Celebrating 30 Years! 1989 – 2019

I’m so excited to be celebrating a special anniversary!  Its 30 years since we opened the doors of Argent in Thornton’s Arcade Leeds in 1989. There have been many changes along the way but we have never lost sight of the shop’s individuality.

Over the years we have embraced the popularity of larger brands departing from our initial roots of small designers. We still stock some of our favourite brands like Trollbeads, Nomination, Daisy London, Shaun Leane and Chlobo but we have returned to supporting more independent British designers.  It is therefore fitting that we are celebrating this 30 year milestone with a ring exhibition showcasing British jewellers which will include a small group of local designers.

Our exhibition ‘RINGS’ will be launched on 5th October 2019 and will run until 5th January 2020.

 

 

 

 

While studying for my Jewellery degree in Birmingham I took an additional course in gemmology which gave me a good knowledge of stones and I’m excited to be exhibiting the work of Robert Feather, Adele Taylor, Mike Gell and Rebecca Lewis who are incorporating some of my favourite semi-precious stones such as rainbow moonstone, labradorite and tourmaline which are not seen so often in mainstream jewellery shops. Robert creates contemporary jewellery using a range of precious metals and stones, he specialises in wedding and engagement rings also remodelling clients existing jewellery into updated designs. Adele works in silver and 18ct gold incorporating pattern and texture, she uses precious stones in a muted colour palette. Handpicked gemstones are the main focus of Rebecca’s pieces, she has a particular love for the iridescent colours of labradorite and rainbow moonstone, her rings feature intricate detail of tiny granules of silver.

 

 

 

 

 

We will also have rings from Mark Veevers whose work is inspired by abstract symbols and uses oxidised silver and gold in combination with other materials such as ceramics and mild steel. Anthony Blakeney’s new collection will also be featured, these rings have an organic feel and are star set with semi-precious stones and diamonds. Designers Julie Pratt and Genevieve Broughton who have worked with me for over 20 years will be exhibiting their own collections of silver and gold rings along with specially made pieces by John Garland-Taylor whose work we have stocked for a number of years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are very excited that Alex Monroe will be participating in this exhibition; we have stocked Alex’s work for a number of years and are looking forward to showcasing some of his precious diamond engagement rings as well as his new range which incorporates naturally coloured ethical sapphires. Alex grew up in the countryside and his work is strongly inspired by nature and British eccentricity, and  is the perfect balance of elegance and whimsical charm. His skilled team of Jewellers produce and hand finish every item in his London workshops. His most well-known design is the beautiful bee necklace. We’ve had an exciting time searching for vintage props to display these new rings, as a bricks and mortar shop we have the advantage of being able to create a theatrical display which tells a story and creates a more enjoyable experience for our customers.

 

 

 

 

I hope all our valued customers will enjoy the 30 years celebrations just as much as we will.

 

Spring Inspiration!

Spring is definitely in the air! Like me, you may be thinking about putting together a fresh new look for this season. One of my favourite spring collections is Cherry Blossom by award winning British designer Shaun Leane, it features intricate soft pink, lilac and cream enamelled flowers scattered along entwined branches of silver and gold vermeil and complimented by semi-precious stones, diamonds and pearls.10001376_761615913848853_1726984071_n

The collection is inspired by a Japanese fable in which a beautiful Goddess named ‘Princess Konohara-Sakuya’ sprinkles seeds from the clouds of Fuji Mountain which then flourish into white and crimson flowers. This magical bud is named after the goddess Sakuya,  now recognised as Sakura, or in translation, cherry blossom.

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To this day in Japan, the beauty of cherry blossom is celebrated in the traditional festival of Hanimi. The date of the celebrations varies from year to year and is predicted by the Weather Bureau in their blossom forecast. This year, a little bit earlier than usual, from the 13th March onwards parties will be held wherever cherry blossom can be found.

It is said that ‘a cherry tree blooms at the time of good news’. To celebrate this Trollbeads selected the Sakura design as one of their recent ‘People’s Beads’ (designed by Trollbeads fans from around the world). A beautiful silver Cherry Blossom bead is also featured in the main Trollbeads collection and I’m looking forward to receiving the new Cherry Blossom fantasy gift set, to be launched on April 11th  2014 –  I’ve seen pictures and it looks amazing! Until then why not add some colour to your Trollbeads bracelet, take a look at the Spring 2014 collection, inspired by the Hanging Gardens, gold shimmers through the colour in this gorgeous  glass Sparkle Kit.Untitled-3.102936troll11449 (2)1384010_681622725181506_401105017_n63050-Sparkle_Kit

 

 

 

I’m excited about selecting my new Trollbead bracelet combination and coordinating my new spring colours. The light mornings have definitely inspired me to put away those winter woollies, sort through my wardrobe and make the change from winter to spring.

