LONDON, April 2010 – PureJewels, a prominent retailer in the Green Street jewellery quarter in east London, has selected six talented UK designers to create its new Platinum Heritage Collection for launch during London Jewellery Week in June.
From humble beginnings in east Africa, PureJewels is emerging as an important brand in the fast-growing Green Street jewellery quarter, appealing to South Asian and Western tastes.
When Bhanji Gokaldas started off creating bespoke jewellery designs in Kenya in 1950, he could not possibly have imagined the journey leading to the establishment of a thriving retail business in London.
Still a family-run company, when Bhanji Gokaldas and Sons transformed into the newly branded PureJewels in June 2008, PureJewels had reinvented itself as a retailer with a highly visible presence on Green Street, as well as a growing force in mail order online retailing.
PureJewels targets mainly the 24-35 year-old engagement and wedding ring market – young, affluent people wanting to buy a beautiful piece of jewellery — and now sells half of its jewellery to British Asians and the remainder to other Britons, says brand manager Jayant Raniga.
“PureJewels is the product of a remarkable journey by Bhanji Gokaldas,” Raniga said.
“This journey has inspired the six Platinum Heritage Collection designers, who have each picked up on different aspects of the story of the PureJewels brand.”
The six Platinum Heritage Collection designers are: Kate Thorley, Zoe Youngman, Katie Rowland, Paul Draper, Cindy Dennis Mangan, and Anna Loucah.
Their pieces will be manufactured in the UK and finished by mid-May and will be exhibited at the prestigious Goldsmiths’ Hall and at the Jaguar Boutique at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, central London during London Jewellery Week, which runs from June 7-13 to showcase British talent in the jewellery industry.
“It’s a fundamental shift of our core brand and shows our level of commitment to creating design-led jewellery,” Raniga said.
PureJewels plans to launch a catalogue, and each designer will enter the Platinum Heritage Collection pieces to the Lonmin Design Innovation Awards.
Each designer will create their own concept for the Platinum Heritage Collection, which will tell the story of PureJewels.
Bhanji Gokaldas’ drive was inspiring – through self belief and the support of his family he has created a trusted brand in PureJewels and that’s what led me to join his journey,” said Kate Thorley, one of the six Platinum Heritage Collection designers.
Each designer will be celebrated for their pieces, Raniga said.
“It will be PureJewels by Kate Thorley, and PureJewels by Zoe Youngman, and so on.”
Raniga added, “The Platinum Heritage Collection underscores PureJewels’ commitment to promote British design and to help develop and showcase British jewellery talent.”
Midlands, UK-based fine jewellery designer and winner of the World Gold Council’s international Gold Virtuosi, Kate Thorley (nee Warren ) is co-owner of Nest Creates Ltd, a luxury jewellery design business. She studied at Birmingham’s School of Jewellery in the early 1990s and has since then worked in the Jewellery Quarter, where she gained extensive bench, design and technical experience. For the past 14 years she has produced designs for many well established companies and she now enjoys being able to meet her customers directly.
“I saw this project as a fantastic and rare opportunity to network my design skills with the traditional manufacturing base of the Midlands, and to have the resulting piece of jewellery retailed in London through a company as prestigious as PureJewels.”
As co-owner of bespoke luxury jewellery business Nest Creates, Zoe has the opportunity to unleash her (sometimes wild) imagination in order to create exquisite and unique pieces of fine jewellery. Over the years she has worked extensively on commissioned bespoke jewellery, won many awards including the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths Award, worked on design projects, such as trophies for the UN, and mentored a number of designer makers. With 10 years of experience since graduating from Edinburgh College of Art and now based in the heart of rural Warwickshire, Zoe still has a passion for the mini-sculptures that are her ring designs.
“By strange coincidence I had recently read a tale of emigration from India to Nairobi undertaken by a contemporary of Bhanji Gokaldas when the brief came through. My imagination was further fired by the history and art of these locations. This background interest in the story coupled with the reputation of PureJewels convinced me that, as a designer looking for a challenge, I should grab this opportunity with both hands.”
Katie Rowland Jewellery is an award-winning brand, designing and producing luxurious high-end adornments for women and men. Her work has been described as a sharp amalgamation of graphics, typography and refined jewellery. Rowland trained in graphic design before discovering her passion for ready-to-wear and high-end jewellery and has since cultivated a celebrity clientele. In 2009, she received the Coutts New Jeweller Award, the Sonama-Cutrer Design Award and the Lonmin’s Design Innovation Award for Platinum, for her outstanding jewellery pieces.
“I believe that Pure Jewels celebrates and actively encourages new designers and supports talented work and ideas. It has always been a pleasure to have such support from an established company within the jewellery industry, particularly from one which is pushing to break boundaries and to set trends within the trade.”
“From an early age I have always been a perfectionist about anything that I’ve been involved with on a creative level. In 1974 I entered the world of making jewellery. Here I found my niche and have never once looked back. Motivation: The brief on this was so wide and ‘colourful’ — how could anyone have resisted!”
Cindy Dennis Mangan
With her style described as modern romantic, Cindy’s speciality is platinum and diamond wedding jewellery and “show-stopping” special occasion pieces. In 2006 she qualified at the London campus of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Graduate Diamonds and Fine Jewellery Design, and launched Dennis & Lavery, her own design-led jewellery business, in 2007. Cindy was shortlisted as a finalist in the 2009 UK Jewellery Awards in the category Platinum Bridal Collection Of The Year, and sits on the National Committee of the British Jewellers’ Association (BJA).
“Since I specialise in platinum jewellery, to be part of creating this inaugural and unprecedented design-led platinum jewellery collection is a dream come true. To have an established fine jewellery retailer like PureJewels champion designers and give such a level of production support is unheard of. It is a groundbreaking concept that brings together the best from our industry and I hope that this project can be the starting point for collaboration across the fine jewellery industry, as that would be of great benefit to us all as we continue to build the UK’s reputation as world leaders in fine jewellery design.”
Anna Loucah is a bespoke jewellery designer and maker. Her work combines intricate construction with a touch of the fantastical. Having worked as a goldsmith in India and Hong Kong, Anna established her own business five years ago and creates limited edition and one-of-a-kind pieces using colourful gemstones and rich embellishment.
“I was motivated to take part in this project because the theme of ‘Journeys’, both personal and professional, has always been of great importance to me in my own creative practice. My love of travel and jewellery has impacted hugely on my work, and I continue to find them a rich source of inspiration.”