A Statement from Reed Exhibitions – Organisers of International Jewellery London (IJL):

25 August 2020

Reed Exhibitions has announced that International Jewellery London (IJL) will not take place in 2021 as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Following the cancellation of IJL 2020 on 9th June; we have taken the even more difficult decision to not run IJL in 2021.

Both the UK live events and jewellery industries are in uncertain positions and whilst we are confident that they will return in due course, a combination of these factors have lead us to this decision. We have made this announcement at an early stage to give clarity to all of our partners as they continue to navigate this global pandemic.

IJL is one of our valued brands and we will continue to stay close to and monitor the industry as the situation becomes clearer over the coming months. 

Thank you to everyone for all your support of IJL.

Should you require any further information please contact our customer service team on +44 (0)20 82712144.

High-Value Jewellery Auctions Market Resilient Through the Emergency

By David Brough

High-value jewellery auctions have achieved some exceptional results through the lockdown period and beyond, reflecting resilience at the top end of the market despite the coronavirus emergency.

28.86-carat D colour diamond sold by Christie’s for $2.1 million in late June.

In late June Christie’s set a record for a jewel sold in an online auction, achieving $2.1 million for a 28.86-carat D colour diamond.

“Estimated at $1-2 million, the 28.86-carat, D Colour diamond was the highest valued lot ever offered in a Christie’s online sale,” the auction house said from New York.

“The impressive stone received bids immediately upon the sale going live on June 16. After a fierce competition of 31 bids, from four countries spanning Asia to America, it sold for $2,115,000, setting the new record for a jewel sold in an online auction.”

High value jewellery is increasingly seen as having investment potential – or at least being a safe-haven store of value, depending on the quality of the item.

The resilience of the high-value jewellery and gemstone auctions market during the coronavirus crisis has coincided with strength in gold and silver, also seen as safe havens during periods of upheaval.

“With all gemstones, it is best to buy the finest quality one can afford. For the purpose of investment this is critical,” said David Warren, Senior International Jewellery Director of Christie’s.

“Fine quality specimens are more likely to go up in value and are more likely to maintain their value during recessionary periods.”

Rarity is perhaps the most important condition for a piece of jewellery to become an investment, followed by its intrinsic beauty.

Jewellery from certain periods do better than others. Art Deco pieces have seen exceptional demand at auction sales: collectors are captivated by the bold, often geometric designs of that era.

Another popular era for investment jewellery pieces is the Belle Époque, a period of optimism before the First World War.

Signed jewellery is more collectable than unbranded pieces, with certain maisons particularly sought after, namely Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Christie’s Jewels sales calendar for July 2020 includes live and online auctions in Geneva, Hong Kong, London, New York, and Paris.

The global sales will collectively feature over 1,000 jewels, including a significant selection of colourless diamonds, coloured diamonds, and rare gemstones, along with signed creations by Belperron, Bulgari, Cartier, Graff, Harry Winston, JAR, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels, and Verdura, with estimates ranging from $5,000 to $8 million.

Cartier Art Deco Tutti Frutti bracelet

Cartier 1930s Tutti Frutti bracelet sold by Sotheyby’s for $1.3 million in late April.

Another notable example of an extremely rare item that outperformed in an online auction during the lockdown period was a Cartier 1930s Tutti Frutti bracelet sold by Sotheby’s for $1.3 million in late April, which was a world record at the time for a jewel sold online.

“Any potential bidder knows Cartier, the Deco period and the Tutti Frutti style,” said Kristian Spofforth, head of Sotheby’s London jewellery department.

“These really are very rare pieces and no matter in what format the sale takes place, we know they will perform — but it was particularly pleasing to get the highest jewel price online during the lockdown.”

Natural pearls

Extremely rare and magnificent natural pearl jewels are increasingly sought after in the high-value auctions market and can have investment potential, a reflection of tight supplies and robust demand by collectors and buyers.

The economic turmoil linked to the coronavirus pandemic has increased pressure on investors to seek assets that can yield strong returns, and now extraordinary natural pearls are in focus.

Recent auctions have seen a frenzy of demand by collectors and buyers for natural pearl items, even more so for those that have an extra special “provenance”, or record of ownership.

The most notable example was the sale of a pearl pendant that had once belonged to ill-fated French Queen Marie Antoinette, by Sotheby’s in Geneva in November 2018.

Sotheby’s had set a pre-sale estimate of $1-2 million for the exceptional and highly important natural pearl and diamond pendant.

However, such was the ferocity of bidding from around the world, that the pendant, whose pearl measured 15.90 mm by 18.35 mm by 25.85 mm, reached a world record price of $36 million, the highest price ever paid for a pearl jewel.

The extraordinary price for the pearl was very much due to its provenance – the fact that the last Queen of France had held this piece in her collection before going to the guillotine.

Another key reason for the high price for Marie Antoinette’s pendant was that it was fresh to the market, after being passed down through Italy’s royal Bourbon Parma family and not having been seen in public for over 200 years.


Asked to give her view on the outlook for the high-value jewellery auctions market, Jean Ghika, global head of jewellery at Bonhams, said: “I do believe that items of exceptional quality and rarity in both the gemstones and jewellery categories will retain their value.

“If one looks back in history there is clear precedent for jewels and gemstones being a portable store of wealth during times of crisis.

“This inevitably means that some investors and collectors will consider precious stones and jewellery as a safe haven in times of financial uncertainty and historically low interest rates.”

COMMENTARY – Gold Buoyant During Pandemic, Signals of Recovery in Diamond Markets

By David Brough

Gold prices have been buoyant during the coronavirus pandemic due to the yellow metal’s “safe haven” appeal, while diamonds trade is resuming slowly amid signals of a longer-term recovery.

Mid-market coloured gemstone prices are expected to soften as the economic downturn bites, but at the top end of the market gem and jewellery prices will remain resilient, dealers say.

