Your ultimate guide to the jewellery world’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, helping to bring a little more sparkle to lockdownApril 10, 2020 By Rachael Taylor
Staying home and sticking to government guidelines is the best thing we can do right now; to protect ourselves, to protect others and to protect our health services. The Coronavirus pandemic has thrust us into uncertain times, but the jewellery world has been quick to react with a whole host of initiatives to raise funds and our spirits.
From companies like Bulgari and LVMH switching from producing perfumes to hand sanitiser, to the inspiring digital events being run by jewellery private members’ club Gem X, there are good news stories a plenty to be found in the jewellery world.
And for those of us lucky enough to still be working, and saving all sorts of cash by staying indoors, many jewellers are using this time to tempt us with special deals and discounts. It might seem like a time when we shouldn’t be shopping, but fine jewellery is an investment in the future, and this could be the perfect moment to get a great deal on a forever piece and support a jeweller in these difficult times.
So, here is our edit of the latest jewellery deals, competitions, digital events and charitable doings to brighten up your lockdown. Keep checking back as this article will be updated in real time, and for a schedule of digital jewellery events, keep an eye on our Calendar page.
One jewel for you, one free for a friend
This is a time for altruism, and for small gestures of kindness – especially towards friends we haven’t seen for a while. Hands up if you’ve received or randomly posted a gift to a friend during lockdown (we certainly have 🖐). It is also a time when we need little luxuries for ourselves, to raise our spirits in difficult times. With this is mind, jewellery brand Leo With Love has created a special lockdown offer for the month of June. Buy a piece of jewellery for yourself, and it will send a piece of Leo With Love jewellery to one of your friends – for free. To take advantage of this offer, make your purchase of any jewel from its website – including the very cool, customisable recycled silver #CRONXGIRL earrings (that’s Cronx as in Croydon, not a typo on Bronx, FYI). Then, post a selfie of yourself wearing it on social media with the hashtag #leolovesyou. The brand will then get in touch to find out which of your buddies you are missing the most and send a piece of jewellery directly to them for free. After all, friends who jewel together, stay together. Oh, and we should also mention that right now everything on the Leo With Love website is 20% off, with free shipping. It just keeps getting better.
Taxi! Straight to Hirsh, please
Less of a deal, and more of a brilliant service born of these unusual times, luxury London jeweller Hirsh is launching its very own cab service. As of next month, you can now have your Hirsh purchases delivered to your home courtesy of its very own branded electric taxi (should you live within the M25). The on-brand blue chariot will be fully sanitised before each journey, and filled with hand sanitiser, gloves and masks. For special appointments, the taxi can also deliver the sales team, who will use the cab to attend socially distanced outdoor appointments for customers who wish to discuss their gem requirements face to face-masked face. With the news that jewellery shops will be allowed to reopen on June 15th, 2020, the taxi will then also be used to ferry customers to the new Hirsh store – nay, Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse – on London’s Conduit Street, creating a safer journey for those keen to avoid public transport as lockdown eases. And should you inevitably have developed some degree of fear of indoor spaces other than your own (who would have thought supermarkets could put us so on edge?), you can enjoy your time at the boutique in its very own garden – a haven of outdoor space just off Bond Street.
Something for you, something for disadvantaged kids
A discount for you, plus a donation to a charity, all wrapped up in one handy code – does it get better than this? Until May 10th, 2020, Los Angeles-based fine jeweller Dale Hernsdorf is offering 20% off its jewellery with the code APCH20, but what’s even better is that 20% of any purchase you make using this code will then be donated to charity A Place Called Home. The philanthropic organisation works to improve the lives of disadvantaged kids in Los Angeles by providing a safe environment for them to explore arts, education and wellness programmes.
Get 20% off at Ellie Air
Down in Dorset, Lauren Rowden, the designer behind the chic gold jewellery brand Ellie Air, is still hard at work. All of her handmade jewels are still available for sale through her website, and to tempt us all there is 20% off absolutely everything bought online, including engagement rings. The ever-sensible Rowden is only making one trip to the post office a week at the moment, to help limit time spent outside her home as per the government guidance, so there may be a little wait for your delivery. However, we always think that a piece of Ellie Air jewellery is worth the wait.
