April 4th, 2018 | Julia Braime
Through our pretty pages we’ve often promoted The Biscuit Factory as a cool urban choice of venue for North East wedding couples, though it can be of service to brides and grooms in more ways than one.
Beyond its fabulous function spaces, The Biscuit Factory houses the UK’s largest independent contemporary art, craft and design gallery, featuring impressive work by both local and national artists with pieces ranging from paintings, prints and ceramics to furniture, homewares and jewellery.
Not only is the art showcased and admired through exhibitions, but numerous items are also available to buy at the Newcastle-based gallery or online. For wedding couples with an appreciation of art this means the option of setting up a gift account in the gallery, for a wedding present wish list with a difference.
Furthermore, through its impressive jewellery collections, brides and grooms can also source beautifully bespoke gifts for one another and their bridal party, and can even have wedding and engagement rings specially commissioned by jewellers based at the gallery.
We’ll now hand over the blog to The Biscuit Factory’s jewellery curator, Megan Collier, to tell us more about the options, including the latest Botanical Collection of jewellery with stunning handmade pieces inspired by the natural world.
Can you give us a brief overview of the jewellery collections that The Biscuit Factory houses?
megan says: The Biscuit Factory houses one of the largest collections of contemporary handmade jewellery in the North of England. Our pieces are carefully curated each season and are all handmade, original and unique. From affordable statement pieces to high-value wedding bands – we stock a variety of jewellery from the UK’s most talented designers and makers.
How do you choose the designers that you stock/exhibit and do these change from season to season?
We have a few makers who are firm favourites in the gallery and have been with us for years, such as Jessica Briggs, Fran Stunt and Jill Stewart. Their work never fails to be popular with our audiences! Aside from that, I try to bring in a selection of new jewellers for each seasonal show to make sure the collection is fresh and exciting. I tend to find these through hunting online or looking at other galleries and trade fairs. Instagram has a wealth of new and exciting designers to discover so is always a good place to start! I try to look for designers who are doing something a little different or innovative with their work, so the collections at The Biscuit Factory are always giving our audience something new to discover.
Can you tell us about the current Botanical Jewellery collection?
The spring show seemed like the perfect time to explore the world of botanical jewellery, putting the spotlight on artists who take inspiration from the natural world at the time of year when everything is starting to bloom and flourish.
Botanics is a theme explored by many jewellers in many different ways, and our new collection perfectly showcases the diverse range of styles, materials and techniques that makers have used to interpret this theme, each coming up with entirely unique results. Some of the collections have even been specially created just for The Biscuit Factory, too.
From Sue Gregor, who uses real plants in her bright bold acrylic jewellery, to Farrah Al-Dujaili’s Oddical collection made from cutting-edge 3D printing – the jewellers in this show experiment with their craft and break from traditional methods of jewellery making. For this reason, the Botanical Collection appeals to a wide audience.
There are subtle, floral pieces like Yuki Kokai or Lisa Rothwell-Young’s collections, for those who like their jewellery elegant and understated, but there is also bold, statement jewellery, such as Lauren Bell Brown’s Grimms fairy-tale inspired collection, created using handcrafted wax carvings and cuttlefish castings combined with needlepoint embellishment.
Award-winning jeweller John Moore, meanwhile, captures the essence of feathers and the repeating patterns of fish and plants in his decorative Flight and Elytra pieces; and Nettie Birch of nbNg makes fold formed jewellery using aluminium, copper and Sterling silver to create beautiful flowing organic shapes.
Couples have been known to have wedding and engagement rings commissioned at The Biscuit Factory. Can you tell us a little more about this option and what the process involves?
There are a number of jewellers who we work with who can create specially commissioned wedding pieces for us. We have a selection of their work in the gallery that couples can try on and explore for inspiration. We can then order directly from the artist in the right size and desired materials. It’s a great place to find your engagement and wedding rings as it ensures they will be truly unique and handmade by an artist. I think this makes them extra special!