Gold seems poised for longer term gains

Gold prices, not far below 7-1/2-year peaks, seem set for longer term upside if rock bottom interest rates prevail well into next year due to the impact of Covid-19 on the global economy.

Gold prices were up 0.60 percent at $1,724.58 per ounce on June 10, within sight of a more than 7-1/2-year high of $1,756.90 per ounce touched on May 18, according to Sharps Pixley and BullionByPost market data.

Fears that stock markets are poised for further losses triggered by expectations of dire second-quarter earnings due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, could underpin gold prices in the months ahead.

A potentially deep global recession spurred by the novel coronavirus could drag on shares and weaken the prices of other assets including property, possibly driving a flight of investor funds into relative safety in gold.

The reduction in interest rates in leading economies in response to the pandemic, part of wider monetary stimulus measures, could lead to currency debasement, seen as supportive to gold prices, according to a recent J.P. Morgan report.

Lawrie Williams, gold market commentator with bullion dealer Sharps Pixley, has referred to a “flood of buying” into major gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs), indicating growing confidence among investors that gold is set for an upwards march.

“We think the momentum generated by the enormous flood of money going into the precious metals exchange-traded funds (ETFs) is indicative of things to come for the sector,” Williams wrote.

Gold’s fall in the first week of June, hastened by stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data, may presage a renewed climb in prices of bullion as the global economic downturn tightens its grip.

Current price levels could represent a bargain opportunity, as investors take stock of the economic crisis, with U.S. unemployment levels still extremely high due to the impact of Covid-19.

Diamond markets seen shrinking in near term

Trade in diamond markets is resuming gradually amid signals of a longer-term recovery, with business shifting increasingly online.

Demand for diamonds and diamond jewellery plunged after lockdowns sparked by the pandemic led to the temporary shuttering of retail jewellery stores.

On the supply side, manufacturing in India, where most of the world’s diamonds are processed, is painstakingly starting up again, with reduced staff numbers.

“The cost of doing business is going to go up,” said Russell Mehta, managing director of diamond manufacturer Rosy Blue India, one of the world’s largest diamond traders.

“We have to re-think new technologies — and new ways of doing business so that all the costs are not passed on to the consumer.”

Indian manufacturers were expected to voluntarily pause imports of rough diamonds for one month from June 1 in order to reduce a supply overhang of polished diamonds.

A suspension of rough diamond imports would underpin the polished diamond market with dealers who hold inventory at old prices reluctant to sell at a big discount.

“Less rough supply in India during this period will mean that factories will cut and polish fewer diamonds, particularly with the new social distancing regulations in place,” said Jignesh Mehta, managing director of Mumbai-based polished diamond supplier Divine Solitaires.

“This will limit new polished diamond production.”

Trading on diamond exchanges in centres such as Antwerp, Mumbai and Tel Aviv, has resumed.

The next stage will be the reopening of retail stores.

Expectations of a deep global recession will eat into diamond demand in the near term and force the trade to re-consider how to connect diamond jewellery marketing to love and relationships.

“The diamond market will shrink in the short term because jewellery retail sales have drastically reduced in the past two to three months of lockdown, with e-commerce being the only game in town,” said Avi Krawitz, analyst with Rapaport, a leading trade platform for polished diamonds.

Miners Alrosa and De Beers have reduced their rough diamond production forecasts for 2020 due to the weak market.

The economic downturn will force the diamond market to realign its inventory.

“It also presents an opportunity for the diamond industry to strengthen its messaging as consumers look for meaningful connections after this weird period of quarantine,” Krawitz said.

“If it can do so effectively, the diamond and jewellery sector can gain market share in the long run.”

The recent launch of the miner-backed Natural Diamond Council (NDC), formerly the Diamond Producers Association, will give new impetus to marketing of diamonds around the world.

Revenge shopping

In diamond jewellery, “revenge shopping” took place in China as the country emerged from lockdown, auguring well for global retail demand as jewellers reopen.

“We saw revenge shopping in May. May has been a pretty good month in China,” Stephen Lussier, Executive Vice-President, Consumer and Brands, of De Beers Group, said in a webinar hosted by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).

“We’ve seen an increase in demand (in China) for bridal rings.”

However, Lussier voiced caution over economic conditions in the West, noting uncertainty over the time frame for the recovery with millions of jobs lost.

In the high-value auctions market, now shifting increasingly online, diamond jewellery prices have held up as collectors zoomed in on extraordinary items due to their rarity, beauty and appeal as a store of value.

Sotheby’s sold a gem-set, diamond and enamel “Tutti Frutti” 1930s bracelet for $1.3 million in late April, the highest price for a jewel sold online at auction.

Kristian Spofforth, head of Sotheby’s London jewellery department, said the white diamond market had shown signs of recovery.

“Whilst it is no secret that the white diamond market has been in a downturn for a while, we have seen very good results for white diamonds in the middle market and hopefully this is an indicator of an upturn in the market,” he said.

Christie’s Jewels will present the largest D colour diamond to be offered for sale online, in its June 16-30 sale, estimated at $1-2 million, the highest valued lot offered for sale online at Christie’s.

Jean Ghika, Bonhams’ global head of jewellery, said she was optimistic about the outlook.

“I do believe that items of exceptional quality and rarity in both the gemstones and jewellery categories will retain their value,” she said.

“This inevitably means that some investors and collectors will consider precious stones and jewellery as a safe haven in times of financial uncertainty and historically low interest rates.”

Coloured gem prices to soften due to Covid-19, recover later

Mid-market coloured gemstone prices could weaken in the near term due to subdued demand amid the pandemic, before later recovering, while the market for high-end stones is resilient, dealers and retailers say.

There is a lack of rough stones entering the market as new rough supply has halted in mining origins such as Sri Lanka and Madagascar, and hand-carrying of stones to manufacturing centres such as Thailand, has stopped due to restrictions on international travel.

