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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I love this time of the year, after the clocks have gone forward, the extra hour really makes a difference and seeing the daffodils in bloom gives you that springtime lift.
Trollbeads have managed to capture the essence of Spring with their new Daffodil Tassel bead, ‘a symbol of new birth and beginnings, the daffodil lets us know that spring is here’. It’s part of the mythical, magical Easter collection from Trollbeads which also features two new silver beads and a lock.
The Dragon Egg bead, ‘The egg cracks and out comes new life, luck and magic. A baby dragon is born’
Here at Argent we’re all looking forward to series five of Game of Thrones on the 13th April, the Dragons Egg bead reminds us of the eggs guarded by the character Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons.
If you know a Trollbeads collector the beads in the Dragon Egg bead would make a great Easter gift.
We have quite a few other Easter and Spring themed pieces in stock at the moment. One of my favourite new collections is Linda Macdonald’s quirky illustrative jewellery.The cute rabbit necklace is part of her Enchanted Collection, ‘inspired by nature and animals frolicking in the sun’, she uses flower, heart and bird motifs in all her work.
Continuing on a Spring theme we also have lots of new work in from Reeves & Reeves including the animal sillhouette necklaces, the stags head pendant was very popular at Christmas and it looks like the Hare and Hen are going to be top sellers this season. Perfect for Easter, their beautiful egg pendants on long chains are bang on trend with the fashion for layering necklaces. I do love the layered look!
Originally training as a smith 50 years ago, our ‘Designer of the Month’ for March, John Garland-Taylor has spent the last 30 years focusing on designing his handcrafted jewellery collection.
John works from a rural Warwickshire workshop, which, with the help of his two sons has developed a growing family business spanning two generations.
His trademark ‘GT’ armourers’ mark features on all of his jewellery pieces and was originally developed to distinguish pieces of armour that John had restored or produced for the National Trust and Warwick Castle.
Using traditional techniques such as forging and plannishing each piece of jewellery is individually handmade and finished by one of the team.
I love the way the hammered texture, once polished, really catches the light and the cuff bangles are real statement pieces, great for evening wear but equally as effective reflecting the sunlight during the daytime.
After a busy festive season February sees the return of our ‘Designer of the Month’ feature. Starting with Julie Pratt, a designer with close links to Argent, she worked with us here in the shop for over ten years and now concentrates on designing and making jewellery from her workshop in Barnsley.
Julie graduated from Barnsley College in 1998, her love of architecture and the natural environment along with her passion for travel provide constant inspiration for her work.
February is the ideal month in which to feature Julie’s work, coinciding with the launch of a new collection for us here at Argent, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Julie’s ‘Hearts’ collection consists of little silver nugget pendants with heart detail, on silver chain or colourful ribbon along with a matching ring, bangle and stud earrings, we think this new collection will be a great addition to her existing range.
Julie’s core collection is based around the classical themes of the line and the circle, using a combination of polished and matt finished silver, occasionally contrasting with gold, Julie creates simple, elegant designs. I love the fact that many of her rings are made up of multiple pieces, allowing the wearer to create their own look and making them a firm favourite with our customers.
Julie’s work will be showcased, centre stage in our window throughout the month of February so come along and take a look for yourself!
Shaun Leane, four times winner of ‘UK Jewellery Designer of the Year’ is our ‘Designer of the Month’ for November!
Shaun is internationally celebrated for pushing the boundries of jewellery design.Trained in Hatton Garden, London’s jewellery quarter, his idea of fusing fashion with tradition introduced an exciting element to fine jewellery.
Working alongside his good friend, the late Alexander McQueen, Shaune Leane is responsible for creating some of the most iconic catwalk pieces we have seen to date. Spanning a period of fifteen years this collaboration with McQueen brought him international recognition.
Alongside his collections and catwalk jewellery he also produces bespoke pieces for private clients including Sarah jessica Parker and Daphne Guiness.