Hello 2014

Well, here we are… the beginning of our ARGENT 25th Anniversary Year!

Nomination V-picHere in the shop we are gearing up for Valentine’s Day, I love this time of year! It’s nice to have something to look forward to following the lull after the Christmas Festivities. It is a perfect time to be thinking of that special someone. Any day soon we are expecting the Valentines Collection from our best selling range Nomination. With a starting price of £18 per charm, this is the perfect alternative to chocolates! If collectables is your thing, then don’t miss out on the Valentines Collection from Trollbeads. In the CholBo range there’s plenty of love related stacking bracelets to choose from, popular with many of our regulars and celebrities alike, I too adore my stacking bracelets and take great pleasure in choosing my look for the day.

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Another range on a romantic theme is Oak, a particular favourite of mine is the spinning heart necklace, now also available in rose gold vermeil. For that extra special present or for those of you thinking about proposing at this romantic time of year, don’t forget we also have diamond jewellery in classic styles as well as quirky designer pieces.

We are always here to help you, if you can’t see what you want online, do give us a call or pop into the store where we can help with any special requirements.

Finally, whatever you decide to do – have fun this Valentine’s Day!

Hidden Depths

World Tour Beads

 

This July saw the arrival of Trollbeads exciting new selection of World Tour beads and what better way to mark the occasion than to celebrate with our customers by offering sweet treats and champagne, giving out goody bags and holding a raffle with the opportunity of winning a £50 voucher to spend in store! Not surprisingly the event was a hit and both we and our customers thoroughly enjoyed ourselves that Sunday afternoon.

Autumn / Winter 2012

But just when you thought that Trollbeads might have packed their schedule to the brim manufacturing over 50 beads from our International neighbours as well as designing their new autumn collection, they then decide to coincide this with the arrival of their new range of Universal Unique Malwai beads!
As a family run business one wonders how on earth they manage to fit it all in, they really never cease to amaze!  Nonetheless this new collection is just as special as everything else Troll brings to its followers, if not (dare I say it) even more so in the amount of spirit founder Lise Aagaard has put into establishing the project.

Malawi Universal Uniques

Lise Aagaard and the Malawi team

This is a development that gives a well-built sense of optimism to a challenged group of around a dozen young people from Malawi who between them have varying issues in their personal life, whether these be in relation to their own health or loss of family to AIDS. Speaking of the project the Trollbeads founder gave words on her strong aspiration to lend a hand to bettering the lives of others;

 

“I am now in the position to help others. I believe the best way to do so is to help them create an existence for themselves, providing help for self help is close to my heart”.

By offering the opportunity to learn the art of glass making first hand from someone that is at the forefront of jewellery design, Lise Aagaard has given a window of hope to those less fortunate.
Each bead tells a unique story, inspired by the idiosyncrasies of the life of the maker in question which in turn forms a truly personal collection.
By all of the beads being ‘Universal Uniques’ the design not only fits onto Troll bracelets but also other leading branded bracelets so everyone can enjoy the artistry, thus giving a wider prospect in terms of commerce and sending the collective on its way to becoming completely self sufficient!

In times like these with such an unvarying inflation throughout the high street prices, it’s hard as both a consumer and a retailer not to allow oneself to get too wrapped up in cynical thoughts on where this leave the buyer and the merchant.
But then projects such as this allow us to stop for a moment and gain a little perspective on what is really important right now, generating opportunities for those less privileged, the unemployed both here and overseas. Many of us are struggling in some way but that doesn’t mean we can’t take the time to give a little back.

This brings me to my next account of an ethical jewellery venture, which too is led by the same form of premise as is held by Lise Aagaard and is just as fresh off the press.
It goes by the name of Cornerstone and while being a completely different project this and Trollbeads are united through the mutual ethical concepts that are the driving force behind these organisations.

Cornerstone started its life back in 2011 when distinguished jewellery designer Paul Spurgeon took a trip to South Africa where he led lectures to small businesses, sharing the personal philosophies behind his brand. It was there that he was struck by the work of local jeweller Nqobile Nkosi who has become the first person to ever open a jewellery store in his home town of Soweto.
Inspired by such revolutionary movements Paul has since collaborated with Nqobile to form the project as a means of progression, taking such labours of love out of Africa and into Europe.

Currently the designs comprise mostly of silver and enamel due to the current market and project funds, through time as business flourishes Nqobile and his team hope to gain full independence of, with the prospect to expand their horizons both artistically and within industry; and it is the proceeds from the project that will go towards turning this vision into a reality.

