Goldilocks Jewellery uses minimalist design coupled with a personal touch to make pieces truly unique to the wearer.
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Jewellery gets even more personal
By Timothy Grey
Once, having a piece of jewellery hand-made specifically crafted for you was the province of the obscenely rich. Tim Grey reports on how consumers of every type are demanding accessories created specifically for them.
Personalised jewellery has been the ‘next big thing’ for a few years now but industry experts believe the trend to personalisation in jewellery will continue.
It’s not a just a fad, which makes sense: very few objects are worn as intimately or given quite as much symbolic significance as jewellery. Now, an increasing number of retailers and designers are offering a ‘storied’ experience to their customers.
While bespoke jewellery has been available in the high-end for some time, pioneers in the charm-bracelet market – particularly Pandora – are driving its popularity in less affluent markets.
By creating ‘limited edition’ beads and trinkets, Pandora has managed to create a $10bn business in over 50 countries. Obviously, the fact that no two pieces are alike resonates deeply with the company’s customers.
However the trend is not confined to international brands, many local designers are honing-in on people’s desire to wear something unique.
Kate Sutton, managing director of Uberkate Jewellery, a supplier of a personalised jewellery range says, "Personalised jewellery has become very trendy and will continue to be around much longer, as long as we keep changing designs and updating the trend.”
Iconic Jewellery launched Homage in Australia, which offers a degree of personalisation in mass-produced accessories, inscribing names, dates or phrases on silver and gold necklaces, bracelets and dog tags, delivered to the customer inside of 10 days.
“Homage Jewellery is not just about silver or gold; stores are full of that already,” claims Iconic Jewellery’s national marketing manager Maria Vella. “It’s about families – connecting generations – its about those you love, a timeless heirloom that can be worn any time to remind us of who and what is deeply meaningful to the individual who wears it.”
Thomas Sabo's Charm Club
Simply writing ones name on something isn’t the limit of personalisation, however. Bespoke jewellery is becoming increasingly common.
Shona Eastman, for example, established her own bespoke jewellery design firm Uneik Jewellery in 2007 after making a pendant out of a silver clay product, which incorporated her three children’s fingerprints.
Eastman modified the process and design and developed a number of ranges, which now include children’s fingerprints, pet paw prints and engraved names in precious metals. Prices start from as little as $140, but each piece is still completely unique.
“Our jewellery appeals to parents who want to celebrate their love for their children,” she explains. “They love the idea of having the touch of their loved one with them always.
Some experts believe that the move towards personalisation creates opportunities for independent retailers in particular. Big chains are not built to cater to individual requests and desires, believes Tony Argyle, the founder of Queensland-based Jewellery Marketing Solutions.
“Any growth in personalised jewellery buying will play into the hands of the independent jeweller as they have a much greater ability, and usually willingness, to respond to a customer’s individual needs than the chains, who prefer a ‘one size fits all’ approach to their stock lines,” Argyle says.
On the other hand, some representatives of those big chains point to the burgeoning popularity of branded jewellery, as consumers look to identify themselves with recognisable names.
Vibeke Mignard, marketing manager at Ole Lynggaard, which offers a number of customisable collections argues that a large brand cannot be personal.
“A brand is a promise,” she says. “By identifying and authenticating a product or service it delivers a pledge of satisfaction and quality. Personalised jewellery can be an extension of a brand and still maintain its own in the market without sacrificing integrity.”
Some designers, however, believe the supposed trend toward personalisation is little more than advertising propaganda.
Melbourne-based retailer Fiorina Golotta, who has a range of customised jewellery, is deeply sceptical about the fashion, particularly when large companies drive it.
“They [brands] are just hype and marketing,” she says. “It’s a play on personalisation, but all they are really doing is making money.”
For Golotta, who has a highly specialised market, personalisation about creating genuine meaning through customisation.
“I’m Italian; we grew up in a very superstitious home. You want it to be a part of you; a natural extension.”
Consumers increasingly demand products and services specific to their own personal needs and businesses are developing new ways to accommodate their desires. If almost all other consumer categories are catering for greater personalisation, jewellery will be no different.
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Posted February 14, 2012