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Future in Europe for Jewelry Design?


#1

Is there future in europe for jewelry design and small independent
goldsmiths?

Hallo everybody,

My name is nicolas Theodoridis, independent jewelry designer/master
model maker, and setter of diamonds and gems. I run my business in
Antwerp, the city of diamonds, in Belgium. I have done this one man
show for now almost twelve years,

Doing everything in order to stay alive and continue investing in
this job as I believe a lot of you folks are doing on everyday basis
hoping that i will come to a certain level of business, that I will
have not to worry anymore for my bills, but how to finish my orders.

I love the work and I am very passionate about it, always try to
make the jewels better, improve my technique, eager to be the best.
In my small career till now I have always looked for a second job,
you know for the times that you don’t make ens meet, in the jewelry
business but I have never till now I came across one job offer,in
Europe. The last three months although till July i thought that it
will be my first year that I will make money from my profession,
business has drop to zero, it is like people do not need any jewelry
anymore.

I try to find another job, maybe to another jewellers workplace but
believe me there are no jobs out there. I have solicitate for jobs in
the U.S, that is the only country that are jobs in the jewelry
business available but I have not get a single reply back.

So my question to you people out there, is it the same for you? Are
the little people like us will disappear of the face of the earth
and all jewels will be made by big factories somewhere else? Why I
have never found a position in Europe?

I try to stay competitive, with counting every little bit in order
to be able to have sales, although my operation costs and my salary
will always will be more then one from china for example.

A lot of people gave me the advice to do something else, because
they believe that luxury goods have no future and specially for
people like me that has not the sufficient capital in order to reach
the broad and rich public.

I follow the forum already for the past 3 years maybe more and I see
that most of you people are coming from the U.S but I have not came
across any Europeans. Can somebody out there tell me what is
happening. I know that people from Europe do not exchange views so
easily and definitely do not share is like they are
scared that someone will run away with their valuable little secrets.

At the end, is there future in europe for jewelry design and small
independent goldsmiths???

With friendly greetings,
Nicolas Theodoridis
Jewelry designer/Master model maker
Setter


#2

Dear Nicolas Theodoridis,

I complete agree with you and have a few suggestions to make.

First of all, I come from a family of manufacturer and retailer
however due to lot of Imported goods coming into Europe we have
started importing since long.

I had posted on Orchid before a few days subject “How to Identify
right quality silver jewelry” and you must have seen responses!

Due to stronger Euro, compared to Dollar and surely heavily stronger
to other currencies of the world, we have seen that the Italian
Jewelry industry is not doing well. We can no longer make and sell in
our own neighbourhood due to our high “costs” and our strong “euro”.

Well to start with, being a buyer from the east and selling here,
the best place for you, in Diamond Jewelry would be to go to the
present source! from where most of the diamond jewelry is being
brought in Europe. Most of the Diamonds are Cut as well as Diamond
Jewelry is made in Mumbai, India. You can visit www.gjepc.org to find
the biggest companies manufacturing diamond jewelry and exporting to
retail chains in Europe and USA. Also there are several companies in
Hongkong who could be interested in you as a Consultant. There are
several exporters I know in India and Thailand who are looking for
Italian and European Designers to create design for them!

Also you can contact several overseas manufacturers taking part in
Basel Fair (www.baselworld.com) or JCK Las Vegas.Most of the overseas
manufacturers are looking for expereinced experts! Why dont you
contact them, may be a lucrative career is waiting for you!

You can make an online portfolio of your designs, experience, contact
and maximum possible details. It is necessary for a
designer to a web presence these days.

As per your experience in making and “being” in the market you can be
a consultant for these companies! As you have already mentioned that
you are a Jewelry Designer, there is a sea of oppurtunity waiting for
you. As you are “in” the exporters market. There are several Thai
manufacturers who send their staff to Italy for training!

There are several exporters making “Couture” High end designs who
could be interested in your Jewelry design expertise. If you contact
exporters making designs for the mass market it might not work out, so
you could contact the High End manufacturers.