 

The brand was officially launched at The Jewellery Show in Birmingham earlier this year and this was swiftly followed by the support of The Jewellery Show London and Treasure in their naming Cornerstone as their Social Enterprise partner for the June show at Somerset House. Meanwhile Weston Beamor have offered a helping hand in providing all of the casting and silver for free and in August Paul organised a sponsored bike ride from London to Paris to raise further funds as well as to promote interest within trade press and further afield.

These projects prove to consumers that when it comes to jewellery, there need not be any reason to compromise on style when choosing to direct the focus on ethical means of manufacturing. Who would know, when viewing these collections that established designers such as Paul and Lise were working with ethical motives? The fact that the making of these pieces is done with such conscious makes each one all the more candid and unique and just goes to show that there really is more than meets the eye when it comes to big name designers.

 

 

For further information on the Malawi Universal Unique beads as well as other Trollbead and Paul Spurgeon products available please visit our website.

Bonkers about Bangles


This week’s summer story is on the subject of Bangles, which are undoubtedly this season’s wardrobe staple when it comes to accessorizing.
Top catwalk shows from designers across the globe were littered with wrist wear in an array of forms, with the implicit premise that any statement summer outfit required a form of jewellery equal in its boldness to complete the look.
So with three key summer trends in mind, here is a pick of just some of the bangles we have to offer at Argent.

Sportswear
Think minimal and futuristic with clean lines and simple shapes, materials may include plastics, a typical trait of designers such as Sarah Packington and Lesley Strickland, but also an adventurous and cutting edge use of silver and
gold plate with Stubbs and Co’s textile like bangles, with simple twists and knotted detailing.

 


Ethnic
Boldness in print and in colour, oversized statement pieces with a use of varied contemporary materials such as wood and plastic perfectly fit the criteria of both Lesley Strickland and The Branch. Whilst these designers choice of materials is opposing they both remain highly similar in their organic appearance.


Ladylike

Elegance and intricacy are the two main principles held by this seasons ‘ladylike’ clean image when it comes to jewellery. Such class is realized through the use of polished metals such as gold and silver, which stand alone and proud with Ntinga’s magnetic mesh bangles. Meanwhile wrist wear from Nomination and The Branch sees the use of gold as a setting for semi precious stones such as agates and quartzs, Nomination’s ‘Extension’ bracelets offer a selection of natural hard stones, 18ct yellow gold detailing and stainless steel for an affordable and classic Italian aesthetic.

You can shop all of these looks and more on our website and instore.

 

 

Come and Join the Jubilation!

Unless you have been living in a cave for the last 12 months, most of you will be aware of the two major events set to hit the UK during the following summer months; The Olympic Games and our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. With the Diamond Jubilee less than a fortnight away and fast approaching, we at Argent are eagerly anticipating the chance to indulge in all things British as the beloved Union Jack makes a big comeback.

Here is just a small selection of the ranges we have in store that could assist you in flying the flag during this festive summer period.

Trollbeads

Last Spring in time for the Royal wedding Trollbeads released their whimsical and charming collection of Trollbeads UK World Tour beads featuring 4 Beads. The ‘English Tea Party’ bead, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland and a archetypal English summer is one of three silver beads which also includes ‘Love Spoons’ and ‘Celtic kilt’, indicative of Welsh and Scottish heritage; and finally the glass UK Colours bead representing our unification.

This year they have done it again and perfectly timed the release of a new selection of special edition starter bracelets with the Diamond Jubilee. Each bracelet comes in its own presentation box and comprises of a silver bracelet ranging from 18cm – 23 cms in, a classic flower lock and the choice of either a red, blue, or white ‘diamond bead’’.  A perfect way for Trollbead fans old and new to commemorate the occasion in a special way.

 

Sphere of Life

A classic and long running Argent favourite, this sterling silver, gold plate and enamel ‘National Treasure’ flag pendant and chain, perfect for anyone looking for a jubilee gift with an impact, with its deluxe packaging that plays on the spherical theme of eternal continuity.


Candy Bling

Candy Bling

If you’re looking to add a touch of glitz and glamour to your Jubilee celebrations, then look no further than Argent’s best selling range, Candy Bling.

The signature collection of Shamballa earrings and bracelets combines tradition with current trend through their luxurious crystal encrusted Union Jack beaded bracelets and with prices starting at under £20 there is something available for any budget.

 

Simon Carter

And last but by no means least, something for the gentleman.
Back in March we briefly touched on the arrival of the new Flash Jordan ‘Jack the Lad’ cufflinks which gave a contemporary twist on the linear Union flag design. But if it’s a classic aesthetic that you are after for such an affair as this, then nothing could be more elegant or befitting than Simon Carter’s range of ‘West End’ cufflinks.
The collection features a variety of quintessential British designs of both past and present that reference periods of ultimate style such as mod culture and the swinging sixties and these Union Jack button cufflinks are offered in a choice of either cloth or enamel; which only leaves the question of which pair to choose?!