The Jewellery Cut Showroom

The Jewellery Cut, a new editorial website spearheaded by Rachael Taylor, will launch this summer. As well as publishing content year round on the site, The Jewellery Cut will host a series of live events, including The Jewellery Cut Showroom, which will take place over two days (September 17th and 18th) on Old Bond Street in London. Continue reading for an introduction to The Jewellery Cut and full details of the event.

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The royal effect

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Kensington & Chelsea 

When it comes to announcements, they don’t get bigger than a royal engagement. An outright frenzy erupted when His Royal Highness Prince Harry got down on one knee to Meghan Markle; a promise that will be fulfilled in May. But for some, the impact of that excitement will last a lifetime as brides-to-be, whipped up in dreams of being princesses, choose lookalike engagement rings.

“We probably get more enquiries about that than anything else,” says Garrard senior marketing executive Madeleine David, referring to what is perhaps the world’s most famous engagement ring – the Ceylon blue sapphire and diamond cluster worn by The Duchess of Cambridge. The ring was originally made by Garrard for His Royal Highness Prince Charles to present to Princess Diana when he proposed in 1981, passing down the family line to Kate Middleton when His Royal Highness Prince William popped the question, but David says that the origins of the design go back much further.

“People come in and ask for the Kate ring, but we say that we don’t do the exact thing, it’s just the most modern interpretation. It was chosen by Charles and Diana but it’s a classic Garrard design that started when Prince Albert worked with Garrard to commission the sapphire cluster brooch that he gave to Queen Victoria on the day before her wedding day as her something blue. So it’s not Kate’s ring or Diana’s ring, it’s actually Victoria’s brooch.”…

This story was published in the April 2018 issues of Kensington & Chelsea, Mayfair, Marylebone & Fitzrovia, Notting Hill & Holland Park magazines (click through to see digital versions of each issue, and continue reading to see magazine layouts). 

Trinkets and beads charm their way back into fashion

© Written by Rachael Taylor for The Financial Times

The craze for collectible charms and beads 10 years ago revolutionised brands such as Pandora, Trollbeads and Thomas Sabo. “It was massive,” says Lucy Reece-Raybould of the Company of Master Jewellers, a buying group representing more than 350 independent stores across the UK and 210 suppliers. “The charm has changed the jewellery world completely. For many of our retailers, the charm saved them.”

Revenues at Danish brand Pandora, for one, grew from DKr3.5bn ($560m) in 2009 to DKr22.8bn in 2017.

But sales of the small jewels, designed to be attached to bracelets, have stagnated, leaving companies wondering how to refresh consumer interest and revive profits…

This story was originally published in the March 31, 2018, edition of The Financial Times. Read the full story here

Girl on fire

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Swarovski‘s Salt magazine, published by Condé Nast 

When Park Shin Hye tries on jewellery, it is wise to have somebody on hand to catch what she drops. She might be one of South Korea’s most successful actresses and influential stars, but when it comes to keeping track of the small and the sparkling, she is a self-confessed klutz. “I’m always losing them,” she laughs, making the long delicate earrings shiver and catch the sunlight.

The jewellery she is wearing today is Atelier Swarovski and it has brought her halfway across the world from her home in Seoul to the south of France to shoot a campaign for the SS18 collection. Park is a friend of the brand, chosen not just for her talents as an actress, singer and dancer, but for her philanthropic work helping children.

One of the 27-year-old Park’s first steps towards the limelight was taken in 2003 when she played the character of a ragged but optimistic orphan in a war-torn land in the music video for ‘Flower’ by South Korean pop sensation Lee Seung-hwan…

This story was originally published in the January 2018 issue of Salt magazine. Continue reading for full story, and to see layouts and download a full-sized PDF of the feature. (Main image: Park Shin Hye in Atelier Swarovski)

Mini hoops

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Rapaport

While the catwalks remain under siege from enormous earrings, a quiet revolution is taking place in the commercial market: shoulder-grazing hoops are being superseded by miniature doppelgängers that fit snugly to lobes.

Full diamond pavé offers a classic yet high-glamour look, while flashes of bright enamel tap into next season’s trend for colour. Tiny hoops – or buggies, as they are sometimes called – can also be used as a plinth for charms, another of this year’s emerging trends.

