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.

 

Happy Easter!

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!

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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, 2927824encrusted 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!

The ever-changing habits of a jewellery customer

As a small independent jeweller, we really get to know our customers and we are known for being able to recognise faces and names of people who visit the shop.

There is one thing in particular we notice from our customers, and that’s the habits and tastes of what they like. We pride ourselves on the range of jewellery collections and designers we stock, as we hope to offer something that will appeal to everyone.

Changing trends
We’ve noticed a definite change in the habits of jewellery customers, who are moving to the more well-known and recognised branded pieces. As I mentioned in my last post, the Shamballa trend is becoming increasingly popular, as well as the significant move into charm ranges such as Lovelinks, Trollbeads and Thomas Sabo. The attraction of these sorts of pieces is that they provide easy and affordable gifts for family and friends to buy for their loved ones. It’s a great idea to get a charm bracelet for someone as a gift as not only can they add to it themselves to create an individual piece, but it means there is a gift for every occasion.

To stay ahead of this trend we’ve bought in the Italian charm bracelet by the Italian brand, Nomination, where you can put together an individual and personal charm bracelet in a completely new and innovative way to those which are so popular now. Argent is the only stockist in Leeds to hold Nomination bracelets.

Shaun Leanne’s collection has also become far more popular since appearing in fashion magazines, on the catwalk and being worn by a range of current celebrities.

The changing consumer
When the shop first started out as a stall at the Granary Wharf, it was more craft orientated and tourist based. Weekends were incredibly busy as the market would offer new themes and events to keep people coming. It was described as the Camden of Leeds.

When the shop made a move to the city centre there was a shift to more ‘designer’ ranges as well as giftware. More branded ranges were introduced and then we took on the bead and charm trends to keep up with the trend and to extend our customer base.

Because we’ve been here for so long (24 years) we’ve noticed that in times of recession the public seem to be drawn to glitz and glamour, which helps to create a feel good factor during a more bleak time. In times like these it’s ranges such as those with Swarovski crystals that appear to sell well. However in more affluent times, people appear to downplay their jewellery with matt finishes and pieces which are more demure. I can see charm bracelets and the layering of jewellery – especially on the arms and around the neck – being here to stay for a while as popular looks among customers.
I find that customers are very brand away and are more driven by reality TV shows and celebrities when it comes to choosing jewellery now, as celebrities often help them to feel more confident and assured when it comes to picking jewellery.

Price point
There’s been a definite reduction in what customers will spend now. We have always been renowned as a silver shop first and foremost but we do sell a lot of platinum/ 18ct gold jewellery. There has been a noticeable correlation between the amount of money spent on pieces going down and the prices of metal continuing to go up. Jewellery has made a move to the forefront of fashion which has been helped massively by the celebrity culture.

What’s next?
As the price of metal is constantly on the rise I see silver as very much becoming the new gold. The new Rebecca range (which we now have in the shop) makes the silver statement piece more affordable in the designing of silver plated bronze jewellery. The Branch range which we already have in store has also made a change of this sort, using plated base metal as opposed to sterling silver to make their jewellery more affordable.

In the not too distant future I can see many designers looking for alternatives to keep the prices of their jewellery more accessible and affordable to a greater number of customers.