“I imagine that coloured gemstone prices (in the middle market) can drop some 10-20 percent (in dollar terms) in the near term – in the next three to six months, say – before starting to get back to where the market was before Covid-19,” said Navneet Agarwal of Bangkok-based Navneet Gems, a coloured gemstone manufacturer.

Gem cutters are sitting on big inventories due to the cancellation of several trade shows where they had planned to exhibit.

“In the current market gem cutters are cutting and polishing their old rough inventory only,” said Abhishek Khator, a Jaipur-based gem dealer and manufacturer.

“Nobody is interested in buying new inventory unless the gems are very appealing and are offered at an attractive price. Everyone wants to hold cash in hand for the future.”

Richard Haruni of Hatton Garden-based Haruni Fine Gems said: “Right now everyone is sitting on inventory. It’s not like things were so healthy before the pandemic: coming out of it will be exceptionally challenging.”

He added, “Where pressure will bear is in the medium commercial goods. If history is anything to go by, consumers of these goods will be most affected by the current situation.”

Demand for coloured gemstones has slowed as lockdowns kicked in across much of the world, but more business was shifting online, dealers said.

In the UK, the expected reopening of jewellery stores from June 15 will encourage a recovery in domestic gem dealings as retailers gradually restock.

Digital commerce in gemstones is picking up through the lockdown.

“I have spent the last two months digitizing my inventory and uploading it on to a new platform I’m involved with, called GemCloud which plugs into some of the biggest selling platforms in the world,” Richard Haruni said.

“As people become reluctant to travel, visiting and trading at gem shows will change. People will naturally depend more on e-commerce and digital platforms, to trade.”

Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be seen as investment advice.

A Statement from Reed Exhibitions – Organisers of International Jewellery London:

Tuesday 9th June 2020

Reed Exhibitions has announced that International Jewellery London, scheduled to take place at Alexandra Palace, London, from 13 to 15 September 2020 will be cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Following UK government guidelines and comprehensive discussions with our customers, public health authorities and partner organisations, we do not believe that we are in a position to host a large scale gathering of the community in September without compromising the key valuable elements of IJL.

The health and safety of our exhibitors, visitors, partners and staff is our number one priority. Therefore, after careful consideration we feel it is in everyone’s best interests not to go ahead with this year’s event and wanted to give everyone involved as much notice as possible.

IJL has 65 years of heritage that we look to protect and maintain during this unprecedented time. For now, and as we recognise the challenging time our industry has to face, both personally and professionally, we will continue to collaborate with exhibitors and visitors to support the global jewellery industry during this difficult period. We are working out these details now and will inform our community at the relevant and appropriate times.

Thank you for your patience and support.

Should you require any further information please contact our customer service team on +44 (0)20 82712144.

Jewellery Retailers Can Access Images of Their Stock Without Upfront Worries of Photography Costs

Jewellery photography specialists Summerleigh Photography are offering retailer jewellers a platform to access professional photography of their products without the worry of any upfront costs.

Lucy Davies of Summerleigh Photography

The offer, which includes a credit facility of more than three months, has been introduced by Summerleigh Photography founder Lucy Davies in a move to help retailers manoeuvre their businesses for when lockdown is over; a move that she says is critical to then being able to drive immediate sales.

Retailers will be able to get ten high-quality product images of their stock taken at a reduced cost of £15 per image without having to pay until September 1.

Diamond Ring – crisp, clean and accurate photography helps increase sales

High-quality pack photography has been proven to increase jewellery sales by 88% and is crucial to selling products online where growing numbers of the public are making their purchases in the digital retail age. Many retailers however are often at a disadvantage as there is no professional imagery available of their non-branded jewellery.

Sales of these items are just as important to a businesses’ profits says Lucy, who has worked in the jewellery industry for more than 15-years, which is why high-quality imagery of these products is so important to securing sales.

Diamond Pendant – shot at angles like this, jewellery is brought to life

The professional jewellery photographer said: “The jewellery industry is a vital part of the UK’s retail economy, which is why I wanted to do something to support it – particularly independent traders – during this difficult time.

“We all know the importance of cash flow and the pandemic lockdown means that many retailers will rightfully be worried about how they can actually spend money getting their businesses in the strongest position possible for when lockdown ends when incomes have been reduced.

“The support package that I have introduced means that retailers will be able to get ten high-quality product images of their stock taken at a reduced cost of £15 per image without having to pay until September 1. The only immediate charge would be the cost of delivering and returning the stock used in the photography.”

Diamond and Pearl Earrings – portraying pearl’s lustre and colour – cleanly – is key to online conversions

Lucy is recognised as one of the industry’s most skilled pearl jewellery photographers having previously worked at UK pearl wholesalers Raw Pearls where she led the business’ photography and marketing activity. She has clients across the UK and specialises specifically in packshot photography – a style of imagery used by major retailers to stimulate sales in which the product is displayed on a white background.

She launched the business to give independent retailers an affordable way of accessing this form of high-quality photography used by bigger jewellery brands.

For more information email lucy@summerleighphotography.co.uk. To examples of her work, visit www.summerleighphotography.co.uk.

Interview with 2019 KickStart Winner Lukas Grewenig of Lukascaspar Jewellery

Lukascaspar Jewellery is a London based fine jewellery brand that merges innovative technologies with traditional craftsmanship to create ‘moments of surprise’. A third generation jeweller, Lukas Grewenig grew up surrounded by the craft. Innovation, though, played a big role in his first collection ‘Victoria’ which featured specifically designed stone cuts to create magical and surprising moments.

We caught up with Lukas Grewenig, one of our 2019 KickStarters, to discuss what the past 12 months have been like, the impact of our KickStart initiative and his proudest moment to date.

What have the last 12 months been like and what have been your most successful pieces/collections?