Clogau shuts shops but opens online sale
Welsh gold jewellery brand Clogau has, like all other jewellers, had to shut its network of stores. However, you can still shop online at Clogau.co.uk, where you will find lots of deals to be had. Clogau is offering 20% off all of its jewellery online, and is also running a huge sale with 30% off many items. Good news if you’re a key worker – you get an additional 20% off these sale items. Shoppers signed up to its newsletter will also receive a mystery code that will give you anywhere between 10% and 50% off your next Clogau purchase. And should you want to pass some of those savings on to a good cause, you can donate directly to the NHS through Clogau’s website.
Lark & Berry offers NHS discount
During the month of April, lab-grown diamond jewellery brand Lark & Berry is offering all NHS staff 40% off its jewellery. All you need to do, should you work for the NHS, is message the brand directly to generate a personal discount code. Lark & Berry will also be giving away 25 free piercings, with a gold and lab-grown diamond earring included, to NHS staff when its London store reopens. This will be on a first-come-first-served basis, so get messaging the brand to let them know you’re interested.
Swap a tiara for a rainbow at Robinson Pelham
London jeweller Robinson Pelham’s motto is “life, energy, colour” and it’s one that we would all do well to get behind in these times. And what is more uplifting than a rainbow? Oh, wait… that’s right – a rainbow-sapphire rainbow, of course. Even better, this joyous jewel to make a donation of at least £2 to The National Emergencies Trust in exchange for its bespoke tiara colouring template. To be in with a chance of winning the 18ct gold rainbow necklace, worth £600, just fill in the blanks. The competition has already raised more than £3,660 and a winner will be selected in June, so get scribbling. For the competitive among us, our advice would be: the brighter, the better.
Join in with Annoushka’s #CharmofHope competition
With our lives slowing right down and lots of time spent indoors, now is the moment to discover your inner creative – or to push your creativity to new levels. If you are looking for a bit of inspiration on this front, why not set yourself the challenge of entering jewellery brand Annoushka’s #CharmofHope competition? To be in with a chance of winning a very personal Annoushka talisman, you must first create your own charm. Entrants are invited to “sketch, scribble, paint or mould” a design that has personal meaning to them and then share it on Instagram using the #CharmofHope hashtag and tag in @annoushkajewellery – or for the shy ones among us, email it to email@example.com. The winner, which will be picked on May 22nd, 2020, will have their charm made for them by the team at Annoushka, and three runners up will receive £200 vouchers to spend on its jewels.
Design a piece of Clogau jewellery and win £1,000
Welsh gold jewellery brand Clogau is running a competition asking its fans to use their time in lockdown creatively and design a jewellery collection. The competition is open to both adults and children, and winning designs will be made in precious metals and launched by Clogau across its stores this autumn. As well as being gifted a piece of jewellery from your collection – and having the prestige of being a jewellery designer – winners will also receive £1,000 prize money. There will be one winner from the adult’s entries and one from the children’s entries. The winning designs will be hand selected by Clogau managing director Ben Roberts. To enter, you must design a jewellery collection – with a minimum of three pieces (i.e. a necklace, ring and earrings) and email your designs to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on May 15th, 2020.
Polly Wales raises £2,000 for charity and gives away studs
Colouring competitions are all over social media in lockdown, but as you might expect with Polly Wales’ community, things got extra creative when the British-born, Los Angeles-based jeweller launched her own. The #PWinColor competition asked the jewellery brand’s fans to make a donation to charity No Kid Hungry in order to download a Polly Wales colouring sheet, inspired by its gem-encrusted skull rings. As well as the standard rainbow of penned and pencilled sheets, entrants also used the template to create cakes, face masks, and – in the case of winner Whitney, a freelance stylist– an embroidered denim jacket. The initiative raised more than £2,000 for No Kid Hungry, a charity that aims to feed disadvantaged kids in the US during lockdown and beyond, and Whitney walked away with a pair of gold and ruby Polly Wales earrings.
