LONDON, July 19, 2009 – Retailer Beaverbrooks was the main winner at the 2009 UK Jewellery Awards, while Shaun Leane took the coveted prize for Jewellery Designer of the Year.
Hundreds of Britain’s jewellery elite gathered in the Grosvenor House Hotel in glitzy Park Lane on July 16 to see Beaverbrooks scoop three accolades – Multiple Retailer of the Year; Retail Employer of the Year; and employee Debbie Swan won Retail Star of the Year.
Another big winner was Shaun Leane, celebrated for his darkly romantic catwalk jewellery, who won the prestigious Jewellery Designer of the Year at the gala, one of the world's premier jewellery award shows.
Leane, known for his daring catwalk creations in collaboration with fashion designer Alexander McQueen, beat off tough competition from other leading British jewellery designers Rodney Rayner, David Marshall, Alex Monroe and Tom Rucker.
Leane’s award-winning designs included his three styles of rings from the Cherry Blossom collection. The soft use of colours perfectly captures the beauty behind Leane’s inspiration from this enchanting flower.
Leane's work has been described by Sotheby's auction house as "antiques of the future."DEFYING THE DOWNTURN
Jewellers were in a defiant mood at the gala, determined to battle through the recession to better times.
"No one will deny the last 12 months have been a difficult time," Sarah Carpin, Editor of Retail Jeweller, Britain's number one jewellery trade magazine and an organiser of the event, told the exclusive gathering of retailers, designers and marketers.
"I hope tonight's awards will not have a 'party in the blitz' atmosphere," she said.
"Retail analysts are saying that by this time next year we'll be seeing real signs of growth." ITALIAN INSPIRATION
For the first time, in 2009 the event recognised the global importance of the Italian jewellery industry with the first award dedicated to recognising the best of Italian design.
Italian jewellers and brands came out in force, applauding Alessio Boschi at Autore, winner of Italian Jewellery Designer of the Year.
"We're very pleased to have been nominated and to see Italian designs appreciated," said Mattia Cielo, whose designer Massimiliano Bonoli was one of the finalists.
Platinum jewellery also held centre stage, with Britain's Simon Pure winning Platinum Bridal Collection of the Year.
Another winner to watch is Bobby White who walked away with the Young Jewellery Designer of the Year.
Other winners included Monica Vinader for the Jewellery Brand of the Year and Chanel for the Best Women’s Watch Collection.