Obviously the last couple of months were a big disruption for us all. But even before the corona crisis the year has been very dynamic for me. I used my participation in KickStart to focus more on the B2B side of the jewellery world. I worked on establishing relations with potential stockists to have my pieces represented in stores and to continue extending my range of pieces. In retrospect I would say my most successful pieces are my “Victoria” gemstone necklaces. Especially the clasps in those pieces got a lot of positive attention and I started to offer them as a finding for other makers to use as a result.

As a business, what is your main ambition now and your next objective?

At the moment I am trying best to react to the changes that are going through our industry. The situation is definitely very challenging but I am trying to find ways to keep working towards the goals that I have set for my business in the beginning of the year. My focus for the next months will remain to expand my reach and gain more representation by retailers and galleries. This will probably include finding new ways to get in contact and to showcase my collections.

What was your overall impression of KickStart and how did it help your business in its early stages?

KickStart was a very positive experience for me. We had a great group of new makers and the event had a good dynamic to it. We got some helpful training to prepare us for the show and everything was very well organised. I’ve made some varied and interesting contacts during the show and had a lot to follow up on afterwards. It helped to get noticed and seen by a lot of people in the industry, but there is still a lot to do afterwards.

How can future KickStarters capitalise on their IJL Journey and the IJL experience? What would be your advice?

I think the crucial thing is to be prepared and to have specific goals. Start preparing early enough. Don’t leave too much work for the last day before the set up.

What was one of your biggest challenges in launching your jewellery brand and how did you overcome it?

One of the biggest challenges for me is to be organised and plan ahead. I’m not sure if I will ever overcome this completely but it helps me to formulate my goals to keep motivated. I think it is very important to create an environment that makes it easy for you to stay motivated (and organised).

Finally, what is the proudest moment in your jewellery career so far?

This is hard to say. The proudest moment was probably when I saw the whole collection coming together, winning a silver award by the Goldsmith’s Craft and Design Council and being selected for Goldsmiths Fair in the first year of starting my business.

Want to know more? Head to Lukas’s website and get to know Lukascaspar.

How the Lockdown Has Transformed Jewellery Trade in Italy, India and Thailand

The lockdown has created vast new challenges for jewellery trade around the world – including in Italy, India and Thailand, three of the world’s leading suppliers. David Brough attended the trade shows held in those three countries in the final weeks before lockdown and has been tracking the impact on trade there ever since.


The jewellery trade fairs in Italy in early 2020 took place before a widespread realisation that coronavirus was set to spread around the planet.

At one show a seminar about the “Future of Diamonds” heard that it was high time to embrace “imperfection in diamonds”, such as “salt and pepper” diamonds, inclusions, and blue fluorescence, to create new demand in an already tough market.

Panellists urged improved traceability of diamonds from mine to finger, partially in response to enquiries from Millennials wanting to know where the stones came from.

Another panel, organised by CIBJO-World Jewellery Confederation, emphasised the importance of responsible sourcing in creating contemporary jewels, and in meeting the strong ethical concerns of Millennial consumers.

The layout of another jewellery show in northern Italy underscored a growing trend for fashion retailers to sell jewellery and accessories in-store, as seen, for example, at H&M and Topshop.

Many items of jewellery at the fair were inspired by the ocean. There was a strong showing of red Mediterranean coral and pearl jewellery with the summer holiday shopping season in mind.

As the weeks passed and cases of the novel coronavirus rose in Italy, the jewellery trade quickly shifted into the digital space.

During the lockdown, one leading Italian trade show staged its first webinar in April, and promoted additional webinars from May until July to deliver a message about design trends and how the industry will adapt to a “new normal” post Covid-19.

A realisation took hold that social distancing would make it impossible to stage trade fairs in the Spring and early Summer, and so marketing swiftly changed gear via a mixture of webinars and Instagram Lives.

Trends forecaster Paola De Luca spoke of the need to promote “emotional technology” in social media marketing with jewellery stores shuttered in Italy and in many other countries.

Paola believes that trade shows will need to expand their digital offerings in future, alongside a brick-and-mortar format that must comply with guidelines to reduce risks of spread of the virus.

Trade show seminars can be supported by webinars to get messages across to the industry.

At the time of writing, the next editions of the main Italian jewellery trade fairs were still on track to take place in September 2020.


The Mumbai trade show took place as usual in mid-February, weeks before India imposed a lockdown of its 1.3 billion people.

Subsequently, as diamond and jewellery manufacturing shut down, India’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) held a series of webinars discussing what steps businesses should take to survive the lockdown and beyond.

The webinars also discussed the possibility of holding virtual “buyer-seller meetings”, or online business matching, if physical gatherings prove to be impossible to organise.

Even if social distancing can be organised at trade shows, a major challenge is international travel, with the possibility of quarantines upon arrival in another country, and some exhibitors and buyers unwilling to travel due to worries over Covid-19.


The Bangkok trade fair took place in late February under strict measures to reduce risks of spread of the novel coronavirus and was the last major jewellery show to take place before lockdowns kicked in across much of the world.

All staff at the Bangkok show wore masks, and hand gel was widely available at entry points and booths throughout the event. A doctor was on standby.

In the weeks after the fair, Thailand went into lockdown and saw its jewellery trade shift into a digital-only landscape as physical business halted.

Thailand’s state-backed Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), organiser of the Bangkok fair, is now contemplating hosting webinars to promote messages about Thai craftsmanship and the expertise of Thai gem and jewellery manufacturing.

The Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS), a leading Thai gemstone laboratory and school, reopened in early May after a closure lasting over a month.

AIGS hosted a series of educational webinars presented by respected gemmologists during the Thai lockdown. 

IJL Extend Deadline for Revitalised KickStart 2020 Initiative in Response to Industry Feedback

The deadline for online applications for the eleventh annual IJL KickStart mentorship competition has been extended to 1 June 2020. 