Brides and grooms have also sourced wedding gifts for loved ones and each other from designers at The Biscuit Factory. What types of items have they bought and what would you suggest from the current collections that would make lovely wedding gifts?
There’s plenty to choose from in the way of wedding gifts from our collections. Handmade, unique cufflinks are always a popular choice when buying gifts for the groom or groomsmen. We also have very affordable and pretty silver necklaces, bracelets and earrings made with semi-precious stones and molten metals which could make perfect bridesmaid gifts.
March 30th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Far more than a pretty piece of jewellery, engagement and wedding rings represent the commitments a couple make to one other and therefore it’s important that they last a lifetime.
To ensure top quality as well as a design that’s perfect for you and your partner, we’d always advise spending time discussing all the various options with a professional; with varying metals, jewels and settings to choose from, not to mention the 4Cs of diamond quality.
Fortunately for you, we have a gem of an expert taking over the blog today to explain all the considerations of ring buying while telling us about his personal and professional jewellery business – welcome Gareth Graham, managing director of Luv Olivia.
Covering the North West and Central England, including the Midlands, Luv Olivia offers a bespoke wedding, engagement and eternity ring design service with quality and value at the core of its business ethos.
Bringing a stunning collection of rings direct to the homes of its customers, Gareth and his team go above and beyond in the journey to designing rings which are perfect and unique to each couple. The Luv Olivia team also regularly attend our Luxury Wedding Fairs, sharing their fabulous knowledge and showcasing their stunning collections direct to visiting bride and grooms-to-be!
Can you tell us a little about your background and how Luv Olivia came to fruition?
gareth says: Luv Olivia Jewellery was born in September 2016 out of a desire to combine my wealth of expertise in the jewellery industry with providing a quality customer-centric design service. I fell in love with selling jewellery early on whilst managing a team at Goldsmiths. I developed a passion for sourcing the perfect piece for customers to mark the most memorable occasions in their lives. The company has great values, many of which are instilled in my business today.
However, after eight years it was time to push boundaries and I began building relationships within the trade side of the industry. I worked for a company selling diamonds and for a bespoke wedding jeweller, thus sparking my inspiration to launch Luv Olivia. I have always had an eye for design and coupled with my ability to connect with customers I knew this was the beginning of an exciting and successful venture.
I started by carefully selecting suppliers who I deemed highly skilled, ethical and reputable. After 30 years in the industry I trust that they can produce exceptional quality jewellery.
What does Luv Olivia offer to couples?
The main objective of the business is to be able to offer customers unique rings which are value for money whilst maintaining the quality of the product. The item is most likely a lifetime purchase and it is essential the craftsmanship is of high calibre and durable.
Luv Olivia is so confident in our product that we offer a lifetime manufacturer guarantee as long as the ring is brought back to be checked at least once a year!
Where did the name for the business come from?
The name Luv Olivia is very special to me. Family is the most important part of my life and is the ultimate motivation for success. Olivia is the name of my daughter who amazes me every day with her boldness and determination. She represents the strength behind the brand and evokes a spirit of ingenuity and innovation. The term “Luv” reflects the eternal love between couples forever imprinted in the rings they wear to symbolise their unity.
Can you give us an overview of the rings you stock and how you pick collections for Luv Olivia?
The rings I bring to an appointment are selected from the most popular collections in the UK and Europe. There are more than 100 styles of ladies wedding rings, 80 gents’ rings and 80 engagement rings of different widths and diamond weights. The styles range from plain to very sparkly with diamond sets. There are also options of various shaped wedding bands to fit around all types of engagement ring settings.
How do you advise couples on the right ring(s) for them?
I always advise that the style of wedding ring should enhance the beauty of their engagement ring as that is the pièce de résistance. The rest is decided by the client. I guide them through my collection to ensure that they have seen enough options to make a decision.
