Bridal Q&A: Pip Beale, Charles Green

Pip-beale.jpg

Head of design on phenomenal palladium, top two tone & bling’s demise.

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 Pip Beale, head of design and marketing at Birmingham ring manufacturer Charles Green, gives us an insight into why palladium has been phenomenal, the new trend that is two-tone gold and the demise of the bling-bling culture.

Professional Jeweller: What has Charles Green found to be the biggest changes to the wedding jewellery market over the past year?
Pip Beale: For us it has been both the increase in our grooms’ wedding rings and increase in sales of palladium in the market in general.

PJ: How has Charles Green answered price sensitivity in the market?
PB: We offer all of our weds in 9ct gold, both yellow and white and palladium is a great option too, however we still find that although consumers are looking for a good price they still appreciate the value in investing into a well-made piece of jewellery as it will be with them forever.

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PJ: What has been the most popular engagement ring style at Charles Green?
PB: In the last year we have made many solitaire rings with good quality round diamonds. Other styles of interest have been pave set bands, and pave set around the diamond.

PJ: What about diamonds for men?
PB: In the gents’ market diamond-set wedding rings are down in sales. The bling culture from a few years ago, aka the David Beckham influence, has certainly died down a little in the last few years. However, eternity style wedding bands are extremely popular for brides.

PJ: And what about the metal? Which metal did best at Charles Green last year?
PB: For us palladium is the most popular metal from 2012. Palladium has been phenomenally successful. Our groom’s rings in this metal have been more successful than any other metal. We still find and believe that platinum is the metal that most brides-to-be aspire to have as both their engagement ring and wedding ring. We always have and always will shout about the benefits of platinum, especially for engagement rings and the bride-to-be’s wedding ring, but palladium is a great alternative.

PJ: PJ: Are there any new wedding ring trends coming to the fore at Charles Green?
PB: Our two-colour rings and rose rings have had a mini resurgence in the last few months, and is something we feel is going to continue in 2013. Our plain rings because of their quality or finish and competitive prices still do well, while our diamond-cut gents’ rings are the run-away success from the past year.

PJ: Charles Green recently launched more than 50 new ring styles at The Jewellery Show – how do you manage to come up with so many options?
PB: Almost all of our wedding rings are created on CAD software and we have recently invested in a 3D scanner, meaning that we can create perfect shaped-to-fit wedding bands on CAD and in-house.

PJ: While Charles Green obviously has a huge range, you still offer bespoke services – is this an area of the market that you see potential for growth in?
PB: Certainly. More than ever the bride, and more so than ever the groom, know exactly what they are looking for from both research on the internet and influences such at their mother’s or grandmother’s rings. Because we make ever ring to order in our Birmingham based workshop we are able to cater to the customer’s needs, from adding an extra diamond or 10 to designing an original matching engagement ring set from scratch to the finished product. I believe that the buyer’s individual style will be prominent in 2013 with more bespoke pieces being made, and more personal wedding rings being designed, whether these are flashier or more conservative depends on the customer.

 

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