If you live in the UK you may have seen ITV’s Diamond Geezers and Gold Dealers last week. Having worked in the London jewellery and watch industry for 10 years I was interested to see how faithfully portrayed the sector was.
To be honest I was a little surprised that the program was made in the first place, not to say that the subject matter wasn’t fascinating but more so that in an industry where violent crime and robberies are common place, that so many people would be willing to go on camera revealing their workshops and faces to the masses. I personally know many people who have been subjected to the violence that unfortunately comes as part and parcel of working in the jewellery trade and the ongoing effects this can result in should not to be made light of.
That said, the industry runs on trust and maybe that’s why people felt able to share their views without fear of reprisal. I’ve always loved that despite the exclusive and for many fear-inducing nature of the product, the artisans creating it are (in my experience) incredibly down to earth and reassuringly approachable. It’s only the retail facade of Bond Street’s boutiques that prevent all but the über rich feeling comfortable and confident exploring the product. The mark-ups in jewellery from cost price to retail are considerable and for that, most people expect a luxury experience, befitting of the item they are about to buy.
Although the glamour and allure of Bond Street will never wane for some, personally I tend to prefer a stroll through Hatton Garden. It feels more authentic and close to the source. You are much more likely to have access to the actual jewellers and not just the finished product. All my male friends who’ve been in the market for an engagement ring have ended up there and I can see why. The Bond Street customer and the Hatton Garden browser are two different camps entirely and its probably why neither one poses a threat to the other.
Its refreshing to see an artisan and largely independant industry still flourishing in central London, which in todays increasingly corporate times is perhaps even more precious than the gems themselves.
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/hisgett/5821104648/”>ahisgett</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/zongo/7901710278/”>David Holt London</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>