If we can stand against the wind we should ride on it!

Do let me know what are your thoughts!

Thanks
Emily


#3

Hi Nikolaos,

There are a lot of non-Americans at Orchid! Even a couple of
Belgians (being such a small country that’s already a good ratio).
We’re not exactly in the same “niche” so I won’t give you any
advice.

Good luck!
Linda


#4

Hello Nicholas,

Welcome, and indeed, for many of us independents in the US, the
truth is that it can be very difficult to live by jewelry work alone.
We all compete on some level within that “global market” now, and the
mass merchandisers have a real advantage in terms of volume, and
cheaper prices than any one small independent can hope to compete
against. As our country splits into two income levels, and the middle
class becomes more conscious that the cost of living leaves very
little for extras, price points become a major selling point to a
public that wants to maintain at least appearances of a certain
lifestyle. The true value of possession is lost in the desire for
more possessions.

Our challenge is to take the thing that we truly love to do, and
educate the customers to the preservation of the truly
"hand-crafted", and unique. These skills that take time and
experience to truly master are in danger of being lost except to the
very fortunate who can afford to pay the price of time and expensive
materials. And there are alot of us all looking to sell our services
to the same group of people! If you love the work, and keep striving
to improve your work on all levels, keep networking with others in
the trade, the work will find its way to you. If you need to
supplement your income, accept the challenges that creates, and keep
doing what you love. Learn more about marketing, and keep doing what
you love. Know you are not alone on the journey.

Melissa Veres, Engraver
@M_Veres


#5

Hi there,

Sorry to hear that you feel this way - I think you should not feel
this negative - there can always be something that you can offer that
other so called bigger companies. Regarding luxury goods - I dont
think they will ever go away - for the simple reason that they are
people’s dream products - there are times when people are ready to
spe.

By the way I am a designer teacher - from India but I like to be
positive eventhough I confess there are many times you feel that it
is the end of the world - but then a new beginning always awaits.

Regards
Sonali Pratik Sheth
www.jewelsprings.com


#6

Dear Emily

Yes, I did see your previous posting and now I’ve read this reply to
Nicholas. I find the two posts to be if not contradictory so at least
inconsistent. At first it appeared as if you were to start an
import-wholesale business with some knowledge and a minimum of
experience as this was the main question in the post. Now you seem to
be well established since generations(?) with a history of imports
and tradeshows in the Far East and certainly “in business”. Which is
of these versions is the more correct?

michaela, the two man show with a Scandinavian outlook, who doesn’t
quite agree to the desciption of the European future.


#7

Hello,

Your post is very interesting to me since I too live in Europe,
France to be exact. However I am just beginning in this business and
am not a jeweler like Mr. Theodoridis.

I was fortunate to be able to attend the JCK show in Vegas this year
to get my foot in the door of I have thus learned that
not many if any are interested in giving insight into a path for a
beginning jewelry designer - so I am making my own.

I find it is not just the Euro that is high but the taxes on
imports. Your insight into the Indian & Chinese manufacturers is
crucial to just be able to compete! France’s taxes are so high and
the marking restrictions so bureaucratic that I am starting the
process in Switzerland. At I have always felt that there is always a
way to accomplish your goals and a customer for every designer.

I don’t have the financial resources or connections to create my
ideas but I do have LOTS of drawings. I met a stone dealer in
Switzerland and we are working together to create several lines
(samples & drawings) to then sell to retailers or manufacturers. I
also rent bench time at a studio in Swizerland when I can to learn
jewelry making - stone cutting, faceting, soldering, setting
whatever I can.

You mention in your email “there are several exporters I know in
India & Thailand who are looking for European Designers to create
designs for them”. Would you mind giving me some about
these manufacturers? This would be a great help to us if we could
try our luck presenting our designs to them.

You sound so positive in your email it is refreshing!

Thanks!
Beth Thompson