29/04/2016 - 10:15

Bespoke is best for Perth jewellers

29/04/2016 - 10:15

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PHOTO ESSAY and MULTIMEDIA: Perth-based jewellers Linneys, Rohan Jewellery, Blennerhassett Fine Jewellers, and Vildosola Jewellery Atelier remain committed to local manufacturing, resisting the temptation to lower costs by shifting their operations offshore.

Bespoke is best for Perth jewellers
COMMITTED: Paul Burrows has worked at Linneys for 27 years. Photos: Attila Csaszar

Perth-based jewellers Linneys, Rohan Jewellery, Blennerhassett Fine Jewellers, and Vildosola Jewellery Atelier remain committed to local manufacturing, resisting the temptation to lower costs by shifting their operations offshore.

That commitment has resulted in sustained demand for their bespoke jewellery, even in the wake of the Western Australian economy’s recent contraction.

Rohan Jewellery recently opened its second store in the State Buildings on St Georges Terrace, and in doing so almost doubled its staff to about a dozen.

Owner and jeweller Rohan Milne said having a city-based location in addition to its original Leederville store opened it up to new markets, including visitors from overseas staying at the State Building’s luxury Como hotel.

In better economic times, Mr Milne’s clients included cashed up fly-in, fly-out workers and engineers, but recently he’s noticed more bankers, lawyers and international tourists.

“There’s a portion of the market that will always seek out and look for unique pieces of jewellery and we’ve stayed true to our original morals – handcrafting everything, specialising in Argyle pinks and blues. Over the years we’ve focused our business on the rare and there’s always going to be a market for that,” he said.

Linneys creative director Justin Linney agreed that there would always be an opportunity to create unique, custom-made pieces.

“We have a range of jewellery that people select from but I’d say that about 50 per cent of the time we would custom make something,” Mr Linney said.

“There is the fact that jewellery is meant to last a lifetime, unlike other products; we are a bit of a throw-away society, so we have to really think about the longevity of the piece.”

Further highlighting their appeal, Perth’s bespoke jewellers don’t consider themselves to be in competition with the big chains, such as Zamels and Michael Hill.

“There are a lot of generic shops around that just carry a huge amount of stock that’s imported from China and India and all those sorts of places,” Blennerhasset Fine Jewellers owner Susan Blennerhassett said.

“The quality of that is totally different to where we are at; therefore I don’t really look at it as being competition.”

Vildosola Jewellery Atelier founder Michael de Vildosola shared Mrs Blennerhassett’s view.

“When it is handmade watches, and handmade pieces, there’s really not that much competition,” Mr de Vildosola said.

“A lot of the big players in this industry are making 3D-printed jewellery.

“But we don’t really do that, we do it the traditional way that people have been doing it for hundreds of years, that’s the best way.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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