What elements should couples think about when picking their wedding rings?
The main elements are the width of the engagement ring band and style of shoulders. It is also important for a couple to decide if they would like an eternity ring in the future. This will affect the width of the wedding band to ensure there is enough room for another ring.
You also offer a bespoke service. Can you tell us a little about this process?
Every ring is made specifically to the bride’s tastes. Although I bring my collection it is only used as a guide for styles, settings and size. Each ring is designed by taking a 3D scan of their engagement ring for the most accurate detail. Then the wedding ring is made to complement both the width and the depth of the engagement ring as I know all too well stock rings can vary in all these aspects.
I come to the comfort of their own home at a time that suits them. This allows for a relaxed environment with no time restraints. I offer advice and educate couples on all of the C’s and which metals are suitable for them.
I am available after the high street stores close and am always on hand to answer any questions. The entire process takes three months to make the perfect wedding ring.
March 8th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
As something special that stays with you long beyond the wedding day, the engagement and wedding rings are without doubt one of the most important purchases on the big day list.
We therefore feel it’s an important area to do your homework in, and to entrust to professionals that have a wealth of knowledge and experience in helping couples to find their perfect bands. Our wonderful Sponsor Lister Horsfall, which has two beautiful Yorkshire stores, is one such professional that can assist.
Having opened its first store back in 1902, the family-run firm has built a glowing reputation over the past century for their personal and efficient service, and now boast stores in both Halifax and Ilkley.
Keen to make the ring-buying experience enjoyable and memorable, the Halifax store houses a luxurious Bridal Suite, giving grooms- and brides-to-be the perfect place to choose their engagement and wedding rings, while receiving expert advice and complimentary drinks.
In addition, all customers benefit from the Lister Horsfall promise, meaning that every piece of jewellery purchased is entitled to a lifetime of clean, re-size and polish. And, if couples buy an engagement ring from Lister Horsfall, they also receive 10% off wedding rings. Plus, up until the end of March Lister Horsfall are offering a pair of 6.5mm cultured pearls worth £100 with every wedding ring set purchased in store.
So, let’s waste no time in handing over to General Manager Gemma Moody, to tell us more about the jeweller’s dazzling offering…
Can you tell us a little about Lister Horsfall’s history and its experience in wedding and engagement rings?
gemma says: Lister Horsfall opened his Halifax jewellers back in 1902, a year after Queen Victoria died – and our proudly family-run Yorkshire business is still one of the crown jewels of the county’s top-end shopping experiences over 115 years later.
It’s this experience, passed on through the generations, that brings customers to us – we understand that it’s both an emotional and exciting time when someone is about to propose or get married, so we make sure that couples get the best experience to help them make their day as perfect as possible.
We stock a range of styles to suit all manner of tastes, and at the heart of that is our commitment to providing our customers with exceptional quality. We pride ourselves on enabling our diamond customers to know exactly what they are buying, which is why all our diamonds are certified through the GIA’s Diamond Grading System. We only stock what we consider to be the best in Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight, carrying certified diamonds at the top of the scale, from D to G.
Whether it’s help choosing the right ring, working to a specific budget or even designing a bespoke piece, all our customers receive a personal service that’s second to none.
Where are Lister Horsfall’s showrooms located and can you tell us a little about them and the jewellery stocked?
You can find us in Ilkley and Halifax; both stores have undergone huge refurbishments in recent years. Pre-Christmas, our Ilkley store was completely refurbished, it looks amazing and the feedback from customers has been fantastic.
Our Halifax branch also houses our luxurious Bridal Suite, giving grooms and brides-to-be the perfect place to choose their engagement and wedding rings.
We stock a range of jewellery from the likes of Mikimoto, Furrer Jacot, Messika, Ponte Vecchio and CARAT. These brands offer stunning ranges and if you’re looking for bridal jewellery, bridesmaids’ gifts or even something special for the mother-of-the-bride, you’ll find the perfect choice.
