Platinum Guild International U.K. recently gave five retailers in the United Kingdom a taste of the rock-star lifestyle—albeit one without ear-piercing music or weeklong bus trips. There was, however, no shortage of adoring admirers for each leg of the Platinum Retailer Tour, the organization’s first-ever traveling exhibit, featuring winning pieces in the 2010 Lonmin Design Innovation Awards, which recognize outstanding platinum design among jewelers in the United Kingdom.
The tour was organized to “enable consumers to see platinum designs from up-and-coming designers in areas throughout the U.K.,” says PGI U.K. press and event consultant Suzi Jarrell. Five merchants each displayed the pieces for one week: Kyron Keogh, owner of Rox Jewellers in Glasgow, Scotland, was among them. He saw about 250 additional visitors come through the store during his week. “We held afternoon tea to officially launch the tour, with around 30 guests including customers, designers, media, and jewelry professionals,” he says. (There was even an appearance by former Miss Scotland Nieve Jennings in a specially commissioned Orlando Orlandini necklace.) Additionally, sales of platinum spiked 15 percent that week. “We sent out personal invitations to our database of 1,000 VIP customers, and we also regularly updated our Facebook and Twitter pages with tour information.”
Over in Belfast’s Steensons jewelers, owners Bill and Christina Steenson emptied one window and eight showcases to display the winning pieces. They also mailed invitations to 400 of their best customers for a one-night private viewing, then presented the items for public viewing the rest of the week. The event generated “quite a bit more traffic over a week or two,” says Bill, who made a great sale at the exhibit’s opening: a 1.6 ct. diamond set in a platinum four-claw mounting for $20,000.
30-inch platinum sautoir with 33.83 cts. t.w. aquamarines and 5.16 cts. t.w. diamonds; $33,000; Nabil Mouzannar, Martinez, Calif.; 925-766-5008; nabilmouzannar.com
Considering that London-based jewelry designer Nabil Mouzannar cut his teeth crafting designs for Garrard (and later Asprey), it’s no surprise the pieces he’s turning out at his eponymous firm are equally upscale. This platinum sautoir with diamonds and natural (unheated) aquamarines looks like an estate piece, but U.S. sales rep Carlos Chanu assures JCK that’s it’s not. “Nabil’s pieces are newly made…[but] have timeless appeal,” he explains.
The necklace was shown for the first time at LUXURY at JCK 2011—and is still, by the way, for sale. “People loved it, but there still aren’t a lot willing to jump into a price like that,” says Chanu. Suggested retail prices for Mouzannar’s jewels start at $1,500. Six U.S. stores—including Lustre Gems & Jewelry in Santa Clara, Calif., and A. Marek Fine Jewelry in Oak Brook, Ill.—currently carry the line.