Omi Privé’s ‘superhero’ sapphire giveaway
Do you know a key worker who needs a boost right now? If so, why not enter them into gemstone jewellery specialist Omi Privé’s Superhero Giveaway. It is asking for submissions of “superhero stories” that detail “bravery, selflessness, and courage in these difficult times”. The most compelling tale will win a white gold, sapphire and diamond pendant worth more than £5,000. Head to its website for all the details.
Win a piece of bespoke Charlotte Cornelius silver jewellery
To be in with a chance of winning a piece of Charlotte Cornelius jewellery, all you have to do is design it yourself. Daunting, right? Although the team at Charlotte Cornelius promise that it is “just a bit of fun” and encourage entrants to “give it a go, be bold”. To help channel your creativity, there is a theme for the competition. All jewellery designs submitted must be inspired by the concept of ‘staying connected’. Designs can be literal or abstract, and can be any type of jewellery. The winning creation will be made in silver by Charlotte Cornelius’s in-house goldsmiths and presented to the winner.
Design your own Carrie Elizabeth jewel
Jewellery brand Carrie Elizabeth is running a competition to design your own jewel. More than just a drawing competition – though you will have to submit your design either drawn by hand or digitally created – your jewel is in with a chance of being made, as the designer is hoping to use the competition to create a collaborative collection with its fans. As well as the glory of being a jewellery designer, other prizes include £250 of Carrie Elizabeth vouchers, £500 in cash and a finished version of the jewel itself.
A pick-me-up vintage playlist for lockdown
Emma de Sybel, founder of vintage jewellery dealer Baroque Rocks, is known for her effervescent personality and quirky gold jewels, but did you know she’s a huge music fan too? In a bid to keep our spirits up during lockdown, de Sybel has jumped on Spotify to create an upbeat series of playlists that she’s titled Isolation Beats (there’s an A side, and a B side for those of you who can remember what that means). It’s an eclectic mix of dancefloor fillers, from the Bee Gee’s staying alive to MC Hammer’s Can’t Touch This, and guaranteed to put a smile on your face as you work from home, school the kids, repeatedly clean your bathroom or just use powerful visualisation techniques to imagine that you are anywhere else other than stuck at home, again. Each track, just like Baroque Rock’s jewellery, has a vintage charm to it, and we’d highly recommend a listen.
Join Chaumet on a virtual trip through the archives
There has never been a better time to buff up on your jewellery knowledge, and French maison Chaumet is opening up its archives online. Grab a moment of escapism as you explore 12 iconic pieces of Chaumet jewellery through its #ChaumetatHome campaign. Twice a week, the luxury brand will present an episode dedicated to one jewel, which you can find on its Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts. The selection of these precious items was somewhat of a challenge, as rather than just picking the prettiest pieces, the team at Chaumet set themselves the task of trying to convey 240 years of the house’s history in these jewels. Tune in to see what they pick; we’d expect a tiara or three to make the edit.
Zoom your way to a better jewellery business
Lockdown can be isolating in so many ways. We miss friends, we miss restaurants, we miss the theatre; and for business owners, we can also miss out on inspiration. Juliet Hutton-Squire and Maia Adams have been serving up a steady stream of inspiration through their dedicated jewellery trends analysis business Adorn Insight since 2011. Always ones to flow with the trends, they have launched a new service for jewellery professionals stuck indoors who might be lacking motivation or pondering how best to move their business forward in these unusual times. Titled Adorn Bitesize, the new service offers jewellers a one-hour Zoom session with the founders, during which they will brainstorm, problem solve and offer up their expert advice. Best of all, 15% of all profits from Adorn Bitesize will be donated to charity Refuge, which helps protect women and children against domestic violence.
Print your own Bulgari at home
Sounds like the dream, right? With this little lockdown initiative you won’t quite be faced with the real thing when the printer has finished whirring, but you will have a lovely image of a Bulgari jewel ready to be coloured in. The Italian jewellery house has created colouring sheets based on some of its iconic jewellery, watches and handbags. Just download, print, colour in and you have your very own piece of bespoke Bulgari (on paper, at least).
