10 Great Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

Don’t forget Mother’s Day on 26th March! Here at Argent we’ve put together a little gallery of lovely gift ideas to inspire you, you might even decide to treat yourself!

Trollbead’s Mother’s Day Bead - Flowers for Mum - A pretty floral glass bead for the Trollbead collector mum.

Trollbead’s Mother’s Day Bead – Flowers for Mum – A pretty floral glass bead for the Trollbead collector mum.

Amanda Cox's Lily Collection is perfect for the mum who likes classic style with a modern twist.

Amanda Cox’s Lily Collection is ideal for the mum who likes classic style with a modern twist.

Linda MacDonald's flower stud earrings are perfect for the quirky mum who likes cute and whimsical.

Linda MacDonald’s flower stud earrings are perfect for the quirky mum who likes cute and whimsical.

Cornerstone Creations' Cradle pendant for the ethical mum who appreciates timeless elegance.

Cornerstone Creations’ Cradle pendant for the ethical mum who appreciates timeless elegance.

Alex Monroe's delicately detailed 'drab looper moth' necklace in rose gold - for the nature-loving mum.

Alex Monroe’s delicately detailed moth necklace in rose gold – for the nature-loving mum.

Daisy London’s iconic daisy necklace for the quintessentially English mum.

Daisy London’s iconic daisy necklace for the quintessentially English mum.

Kit Heath’s versatile enchanted double leaf necklace is ideal for the mum on the go.

Kit Heath’s versatile enchanted double leaf necklace is ideal for the mum on the go.

Chlobo’s set of three love bracelets, a great gift for the mum who loves boho style.

Chlobo’s set of three love bracelets, a great gift for the mum who loves boho style.

Nomination’s steel and 18ct gold composable charm bracelet for the sentimental mum, a gift to treasure.

Nomination’s steel and 18ct gold composable bracelet for the sentimental mum.

 

 

The Drakenberg Sjolin collection - perfect for the minimal mum who appreciates beautiful simplicity.

The Drakenberg Sjolin collection – perfect for the minimal mum who appreciates beautiful simplicity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New for spring!

Since completing my home improvements last year, I have found this enthusiasm for renovation has spilled over into the shop. I have really tried to look at the shop with fresh eyes and feel it is time for Argent to receive a facelift. Our last refit was over 17 years ago, and although I feel this has really stood the test of time, there are a few things that need updating. Our outlet floor was originally an experiment but its success over the last two years has encouraged me to make it into a permanent feature, we will be moving some cabinets upstairs in order to maintain a professional feel and maximise the use of space.

I’m excited to be making plans for the future of Argent but in the meantime we are looking forward to some new collections arriving in the shop.

Having recently returned from this year’s Jewellery trade fair at the NEC in Birmingham I am filled with new ideas and inspiration for Argent, and one of the brands I have discovered is ‘UNO de 50’. The brand utilises leather, Swarovski crystals, mother of pearl, handcrafted crystals and silver-plated base metal, and each piece is 100% handcrafted in Spain. The combination of colour and materials creates bold statement pieces that have a chunky boho vibe. This more casual look is completely different from anything else we have in the shop, and I feel UNO de 50 would be a welcome addition to our range of brands and designers at Argent, where we endeavour to provide a wide assortment of jewellery to suit any price range and taste.

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In recent years I’ve taken the decision to downscale our stock of diamond  jewellery but I do feel there is a lack of choice on the highstreet when it comes to wedding bands. I still want to be able to use my expertise in precious jewellery to cater for wedding ring customers and have decided to invest in the Contour Wedding Ring Collection by Prism Design. This is a brand I trust implicitly: within two weeks of graduating, I went to work for Barry and Sally (the husband and wife team who founded Prism Design) in the idyllic, picture-postcard village of Bradford on Avon. This was such a lovely experience for me and what I learnt during my time there gave me invaluable insight into the jewellery industry, it has been so nice to reconnect with them thirty years later, it seems fitting to return to my roots.

contour-catalogue-300x300 The Contour Collection showcases over 150 shaped wedding rings and is one of the largest collections in the UK. With over fifteen years experience, technological advancements in 3D scanning and the utilisation of CAD, Prismare able to offer an exclusive bespoke service where a wedding band can be created which perfectly complements any engagement ring, no matter what its shape, size or complexity of design. These can be made to any requirement in a wide array of metals, including white, yellow and rose gold, palladium and platinum.

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We are also looking forward to receiving new pieces from some of our existing designers including Trollbeads, Chlobo, Kit Heath, Cornerstone and Alex Monroe.

 

Trollbeads’ new Spring 2017 collection ‘Kindred Spirits’, is a continuation of the brand’s whimsical aesthetic. The collection offers a variety of new silver beads all based around a magical fairy theme, which brings back so many nostalgic childhood memories. This new collection includes six glass beads which can be bought separately or as a set, the ‘Enchanted Days Kit‘. One of these beads in particular has an internal framework pattern which I have never seen in their glass beads before.

