Saturday, 8 September 2012

International Jewellery London review

International Jewellery London review

International Jewellery London is a huge trade show which comes to Earl’s Court each year – and since this is my first year of jewellery-making, this was also the first time I’d heard of it. Intrigued by the publicity around it, I asked some fellow forum members on the Cookson Gold forum whether it would be worth my while trying to attend, given that I’m only a small designer-maker and not strictly ‘trade’ (yet). Their advice was to go for the gems and the inspiration.

So, I applied as a designer-maker, got my ticket, took half a day off work and went. Was it worth it?

Go for the gems

When I got to the exhibition centre, I was pretty much stumped with where to start. Earl’s Court is HUGE. I glanced at the map, strode off in one direction, then made a silly little twirl and went back to the map to understand it properly. My first stop was the gem stalls – I finally deciphered the huge map and made my way to that area.

International Jewellery London higlights, a.e.ward
Amazing chandelier and bar; browsing jewellery; A.E.Ward's extensive gemstone stall
I got cornered whilst browsing some diamonds on a stall by some man who demanded to have one of my business cards, know what I did, how big my workshop was, where it was based – all in a very interrogative style which was a bit intimidating! He made me feel really out of place and put me a bit off kilter after just arriving – I managed to escape and felt a bit better when I found stalls with more affordable gems.

The huge displays at Marcus McCallum were really inviting, but the crowds meant I couldn’t get too close. Then I spied some opals at Laroche Opals, and spent some time perusing their displays of loose opal stones. I couldn’t resist getting a couple of particularly pretty ones to add to my growing opal stash!

I had thought that would satisfy my need to buy something pretty – but then I stumbled across A.E.Ward. The rows and rows of stones were amazing – they had such a huge range of nearly every gemstone I could think of, and the clearly marked prices made it easy for me to get tempted. I ended up buying a few stones – three sapphires, a ruby and a beautiful teal tourmaline – and had to hold my breath when paying the bill. In total, I spent about £200 on those and the opals - quite a lot for me as a hobbyist!
Gemstone haul from IJL
My gemstone haul: sapphires, ruby, tourmaline and opals

Browse for inspiration

IJL was mostly made up of stalls showcasing and selling jewellery. I wasn’t interested in buying any jewellery, but there was plenty to look at for inspiration.

It wasn’t just the jewellery designs which were inspiring – I actually found the displays and branding of each stall to be the biggest source of inspiration. It was interesting to note which stalls were bland, which ones appealed to my sense of style, which ones really stood out from the crowd – and what they used to display their jewellery.

A few things that made a stall interesting for me were:
  • A really clear brand and interesting name
  • Displays which looked professional but different – using objects which you would find in quirky shops, for example, or building a boutique-esque stall or making the stall look like a Victorian dressing table
  • Where the jewellery was striking and centre-piece, with a clear and coherent style
  • Good lighting

Don’t forget about the tools and packaging

After a bit of browsing, I was thinking about leaving – then remembered that I wanted to check out the different jewellery packaging suppliers. There were about half a dozen different box suppliers there and it was really useful seeing the boxes in person to easily judge quality.

I headed for Talbot’s group, who I have talking to a lot recently around a potential order for new boxes, and I met the lady I’d been speaking to. I found Potter’s stall quite interesting – they had some new box ranges which seemed pretty nice and better quality than the other ranges I had received samples of. I took their catalogue as a back-up, so if it doesn’t work out with Talbots, I have another option.

There were some tool suppliers present also – I had a little look around but unless you are looking for anything specific or you wanted to get advice from the suppliers, browsing on the internet is probably much easier!
International Jewellery London higlights, gems, Potters
Broswing; Gems a-plenty; packaging displays from Potters

Overall thoughts

IJL offered a number of industry-related seminars and talks, some of which sounded interesting and I would have visited if the timings had been right. I think, though, primarily, it’s worth a visit for the independent designer-maker if you are interested in browsing gems and other suppliers, and if you would like to do a bit of market research on how other jewellery designers market and present themselves. It’s also free, which is a bit plus!

I would say that for me, it wouldn’t have been worth a really long trip, or taking a full day off work – but I’m glad I went. I got a pretty good haul, and if I’m free on the weekend next year, I’ll try and stop by again knowing better what to expect. I will probably try to take a friend too – it gets a bit lonely in such a huge venue by yourself.

Did you attend IJL this year? What were your highlights?

1 comment:

  1. Really a very good collection,Grt works.But trends of market are changing and if you want to change your looking,then go for Pearl jewelry.The best jewelry collection of pearl,diamond and others..


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...