Make It British – Talking Jewellery with David Law
With the launch of our new Fine Jewellery & Watches category in our directory, we chatted to David Law about his history in the jewellery trade, and why British and bespoke are best.
David, can you tell us when you launchedDavid Law Your Personal Jeweller and give us some details about your background?
During 2008, as we entered the last downturn, I thought long and hard about the jewellery trade and how I was best placed to confront this new world that we all found ourselves living in.
With online shopping growing and the consumers finding it easier to move around the Internet, I made the decision that it was time to close my Hatton Garden shop because being held in bricks and mortar on one street did not seem the most sensible thing to do. Finally, in September 2009, ‘Your Personal Jeweller’ was born, giving me the flexibility to meet with clients whenever and wherever worked best for them.
I had already been personally designing one-off jewellery pieces for clients seeking original design, exceptional craftsmanship and the highest levels of client care for over 35 years, my bespoke clients are people who value design, style, quality and advice from an expert and, in creating Your Personal Jeweller, I have been able to take my jewellery design experience to another level.
You have over 35 years’ experience in designing jewellery, so that part must come naturally, but what challenges have you faced running your own business?
I am proud to say I have been involved in designing and making jewellery for over 35 years. I have seen many changes in jewellery manufacturing in the UK, with the most challenging period being the mid-1980s when traditional UK jewellery manufacturing was dying because of cheap labour in China and the Far East, and I must be honest I never thought I would see it return to the UK.
The so-called premium you would pay for a Made In Britain piece of Jewellery was not something retail jewellers in the UK were prepared to absorb.
As a manufacturer I was forced to look for alternative avenues, this was when I decided to turn my design skills and experience to private individuals.
You have offices in Knightsbridge and the famous Hatton Garden. How has Hatton Garden changed over the years?
If you ask anybody in the UK “where is the place to find a jeweler?”, they will recommend Hatton Garden – it’s such an iconic and famous street. I grew up there, having completed my apprenticeship in the early 80s, so I have a massive affiliation to this ever-changing street.
Over the years things naturally change – there are still over 60 shops to choose from – but the street’s identity has been eroded; rather than concentrating on their strengths they decided to compete head-on with the online competition. Something I passionately did not agree with and ultimately decided was the main reason why I decided to move away.
You offer your clients a 3D wax ring to try out before the real thing is made. Is this a fairly standard service or something unique to you?
Although 3D printing is all the rage, I have in fact been using it for over 10 years and consider myself an expert in combining both traditional and modern manufacturing techniques.
Many companies use 3D wax printing but it’s not the norm, and to my knowledge nobody else is offering clients a choice of more than one bespoke design to choose from – seeing the design on the big screen and finally printed to wear in 3D wax.
We understand you source your components in the UK, can you tell us a bit about that process?
From designing my bespoke jewellery, to sourcing gold and platinum as well as my diamonds that are all GIA certificated and fabulous gemstones, everything is done here in the UK.
The design experience that I present provides my clients with the opportunity to be involved each step of the creation of a totally unique piece of jewellery that is handcrafted to their personal requirements.
From discussing initial ideas through to creating their final piece, I will go above and beyond to ensure the whole design experience is uniquely special.
We know from a lot of our brands who make clothing and accessories that sometimes manufacturing in the UK can be a challenge and expensive (although always worth it). Is it the same in the jewellery industry?
Creating bespoke jewellery here in the UK of course faces some of the same challenges as those companies that make clothing and accessories. However, the flexibility of being able to create something that is completely unique to you without compromise and tailored around your budget dispels the notion that creating bespoke jewellery is more expensive than buying something off the shelf.
Obviously diamonds are a classic choice for engagement rings (and a girl’s best friend), but which other stones are becoming popular for engagement rings?
Diamonds will always be a girl’s best friend (and even a man’s best friend). However, over the years clients have become more adventurous and black, brown, champagne, yellow and pink diamonds have become popular. And coming away from diamonds, Sapphire is the next most popular choice, although I have also made engagement rings with rubies, tanzanite, and emeralds.