Platinum Guild International to shut UK office


PGI will exist as global body but will have no dedicated UK team.

The Platinum Guild International has shut down its office dedicated to the UK jewellery market.

The division of the global organisation, which is dedicated to promoting platinum to the industry and consumers, closed at the end of the December. The office was based in Hatton Garden, London’s jewellery hub.

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The Platinum Guild International will continue to operate as a global body, operating out of a base in London. While the office will be based in the UK, its staff will cater for all global markets and so will not be able to offer the same dedicated level of service to the British trade as it had before.

The UK division of the Platinum Guild International has placed itself at the heart of the UK jewellery trade and has offered numerous services to retailers and wholesale companies selling platinum jewellery, including making educational services part of its core offer. It has also become deeply involved with the industry’s tight-knit community with many of its staff well known faces to jewellers in the UK.

Nicholas Graham Smith, regional director of developing markets at Platinum Guild International, told Professional Jeweller that the closure of the UK office was in no way a reflection on the staff, or the UK platinum market.

“[It is down to] tighter budgets and investment priorities,” he said. “The key thing to say is that we are very proud of what’s been done in the UK and the team has achieved a tremendous amount for platinum. It is not a reflection on the team or the platinum industry in the UK, which continues to be an exciting one.”

Graham Smith said that some of the team will be relocated to the global office of the Platinum Guild International. He added that UK manager Ruth Donaldson will be staying on in her role until the end of January to supervise a smooth closure of the office after which time she will leave the company.

Outside of The Platinum Guild International’s global office in London, it now only has regional offices in Japan, India and the US as all European sub offices have now been closed. There are no plans to close the offices in Japan, India and the US, according to Graham Smith, who added that the Platinum Guild International will continue to focus its efforts on platinum education in developing markets such as China, which currently accounts for 70% of global platinum sales.

The final details of how the Platinum Guild International global division will service the UK market were still being worked out as Professional Jeweller went to press.

One major facet of the Platinum Guild International UK’s remit was to work with wholesalers of platinum jewellery and co-host training sessions for their retail partners. One company that it worked closely with was Birmingham’s Domino.

Andrew Sollitt, marketing manager at Domino, said that the news of the closure had come as a surprise. “In the past three or four years we’ve found the PGI a massive support,” he said. “We’ve always found them incredibly professional and enthusiastic in trying to promote platinum to consumers and the industry. It is a genuine shame that they won’t be around.”

Brown & Newirth had been on the cusp of launching a similar joint training initiative with the PGI for its retail partners. Director John Ball said that the scheme will still go ahead but that it will be led solely by B&N.

Jewellery industry business leaders BJA chief executive Simon Rainer, CMJ chief executive Willie Hamilton and IJL show director Sam Willoughby all had warm remarks to make about the team.

Rainer said: “The closure of the UK PGI office is an unfortunate consequence of world events that masks the excellent work that James and Ruth undertook. Much to Ruth’s credit, I know that her foremost concern is for the future wellbeing of the team that she assembled and for that I applaud her. Ruth has proved herself to be witty, intelligent and has earned my utmost respect. I hope that she and her team once again emerge on to the UK jewellery scene.”

Hamilton added: “Ruth Donaldson and her team did a superb job in promoting platinum jewellery within the UK jewellery industry and I have nothing but praise for Ruth’s professional leadership. Their support will be greatly missed.”

Willoughby said: “IJL have worked closely with the PGI over the years including working with them on the Platinum Trail at the show and having Ruth as an integral part of the IJL Advisory Board. Ruth Donaldson and the team have worked tirelessly to promote the benefits of platinum and helped the UK jewellers in a multitude of ways to encourage more sales of platinum jewellery. This really is a shame for the UK jewellery industry.”

This article was taken from the January 2013 issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue online, click here.



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