In addition, we hold watches by Rolex, Tudor, Omega, Breitling, Tag Hauer, Longines and more, both new and pre-owned.
The Halifax showroom has a dedicated engagement & bridal suite, can you tell us about this and the experience it provides for couples?
We have a traditional commitment to a high-quality, personal service, which is why the wedding showroom was a must for us.
Couples can sit down and relax in comfort and privacy, as it’s to the side of the main store floor. Our in-store bar is where you’ll be treated to complimentary drinks whilst you mull over your options for engagement and wedding rings and beyond.
And, if you’re not sure exactly what style you’re looking for, our experienced and down-to-earth team will assist you in finding just the right style for you. It’s a buying experience that treats such a significant life-moment with all the ceremony and care that it deserves.
Can you tell us about the choice of wedding and engagement rings that you stock?
We have an array of exquisite engagement rings from Diamonds by Appointment, true specialists in the field. We are also proud to be one of the few jewellers to stock the UK’s own Brown and Newirth, a wonderful brand that offers customers a wide variety of styles.
Both companies have an absolute commitment to high-quality workmanship, which is why we love working with them.
Do you also offer a bespoke service and, if so, can you tell us about the process of having a ring especially designed and made at Lister Horsfall?
We do, and it’s a very popular service! Customers often bring in images from magazines or drawings they’ve made as initial inspiration for the design. They’ll sit down with Darren, our working jeweller, who will work hand in hand with them to bring their ideas to life. From that, we will produce CAD designs to show what the finished piece will look like and then, once approved, we’ll go ahead and make the ring itself.
It’s a very personal experience that takes about six to eight weeks, and at the end of it you have a truly unique piece of jewellery.
March 16th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
This morning we’re delighted to be introducing a brand new Brides Up North Sponsor to the blog, the wonderful Lister Horsfall jewellers.
Established more than 100 years ago in the Yorkshire town of Halifax, the firm has expanded over the years, opening a second store in Ilkley, though its ethos of providing a personal and professional service remains at the very heart of all it does.
Looking after the most significant reminders of a wedding day, the Lister Horsfall team are experts in engagement and wedding rings and have recently opened a special suite at their Halifax store which dedicated to helping couples select those all-important bands.
We’ll now hand over the blog to the team so they can tell us more about their impressive jewellery range and second-to-none customer service.
Can you give us a little background on Lister Horsfall?
lister horsfall say: The jewellers originated in the small market town Halifax in 1902, and was set up by Lister Horsfall. Nick Horsfall, the current Managing Director, is fourth generation of the family, and great grandson of Lister Horsfall himself. The company grew in the 1970s when we opened a second store in Ilkley, which has taken pride of place at 1 Brook Street ever since.
Can you give us an overview of the jewellery stocked at the Lister Horsfall showrooms?
We have some of the best quality diamonds and precious stones in the North of England and a fine collection of quality Swiss watches. Jewellery brands include Brown & Newirth, FOPE, Messika, CARAT, Furrer Jacot, Ponte Vecchio, Verifine and Astley Clarke. We also have watches by Rolex, Omega, Tudor, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Longines, Tissot, Anonimo, Certina.
You’ve just opened a new engagement and bridal suite at your Halifax showroom. Tell us a little bit about it…
We opened the new engagement and wedding ring suite at the end of 2016 as we want to give our customers a high-end experience in luxury surroundings. The suite even includes a bar with complimentary drinks and refreshments. A personal and professional service is at the very ethos of our brand.
Can you tell us more about the styles and brands of wedding and engagement rings that Lister Horsfall stocks?
We have many styles of ring from different quality brands and suppliers. All diamonds are certificated and we offer a range of D-G diamond (colour) and IF – SI2 (clarity).
August 12th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
When we’re not busy working, us Brides Up North girls are happy to admit that we love nothing more than a good reality TV binge; whether it be Keeping Up with the Kardashians, or checking up on the latest scandals in Chelsea and Essex.
