Jewellery buyers’ tastes are changing. Fed up of high-street chains, mass production and repetitive designs, buyers are increasingly seeking out rare and unique pieces from independent jewellers and designers.
Here’s the proof -
High street jewellery giant Pandora announced a profit warning in August 2018, followed immediately by the resignation of CEO Anders Colding Friis. Pandora’s share price has plummeted by a fifth this year and the firm has cut nearly 400 jobs. Predicted sales growth for 2018 has dropped from 10% to 4%.
Mass production is at the heart of Pandora’s business model
In 2017, Pandora produced more than 100 million jewellery pieces and achieved revenue of £2.7 billion. Pandora sells jewellery in more than 100 countries across 7,700 outlets. Despite the company’s profit warning, Pandora has opened 39 new concept stores this year, creating an even greater need for fast replication of products.
Aiming to speed up production and meet consumer needs, Pandora opened a new manufacturing centre in Bangkok, Thailand in June. The facility, named Triple A, will produce more than 1.5 million pieces of jewellery per week and shorten production time to four weeks from the current five to eight.
The facility is the cornerstone of the company’s plans to double shipment capacity and become, in the firm’s words, “the world’s most loved jewellery brand”. Pandora’s senior vice president, Thomas Touborg, said this project could lead to the brand shipping more than 200 million pieces from Thailand by the end of 2019.
H Samuel & Ernest Jones’ profits down
It is not only Pandora who are having problems with over-mass-produced products. In 2017, sales at British high street jewellers H Samuel and Ernest Jones fell by 3.6% and 3.1%, respectively. The pair, owned by global behemoth Signet Jewelers, saw their total sales decrease by 3.9% over the 2017 Christmas period.
One of Signet’s mass-production methods is lab-growing gemstones, such as sapphires, diamonds and rubies. Signet’s synthetic rubies and sapphires are already on sale and proving popular with customers. The company said in September it is ready to launch its lab-made diamonds should consumer demand arise.
While lab-grown gemstones are cheaper for the consumer, many jewellery buyers may feel the meaning and value behind the pieces will be lost by this move to mass-produced synthetics.
Alison Fern Jewellery and her collections
Why is JewelStreet different?
In contrast, JewelStreet, the online marketplace for handcrafted jewellery, hosts over 570 independent jewellery designers from 48 countries worldwide. JewelStreet is the place for discerning jewellery buyers to discover beautiful, limited edition and often unique pieces from the world’s finest jewellery artisans.
The website lists over 20,000 pieces of jewellery, valued at over £50m. JewelStreet makes buying jewellery online easy and personally tailored to the customer.
Designers like Rebekah Ann Jewellery are the reason that supporting independent businesses is so crucial. Founder, designer, crafter and marketer, Rebekah has been making jewellery since 2002 and is the face, brains and power behind her business. She works for two award winning jewellers, while also running her own jewellery company because she just loves what she does. Rebekah is inspired by everything around her. Spirituality, positivity and self-love runs through her creations and her delicate jewellery is perfect to layer or wear alone to make a statement.
Rebekah Ann Jewellery | Silver Freedom Pendant Necklace | £78.00
The designers who sell through JewelStreet are focused and passionate about ethical jewellery. Many designers like Bergsoe, use recycled silver and gold materials in their jewellery. Sustainability is very important to our designers and they make sure to use the finest gemstones, metals and use their local surroundings as inspiration and materials.
Bergsoe | Gold Seafire Ring with Champagne Diamond & Opal | £557.00
Fast fashion is the second biggest polluter in the world, but when you buy from JewelStreet, you are sure to get quality, core ethical values and sustainable jewellery. Instead of contributing to mass-produced jewellery which damages the environment, why not buy a unique handmade piece which won’t be worn by anyone else and is contributing to making a change.
So, what if you don't want to wear what everyone else is wearing?
”Capturing the importance of individuality, JewelStreet provides unique, one-of-a kind pieces that are handmade with love and attention,” explains Adrian Roose, JewelStreet chairman. “The biggest distinction between mass-produced jewellery and the handmade jewellery process is the hands-on craftsmanship involved.
“At JewelStreet, we pride ourselves on connecting a fast growing community of independent jewellery designers, with customers who value unique handcrafted designs over volume and discounts. Every piece on the JewelStreet website is from an independent business and handcrafted by a talented designer. Every piece of quality handmade jewellery requires a significant time commitment, from the initial design through to the finishing touches. This level of care results in a design that is thoughtful and makes a statement.
“By shopping on JewelStreet you’re not only receiving a great piece of jewellery, but you’re helping a small creative business continue to do what they love. This makes our jewellery extra special.
“So if you’re looking for jewellery that is one-of-a-kind, you’ve come to the right place.”