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.

 

Whats’s new 2019!

What’s new for 2019!

I can’t believe it’s over a year since our refurbishment! We have well and truly settled into our new surroundings, it didn’t feel homely straight away, it seemed very sleek and shiny which was what we wanted and a nice change but we’ve gradually been adding little touches to create a more friendly and welcoming environment. (You may have noticed little cacti and succulents popping up here and there and our essential oil diffuser.)I’ve recently visited a few trade fairs and been inspired not only by the jewellery but by the display ideas and styling too. I’ve sourced new props to add to our displays and used marble tiles to lay the jewellery on. Seeing the new Alex Monroe ‘Oceans’ collection at the Top Drawer trade show in London has prompted us to plan an ocean themed window display and we’ve been gathering vintage and natural pieces such as shells and corals. The collection, inspired by sea creatures is a lovely addition to te Alex Monroe range, £10 from each ‘Ocean’ piece sold will be donated to support Friends of the Earth in their mission to end plastic pollution and protect the oceans.

Alex Monroe

We are looking forward to the weekend of 18th May when we are holding a Tollbeads event with extra pieces from the collection to view and a very special limited edition glass bead only available in store that weekend!

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The weekend will also see the launch of a brand new collection! We have been approached by designer Simon Harrison, the name behind Vivienne Westwood and Ted Baker jewellery and we are excited to be exhibiting a selection of coral and fish inspired pieces from his collection to coincide with our ocean themed window. Simon’s work features coloured stones and enamel in large scale statement pieces which have a quirky style, we are so pleased he has chosen Argent to showcase his designs, his in house team are travelling up from London to install a theatrical window display, make sure you pop by and have a look it’s going to be amazing!

Simon Harrison

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.

 

Spring 2016 – Nordic style and new inspiration

As you may have noticed it has been over a year since my last blog post, and what a year! It’s been a bit of a turning point in my life and the life of Argent. Health issues have prompted a rethink, and after a difficult year I have found my direction again, in other words….  I’ve got my ‘mojo’ back! I’m focusing on trying to simplify my life both at home and at work. I’m in the process of restyling my home with a brand new kitchen/diner, it seems like this way of thinking has influenced my jewellery choices for this season too. The new collections we have coming in are Scandinavian and very much reflect the simplicity of Nordic style, from the very beginning my own favourite style of jewellery has been one which conveys simple lines and timeless elegance, it seems like I’ve come full circle.

Whilst visiting the Jewellery Spring Fair at Birmingham NEC in February I discovered the Drakenberg Sjolin brand which was established in Sweden in 2009, it was the first time they had exhibited in the UK. Their brand identity is “pure and mindful jewellery inspired by the nordic light and darkness, seasons of spring and autumn and the constant movement in nature” which really resonates with my thinking at the moment. The silver pieces have an elegant simplicity that reflects the strength yet fragility of nature.

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Just arrived in store is another Scandinavian brand, byBiehl from Denmark, created by Charlotte Biehl and inspired by her wish for high quality, simple, stylish and personal jewellery. I was drawn to this range for it’s comfort and simplicity, it is very wearable and easy to personalise. The main collection consists of uniquely designed ‘pods’ for bracelets and necklaces which can be put together to create a simple yet sophisticated look. Each piece is stamped with their signature forget-me-not flower and hand made in Denmark.

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I’m loving the Trollbeads ‘Uplifting’ spring collection too, the calm and gentle colours are perfect for the season. I love the way Trollbeads have inlaid subtle but contrasting cubic zirconia into the glass beads, my favourite is ’healing heart’, lavender stones suspended in pale green glass, I also love the the ‘meditation’ bead, the faceted outer compliments the green glass and gold sparkle to give it an energising effect, the whole collection has a feel of balance and contemplation. Talking of which I’m getting back into the swing of my body balance classes, I think we are all constantly striving for balance in our lives and Spring is the perfect time to address this.

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As well as the brand new ranges coming from Scandinavia I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the latest collection from Chlobo, ‘Luna Soul’, as the name suggests, the inspiration for this range is the moon and stars. The bracelets are beautifully sparkly, reflecting the night sky with a combination of silver and pink aventurine and rose gold with labradorite, I can’t wait to add some of this celestial collection to my bracelet stack.

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