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.

 

Designer Of The Month – February

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 pic

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.

JP Hrt pdt studsJP Hrt pdts

 

 

 

 

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.

JP ringsJP target rgsJP multi rings

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!

 

Big brands vs. independent designers

Amanda Cox's Lily collection

Independent jewellers are often known for their small designer collections and products you wouldn’t really be able to purchase from bigger jewellers. That’s what makes them special.

Over the last couple of years everything has gone mass market to meet the demands of the consumer and the type of jewellery they want to purchase. As we’ve mentioned previously, the charm craze and rise of Pandora has played a huge part due to a number of reasons. The advertising spend from bigger brands enhances the popularity and gives customers a sense of confidence when purchasing that jewellery product. It is harder than ever for individual designers to compete.

Customers often move with the trends which can put individual designers at risk. Some designers don’t work to the current trends and can often fall behind as customers move towards the bigger brands. It can be seen as safer for independent jewellers to invest in big brands, having more confidence in their success; whereas in the past, individual designers were seen as more successful offering a wider choice to the consumer.

Jeremy Heber

Including collections from smaller designers brings something different to the market but also demonstrates our continual support to jewellers who are trying to compete against the likes of Pandora and Links of London. We have a gorgeous and completely individual collection from Amanda Cox, called ‘Lily’. Her contemporary use of pearls appeals to all ages and her collection pushes the creative boundaries in jewellery design. We also stock ranges from Julie Pratt and Jeremy Heber, who both use gold and silver together in their work, rather than separating the two materials. Many people like to wear a mixture of gold and silver and these collections offer an ideal way to wear them together in a stylish and fashionable way.

Julie Pratt

At Argent, we stock a mix of big brands and small designers, so we are able to keep on trend for some of our customers, but also have the individual choice for other customers. Stocking only big brands would exclude the opportunity for difference and variety for our customers, with the risk of becoming uniform with the mainstream jewellers.

Argent strives to support small designers and we believe in the individuality and timelessness of their designs. We have a great relationship with the designers and they are a pleasure to work with, maintaining a very personal approach to business. We aim to offer our customers variety and the type of jewellery associated with an independent jeweller. Customers can be assured that when they come to us, they will find something different and not something they could purchase in every other jewellery shop.