A little closer to home, we’ve also become totally hooked on The Real Housewives of Cheshire – not only for the amazing hit of gossip and glamour– but also because the North West has become a real Brides Up North hotspot, with our Luxury Wedding Exhibitions taking place at some of the finest venues in the county.
And so when an invite landed in our inbox to the launch event of Real Housewife Tanya Bardo’s new bridal jewellery collection, there was no hesitation as we RSVP’d. Taking place at none other than co-star Dawn Ward’s house, we were given the opportunity to view the gorgeous jewellery collection for ourselves and even got to model and few pieces for a little shoot too, with hair by Alison Pearson Salon, makeup by Second Glance and dresses provided our friends at Dotty Taylor Bridal.
Having struggled to find jewellery for her own wedding to professional footballer Phil Bardsley two years ago, Tanya was keen to create a luxurious yet affordable bridal jewellery range that could be worn by brides, with options for bridesmaids and flower girls as well.
Following the same theme as her already popular Dreams to Reality jewellery collection, the handmade bridal designs feature a dainty angel wings charm and also incorporate pretty Swarovski pearls and sparkling crystals, making them a perfect addition for a bride and her wedding party.
To chat more about the designs (whilst trying to get the latest RHWC gossip), we caught up with the beautiful and straight-talking Tanya, who is expecting a baby anytime around now – so if he’s arrived, congratulations Tanya and Phil!
What first made you want to launch a jewellery range?
tanya says: I’d been working as a life coach and had also written a self-help coaching book, one of the areas which you focus on is looking at what your dreams/goals are. It’s important to write these down, but then it is also easy to forget about them when getting caught up in your daily living. When I was a single mum with no money I used to keep a little pebble in my pocket, every time I put my hand in my pocket and felt it there it’d prompt me to visualise my dreams.
So with the jewellery range I wanted to create something beautiful which acts as a daily reminder, so every time you see your piece of jewellery it triggers a little thought in your mind to make sure you’re doing something towards making your dream become reality.
August 3rd, 2016 | Rachel Parry
All wedding journeys tend to start with a ring that will remain on the bride’s hand from the engagement to the ‘I dos’ and throughout married life that follows. As such it’s important that the chosen ring will last a lifetime and offers the most sparkle for your buck.
To help you and your partner pick a winning rock, we’re handing the blog over this morning to GIA Diamonds Graduate Paul Gian. Keen to ensure that couples are clued up on the clarity, cut, color and carat of diamonds before making their ring purchase, expert Paul has set up handy website Beyond4cs.com and is here to share some of his gems of advice with you today…
Images from real weddings featured on these pages and not provided by Sponsor. Please see image credits for photographer details – we love these talented folk!
Can you tell us a little about your background in the diamond & jewellery market?
paul says: My story began back in 2012 when I needed to buy a proposal ring for my fiancée. It started months of frustrating online research as there was a lack of reliable information. As I started reading up, my interest in gemstones and diamonds grew. Since then, I’ve completed the GIA Diamonds Graduate program and built up my own gemstone collection.
When and why did you set up Beyond4cs.com and who is it aimed at?
A diamond engagement ring is possibly one of the most expensive purchases someone would make in their lifetime (besides a car and home). Beyond4cs.com was started in 2014 and it is targeted at fellow consumers to shed light on the engagement ring buying process.
What are the most important elements that should be taken into consideration when shopping for a diamond engagement ring to get the best quality diamond for the budget?
The cut quality of a diamond matters the most because it directly affects how much sparkle the diamond will have.
What would you say to those who have quite a modest budget, what types of diamonds should they be looking at?
It really boils down to personal preferences and needs. There isn’t a particular shape, color or clarity that’s going to appeal to everyone on the same level. In the current market, the most popular diamond shapes are round, princess and cushion.
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