When worn alone, these mini hoops lend their wearers an understated, minimalist cool. Grouped in multiple piercings, they take on an edge as stackable luxuries…

This story was originally published in the January 2018 issue of Rapaport magazine. Continue reading to see layouts and download a full-sized PDF of the feature and front cover. (Main image: Melissa Kaye Jewelry)

Paying the price

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Retail Jeweller 

It hasn’t even happened yet, but Brexit is already causing turmoil for British jewellery suppliers. With a weakened pound, the cost of producing or importing jewels has risen. Yet there could be a silver lining to this cloud, as goods made in Britain suddenly seem more attractively priced at home and abroad.

“I was a remainer,” says Clogau managing director Ben Roberts of his Brexit allegiance. “I don’t make any bones about that. My old man was a leaver, being 73 and quite impulsive. I actually see the benefit in leaving, but it’s too complicated. Anyway, he voted out and we were out. The next day, he called me and said: ‘Gold’s gone up, the pound’s gone down. What are you doing about prices?’.”

After a small I-told-you-so moment with his father, Roberts took the problem to the board at Clogau. It was a decision that many jewellery manufacturers faced: should prices go up to reflect the suddenly increased price of doing business, or should it be absorbed to protect retailers…

This story was originally published in the October 2017 issue of Retail Jeweller magazine. Continue reading to see magazine layouts and download full-size PDFs. Main image: Domino.

Shades of Italy

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Jewelry Connoisseur

Colour is a key jewellery trend for 2018, and there was plenty of it at VicenzaOro. Bright pops of enamel were layered over precious metals — the You’re So Vine collection by Milan-based jeweler Bea Bongiasca, with its shoots of purple, orange and green snaking around fine jewels, was a particular highlight. Other jewellers used lively ceramic plating to liven up their collections. The palate wasn’t just vivid and beautiful, however. Lashings of edgy, black rhodium plating were used to turn gold shades of dark blue or black, which created a dramatic background for diamonds, emeralds and sapphires.

Italy is a spiritual home for goldsmiths, with hundreds of craftspeople throughout the country using skills that have been passed down through generations. One of the newest techniques the Italians have mastered is flexible gold. Serpentine gold cuffs and rings stretch and wind around wrists and fingers, assisted by tiny wires of titanium within that help the jewels to snap back to their original shapes. Some have a knitted or woven appearance, while others look like precious coils. Nanis, which treats the surface of its gold to an etching process called bulino, hides the secret to its flexible jewels within, with no visible giveaways.

The democratisation of jewellery has led to an increasing number of unisex collections. This was evident at Vicenzaoro, and one of the strongest unisex trends was signet rings. Some were simple, with metal treated to a brushed finish for a contemporary look. More decadent offerings were smothered in full gemstone pavé (or rough diamonds fused to gold in the case of Honor Omano) or featured large diamonds in place of the traditional insignia. Wear them on a pinky or an index finger for different looks, regardless of whether you team them with a dress or a three-piece suit — it’s a one-trend-fits-all scenario…

This story was originally published on Jewelry Connoisseur. Read the full story here. Main image: Nanis

The Jewellery Cut

Launching next month, The Jewellery Cut is a new jewellery editorial platform founded by globally renowned jewellery journalist Rachael Taylor and sought-after industry consultant Andrew Martyniuk.

The Jewellery Cut was founded in 2018 as a fresh, positive voice in the British jewellery industry. The online editorial platform – which will launch in May 2018 – strives to uncover and feature the most interesting people, influential trends, engaging stories, impressive collections and inspiring successes. The exclusive content created for JewelleryCut.com, will aim to engage a new audience that is a harmonious blend of those in the industry and consumers.

The Jewellery Cut editorial director Rachael Taylor said: “Consumers now stream fashion shows created for industry buyers courtesy of glossy magazines, and anyone can look beyond the pristine jewellery store to the grimy workbench with a scroll of the thumb, thanks to Instagram. Digital culture is blurring the lines between business and pleasure, and consumers are asking more questions about origin and provenance.

“With this in mind, we believe there is scope for an omni-editorial platform for jewellery that delivers content intelligent and informative enough to serve those working within the industry, but that is also entertaining and educational so as to engage consumers. With all our stories focusing on only the brightest facets of the jewellery industry, JewelleryCut.com will be an inspirational blast of positivity for the trade and a trusted, illuminating resource for a new generation yet to discover the full scope of the jewellery offer in the UK.”

JewelleryCut.com will launch in May 2018, but the platform’s social media following is already building organically through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, with posts regularly garnering engagement levels of 20% (influencer agency Scrunch classes engagement levels of 3.48% as high). This is in part down to the content being pushed through Taylor and Martyniuk’s personal followings – the duo has a combined following of more than 35,000 jewellery fans.

