London Jewellery Week is back

Royal Bank of Scotland-owned Coutts originally signed up to a three-year deal to sponsor London Jewellery Week.

Coutts may be gone but London’s biggest show of jewellery will go on.

Coutts London Jewellery Week was a big-budget event, and for most retailers and designers, a big expense. But now the backer with all the money has pulled out, will there be a London Jewellery Week without Coutts? We hear so.

Royal Bank of Scotland-owned Coutts originally signed up to a three-year deal to sponsor London Jewellery Week, but the commitment it made coincided with the beginning of the financial meltdown. So now, as a result of the many constraints on the banking sector, it has had to withdraw as the principle sponsor for what would have been its third year.

A spokesperson for the bank said: “I’m afraid that while were view all sponsorships periodically, the climate has forced us to look even harder at a number of our headline sponsorships, and while it has been a very difficult decision to make, we came to the conclusion that we were unable to continue as the principal sponsor of London Jewellery Week for the third consecutive year.”

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The statement hints at some other level of sponsorship but no details have emerged. Coutts is, however, sponsoring London Fashion Week; an event many in the industry have hoped London Jewellery Week will one day equal.

Along with the withdrawal of Coutts came the withdrawal of London Jewellery Week’s original organiser, PR company The Communication Group. It seems that without a headline sponsor, the event won’t be on a large enough scale to make it worthwhile for the group to organise.

The Communication Group director Charlotte Hastings said: “[Without Coutts] it will be a very small version of how the project would have been previously, so the style of the event will have to change.”

Despite these two big players pulling out, it seems that London Jewellery Week will live on, thanks to the efforts of the British Jewellers’ Association (BJA), the team behind exhibition Treasure, Hatton Garden, Green Street Jewellers’ Association and The Goldsmiths’ Company.

As well as the money garnered from Coutts’ sponsorship, London Jewellery Week was part funded by the London Development Agency through initiative City Fringe Partnership. The City Fringe Partnership ceased trading in June last year, the same month as the final Coutts London Jewellery Week, but there is still some money left in the pot for Jewellery Week 2010 as part of the project’s original funding.

The sum of money is thought to be about £160,000. While this seems a sizeable sum, it is a huge step down from the £700,000 budget drummed up last year through sponsorship, and obviously, as The Communication Group noted, the style of the event will have to change.

The BJA, Treasure, The Green Street Association and the Goldsmiths’ Company have been working together to secure the leftover funding and have now had verbal confirmation, as Professional Jeweller went to press, that they will receive the money to ensure that London Jewellery Week will go ahead this year.

BJA manager of PR, marketing and exports Lyndsey Straughton said that the money will be used for event support such as advertising, catalogues and running a website, not to pay wages or external PR teams. She added: “We as the BJA have never taken any money out of London Jewellery Week. We’ve been an ambassador from the start, and there are people who feel that way about London Jewellery Week.”

With a reduced budget, the group has decided to focus on four core London Jewellery Week events: Treasure, the Goldsmiths’ Hall, the Green Street Festival and the Hatton Garden Festival.

However, the group is encouraging retailers and designers to get involved and will support those who do so with PR orchestrated by The Goldsmiths’ Company and freelance consultant Joe Hannam Maggs, who worked on Coutts London Jewellery Week last year. This means lower running costs; a saving that the new organisers say they will pass on to those getting involved in London Jewellery Week.

Although no prices for PR packages have been drawn up, the new organisers are off erring assurances that it will be significantly cheaper for retailers and designers to take part than ever before – a common bugbear about the event when it was run by The Communication Group.

Goldsmiths’ Company marketing and advertising manager David Mills said: “We’re encouraging everybody to have their own events, to make it citywide, and we’ve had a very good response from those we’ve spoken to.”

Mills said that the new London Jewellery Week team will be working on sponsorship opportunities for the event in the run up to June with the aim of securing a “high-profile headline sponsor” for Jewellery Week 2011.

>> Want to get involved with London Jewellery Week? Email ljw@thegoldsmiths.co.uk

BRITISH JEWELLERY WEEK

British Silver Week organiser Gordon Hamme could offer an alternative to London Jewellery Week with the launch of British Jewellery Week in 2010. The project is at very early stages but if it goes ahead the event will run alongside British Silver Week in June, which will be in its third year in 2010.

Hamme is hoping to attract a curated group of about 40 British jewellery designers to take part in a touring exhibition showing at retailers around the country. Retailers wishing to put on an exhibition will be able get in touch with Hamme, select pieces from the designers he has on board and then use these to create an exhibition in their stores. The theory is that the jewellery will be available for sale while it is on tour.

Hamme said: “We’re recruiting jewellers and event holders. I’m kicking it off quite slowly and seeing if people are into it, and they seem to be.”

>> Want to get involved with British Jewellery Week? Visit britishsilverweek.co.uk

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