London jeweller opens entirely recycled shop

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New store Lila’s hopes to educate customers in jewellery provenance.

South London jewellery retailer Lila’s has opened its doors offering pre-owned jewellery with a shopfit made entirely from reclaimed furniture and materials.

The new shop in East Dulwich aims to educate customers in the provenance of jewellery and jewellery-making materials by offering only pre-owned pieces and educational sessions for customers. The jewellery on sale has average RRPs of £300 to £500 and includes designs from the Victorian Era, SAS pins and more contemporary pieces. All of the items sold in the store are re-finished, independently valued and if required are hallmarked at London Assay Office.

Lila’s shopfit was overseen by Four-by-Two, an international retail design company that has worked with Harvey Nichols Edinburgh, Dune and Phase Eight on recent design projects.

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The company worked to a brief to create a store that helps to raise public awareness of responsible gemstone and metals sourcing, while showcasing pre-owned jewellery for customers to buy. 

The store is named after the daughter of its founder Catalina Rosca. She said: "The gemstone market has long been overshadowed by the poor mining conditions and exploitation of its workers and to address this, the jewellery trade has lately begun to focus on fairer conditions for extracting precious stones. Yet those brands actively involved in a fairer trade are top class companies with often-prohibitive prices. The majority of the high-street jewellers are pretty vague as to the origin of their stones, so we believe that buying new jewellery puts an even greater pressure on the already turbulent mining conditions. By re-designing and re-conditioning pre-owned jewellery, Lila’s is giving back to the market and at the same time, relieving some of that pressure."

Four-by-Two used only relcaimed materials in the design and build process, sourcing 1950s furniture, factory lamps from the 1960s and adapting existing materials such as railway sleepers to form display cabinets and merchandising units.

Bespoke wallpaper was digitally printed and inspired by a drawing of a diamond solitaire and the shop’s marketing collateral has been produced using recycled paper.

A central feature of the shop is an old mining cart originally used for sourcing gold in Transylvania, an area recognised for its deposits of the precious metal, where mining activities date back to the early 17th century.

The shop also features a panning table, a cutting and polishing station, jeweller’s workbench and an old architect’s drafting board used as the cash desk. The space also features a special cabinet to showcase work by young designers who use recycled materials.

Liz Cole, senior designer at Four-by-Two said of the store design: "We set out to create a store that would be a little gemstone in the local community. It was important to hero the products and by placing a focus on education, it’s not just about selling to the public, it is about creating an immersive environment that helps them to understand more about the unique journey of the jewellery."

The 26sqm retail space took Four-by-Two three months to complete from initial brief to finished design.
 

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