In the last century the British shopping experience has changed beyond all recognition. We have moved from having high streets with small, family run businesses to chain stores dominating retail in town centres and also out of town malls and finally to the internet retail boom we have seen over the last decade. When it comes to jewellery, choice in town can be quite limited, with a small number of large retailers dominating the market. Nobody wants to be seen wearing the same special piece of jewellery as anyone else, so it is important to explore alternative ways of finding that special necklace or bracelet.
The high price of gold and silver in recent years means that bidding for pieces at an auction may not be the bargain it once was, but it is still a great way to pick up a unique, vintage piece of quality jewellery. All auction houses will have viewing time to allow prospective bidders to check out the lots before placing their bets, and will give a rough indication of what they expect the lots to sell for. The downside of auction buying is that it can be almost impossible to find something to match that perfect piece of enamel jewellery snapped up for a bargain price.
Having something created especially for you sounds like a very expensive option, but it doesn’t have to be. Most small jewellery designers have their own websites, so take some time to research the designers and find one whose style you like and whose prices are within your budget. The internet makes communicating with designers far easier if they are located in a different part of the world from you, as sketches and photos can be easily exchanged by email. A bespoke piece will be unique in every way and is a wonderful gift for a special occasion.
Making Your Own
Jewellery making as a craft has never been more popular and there are gold smithing and silver smithing courses across the UK. Once you have learned the basics you can shop online for supplies and start creating your own unique pieces of jewellery that you can keep for yourself or give to family and friends for birthdays or Christmas. If you really get the jewellery making bug, it may even turn into a new career for you and you can start accepting commissions from other people too.
The large retail chains of jewellers are purely retail operations and the staff do not have the knowledge or ability to make or modify items of enamel jewellery or any other type either. Small, independent stores are the best place to go for help if you have a necklace, brooch or bracelet you no longer wear and they will be able to suggest ways of using the stones or settings in other ways; for example changing a brooch into a pendant or breaking up a bracelet to use the stones and other components to make a truly individual pair of earrings.
Parriss Jewellers offer a fantastic range of enamel jewellery utilising a range of metals and precious stones.