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.

 

Joys of Spring

 

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.

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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.

A silver Easter Dragon bead, ‘a dragon as a freind means joy, magic and adventures’ and a Dragon Lock, ‘guard my treasures with courage and fire’.

The Dragon Egg bead, ‘The egg cracks and out comes new life, luck and magic. A baby dragon is born’

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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.

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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.L McDonald BunnyThe 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!R&R Eggs2R&R HareR&R Hen Egg

 

Looking ahead to the next few weeks I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of new collections from some of my favourite designers including Shaun Leane and Chlobo……..watch this space!

Happy Easter!

Designer of the Month – November

Shaun Leane, four times winner of ‘UK Jewellery Designer of the Year’ is our ‘Designer of the Month’ for November!images

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.index

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.

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Alongside his collections and catwalk jewellery he also produces bespoke pieces for private clients including Sarah jessica Parker and Daphne Guiness.

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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.shaun-leane-boucheron-queen-of-the-night-necklace-openring

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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.signature tusk

August – Designer of the Month

With August 1st being Yorkshire Day I thought it would be appropriate to choose one of our Yorkshire based jewellers as ‘Designer of the Month’. Amanda Cox is based in Hebden Bridge, we have stocked her work in Argent for over six years and it is always very popular with our customers. Her timeless ‘Lily Collection’ is a favourite, featuring delicately beautiful flower shapes and fresh water pearls, drawing inspiration from nature, the designs are modern yet classical with a hint of vintage style that reflects current trends.

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Amanda Cox’s Lily collection

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Having previously lectured in Jewellery and Metalwork at Plymouth College of Art and Design, Amanda has returned to her original passion – designing and creating contemporary jewellery at her studio in Yorkshire.

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Amanda’s work has developed from and been inspired by a combination of the exploration of metal’s tactile properties and the visual qualities of simple organic forms.

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

 

 

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!