As well as developing an engaging digital publishing platform, The Jewellery Cut intends to connect with jewellery professionals and consumers at targeted events throughout the year, such as talks and buying experiences and will host a jewellery showroom with FACETS PR during London Fashion Week this September. It will also publish an annual review of the highs of the British jewellery industry in the form of a book, with exclusive interviews, original photography and contributions from leading jewellery journalists.

 

Follow The Jewellery Cut on:

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Instagram

 

For general enquiries about The Jewellery Cut, contact hello@jewellerycut.com

For PR enquiries, contact Frances Hopes at FACETS PR on frances.hopes@facetspr.com

 

Jewellers at Baselworld voice anger at years of being ignored

© Written by Rachael Taylor for The Financial Times

While ostensibly a fair for watchmakers and jewellers, Baselworld has always been more focused on the former, which have the grandest booths in the most prominent positions. Now jewellers are making their discontent clear.

“There is an over-focus on watches,” says Sameer Lilani of Indian brand Amrapali. After a near-constant presence at Baselworld since 2001, Amrapali stopped exhibiting in 2016. “We were picking up fewer new accounts,” says Mr Lilani, who has found more luck at US trade show Couture in Las Vegas.

“A lot of [our existing] buyers come to London at some point during the year anyway, where we get their complete attention and do more business. If they see me in Basel, they have a 45-minute or a one-hour slot and a certain amount of budget to spend at the show. If you’re growing, I don’t mind spending €200,000 to do a show, but in reality we were doing less business than if we weren’t there.”…

This story was originally published in the March 22, 2018, edition of The Financial Times. Read the full story here. Main image: Baselworld

Chain reaction

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Kensington & Chelsea 

Much ado was made in the press recently about Ed Sheeran’s decision to wear an engagement ring. The shock! The horror! A bizarre quirk of an out-of-touch celebrity, surely? But the truth is that men are becoming much more adventurous when it comes to jewellery, and designers are responding with collections and collaborations that offer so much more than dog tags and surfer beads.

“Tainted by the 1970s moniker ‘medallion man’, gentlemen and jewellery have taken several years to become reacquainted,” muses British jewellery designer Stephen Webster, who has been courting the purses of both men and women for most of his career. His jewels, sold under the tagline “jewellery to separate the men from the boys”, include punky razor blade-inspired pendants and single diamond-dotted drop earrings. These come from the Thames collection, a collaboration between Webster and Blondey McCoy, the young fashion-designer-turned-skater.

While Webster’s personal brand of bling attracts a rock ‘n’ roll crowd that has always been more comfortable with a skull ring and layers of lariats (fans include singer James Bay), he feels that the scope is widening for masculine jewels. “The democratisation of men’s jewellery has now led to men from all walks of life being able to find a place for jewellery in their wardrobes,” he says. Harrods agreed with him, and held a Stephen Webster men’s jewellery pop-up last year…

This story was published in the April 2018 issues of Kensington & Chelsea, Mayfair, Marylebone & Fitzrovia, Notting Hill & Holland Park magazines (click through to see digital versions of each issue, and continue reading to see magazine layouts). Or read it online at Luxury London. Main image: Stephen Webster and Blondey McCoy. 

A golden (ratio) opportunity

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Rapaport

“This is an important moment of my life,” cries Bobak Nasrollahi. The jewellery entrepreneur is dressed in a sharply tailored double-breasted suit and bathed in the soft sunshine that filters into his office in Vinci, a town in the Italian hills of Montalbano of which he is an official ambassador.

Nasrollahi has all the charm and exuberance you would expect to find in a hot-blooded Italian, yet although he grew up here and greedily absorbed all the culture and history Italy had to offer, he hails from a Jewish family with Iranian roots and diamonds in its blood. His grandfather was jeweller to the Shah of Iran, and the Nasrollahi Moghadam family has been in the business ever since.

The family company, Amin Luxury, has headquarters in Florence, Valencia and New York, as well as distributors across Europe. The business sells diamonds with bespoke cuts, such as the pentagonal Angel Star and the five-pointed Rising Star. It also created Diamond Luxury Memory – stones engraved with hidden QR codes that can unlock personal videos…

This story was originally published in the January 2018 issue of Rapaport magazine. Continue reading to see layouts and download a full-sized PDF of the feature and front cover. (Main image: Amin Luxury)

New frontiers

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Retail Jeweller 

With a rich heritage and an unrivalled reputation as a tastemaker, British products are in demand across the globe, with jewellery being the UK’s third-largest exported good, according to HMRC. But with worldwide consumer buying patterns in flux and the emergence of new global spending powers, which markets should British jewellers be targeting?