Gem X brings jewellery insiders into your home
Private members’ jewellery social club Gem X, which has chapters in both London and New York, has been running a series of online events since lockdown, cleverly titled Gemflix. The group, which usually corrals jewellery lovers and experts together in a series of well-curated private viewings, dinners and real-life events, has made a seamless shift to the digital world in these uncertain times. The mostly Zoom-based sessions, which have included interviews with David Webb archivist Levi Higgs and a studio tour of Loren Nicole‘s Los Angeles studio, are free to attend for everyone – not just members. Though Gem X encourages viewers to make a charitable donation to its GoFundMe page that is raising money for Doctors Without Borders. For a list of upcoming Gemflix sessions, head to our Calendar page.
Annoushka launches virtual book club
Jewellery designer Annoushka Ducas, the designer behind the Annoushka brand, has teamed up with publisher Penguin Books to launch #annoushkabookclub. Over three months, Ducas will encourage her following to collectively read a book – starting with Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. Members of the club can join the discussion online by using the hashtag, and at the end of each month, Ducas will host an Instagram Live discussion with the author of that month’s book, with book club members encouraged to put forward their own questions.
Tomfoolery to host annual alt.BRIDE online
In the new lockdown landscape, London fine jewellery boutique Tomfoolery has not cancelled its annual alternative bridal jewellery event but moved it online. Each year it teams with independent jewellers to curate what must be one of the largest and most diverse offerings of alternative engagement rings. This year, you can view them all online at its website, and keep an eye on its Instagram feed for special digital happenings such as a virtual trunk show with jewellery designer Ruth Tomlinson.
Jewellery house teams with charity to help Indian artisans
India has been one of the jewellery communities hardest hit by the Coronoavirus outbreak. With many artisans working in close conditions and living hand to mouth, lockdown has made this way of life unsustainable. To help raise funds to support some of the most vulnerable artisan communities in India, Van Gelder Indian Jewellery has teamed up with Tiny Miracles. The charity aims to break the poverty cycle in India by proving access to work, training locals to create products sold in high-end stores around the world. To raise funds in this crucial time, it has collaborated with Van Gelder Indian Jewellery to create an armlet with a motif inspired by the Jali Sutra, a latticed screen motif that is a symbol of future opportunities. During the pandemic, 100% of proceeds from the brass Window of Opportunity arm amulets, strung on a black or red cord, will go to provide emergency relief in India. Once COVID-19 has eased and artisans can return to work, the partnership will continue as Tiny Miracles communities will be trained how to make the design, providing a window of opportunity for them to generate an income and stay above the poverty line.
Give a roar for the NHS and help cancer patients in lockdown
Lockdown has led Harriet Morris to relocate her workshop from The Goldsmiths’ Centre in London to her parents’ shed in Kent, but it hasn’t slowed her productivity any, and her latest jewellery project has an altruistic focus. Inspired by the frontline healthcare workers who have been battling to keep us all well during the pandemic, Morris (a self-confessed “The Jewellery Cut groupie” – which we love, by the way) decided to create a series of medallions to celebrate their bravery. And what says fierce better than a bear? “The designs have come from a process of cutting and pasting jewellery motifs in wax,” says Morris. “The Fantasy rings I make in this way are whimsical, and it has been a new challenge to keep the spirit of joy in the pieces but give them some gravitas and meaning.” The resulting bear medallions are available in silver or bronze and can be worn as a pendant or a pin. Best of all, 100% of the profits from this line of jewels will be donated to Hope For Tomorrow, a charity that operates a fleet of mobile cancer care units, which are needed more than ever in these times of restricted movements.
Goldsmiths’ supports 450 British jewellers with £700k
The Goldsmiths’ Company has been a financial haven for jewellers struggling because of the pandemic. In April, the livery company pledged to open up a fund of £1 million to jewellers in need, and since then – after a huge number of applications – it has awarded grants totalling £700,000 to people working in the craft, trade and allied industries who are facing financial hardship because of the current crisis. The grants were aimed at the self-employed, sole traders or those running micro-businesses, and more than 450 people have benefitted from receiving a grant of £1,500 from The Goldsmiths’ Company. Originally, the £1 million pot was to be split equally between grants and interest-free loans, but with an unexpectedly high demand for grants and the introduction of the government’s Bounce Back business loan scheme, more than 70% was instead dedicated to grants and the loan element of the fund was dropped. New prime warden Richard Fox, who took on what is the equivalent of a chairman’s role at The Goldsmiths’ Company in late May, has promised that the organisation is now considering how best to utilise the remainder of the fund “to support the future of our trade”.