His work has been described by London’s prestigious auction house, Sotherby’s, as ‘antiques of the future’. Darkly romantic and beautifully crafted, Shaun Leane’s signature style is strong refined and elegant.
A firm favourite of mine, in fact the only earrings I wear, are Shaun’s Signature Tusk long earrings (I’m embarrassed to say I have them in every colour!). They are constantly admired and truly come alive when worn, the sculptural shape of the tusk catches the light with every movement and the classical elegance of the design makes it a winner day or night, whatever the occassion.
We have just received a delivery of Lesley Strickland’s jewellery, I’m really pleased with the new colours I selected, they have a lovely autumnal feel, perfect for this time of year so have decided to choose Lesley as ‘Designer of the Month’ for September.
Lesley is a British jeweller specialising in the use of cellulose acetate (derived from cotton oil) combined with sterling silver. Lesley’s passion for designing and making jewellery started in 1976 at the City Literary Institute, London. Her inspiration comes from weathered natural formsand sculptors of the 1950’s.
For more than thirty five years Lesley has continued to evolve and develop her personal style and manufacturing techniques. Each piece is hand formed and very carefully finished, this is important to Lesley as she likes the wearer to have a tactile relationship with her work. The two guiding principals that Lesley applies to all her work are to strive for elegant simplicity and empathy with the wearer.
Having just returned from a lovely break in Tenerife I’m definitely feeling the chilled out holiday vibe.
I was thrilled that the new ‘Let’s Dance’ Chlobo collection arrived at the shop just in time to help me put together my beach look. I loved adding a pop of colour to my gold Chlobo stacking bracelets.
As designer Chloe says, “The ‘Let’s Dance’ collection captures the fun mood of the summer season and brings to mind beach holidays, lazy days by the sea and long summer nights dancing under the stars.”
I love the way Chloe has introduced the neon look with tassels in coloured thread. In the core collection the silver tassel is used as a symbol of protection, translated into neon colours it gives this new collection a more casual and funky feel and the vibrant colours bring a fun, fashion element to the summer collection, reflecting this seasons trends.
Another favourite for summer holidays is the Lucky Eyes collection, their ‘Monaco’ friendship bracelets come in a variety of semi-precious stones with contrasting silk cords, representing on trend summer colours. The diamanté set rose gold vermeil adds a sparkle which allows you to take the look through to the evening.
It was great to come back to sunshine, and with a bit of a tan! I can finally ditch the black boots and winter woolies and feel at one with my new collection of Chlobo neon brights.
I can’t believe it’s Easter already, a great excuse for me to go shopping for Easter eggs in the gorgeous chocolate shop across from us in Thorntons Arcade though. I always notice their fabulous window displays and could easily be tempted to buy their chocolate treats all year round……. however if you’re looking for an alternative to chocolate, Alex Monroe’s ‘Fat Hen’ necklace in rose vermeil is one of my favorites and this year’s Easter collection from Trollbeads is a winner!
The Bunny is already a firm favourite with us all here at Argent. The Precious Easter Eggs are available in three stunning colours, they are beautiful and a little bit more affordable than the famous precious eggs designed by Carl Fabergé! I read an article recently about an intricate golden egg, encrusted with diamonds and sapphires, which was bought for £8000 from a bric-a-brac stall in the US. The buyer had intended to melt it down for scrap until he discovered what he actually had was a long lost Fabergé egg worth £20 million! Carl Fabergé designed a total of 50 precious eggs, the first one was produced for Tsar Alexander III in 1885, the Tsar gave his wife an egg every year during the Russian Orthodox Easter festival.
The tradition of giving eggs has been associated with Easter for centuries, representing new life and fertility they were originally linked to Pagan spring festivals and later adopted by Christians to symbolise the resurrection.
Happy Easter! I hope you enjoy your Easter gifts whether they’re precious or made of chocolate!
With 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.
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 wearing it!
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!