Andy Ventris, IJL Show Director, explained: “Extending the deadline is to ensure that we are giving all designers who wish to be considered the opportunity to submit entries. We appreciate the extremely difficult situation that we are all experiencing with Covid-19 and as such want to support the industry where we can. We have already received some extremely promising entries and look forward to the exciting judging process in June.”

The KickStart programme is a very special launch pad for talented, ambitious jewellery designers and is open to all emerging UK based jewellery designers, who have been trading for more than 12 months. The winning ten designers benefit from extended industry mentoring, including support from the Goldsmiths’ Centre, branding and marketing advice, invaluable introductions, industry-wide publicity, the opportunity to showcase their collections on the KickStart stand at IJL 2020. 

In addition, the chosen designers will receive a dedicated bursary from The Benevolent Society to assist with London accommodation and transport costs, in return for submitting a post-show report on how the scheme has enriched their careers. They will also be able to join The National Association of Jewellers (NAJ), if not already a designer craft member, with the joining fee waived.

Applications are now open online at www.jewellerylondon.com  and close on 1 June 2020. IJL 2020 takes place at Alexandra Palace, 13-15 September.

IJL 2020 Inspire Seminar Programme Now Open for Industry Submissions

International Jewellery London, the premier trade event at the heart of the global jewellery industry, is offering professionals the chance to shape the debate at IJL 2020. Submissions are open for seminars, talks and ‘In Conversations’, to take place in the Inspire Seminar Programme at Alexandra Palace, 13-15 September 2020.

Acknowledged as one of the most comprehensive and must-attend seminar programmes in the industry, both topics and speakers are selected to inspire, inform and educate. Past topics have ranged from retail experience, up-coming key trends and brand building to VM, technology, multichannel and e-commerce.

The three-day programme encapsulates three central themes: Retail Re-imagined; The Business Forum, and Skill, Design & The Craft of Jewellery. Whilst seminar slots are mainly for one hour, there is no set format: ‘In Conversations’, mini workshops, panel debates and interactive events are all welcomed.

Show Director, Andy Ventris, comments: “Our research has shown how valuable the Seminar programme is viewed across the sector. Especially in the wake of Covid-19, access to the latest insights, knowledge, skills and trends will be even more important for exhibitors and visitors alike.

IJL exists to support the industry and we welcome their contribution to ensure that the programme spans a diversity of topics that focus on the key issues and help incentivise business success. Proposals are invited from everyone – from emerging design talents, designers and established brands to trade organisations, retailers, buyers and suppliers”.

The deadline for submissions is 5pm 26 June. All that is required is to submit the seminar talk title, format and an outline of the envisaged speakers should the submission be successful – at  www.jewellerylondon.com/inspireseminarprogramme. Successful applicants will be informed by the first week of July 2020.

How to Drive Forward Your Jewellery Business During the Lockdown

By David Brough

Jewellers need to devise tech-driven strategies and prioritise customer service to take advantage of a potential surge of “revenge shopping” after the coronavirus-driven lockdown.

This period of confinement is also an opportunity for jewellery designers to test their creativity to the outer limits and emerge with new inspirations and collections.

Delivering exemplary customer service will be at the heart of rebuilding and rebranding jewellery businesses in response to COVID-19, says industry consultant Helen Dimmick.

Helen Dimmick

Delivering an authentic, demonstratively different, customer-focused identity is crucial, said Helen, a former retailer and former interim business leader of the Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) buying group.

As jewellery stores are shuttered, how to positively utilise what feels like a surplus of time, is at the forefront of jewellers’ minds.

“Isolation should not spell the end of innovation,” Helen said in a recent Jewellery Outlook webinar.

“Virtual and digital technologies can facilitate collective communications and opportunities to ‘think out of the box’ in addressing the fundamental changes ahead, in preparation for a return of footfall to the high street amidst a potential burst of pent-up demand.”

Helen’s webinar.

Jewellery strategist Paola De Luca, in another Jewellery Outlook webinar, predicted a wave of “revenge shopping” after the lockdown.

“People will turn to jewellery purchases for emotional solace,” she said.

“I believe in ‘revenge spending,’” added Paola, who heads creative intelligence agency The Futurist, referring to expectations of a surge of pent-up demand from customers who have saved cash during the lockdown.

Paola De Luca

“The first piece of jewellery that I will purchase after this lockdown will be a talisman – something emotional. I will celebrate when this period is over!” Paola said.

The global industry will need to sharpen its digital offering and messages to consumers, combining digital and physical (Paola calls it “phygital”) platforms.

“In terms of engaging with our community, technology will be the winner,” Paola said. “Emotional technology will be key (to drive sales).”

Customers will increasingly shop for jewellery created in a sustainable supply chain, and will celebrate heritage in innovative ways, she added.

Paola’s webinar.

India-based blogger Preeta Agarwal urged designers to take inspiration from jewellery brands — but not to copy them, and to use the lockdown as an opportunity to express their own creativity.

“While we study other brands, make sure that this is a reference — not plagiarism,” said Preeta, who won Blogger of the Year in the Leading Lights awards at IJL last year.

“Do not copy!

“Do things that are out of the box.”

She urged designers to fashion their jewellery creations to meet evolving design trends and local market requirements.

Preeta Agarwal

The lockdown period will one day be looked back upon as an important era of creative activity, Preeta said.

“Every day I have received images from people showing how they have used their time at home,” she said.

“I don’t think we will ever again get such a time in our lives.”

Preeta appealed to jewellery designers to create occasional “statement pieces” to attract press interest, fend off competition and highlight their skills.

She also urged people to take a fresh approach to their social media.

“Create content for your social media from old and new jewellery together,” she said.

Preeta predicted that after the lockdown, there will be a burst of purchases of less expensive items to give the purchaser a “feel good” boost, while demand for heavy, or costlier, jewellery would pick up more slowly as many people had lost money during the confinement period.

