Legislation is vital but design should be exciting

Lynn Rodgers on the challenges of jewellery manufacture.

By Lynn Rodgers

As any designer or producer of jewellery will tell you the difficult part is selling to retail outlets, whether to small independent jewellers or multinational stores.

But first things first, we must make sure that once we start to produce jewellery anything that we make must comply with UK regulations. Buying from suppliers of silver, semi-precious and precious stones can be a real challenge and is something we at Rodgers & Rodgers always have in the forefront of our minds during production. We work closely with the Sheffield Assay Office and contact them almost daily for advice and guidance on sourcing.

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We have found that with any precious metal, irrespective of whether the design requires a hallmark or not, it must still comply to UK regulations and all the precious metal parts, including soldering, must meet the required standards in order for it to be legally sold in the UK.

Failure to ensure this can be very costly and in this climate no one can afford to make such mistakes. It can be both financially impacting and can affect a brand’s reputation.

Nickel regulations have been known to catch people out and the metal is now the most frequent cause of contact allergy in Europe. Alongside this, there are cadmium regulations to consider and new lead regulations coming into force in the UK in the autumn.

In addition, coping with the fluctuations in silver and gold prices on a daily basis makes the life of us, as jewellery designers, very interesting. In some ways it makes me wish for the days when all we were worried about was great design. Nowadays the constant challenge of the ever-changing price of metals can lie heavy on many designers’ minds but it’s an interesting and positive challenge you have to face when designing and we find it makes you more focused as a designer.

At Rodgers & Rodgers, while we remain vigilant about all the legislation that exists in this industry, we have not let it stop us from staying passionate about design.

Lynn Rodgers is the director of emerging brand Rodgers & Rodgers. This guest column was taken from the August issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue in full online, click here.



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