A helping hand for one of Italy’s worst-hit areas
Bergamo has become a well-known name in the battle against Coronavirus, as one of Italy’s most affected cities. Italian humanitarian organisation Cesvi has been working hard to help the city’s hospitals to buy essential equipment, through financial donations. To assist in its efforts, Italian jewellery brand Le Kadeau has pledged to donate half the income from its online store to Cesvi. This #lekadeauforbergamo fundraising drive started in early April and will continue until June. To encourage shoppers to join in, Le Kadeau is also offering 10% off all online purchases of its jewellery at this time, which includes innovative kinetic fine jewels.
Absorb negative energy while supporting design talent
As part of its efforts to fill up the coffers of its #Auvertureunited charitable fund, which will help independent jewellery designers navigate frugal times during the pandemic, Auverture has released specially created bracelets. The first, in what promise to be a series of seven Rainbow bracelets, is a collaboration between Auverture founder Bibi van der Velden and Dutch ethical gemstone jewellery brand Maqé. The unisex Malachite Green bracelet verdant-hued Maqé hand-knotted macramé bracelet that attached to a 14ct recycled gold cage containing a cut of malachite- a gem that is elieved to open the heart and absorb negative energy. Just 50 of these limited-edition bracelets have been made, and all the proceeds will go to the #Auvertureunited fund.
Alice van Cal’s black hearts are doing good
A black heart might inspire visions of someone treacherous and uncaring, but Alice van Cal’s black hearts are in fact the complete opposite of this. The jewellery designer has created a pair of rhodium-plated 18ct gold and black diamond halos – designed to be worn over stud earrings – that will raise funds for charitable causes helping others in during the Coronavirus pandemic, including WellChild Charity. Rather than just a smidge of the proceeds being siphoned off for charity, in this case 100% of the of the profits will be donated.
Clogau raises £65,000 for the NHS
Welsh jewellery brand Clogau has taken its lockdown fundraising seriously, with multiple initiatives on the go at once to raise much-needed funds for our health heroes. That dedication has paid off, and the brand has announced that it has raised more than £65,000 for the NHS, which will go to NHS Charities Together, an overarching federation of 250 charitable organisations that support the NHS. In addition to this, Clogau has also lent its 3D printer to a local secondary school student to allow him to manufacture PPE, and has also been sourcing face masks and donating them to local care homes.
Raise money for the NHS with a Hamsa hand
London-based jewellery brand Drajée has joined in the fundraising efforts for the NHS by promising to donate 20% of the sale price of its 18ct yellow gold Hamsa Hand bracelets to the NHS COVID-19 Appeal. The brand chose this particular design as the Hamsa hand is a symbol of luck and protection – something we could all benefit from right about now. On top of this, Drajée is also donating 10% of all its online sales charity, splitting the cash between the NHS COVID-19 Appeal and The Trussell Trust, an organisation that is battling against hunger in the UK and working to end the need for food banks.
Graff donates $1m to support the World Health Organisation
The Graff Foundation – the charitable arm of legendary diamond house Graff – has donated $1 million to help the battle against Coronavirus. The money has been given to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) efforts to coordinate the global response to the pandemic. The donation will help WHO to track and understand the spread of the virus, accelerate testing and the development of a vaccine, and support frontline health workers with up-to-date health information and PPE.
De Beers pledges $200,000 to women’s support organisations
During the pandemic, diamond miner De Beers has focused on aiding the countries from which it sources its rough diamonds. To date, De Beers has donated more than $5 million in total to help the battle against Coronavirus. It has just added an extra $200,000 to this pot and has ringfenced it for women’s support organisations in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa. The donation, which will be split equally across the countries, will be used to help women and girls in dangerous situations, following a rise in violence against women during the global lockdown.
