total

The total number of articles hallmarked by the four UK Assay Offices during April 2010 exceeded one million – a 6.9 per cent increase on 2009. Once again silver showed significant growth, up 25 per cent on last year and representing a record 59 per cent of all articles hallmarked, as opposed to 50 per cent in April last year. Palladium is now establishing itself as an alternative white metal and 11,000 items were hallmarked during April. Platinum showed a slight increase with volumes up 6.2 per cent. With gold prices heading ever higher – at £779 per oz in early May – these trends are likely to continue throughout the next few months.




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Electroplating - Poisonous The liabilities are serious if employers do not protect staff from toxic materials. Our range of self install fume enclosures will improve conditions.


LUXURY GIFTS tel. 0121 554 1026






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SOPHIE CROYDON of Winsor Bishop, Norwich

How did you get into the jewellery business?

I had been working in London for five years on a strong business development team for a large American organisation when I was approached by my father (owner of Winsor Bishop) and a management consultant in relation to succession planning. That was seven years ago – it took a year to twist my arm, and a year’s training at GIA and I’ll never look back.

What made you choose the location of your shop?

Winsor Bishop was established in 1834 and has been situated at its present site for most of its trading years. The business was known as Pegler Brothers until 1893 when Mr Richard Winsor Bishop bought it. A copy of the valuation certificate indicates that the premises consisted of a shop and an excellent residence with a value for the unexpired term of the lease of £150. Successive owners of the business were the Copping family, the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Association, Waterford Wedgwood Group, the Kerridge family, and then my father, Robert Croydon.

Are you online yet?

Yes we have been online for quite a few years, and we are now taking the plunge by going fully ecommerce!

What sector of the jewellery market are you most passionate about and why?

There isn’t really a sector in its own right; it’s the whole package for me. It is taking an incredibly traditional and relatively rigid trade, and ensuring we are flexible, adaptable, fresh and moving with the market so that we are right there on top of our game. It’s a constant evolution.

What is selling well at the moment?

Watches are selling amazingly well. Our core diamond ring range is doing very well too, due to lots of adjustments made last year to keep in line with the market and the competition.

What sort of watches do you stock?

We carry Patek Philippe, Rolex, Breitling, Omega, Tag, Cartier, Jaeger Le Coultre, Panerai, Chanel, Bremont, Longines, Links of London and we’re about to bring on Toy Watches. Watches used to equate to 30 per cent of our business, but I would say it’s now much nearer the 60 per cent mark.

What, in your opinion, are the main problems faced by retailers today?

In my opinion, it’s two things: change – being able to change quickly enough to market conditions, whether it increases or decreases; and fraud – there is so much fraud happening it’s frightening. Online trading is absolutely essential to the world today, but it does come with its problems!

If you started all over again, what would you do differently? I wouldn’t change a thing.

27 – 31. 8. 2010

We hope to see you in August! A complete international spectrum of new product ideas for the home and gift sectors – just in time for the autumn/winter trade and early enough for the following season. Look forward to the Tendence consumer goods trade fair with its focus on lifestyle, design and creativity. Tel. +44 17 84 41 59 50

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