Former chairman of the British Jewellery and Giftware Federation Export Council and Michiko Pearls manager, Keith William Gardner, has passed away.
Gardner’s family asked Professional Jeweller to publish the following tribute:
Gardener was introduced to the jewellery trade in 1963 when he joined Maurice Lipkin as a sales representative for Lotus Pearls covering the Midlands and South Wales. Gardner soon became area sales manager and, later, sales director with responsibility for export sales.
In 1968 Gardner appeared on Midlands Today demonstrating the difference between cultured pearls and the new simulated pearls that were becoming increasing popular during this time.
In 1976, Gardner and Terry Waldron (Waldron Gardner) were commissioned to make a diamond and angel coral brooch which was presented to Her Majesty the Queen at the opening of the NEC, 1976.
Gardner went on to form his own company, Keith Gardner & Sons, in 1978 selling diamond and coloured stone jewellery. He expanded on his customer base in the Caribbean (from his time travelling with Lotus Pearls) and created an export company selling to customers in 52 different countries worldwide.
Later on, Gardner became chairman of the British Jewellery and Giftware Federation Export Council and was presented with the ACE Award for export achievement in 1979. He was responsible for encouraging many jewellery manufacturers to venture into the export market and personally led many “missions” around the world.
It was on one of these “missions” that he, and his wife Joan, purchased the initial stock for Michiko Pearls. His previous experience with Lotus Pearls proved invaluable and Michiko Pearls today serves over 450 retail jewellers in the UK and is managed by his son Richard, his wife Maureen and daughters Emma-Jane and Sarah who Gardner leaves behind.