Platinum: Loyalty Cards, Spectrum Award Winners

Loyalty Has Its Rewards

Marc Johnson knows about loyalty. It has helped him build his 3½-year-old custom design business, Cove Jewellery, in Andover, U.K., into a lean, mean one-man operation that thrives on commissions, remodels, and repairs (Johnson alone works the front and back of the house). With 100 percent of all jewels made in-store, Johnson makes a living in a way many jewelers only dream about: “I have no commercial product lines at all, just our stock jewelry display pieces,” he says.

Business accelerated in fall 2010, and Johnson, shortly after launching a website that touted his talents, decided to thank his best customers with his own frequent-buyer program. Specifically, he instituted the Platinum Loyalty Card for “good customers who love jewelry,” he says.

Marc Johnson, the owner and lone metalsmith at Cove Jewellery

The plan works like this: When customers refer people who commission jewelry valued at £500 (about $800) or more, they earn 10 points. After accruing 50 points, cardholders receive one custom commission or remodel in 9k gold or palladium worth £500. The program began Jan. 10, 2010, and ran through Dec. 24, 2010, though Johnson plans to extend the dates for clients who obtained their cards later in the year.

The Platinum Loyalty Cards are “a bit like the loyalty cards for buying cups of coffee,” he says; the difference, however, is that he holds on to the actual cards. And the rewards are much more valuable than java. “The average spend for loyal customers is about £500 per job, and in a couple of purchases they could spend £2,000 to £2,500,” he says. Shoppers started participating immediately; three customers currently have cards, and two of their referrals have already made purchases.

Custom-made palladium ring with 1.2 ct. oval Swiss blue topaz; Cove Jewellery, Andover, U.K.; 44-126-477-2003;

A woman who commissioned a cocktail ring (in 18k white gold with a 3 ct. tanzanite flanked by two 0.75 ct. diamonds) subsequently sent Johnson a husband and wife seeking redesigned stacking rings. The pair ended up with three new 9k gold gem-set rings. Johnson is certain that more will follow: “Customers could fill their cards within two months if they really wanted to,” he says. “In a recession, this idea keeps the cash flow ticking.”

Purple Majesty

This men’s ring—with a 6.62 ct. cushion-cut purple spinel—took platinum honors at this year’s ­American Gem Trade Association’s Spectrum Awards; $7,500; Alan Friedman, Beverly Hills, Calif.; 310-278-4944;

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