According to the Office for National Statistics, the US is the UK’s largest export market after the European Union, accounting for about 19% of all exports. With similar tastes but greater spending power, it has been a keen hunting ground for British jewellers for decades, and many have found favour there.

After receiving her first commission in the 1960s from Cartier, veteran British jeweller Elizabeth Gage developed a somewhat NYLON existence at the very start of her career that has continued until this day, with bi-annual trunk shows in Houston and New York. Stephen Webster also started his brand in the States, on the opposite coast in Santa Barbara, California. After winning the Editor’s Choice award at Las Vegas trade show Couture in 1999, he ordered the opening of a sales office in New York the same year, and this foresight, and a loyal clientele, have ensured that the US is the brand’s single biggest market nearly 20 years later…

This story was originally published in the March 2018 issue of Retail Jeweller magazine. Continue reading to see magazine layouts and download full-size PDFs. Main image: Elizabeth Gage.

Artful transformations

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Rapaport

Value for money has always been a feature of high jewellery. In the 18th century, tiaras could be broken down into brooches, pendants and earrings after the candles of a ball were snuffed, and transformability continues to be a theme that permeates today’s couture collections.

In the commercial market, we are also seeing demand for clever jewels that can offer more than one look. This is less about ensuring appropriate bang for buck than allowing consumers to adapt their jewels to fit the many facets of their lives.

Designs that they can dress up or down depending on the occasion, or that can change colour to match an outfit or reflect a mood, have become a useful tool in the style arsenal of modern women…

This story was originally published in the December 2017 issue of Rapaport magazine. Continue reading to see layouts and download a full-sized PDF of the feature and front cover. (Main image: Nanis)

The future of the luxury watch industry

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Deutsche Wealth

Glance at the wrist of the closest Millennial to you right now, and the chances are you’ll find it bare. With their thumbs perpetually glued to tiny portable screens, each kitted out with impeccably accurate digital clocks, this generation has little need for archaic methods of timekeeping such as the wristwatch. Unless, of course, it can measure their heartbeat and track their steps.

“Technically, watches became irrelevant as soon as the smartphone hit the scene,” says a deadpan Emily Stoll, director of North American sales and marketing at luxury Swiss watch brand Carl F Bucherer, which has been creating mechanical watches on the banks of the Lucerne since 1888. “Appealing to younger generations has certainly proved to be a challenge across the industry. Current trends around fast fashion and tech have weakened the appeal of luxury craftsmanship.”

Nonchalant youths have not been the only challenge for the recently embattled watch industry. Exports of Swiss watches – which act as a barometer for the health of the global trade – recently suffered a period of significant decline. In 2016, the value of exports dropped to a six-year low of CHF19.4 billion (down nearly 10% on the year before), according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry’s accounts

This story was originally published on January 4, 2018, on DeutscheWealth.com. Read the full story here. Main image: Jono Holt, co-founder of Farer.

Jewellery judge

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Rapaport

What’s as hot as ever, and what’s on its way out. 

STILL GOING STRONG

Even bigger, even better statement earrings
Long neglected as consumers favoured building up charm bracelets, stacking rings and layering necklaces, the earring is now the most talked-about jewel. Innovation has abounded as the trend for creative earrings has evolved from cuffs and climbers into asymmetric designs, solo earrings and devil-may-care pick ‘n’ mix combinations. This is a trend that will remain strong over the next year. Along with lopsided lobes, statements like huge shoulder-grazing earrings, colourful fabric tassels and eccentric faux gemstones will keep the ear a noteworthy appendage for jewellers…

This story was originally published in the December 2017 issue of Rapaport magazine. Continue reading to see layouts and download a full-sized PDF of the feature and front cover. (Main image: Katrine Kristensen)

The legacy of British expats on Hong Kong’s jewellery scene

© Written by Rachael Taylor for The Financial Times

In 1972, Marcia Lanyon left a job in London with society jeweller John Donald and followed her husband to Hong Kong, where he was working for airline Cathay Pacific. Ms Lanyon says: “As an expat spouse, you were just expected to take up flower arranging, but I was always pretty ambitious.”

