Bridal Q&A: David Shem-Tov, Stubbs & Co

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Manufacturer on micro-set diamonds, building a suite and more bling.

The February 2013 issue of Professional Jeweller is dedicated to the wedding jewellery market and the emerging trends and market evolutions that will shape it in 2013. Here David Shem-Tov, managing director of ring manufacturer Stubbs & Co, talks to us about expanding its ranges, the increasing popularity of micor-set diamond wedding bands and why he is hoping for more bling in 2013.

Professional Jeweller: What have you found to be the main changes to the wedding market over the past year?
David Shem-Tov: We have seen a reduction in lower gold carat sales, with a corresponding increase in bespoke diamond-set rings and higher value sales, particularly in platinum.

PJ: How has Stubbs & Co catered for price-conscious wedding jewellery shoppers?
DS-T: We introduced a lightweight court profile version and smaller widths on some of the others. We increased the range of styles and gauges available in palladium, especially for men.

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PJ: What are the bestselling engagement rings at Stubbs & Co at present?
DS-T: Classic diamond solitaires continue to be popular. The trend toward pave-set detailing is also strongly prevalent in the market.

PJ: Are diamond-set wedding bands still going strong?
DS-T: Our micro-set diamond circle rings are very popular for ladies. We do not see much demand for diamond-set gents’ bands.

PJ: How important do you believe it is important to have an engagement ring and wedding ring that have a flush fit?
DS-T: Very important. Virtually all of our engagement mounts and eternity rings use the same profiles as the wedding bands so all suites have a perfect fit. All freehand design concepts for solitaires and eternity rings are transformed into digital CAD-CAM files. This enables us to maintain precision and conformance with the existing profiles used in our wedding rings.

PJ: Which metals have been most in demand over the past 12 months?
DS-T: Palladium continues to be popular with gents, we have seen an increase in sales. For ladies there is an increase in platinum sales at the expense of 18ct white gold.

PJ: What product launches are you working on in this market at the moment?
DS-T: Increasing the bridal suite ranges, including pendants, that complement the engagement, wedding and eternity bands.

PJ: We have noted an increase in demand for bespoke wedding jewellery – do you see that as a trend that still has growth?
DS-T: Absolutely. Consumers are becoming more demanding and want to be more involved in the creation of their jewellery. We have developed ConfigureRing, a software tool that can be used by a sales person in a consultative sales presentation to help consumers do just that.

PJ: And finally, do you believe that 2013’s wedding shoppers be flashier than 2012?
DS-T: Increasing consumer interest in celebrity lifestyles and events is spilling over into peoples’ plans for their weddings. There is the tug-of-war between the classic elegance of a royal wedding and the Hello magazine celebrity extravaganza. With the economy hopefully on the mend, those choosing the former will go for classic elegance on a more lavish scale whist the latter brides may opt for increased bling.

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