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This collection really showcases the unique craftsmanship of Trollbeads and the way they are constantly evolving, there is little wonder why customers eagerly anticipate these exciting new releases!

I have had a sneak preview of Chlobo’s spring summer collection ‘Maya’s Light’ which is on a spiritual theme with new charms representing balance, positivity and serenity. It incorporates sterling silver and rose gold along with blue lace agate which has calming, protective qualities and promotes inner stability for it’s wearer, and white moonstone which is known to bring a pure energy and success in love. For the first time they have introduced sets of two bracelets each enhanced with the luxury feel and sparkle of cubic zirconia. These new designs will be available in April, Chlobo never fail to deliver and I’m excited to see which new pieces I can add to my personal collection, I particularly like the ‘Dreamcatcher’ necklace in rose gold.

Kit Heath’s new designs draw inspiration from asymetrical natural forms with an edgy, contemporary aesthetic, as always they offer high quality designs across a spectrum of styles and price points.

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I still love Cornerstone’s ‘cradle’ collection and am looking forward to the arrival of some new additions. A simple teardrop shape provides the focal point for each piece and the designs incorporate cubic zirconia, rose gold and black rhodium finishes to create a timeless yet contemporary aesthetic. Paul Spurgeon, the award winning designer behind Cornerstone Creations has developed a brand with a conscience through his charity collaboration with craftspeople in South Africa.

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Alex Monroe’s new collection entitled ‘Entomology’ is due to arrive in April. It features moths, butterflies and beetles in different colour combinations which I think will be well received by fans of his popular bee necklace. My favourite piece is the gold vermeil and green amethyst damsellfly stud earrings which are exquisite.

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Looking to the future I am contemplating the introduction of handmade cards and luxury artisan accessories. I’ve had my eye on a particular designer who designs and makes leather handbags.I feel the role of the independent store is to source and represent up and coming designers. Whilst I recognise that bigger brands are an integral part of my business it is important to me to bring an element of variety and individuality to the highstreet.

 

Meet the Staff. A little bit about me………

imageClaire Douglas (Owner/Director)

I’ m planning on introducing you to the staff at Argent over the next few months so I thought I should start with a little bit about myself.

 

I studied at……. Birmingham School of Jewellery for a BA Hons in Jewellery and Silversmithing.

When I was growing up I wanted to be…….. an Air Hostess, it seemed like such a glamorous job but now it wouldn’t appeal to me at all. I think I could have enjoyed being an Interior Designer and nearly chose that course over Jewellery but I think Jewellery has served me well.

Favourite piece of jewellery that I own…….. Shaun Leane signature long tusk earrings.

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Piece of jewellery that I aspire to have…….. the 18ct white gold and diamond set version of the Shaun Leane long tusk earrings.

I can’t live without…….. my boys (my husband, two gorgeous sons and labradoodle dog).

Favourite pastime…….. walking my dog Billy or sharing coffee and cake with close friends.

Favourite restaurant in Leeds…….. Shear’s Yard, not only is the food excellent and beautifully presented but the restaurant has happy memories for me as we used to go each year for the Argent Christmas party.ShearsYard

 

 

Best holiday ever…….. two weeks spent travelling around Tuscany and Umbria, beautiful. Next year it’s my 50th birthday and I would love to go to Bali, the very first range of jewellery I bought was Balinese and now Chlobo is one of my favourites, I think it would be an inspirational trip!Bnq_1RZIIAA6pjV

 

 

Highlight of my job…….. feeling like I’ve really connected with customers, many have become my friends.

One thing I’m most excited about at the moment……..  our 25th Anniversary event in the shop on 11th October! I’m really looking forward to celebrating with our customers so many of whom have become good friends over the years.

Favourite perfume……. Molecule byMolecule1 Escentric

 

 

 

Favourite film…….. Barbarella, Edward Scissorhands, Moulin Rouge. Book….. anything by Penny Vincenzi – pure escapism.

Favourite jewellery designer…….. A difficult one, I have many…… Shaun Leane (of course), Alex Monroe and Chlobo. I’m thrilled to be getting a Chlobo cabinet installed in the shop, the range is so wearable, it’s described as ‘boho chic’. I love the story behind the range and I’m always excited to see the new collections which are inspired fashion and current trends.Bf3eQnxIQAA4HBPIMG_1644

 

 

 

 

July – Designer of the Month

The month of July sees the start of Argent’s 25th Anniversary celebrations. To mark this occasion we will be showcasing a different designer each month for the duration of the celebratory year.