“There will be a lot of impulse purchases (after the lockdown),” she said.

Preeta urged designers to do more research into new materials and manufacturing techniques, and to experiment with gemstones and colour combinations.

She also advised jewellers to strengthen their customer relationship management, using cutting-edge software.

Preeta’s webinar.

Respected Indian jewellery consultant Hemant Shah said: “Through the lockdown find fun and innovative ways to stay connected with your customers at any stage of the pipeline, whether B2B or B2C.

“Use your imagination and create something that will stand out from the crowd and let it be fun…

“For the period beyond the lockdown, plan now and be ready to be the first to offer innovative services, products and offerings — so unique that they will enhance customers’ joy and relief after this trying time.”

UK jewellers and wholesalers are facing a severe cash flow crisis and agonising waits for financial aid due to the emergency.

Jewellery retailers have shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic as they are non-essential businesses, and have halted orders to wholesalers as cash flow slumped.

Some retailers have applied for cash grants and are still waiting to receive funds from their local Councils.

However, jewellers have benefited from rates relief, easing their financial plight to some degree.

Jewellers who are seeking bank finance, including interest-free government loans, are facing potentially lengthy delays as banks conduct exhaustive checks of their financial situation.

“We haven’t gone down the path of interest-free government loans as yet, but this is something we may have to consider if the grants are delayed,” said Shalini Gupta-Patel, founder of north London retailer Red Dot Jewels.

Long delays are also expected before retailers can be reimbursed up to 80% of their employees’ wages.

“As an employer it (furloughing staff) was a tough conversation to have had as my staff are so valued. We hope that the cash flow will be there to pay employees and then wait to reclaim the 80% back from the government,” Shalini said.

Support for Jewellers

Leading jewellery industry organisations and membership bodies have united to form the Jeweller Support Network, designed to assist independent and family-owned retailers, designer-makers and jewellery trade professionals struggling with the ramifications of COVID-19.

The Jeweller Support Network is a coalition of people, resources and skills, bringing together the Diamond Producers Association, the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ), Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ), Houlden Jewellers, the London Diamond Bourse, the Goldsmiths’ Company, the Goldsmiths’ Centre, the Society of British Jewellers, the Women’s Jewellery Network (WJN) and the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).

Simon Forrester, chief executive officer of the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ), said: “The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown, and is having a disproportionate impact on small and independent businesses that are now facing lengthy closures and restricted access to essential services.

“Together, we can weather this storm by sharing our expertise, knowledge and resources – it is our goal to sustain independent jewellers and ensure they can continue operating just as soon as restrictions are lifted.

“I have been really encouraged by the whole industry getting behind this initiative, and my thanks go out to everyone who has contributed their knowledge and support. We must continue to pull together, or risk falling apart.”

Consultant Hemant Shah said he believes that spending patterns and choices will undergo a major shift post lockdown.

“There will be a significant curtailing of spending on some categories that are the biggest competitors, like travel and entertaining,” he said.

“We will see a major increase in spending on technology.

“However, jewellery is something a person is never done with buying and collecting — and people will still indulge in it.” 

IJL Exhibitor Success Stories: PJ Watson

International Jewellery London is the leading event for those within the jewellery trade. Now in its 65th year, IJL enjoys a strong heritage of showcasing the best in fine jewellery. Our well-established community of traders and buyers means that, whether you’re an emerging designer or an established brand, our annual event unlocks the doors to the worldwide jewellery industry.

IJL exhibitor PJ Watson also enjoys a strong heritage as a business spanning four generations. Consisting of designers, manufacturers and wholesalers, they offer stunning fine diamond and gem set jewellery. As a traditional family business, with strong roots, every new generation is run by a qualified gemmologist that is also committed to constant innovation. We spoke to PJ Watson to find out more about their business and experience of exhibiting at IJL.

Give us a little bit of background about your business; what is the focus and where does your biggest inspiration come from?

PJ Watson is a fourth-generation business with each generation being an FGA qualified gemmologist. Our focus, passion & inspiration all come from the coloured gemstones we supply and love.

What is your main challenge and what are you doing to overcome it?

This year is looking to be very challenging, with the spread of the Corona Virus causing shows all around the world to be postponed or cancelled. We feel this will give IJL an added appeal to both exhibitors & visitors and are very much looking forward to launching new pieces at the show.

As a business, what is your main ambition now, your next objective?

As we mainly deal with one of a kind gemstones our constant objective is to source the next best coloured gem at the best price. This keeps us very busy all year around with many buying trips all around the world in the hunt for that special piece.

You’ve exhibited at IJL before – what are the benefits you’ve experienced and reasons for coming back?

PJ Watson have exhibited at IJL every year for the last 50 + years. It is our main launch for the year and a great opportunity to meet with existing and new customers to introduce and discuss new lines.

Would you share some of the results and outcomes from attending IJL last time?

IJL 2019 despite the struggles of Brexit was our second-best show ever. We were able to offer one of the best ranges of top quality coloured gems and as a result gained new customers and leads.

What nugget of advice would you give to a company thinking about exhibiting at IJL for the first time?

 IJL is the single most important show in the UK, it attracts buyers and exhibitors on all levels.

IJL Exhibitor Success Stories: Matt Aminoff

International Jewellery London is the leading event for those within the jewellery trade. In its 65th year, IJL enjoys a strong heritage of showcasing the best in fine jewellery. Our well-established community of traders and buyers means that, whether you’re an emerging designer or an established brand, our annual event unlocks the doors to the worldwide jewellery industry.

IJL exhibitor Matt Aminoff is a third-generation family run business that specialises in importing fine cultured pearls and producing classic pearl and diamond jewellery. Based in Hatton Garden, which has been the centre of London’s jewellery trade since medieval times, their relationship with pearl cultivators in the Far East means they have access to a vast array of pearl species and qualities. Offering an assortment of collections from Bridal and Classic to Fine and Exclusive – they’re a pearl of a business. We spoke to Matt Aminoff London to find out more about the company and experience of exhibiting at IJL.

