During the past week our news has been overwhelmed with the awful bombing in Boston and closer to home, Baroness Thatcher’s funeral, so you might not have noticed that the price of Gold fell over 20% in the space of a few days. The biggest drop in 30 years was completely unpredicted and has left some city traders very nervously checking their investments.
When we started EC One in 1997 the price of Gold was around $300 per ounce and was reasonably stable. When customers ask me to update their insurance valuations most are completely shocked at what the present replacement cost is. Over the past decade the price per ounce has climbed gently with a significant increase starting in 2008 and peaking at $1900 in 2011. This has largely been blamed on investors who sought to find a safe haven for their reserves.
Companies cashing in on buying scrap gold and holding onto to it as the gold price rose have sprung up everywhere. During the economic crisis some of the most profitable businesses have been cash for gold buyers and the traditional pawnbrokers (even Tesco got in on the act!). Before investors decided that gold was a safe haven, 80-90% of it was used in the manufacture of jewellery. In 2010, gold jewellery accounted for approximately only 54% of gold demand.
Here at EC One the price of gold can and does affect what our customers are paying on a weekly basis. Because we offer a bespoke service and mostly our jewellery is made in gold, we need to keep a very keen eye on the gold price. Unlike a lot of our competitors we make our gold and platinum jewellery in our own workshop to order and any dip in prices can benefit the customer straight away. Sadly an increasing number of jewellers have given up their workshops and buy in pre-made designs from abroad. Not only do they lose the traditional Goldsmiths skills these mass-manufactured pieces will most likely have been bought in for a price fixed 6 months previously, negating any benefit.
Over the past week we have been inundated with calls from customers who are looking to see if now would be a good time to buy that piece they have been putting off having commissioned. The drop in the past week would mean a real difference of about 15% less on a pair of wedding bands, and about 10% on a bespoke engagement ring. As I’m sure any prospective bride and groom will tell you, is a very welcome saving.
1.) Come Prepared – Try to think about what sort of piece you would like us to make. Is it a gift for a loved one, what’s their style and when will they wear it? Sometimes it helps to look through magazines on-line and rummage through the jewellery boxes at home (we can also re-work any old pieces you don’t like anymore). Whatever style you like – we have the skills to make it. Just remember we want to make a piece especially for you.
2.) Book an appointment – with one of our Goldsmiths or designers on-line or in-store. Goldsmiths are a very rare breed and we are very fortunate that not only is Jos the founder, one but we also have a team of them working in our Clerkenwell workshop. They will be able to help you with your design ideas and talk you through how we can realise the piece and what would be the best possible designs to use.
3.) Agree the design. Once we have gathered your ideas we will show you stones (diamonds!) if you are using them and then start to put together the design for you. This could be in the form of a pencil drawing, CAD render, or even a silver version of the finished piece. We will be up front about the costs and exactly how long it will take, we can change the design at this stage to make sure it is exactly what suits you.
4.) The magic begins. One of our Goldsmiths will set about making your design using the finest precious metals and precious stones in our Clerkenwell workshop. We have a viewing gallery so if you would like to watch it happening you are more than welcome. As everything is hand-made this takes many hours and requires an immense amount of hard earned skills.
5.) Try for size. Just like a bespoke suit or wedding dress, we will often ask you to come in for a fitting before we finish the piece. This is most likely to try for size but also just in case there needs to be any slight changes in the design. Once you are happy with the piece it will be set hallmarked, polished and finally checked over by our head Goldsmith before leaving the workshop.
6.) Come and collect. Your finished EC One piece is ready to collect. If you are the partner having something made then this is where you get the brownie points for buying something truly unique. We will explain how to look after your jewellery and also provide you with an insurance valuation and diamond certificate where necessary.
7.) Don’t be a stranger. As an EC One customer you are welcome to come in anytime and have your piece professionally cleaned, lightly polished and resized where necessary. You are welcome to pop by anytime as we are always pleased to see our creations.
Please contact Jos with any ideas you might have at:
firstname.lastname@example.org 0207 713 6185
In recent workshop blogs, you may have noticed us throw around terms like “CAD”, or “Computer Aided Design”. This is a new toy our goldsmiths have got their hands on, and they are so excited about it, and putting it to such good use, that we felt it deserved an introduction. So. CAD is a computer program that allows our goldsmiths to design a 3D model of a piece of jewellery on the computer before crafting it in the real world.
A lot of people aren’t aware we have a wonderful workshop at EC One: this is where we create our EC One and Jos collections, but it’s also where we create bespoke pieces commissioned by our customers. Whether it’s resizing a much-loved ring or creating an entirely new piece of your own design, our goldsmiths can offer honest, professional guidance and help you get the most out of the experience. The following little anecdote is just one example of the kinds of thing we can help with…
Welcome to the first of a new series of EC One workshop blogs – we want to let you know what we’re making, be it EC One pieces or commissions. With any luck, you’ll get an insight into the variety of jobs the workshop does, find out what goes into making the jewellery we all wear, and perhaps even get inspired to commission something special yourself…
Did you know that at our Exmouth Market shop, EC One houses a fantastic, innovative workshop? Our team of skilled Goldsmiths (including founding partner, Jos Skeates) work on the EC One collections onsite, but another key element of our workshop is crafting bespoke pieces, as commissioned by you. This can often seem a little intimidating – people assume it’s out of their price range, or that they wouldn’t know where to start. We want to keep you up to date with what our workshop is up to, to show you what we’re capable of, and how easy it is to commission a piece. And, honestly, we want to show off a little bit.
Last week, EC One was chosen as one of 20 licensed UK jewellers to work with the newly certified Fairmined gold. Today, our first 20g of the gold arrived, and we are pleased to say that EC One is officially the first UK jewellery retailer to have made a piece of jewellery from the Fairtrade Fairmined gold. EC One goldsmith and founder Jos Skeates handmade a chunky men’s wedding ring from the gold, which has today been hallmarked by the London Assay Office and will bear the official Fairtrade Fairmined hallmark.
Following an audit by independent certification body FLO-Cert on the first two South American mines to come into the Fairtrade system, the arrival of Fairmined gold is a huge step for the British jewellery industry and something EC One is honoured to involved with.