Two jewellery businesses with an emphasis on creating bespoke commissions are the joint winners of the HALO Award 2023. Chair of the British Hallmarking Council Noel Hunter presented the Award to Harriet Kelsall, founder of Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery company and Anna Mcloughlin of Anna Mcloughlin Fine Jewellery at the prestigious Benevolent Society Ball at the Grand Hotel, Birmingham.
London Silversmiths, Hersey and Son were highly commended as Runner Up after a lengthy and very considered judging process.
The HALO (Hallmarking Awareness and Learning Online) Award is supported by the British Hallmarking Council and the NAJ. Its objective is to encourage and reward promotion of the importance of the hallmark to all consumers browsing and buying fine jewellery or silverware online.
Praising the high standard of entries this year, Chair of the HALO judges Rachael Taylor said, “It was a difficult job to select winners, as the top five entries were all of an incredible standard, so we settled on a joint winner for the first time. Anna Mcloughlin Fine Jewellery stood out to us for its creative approach to promotion on social media, as well as the innovative idea of creating a certificate of provenance for each purchase that includes details on hallmarking. Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery is a wonderful ambassador for the behind-the-scenes skills of our trade, and demonstrated exceptional communication with its clients around hallmarking.
“It is wonderful to see two very different jewellery businesses win the award. It goes to show that there are no boundaries to doing a brilliant job of promoting hallmarking to the public, and I hope that businesses big and small take inspiration from this year’s competition.”
Family-owned Hersey & Son feature hallmarking prominently on their website, creating an interesting resource supported by easy to watch videos on social media. Judges commented particularly on their Instagram Hallmarking “survey”.
There was an excellent, enthusiastic response to the HALO Award 2023. In only its second year the Award attracted entries from a wide range of businesses, from individual designer-makers to omni-channel retailers who combine a strong online presence with bricks and mortar stores.
Commenting on the many applications, Rachael said “The entries overall were very diverse, with businesses of all sizes employing multi-faceted tactics to educate their clients on hallmarking; from viral social media videos and surveys, to taking their fans inside assay offices through online reportage.”
Both joint winners consider hallmarking to be a vital element of trust, particularly when creating bespoke commissions.
Anna Mcloughlin said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to have won the HALO award! As a sole trader (single person) business, receiving this kind of recognition for my hard work is so invaluable, and, I hope, inspiring to others like me.
“Hallmarking is really important as it gives proof and an additional guarantee that a piece of jewellery is genuinely made from the precious metal it is described as. In the case of commissioned work, where most pieces are made from my clients’ old and often highly sentimental jewellery, the application of a new hallmark with my own maker’s mark, date stamp and fineness mark adds not only a little prestige to the piece, but also gives my client peace of mind as their special jewellery continues life in its new form.”
Harriet Kelsall said, “When customers choose us for their bespoke commissions, whether it’s a fresh design, or reusing sentimental metal, they trust our expertise to bring their story to life. That trust is built and strengthened by openly involving them in each step, and that will always include hallmarking. The hallmark is a very important part of their jewellery’s story.
“Our customers ask us to design and make something really special and significant for them; the metal they choose is an important part of that decision, so it’s our job to make sure they really understand everything about that choice. Our expert knowledge and value on hallmarking is something we are extremely proud of, and we are absolutely thrilled to have received the HALO award.”
Following the success of the HALO Award in 2023, the Award will be relaunched for 2024 at the NAJ’s AGM at the Tower of London on 6th June 2024.
Applications are encouraged from all jewellers selling online, whether or not they also have more traditional bricks and mortar retail stores.