Give us a little bit of background about your business; what is the focus and where does your biggest inspiration come from?

Matt Aminoff Jewellery - Necklace

Matt Aminoff was one of the first individuals to travel directly to Japan to source cultured pearls for the European market. Since 1972, our company has built up a reputation for supplying quality cultured pearls and pearl jewellery to discerning retailers throughout major European cities. Our focus as a wholesale business is to support retail jewellers with an unrivalled level of service, quality and value. Through our close relationship with our retail partners, we’re able to gain a better understanding of their respective markets and to develop our ranges accordingly.

What is your main challenge and what are you doing to overcome it?

Our main challenge currently is overcoming the possible threat of Coronavirus to the luxury retail sector. We hope that the spread of the virus is controlled over the next few months and that business on the high street continues as usual.

As a business, what is your main ambition now, your next objective?

Our day to day ambition is to support our existing customers with a reliable service including the provision of a wide range of goods on approval. As always, this year we aim to enter additional European markets using the same formula and good practice.

You’ve exhibited at IJL before – what are the benefits you’ve experienced and reasons for coming back?

In our experience IJL has always been an important opportunity for us to meet with new and existing customers in a familiar environment where we can showcase our full collections of pearls and pearl jewellery.

Would you share some of the results and outcomes from attending IJL last time?

Matt Aminoff Jewellery - Pearl Necklaces

Last year, 2019, was one of our best IJL shows in recent years; we increased turnover by 25% from the year prior, as well as opening some promising new accounts. We of course followed these up immediately and have developed some unique working relationships as a result.

What nugget of advice would you give to a company thinking about exhibiting at IJL for the first time?

As a UK jewellery manufacturer, IJL can be a unique opportunity to network with some of the leading retailers throughout the country.

Want to know more? Come and meet Matt Aminoff at IJL this September.

IJL Exhibitor Success Stories: Mark Milton

International Jewellery London is an integral event for those in the jewellery trade. Going strong for 65 years, IJL has an established community of traders and buyers. Whether you’re an emerging designer or an established brand, our new venue at Alexandra Palace provides the perfect home to be inspired, discover trends and network – unlocking the doors to the worldwide jewellery industry.

IJL exhibitor Mark Milton is well-established, having been a jewellery creator for over three decades, and his collections both reflect and celebrate his experience. Every piece is cleverly designed with an in-depth attention to detail. We spoke to Mark to find out more about his business and experience of exhibiting at IJL.

Give us a little bit of background about your business; what is the focus and where does your biggest inspiration come from?

Our expertise and focus lies in fine jewellery distribution and in the design and manufacture of gold jewellery. We have lots of experience and lots of friends, great customers and top-notch suppliers from all over the world as I suppose you might expect for a business that was founded in Hatton Garden in 1947 and has stayed in the family since then. We take inspiration from all of these friends to produce and offer extensive yet carefully curated ranges, usually from stock, of beautiful affordable designs produced in precious stones and metals to very high standards of finish and quality.

What is your main challenge and what are you doing to overcome it?

Our main challenge is to remain relevant to the market when the spend that was available for commercial fine jewellery is shrinking because of competing products in other mid-market and luxury fields. We are also competing against alternative lower cost materials since gold has risen so much in price to become more exclusive. To overcome this, we are doing our best to spoil our customers for choice and to make selling gold jewellery as easy as it possibly can be for our customers by providing them every assistance and exemplary service.

As a business, what is your main ambition now, your next objective?

Our main ambition and next objective are one and the same – keep gold jewellery at the centre of our existing customers’ thoughts (and windows) – and maybe add or welcome back a few more customers with the same ambition and objective.

You’ve exhibited at IJL before – what are the benefits you’ve experienced and reasons for coming back?

Main benefits: taking some Christmas orders (our season is short and we have a lot of customers in a large area to get round in this time) and signing up new customers.

Would you share some of the results and outcomes from attending IJL last time?

We managed both of the above last time – though less than in some previous years – we were happy. Usually when we sign up a new customer, they tend to come back for more in later years – this was the case with last year too.

What nugget of advice would you give to a company thinking about exhibiting at IJL for the first time?

Don’t expect too much, or any written business, the first time. Talk to as many different people as possible in an open and positive way, you never know where that business is going to come from!

Want to know more? Come and meet Mark Milton at IJL this September.

IJL Launch Revitalised KickStart 2020 Initiative

Applications are now open online for the eleventh annual IJL KickStart competition. Emerging UK based jewellery designers, who have been trading for more than 12 months, are invited to pitch for a place on this much lauded career-boosting mentorship programme.

The winning ten designers will benefit from extended industry mentoring, including support from the Goldsmiths’ Centre, branding and marketing advice, invaluable introductions, industry-wide publicity, the opportunity to showcase their collections on the KickStart stand at IJL 2020. In addition, the chosen designers will receive a dedicated bursary from The Benevolent Society to assist with London accommodation and transport costs, in return for submitting a post-show report on how the scheme has enriched their careers. They will also be able to join The National Association of Jewellers (NAJ), if not already a designer craft member, with the joining fee waived.

The KickStart initiative is a key link in the IJL Journey, providing a unique path that guides jewellery design talent at all levels – from final year student to highly successful consumer-facing brands. Andy Ventris, IJL Show Director, explained: “Our KickStart programme is a very special launch pad for talented, ambitious jewellery designers. Just as IJL, the show at the heart of the  global jewellery industry, evolves year on year to meet the industry’s needs, these KickStarters will have the chance to similarly excel on their own IJL journey. To date over 90 contemporary designers have all kickstarted their careers this way. Well known jewellery designers such as Laura Parra, Cara Tonkin, Daisy Knights, Anna Loucah, Claire English, Imogen Belfield, Phoebe Sherwood and Kristjan Eyjolfsson, to name but a few, are on our rostra of previous winners and, as one, they all agree that this is a first class ticket! We look forward to meeting them all at IJL Alexandra Palace.”