Bulgari to supply NHS with hand sanitiser
Luxury house Bulgari has been a champion of medical staff during the pandemic, starting with a significant donation to the Spallanzani Hospital in Rome to acquire a new state-of-the-art microscope to study the virus and aid the development of a vaccination. It has also put its perfume factories to the task of creating hand sanitiser, with 50 of its staff voluntarily manning the factory to produce 20,000 bottles a day. Now the UK will benefit from this philanthropic shift. In May, Bulgari will donate 160,000 75ml bottles of hand sanitiser to the NHS, allowing frontline staff to keep sanitiser on their person at all times.
VRAI donates 10% of Diamond Bezel collection to No Kid Hungry
With schools closed in lockdown, some children aren’t just missing out on an education, they are also missing out on what might be the only regular meal they get day to day. To ensure that no child in the US goes hungry in these times, charity No Kid Hungry is raising funds to feed children in need when schools are closed – and beyond. Aiding this programme, lab-grown diamond brand VRAI is donating 10% of all sales of its 14ct gold and lab-grown diamond Diamond Bezel jewellery collection to No Kid Hungry. And any donations made in April to the charity will be matched by PepsiCo up to $1 million.
Vanleles collection to raise funds for The Malaika Foundation
Luxury jewellery brand Vanleles has pledged to support The Malaika Foundation with it’s The Nile collection. Vanleles will be donating 100% of the proceeds from this collection to the charity, founded by model and humanitarian Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, which works to empower Congolese girls and their communities through education and health programmes. This is a charity close to the heart of Vanleles founder and creative director Vania Leles, who visited a school set up by the foundation in 2018 and was “was truly impressed by its programmes and the transformative impact the Foundation had on an entire community”. Leles hopes the donations she plans to make through the sale of her gold and diamond The Nile collection will help to bolster the charity, which continues to educate 346 girls and feed their families despite facing plummeting donations.
Kastur Jewels to donate half of online sales to charity
Indian-inspired contemporary jewellery brand Kastur Jewels will be donating 50% of any sales made online to charity during April. For many independent jewellers it can be a tough call whether to keep going through this crisis or to shut down temporarily. After much debate, Kastur Jewels founder Rajvi Vora decided to push on ahead, but with a charitable twist. By making a purchase through the Kastur Jewels website, not only will you be helping the brand continue to support the Indian artisans it works with, but also 50% of the sale will be donated to a charity of your choice. Vora has lined up a number of charities for you to choose from at checkout, focusing on those battling Covid-19 in Britain (where the brand is based), India (where it’s jewels are made) and Kenya (Vora’s home).
Sarah Ho collection to raise funds for ICU
Jewellery designer Sarah Ho has pledged to donate 100% of the profits from a new jewellery collection to the Intensive Care Society, which looks after patients who need ventilation, as well as the Intensive Care Unit doctors, nurses and other health professionals who need support during these challenging times. The philanthropic Love collection features 18ct gold and diamond earrings that spell out ‘love’ in a cursive script, with a choice of white, yellow or rose gold. The collection has started with English, but Ho says she is working on other languages. While there is a slight delay on delivery of these earrings, due to the workshop being impacted by lockdown, the donations to the Intensive Care Society will be made immediately.
Auverture creates fund for jewellery designers in need
Auverture, the online fine jewellery store masterminded by jewellery designer Bibi van der Velden, has created #auvertureunited, an emergency fund to help the independent jewellery designers listed on its site. The designers selling through the store, of which there are more than 60, will be able to make an application to Auverture for financial aid to help ensure they keep trading through the Coronavirus pandemic. To kickstart the initiative, Auverture has donated €10,000 and has pledged to donate all proceeds from sales over the next three months to the fund. It is now also fundraising to top it up. “The funds will start being distributed as the funds grow and we assess each designer’s need of support,” says van der Velden. “We also realise that we need all the support out there from the industry and customers to really make an impact with the fund. We have invested in a marketing and PR strategy to support and help raise more funds over the coming months ahead.”
De Beers to donate $2.5m to Botswana and Namibia
Diamond miner De Beers has pledged to donate $2.5 million to the Covid-19 response in Botswana and Namibia, two of the main sources of its rough diamonds. The miners has said that it will work I conjunction with local governments to ensure that the money is spent on the “procurement of medical supplies, logistical support, vulnerability assessment support plans, food security for vulnerable households, water supply to communities, community COVID-19 awareness and education, and local clinical support”.
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