Alex Monroe will be our ‘Designer of the Month’ for July, his work will be displayed centre stage in the shop window throughout the month and every customer spending £50 or more on jewellery from the ‘Designer of the Month’ will receive an Argent gift voucher.images (3)

I decided to choose Alex as our first featured designer because, aside from him being one of my personal favourites, he is fast becoming one of Britain’s most talked about designers and I am proud to represent his work in Argent. With the Grand Depart taking place in Leeds on 5th July how fitting that one of Alex’s designs features a wonderful interpretation  of a bicycle, complete with moving wheels, a diamond headlight and a ruby rear light!Bianchi About Alex Monroe

 

It wasn’t all that long ago that Alex Monroe was celebrating his own 25th Anniversary, he designed the beautiful ‘Hooray’ necklace to commemorate this achievement. Fans of Alex’s work may also be interested to know of his recently published book ‘Two Turtle Doves – A Memoir of Making Things’ which is available to buy in store (one signed copy left!).book_featured_blogam2012d-gp4

 

 

 

Having trained at the Sir John Cass School of Art in London, Alex started making his own jewellery in 1986, out of a small workshop in South London. To this day all of his jewellery is still hand made by a team of highly skilled jewellers in that same picturesque studio.DSDHAAlex_Monroe_StudioSnowsfields11cDennis_Gil_0Alex Monroe Shopfront137Snowfields-041012-017-500x750

 

Growing up in the Suffolk countryside surrounded by plants and animals, Alex has a great love for nature and it has become a strong theme throughout his work. He has the wonderful ability to translate the attributes of delicate natural objects into precious mepcn10-gp1tals.mgn10-gp1ss11alex130100799-assorted

 

 

 

Alex makes all of his original designs by hand, using traditional jewellery making techniques he works directly into silver as opposed to wax, a method which allows him to achieve the high levels of detail and texture that are such a feature of his jewellery. The intricate detail in the ‘Bumblebee Necklace’, one of his most popular pieces, is amazing and having coveted the ‘Baby Bee’ necklace I finally gave in and am now sporting the gold vermeil version. I wear it daily and it is constantly admired.am_earcrysanthemum2osn1-gp1BrC6rX3IUAA0gNJ

 

 

 

 

I am looking forward to the launch of Alex’s new Autumn/Winter collection, with everyone returning to the ‘make do and mend’ mentality and the success of the recent TV programme ‘The Sewing Bee’ it seems appropriate that it should be called ‘The Haberdashery’. The collection consists of charming representations of key sewing box accessories that only Alex could interpret in such meticulous detail.hab am

 

 

The Grand Depart

I returned from my recent holiday in a positive frame of mind.claires The light evenings have encouraged me to start eating a healthier diet and to get more active with the kids, what better way to see our beautiful countryside than to get out on our bikes!

 

 

Of course cycling is particularly topical this year with the forthcoming imagesTour de France passing through our neck of the woods at the beginning of July, The Grand Depart takes place just down the road from Argent in Leeds. I can’t believe it was a year ago that our youngest son congregated outside Leeds Town Hall with his school friends, sporting his yellow T-shirt to promote The Worlds Greatest Cycle Race. It came as no surprise therefore when it was announced the theme of the schools summer ball this year would be the Tour de France. It couldn’t have worked out better for me as I already had aBianchi new bright yellow floor length dress that I have decided to accessorise with Alex Monroe’s gold vermeil bicycle pendant…… would you believe that not only do the tiny wheels turn around but the headlight is set with a diamond and the rear with a ruby! What else would you expect from Alex Monroe? His attention to detail is second to none. Inspired by the actual bike Alex uses to cycle to work, the necklace enables you to get that cycling chic look without all the hard work!

Get back to nature…..

1346683311-79175000With Mother’s Day around the corner I’m reminded of all our floral inspired jewellery. Lilies are one of my favourite flowers, their simple forms are brilliantly represented in Yorkshire designer Amanda Cox’s ‘Lily Collection’. The classic combination of silver and freshwater pearls appeals to all ages and is perfect for all sorts of occasions from weddings to special birthdays, a piece from this collection would make a great Mother’s Day present.

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Alex Monroe and Amanda Coleman also feature flowers in their designs. Amanda Coleman creates delicate, romantic pieces inspired by orchids, fuscia, roses and other flora and fauna, (the owl pendant below is a particular favourite), reflecting her love of nature and passion for tiny things.  Alex Monroe is also influenced by nature, the rose; daisy and chrysanthemum are all included in his collection along with his ever popular bumble bee. The appeal of both these ranges is the intricacy in which nature is depicted in miniature. We all enjoy a walk in the country on a lovely spring day, we seem to spend so much time in front of a screen or on our gadgets these days, it’s good to escape the day to day stresses and get back to nature. Although, with our increasingly busy lives, it’s not always possible to do that so why not bring a bit of nature into your everyday life by wearingosn1-gp1am_earcrysanthemum2amanda-coleman-s it!

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Alex Monroe fans might be interested to know that he has recently published a book. ‘Two Turtle Doves A Memoir of Making Things’, tells the story of the internationally famous jewellery designer and gives an insight into how he has combined creativity and success. I can’t wait to read my copy! It is available to buy from us in store and would make a lovely present. We have a limited number of signed copies too!