NAJ Jewellery Industry Promotions Ambassador, Lindsey Straughton, added: “The KickStart programme has been revitalised this year with, in particular, additional mentoring. In the current economic environment, a scheme such as KickStart plays an increasingly vital role in helping talented up and coming designers make their mark within the industry. It opens so many doors and provides unique access to IJL’s trade-only audience across the jewellery sector who come to the show to discover the talent of the future.”

Ulrikke Vogt, one of the first KickStarters in 2009, commented: “KickStart helped me get a fast growth to my business. I got to know the market in a way I would have had to work very hard for without the KickStart platform.”

The KickStart class of 2019 included Aurelie Dellasanta of Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery, Becca Macdonald of Becca Macdonald Studio, Bine Roth of Bine Roth Jewellery, Hannah Blackwood of Hannah Blackwood Jewellery, Lukas Grewenig of Lukas Grewenig Jewellery and Vanessa Pederzani of Heirloom Jewels.

Applications are now open online at www.jewellerylondon.com  and close on 1 May 2020. IJL 2020 takes place at Alexandra Palace, 13-15 September.

Sonia Cheadle Wins This Year’s IJL Award

The Goldsmiths’ Craftsmanship & Design Awards, also known as the Jewellery Oscars, took place last month. Celebrating excellence in technical and creative design, this annual ceremony, managed by the Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council (GC&DC), features both established and new designers.

IJL are special patrons to the awards and keen enthusiasts of supporting all from within the industry, as such we once again presented our own award as part of the ceremony.

This year’s IJL Award winner is Sonia Cheadle. Sonia has a reputation of combining traditional materials with contemporary techniques to create classic pieces that can be relished every day. Her award-winning piece, Carbon Cuff with Yellow Diamonds, perfectly depicts how her refined creations showcase her innovative talent.

As this year’s winner, Sonia is invited to exhibit her piece on the GC&DC stand at IJL in Alexandra Palace in September. We spoke to Sonia Cheadle to find out more about her work, inspirations and creative process.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I’m a huge fan of the Art Deco period, early Cartier and the glamor of the 1920’s.  Add to that a dash of urban topography, a passion for miniature engineering and viewing cityscapes at night, from a high.

When did you first know that you wanted to become a jeweller and run your own business?

I’m not sure whether it was luck or fate? During an Open Day visit to see the Ceramic’s Degree course at Loughborough University I found myself wandering… two doors down the corridor was a Studio that instantly drew me in. Weird shaped benches, a ‘tink-tink’ of tiny hammers, flames, heat, forges, the smell of burning and an excited buzz of creativity… I returned home and that evening declared, “I want to be a jeweller”.

What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it? 

Affording to make my first collection for Goldsmiths Fair. A decision to work with diamond was not going to be cheap. I invented a ‘refundable sponsorship’ scheme and approached family and friends with the promise that any donation would be repaid when the ‘sponsored’ piece sold. The idea was a great success and enough money was raised to invest in materials required. Upon visiting a recommended diamond dealer, they enquired why I needed so many small round diamonds… “I’m putting together my first collection for Goldsmiths’ Fair” … pause… “Do you need a sponsor?” Thank you Backes & Strauss, for my first jewellery leg-up.

What has been the proudest moment of your jewellery career so far?

Carbon Cuff with Yellow Diamonds

Recognition at the GCDC awards, the Jewellery Oscars. A couple of years ago, after a nasty ski accident, in pain and on crutches, I attended the ceremony and was awarded Gold and the IJL Award for a series of brooches made the previous year. A second Gold and a second IJL Award was awarded this year, definitely defining moments, I am honoured and ridiculously proud to be classed amongst makers viewed to be at the top of their game.

What is your next ambition?

To explore and keep exploring, exciting new materials and the latest techniques. With a keen ambition to focus more on one-off ‘art’ works, as well as working closely with a select number of clients on exclusive, bespoke built jewellery; heirlooms of tomorrow.

You also run a small school dedicated to the design and creation of beautiful jewellery. Talk to us about the importance of nurturing home-grown talent?

It’s extremely important to nurture home-grown talent and for many years this area was overlooked by our trade. In the mid 2000’s I set up a small jewellery school from my Studio in Clerkenwell for this exact purpose, as I felt knowledge sharing and technical guidance was key to supporting makers and the industry. This ran successfully for 10 years, right up until I moved my Studio to Walthamstow. Upon departing Clerkenwell I offered my tutoring services to The Goldsmiths Centre, Britton Street, where I now run an intense two-day course, several times a year, on the techniques of ‘Mounting & Setting Stones’. Skills, bench tips, tricks and trade guarded secrets were kindly divulged and passed on to me by some of the trades finest, this cemented my early learning’s, if I can pass on an ounce of knowledge that assists a new maker then my job here is done.

What is the best piece of advice that you give your students?

“Stop trying to second-guess what people might like to buy… put that energy into designing and the things you create will sell”. A close mentor and successful Silversmith shared this little gem of advice at the start of my jewellery journey… boy she was right!

Which celebrity would you love to see wearing your jewellery?

Not a huge fan of celebrity or stardom and the roll it plays in today’s society… a little late to the party but I would have loved to have adorned Audrey Hepburn, the epitome of style, class and chic.

IJL is the UK’s leading jewellery trade event that proudly supports all members of this industry. Whether you’re just starting out or a little further down the road, IJL gives you a stand to shine.

Find out more about Sonia Cheadle here, or come and see her at IJL this September. You can also find her on social media @SoniaCheadleLDN