Instead of conforming to expat life, she took a job in a “grim” jewellery factory in North Point as a gem buyer, but after the glamour of London’s elite jewellery circles, she did not last long. She quit and started a business out of her home, giving gemmological courses to small classes of bored expat housewives and curious Chinese students. Ms Lanyon stayed in Hong Kong for just three years (“my husband hated it”) but she has been widely credited as the founder of gemmological education in the city — and a role model for the generations of jewellers, local and expat, who have followed her.

“Hong Kong was a big centre for jewellery . . . yet when I arrived, you could count the number of gemmologists on one hand,” says Ms Lanyon, who is retiring after almost 40 years at her wholesale coloured gemstone company. She observed gems passing hands without any form of grading or understanding of their value. “My argument was that people would pay more if they knew what they were getting.”…

This story was originally published in the September 28, 2017, edition of The Financial Times. Read the full story here. Main image: Nathalie Melville © FT.

 

Looking good

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Retail Jeweller 

Footfall on British high streets is in freefall while online sales continue to rise, so it’s little surprise that jewellery retailers are turning to the internet for inspiration on how to lure consumers back to bricks and mortar with clever merchandising strategies that mimic the best of digital.

“Our brief was simply to create something Instagrammable,” says Lloyd Blakey, creative director of Innovare Design, a retail design consultancy that has worked with jewellery retailers including Hugh Rice, Green + Benz and TH Baker. The client Blakey is referring to, however, is a gin brand called Sipsmith. It was a simple brief, and one that perfectly captures one of the key drivers of footfall today – shareable experiences.

The solution for this particular request was to install what Blakey refers to as a “tasting wall” in the west London distillery, an installation that charts the process of gin making. “It became a natural place to take a photo,” he says. “People gravitate towards it. There is that element of curiosity and intrigue.”…

This story was originally published in the November 2017 issue of Retail Jeweller magazine. Continue reading to see magazine layouts and download full-size PDFs. Main image: Luxe by Hugh Rice.

Carbon copy

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Kensington & Chelsea 

As you wiggle your finger, it dances and sparkles in the light, throwing out rainbow hues that make you gasp and coo. But what if I told you that the diamond you are admiring came not from beneath the Earth’s surface, but a pristine lab in Silicone Valley? Would it change how you feel about it?

This is a question worth considering as science now gives us the option of buying diamonds created by humans. In labs across the world, from Germany to China, men and women in white coats are recreating the exact same conditions that turned carbon into diamonds all those millions of years ago. And it’s working.

Not to be confused with cubic zirconia or rhinestones, lab-grown diamonds are real and have the same optical and gemological properties as mined diamonds. Even trained gemmologists sometimes can’t tell the difference…

This story was published in the March 2018 issue of Kensington & Chelsea magazine. Click here to see a digital version of the magazine (starts p34) and continue reading to see layouts and download full-sized PDFs. Main image: Anabela Chan. 

Bye bye brands…

© Written by Rachael Taylor for Retail Jeweller 

The post-recession explosion of silver jewellery brands in the UK market came at a time when the industry sorely needed a boost. Soaring precious metals prices made gold – until then, the bread and butter of jewellery sales – unattainable for most, and the trade remained shrouded in a dusty, fuddy-duddy image. The entry of flashy, fashionable brands like Pandora was revolutionary and made jewellery relevant to a new audience. Yet all revolutions have a life cycle. After a dazzling peak, are we slipping closer to a trough as some retailers start to move away from jewellery brands?

“Five years ago, 70% of our business was jewellery, and 70% of that was branded jewellery, but [branded jewellery] has shrunk to an almost irrelevant amount now,” says Kyron Keogh, co-founder of Rox. The Glasgow-based retailer still works with select jewellery brands – Thomas Sabo, Gucci and its latest signing Chopard, which Keogh says is selling well to a “young, fashionable crowd” – but five years ago it started to develop its own brand, employing an in-house designer, and reduced its dependency on brands. Now the majority of the jewels it stocks are sold in a Rox box.

A key message within the industry over the past couple of years has been the importance of building a retail brand that is stronger than the branded jewels sold within it. Independent retailers have invested in shop fits and branding that create a memorable identity with signature colours, such as the blue of Kings Hill Jewellery in St Albans, a retailer that has also moved away from brands to focus on its own Kings Hill Collections of fine jewellery…

This story was originally published in the January 2018 issue of Retail Jeweller magazine. Continue reading to see magazine layouts and download full-size PDFs. Main image: Hamilton & Inches.