We chat to bespoke jewellery manufacturer David Law about his Your Personal Jewellery business
David, can you tell us why you launched ‘Your Personal Jeweller’?
During 2008, as we entered the last downturn, I thought long and hard about the jewellery trade and how I was best placed to confront this new world that we all found ourselves living in.
With online shopping growing and consumers finding it easier to move around the internet I made the decision that it was time to close my Hatton Garden shop. Being held in bricks and mortar on one street did not seem the most sensible thing to do.
I had already been personally designing one off jewellery pieces for clients seeking original designs and exceptional craftsmanship – my bespoke clients are people who value design, style, quality and advice from an expert.
In September 2009 “Your Personal Jeweller” was born, giving me the flexibility to meet with clients whenever and wherever worked best for them.
You have over 35 years’ experience in designing jewellery so that part must come naturally, but what challenges have you faced running your own business?
I have seen many changes in jewellery manufacturing in the UK, with the most challenging period being the mid 1980’s when traditional UK jewellery manufacturing was dying because of cheap labour in China and the Far East.
I must be honest, I never thought I would see jewellery making return to the UK. The so-called premium you would pay for a ‘Made In Britain’ piece of Jewellery was not something retail jewellers in the UK were prepared to absorb.
As a manufacturer I was forced to look for alternative avenues, this was when I decided to turn my design skills and experience to private individuals
“I must be honest, I never thought I would see jewellery making return to the UK. The so-called premium you would pay for a ‘Made In Britain’ piece of Jewellery was not something retail jewellers in the UK were prepared to absorb.”
You have offices in Knightsbridge and the famous Hatton Garden, how has the London jewellery scene changed over the years?
If you ask anybody in the UK where the place to find a jeweller in London is, they will recommend Hatton Garden. It is such an iconic and famous street. I grew up there having completed my apprenticeship in the early 80’s so I have a massive affiliation to this ever changing street.
Over the years things naturally change, there are still over sixty shops to choose from, but the street’s identity has been eroded. Rather than concentrating on their strengths they decided to compete head on with the online competition. Something I passionately did not agree with. Ultimately this was the main reason that I decided to move away.
Your bespoke jewellery manufacturing service offers your clients a 3D wax ring to try out before the real thing is made, is this a fairly standard service or something unique to you?
Although 3D printing is all the rage I have in fact been using it for over 10 years and consider myself an expert in combining both traditional and modern manufacturing techniques.
Many companies use 3D wax printing, but to date its not the norm. To my knowledge nobody else is offering clients a choice of more than one bespoke design to choose from – from seeing the design on the big screen and finally printed to wear in 3D wax.
Obviously diamonds are a classic choice for engagement rings (and a girl’s best friend) but which other stones are becoming popular for engagement rings?
Diamonds will always be a girl’s best friend (and even a man’s best friend). However, over the years clients have become more adventurous and black, brown, champagne, yellow and pink diamonds have become popular.
Sapphire is the next most popular choice, although I have also made engagement rings with rubies, tanzanite, and emeralds.
We know from a lot of our brands who make clothing in the UK that sometimes manufacturing in here can be a little more expensive – is it the same in the jewellery industry?
The flexibility of being able to create something that is completely unique and tailored around your budget dispels the notion that creating bespoke jewellery in the UK is more expensive than buying something off the shelf.
We couldn’t agree more David!