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By
Reuters
Published
Jul 13, 2012
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UK jewellers celebrate talent at awards bash

By
Reuters
Published
Jul 13, 2012

UK jewellery retailers, suppliers and designers braved sheets of rain on Thursday night to attend the industry's annual glitzy awards jamboree despite a rocky global economy.


Clogau, known for making royal wedding rings, won jewellery brand of the year / Photo: Clogau


Against a tough economic backdrop which has eroded mid-market sales and impulse buying, hundreds of jewellers in elegant dress gathered for dinner in London's Grosvenor House Hotel and danced the night away after the awards presentation.

At the event organised by Retail Jeweller trade magazine and hosted by TV celebrity Lauren Laverne, Clogau, renowned for its use of Welsh gold, won jewellery brand of the year.

Wedding rings crafted from gold from the now inactive Clogau St. David's Gold Mine in the Welsh mountains, have been worn by British royalty including the heir to the throne Prince Charles.

Bremont Watch Company, a rare British brand with links to aviation now carving its place in a Swiss-dominated world of watches, won luxury watch brand of the year.

The higher end of the watches and jewellery market is proving to be the strongest in Britain despite a squeeze on the purchasing power of some customers, jewellers said.

Many designers are opting for more classical styles to keep in tune with consumers seeking reassurance in tough times.

"There is a move towards traditional jewellery," Willie Hamilton, CEO of buying group the Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ), resplendent in formal Scottish attire, told Reuters as guests hit the dance floor after the awards presentation.

DESIGN TALENT

Danila Tarcinale, based in the Hatton Garden diamond jewellery district, won jewellery designer of the year.

Her contemporary pieces, mainly one off and limited edition, reflect a fusion of her Italian origins and a cosmopolitan London lifestyle.

Jayce Wong, who was trained as a jeweller and gemologist in London and is inspired by contemporary architecture, won new designer of the year, a closely watched category that identifies potential design stars of the future.

Diamond and watches specialist Chisholm Hunter, which traces its roots as a diamond merchant to the mid-19th century, beat off competition from high-profile names including Beaverbrooks and Aurum, to take the award for multiple retailer of the year.

Beaverbooks won retailer employer of the year.

Gemex, fine bridal and eternity diamond rings specialists, won platinum bridal collection of the year.

Earlier in the week, several UK brands showcased their latest collections at an event organised by CMJ in central London, and reported steady enquiries despite the downturn, notably in the resilient bridal segment.

Brown & Newirth showed off their latest collection of bridal rings targeted at independent retail jewellers, presenting a wide array of price points to suit most budgets.

Erica Illingworth launched Molly B Couture's new line of precious necklaces featuring letters of the alphabet, expected to appeal to a wide market.

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