An early highlight was the fascinating lighting system being distributed by PJ Watson, which really made the diamonds sparkle in its stand windows at IJL. They are eco-friendly, economic to run and make diamonds glimmer as if they are in the brightest sunlight - I am sure they must sell themselves. More details from Laura in the next issue of Retail Jeweller.
Fei Lui is a bit of a favourite of mine, and I took the new editor of Retail Jeweller, Laura McCreddie, to his stand so she could gain some insight into my addiction.
There was some phenomenal silver pieces on the Unique stand. These guys (Jack and Daniel, who own the company) have an eye for trends, and that stand never fails to disappoint with its range of in-vogue jewellery. Thanks also to Ian, for providing me with my first glass of fizz on my final day - there were too many more!
After a lovely lunch and a tearful goodbye with Daren from Bransom, Matthew Cundy, Alex Duxbury and Joanna Dahdah, the CMJ supplied more bubbles and tears on its stand.
James Maxwell of 21st Dimension was close to tears as you can see from the photos. But pretty sure that writing all those orders for MasterCut will help him get over it.
I got asked time and time again yesterday for my “best bits” of being in charge at Retail Jeweller - you know the video clips that I’d be shown if Davina McCall was summarising my time on the job on a Channel 4 reality television programme. There’s of course all the UK Jewellery Awards, and the amazing pieces I’ve been lent to wear on stage over the years by Domino, David Marshall, Ellicott and Hirsh; the Rotary trip to Malta (twice - but only once featuring a guest’s trunks that had less material in them than a Barbie doll’s handkerchief) and Cowes (once); the many late nights in the Pickwick at Basel; the Breitling parties; the swanning around SIHH, courtesy of Cartier; the DeBeers diamond day at the races where my brother and I won twenty quid each and made so much noise people thought we’d never have to work again; the CMJ parties where I danced until my feet hurt and one where there was a shock marriage proposal; the Retail Jewellers of Ireland dos where I showed James and Aine how to bowl; Johnny Lambert’s attempt at ordering Turkish food and the trip to Antwerp where I managed to convince (with the aid of John Henn) one attendee that a sugar cube was a whopping bit of rough diamond.
Happy days, and as I write this I am starting to well up. But now heralds in a new era of Retail Jeweller – under the stewardship of Laura. She’ll be fabulous, and she has the support of my outstanding team of Kate Donovan as online editor and James Knowles as news and features writer. Together, they’ll produce a fine magazine, and as I say, I will be keeping in touch as consultant editor. Good luck everyone and – sort of – goodbye.