Gold Arts: Little gem
- Credit: Nick Ford Photography
Gold Arts, the family-run jeweller in Sussex, offers something for everyone. General manager Douglas Newman discusses the company's rich history and exciting plans for the future
How did Gold Arts begin?
My father, Doug senior, used to work as a manufacturing jeweller for Ernest Jones and headed up one of their workshops. He decided to open his own shop in Brighton back in 1979 and was the first to open up a workshop here in the Lanes. Now there are about 30 or 40 different jewellers around us.
Dad started in the Lanes and slowly grew the company from there. Now there are three members of the family working here. I manage the day-to-day running of the business, while my sister Kerry manages the workshops and manufacturing side of things. My brother Tim is a watchmaker and does some of our watch repairs. It's a family business in the truest sense.
What originally attracted your father to the jewellery industry?
My dad was going to be a farmer originally. He was working with my grandad, who used to set up telephone systems for various companies, and one of their clients was a jewellery workshop. He saw them making jewellery and he loved it so much that he changed his mind, sold his wellies and got a job as an apprentice in a workshop instead!
How has the business evolved since?
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We opened in one little shop in the Lanes around the corner from where we are now and it was just my mum and dad working there. My mum would work in the shop while dad was at the work bench doing repairs and manufacturing.
They then moved to a bigger shop around the corner and the business has since grown to incorporate three different stores in Brighton, Eastbourne and Chichester.
When the business first started the focus was all on creating new jewellery designs. Gradually over time it became a bit more of a retail jeweller, so my dad made fewer items himself and began buying from other suppliers.
However, we’re changing the business model now, going back to a more bespoke offering. We’ve found that people are increasingly looking for items that are a bit more unique, not just something you can buy from anywhere, so we're developing our own range of jewellery again. My sister, Kerry, is the more creative one so she now heads up the designing of our jewellery and then works with the workshops to get items made.
What other services do Gold Arts offer?
We do a little bit of everything. Second-hand watches are quite big at the moment. We’ve found that people are wanting to put their money into assets that will continue to increase in value.
What are the most memorable items of jewellery you’ve seen over the years?
Items my dad made. He stopped manufacturing 15-20 years ago, so we don’t often see his creations, but whenever something does come through one of our stores I’m always really impressed by the quality of his work. I remember he once made a beautiful dragonfly brooch for a regular customer – it was really unique and precious and will always stand out to me.
To find out more, visit goldarts.co.uk
Hot right now...
Here are four jewellery trends the experts at Gold Arts predict will continue to grow
We’ve noticed a trend for multicoloured gemstone set jewellery – from earrings and rings, to bracelets and necklaces. We offer a range of multicoloured sapphire jewellery in our stores, which is becoming increasingly popular.
Non-traditional coloured stones are rising in popularity, with teal sapphires being particularly on-trend. Sapphires have been fashionable in recent years and we’ve found that people are now looking outside of the normal blue, which is opening sapphires up to a younger audience. And while diamonds have always been fashionable, we’re starting to find that different colours such as cognac diamonds are growing in popularity.
Yellow gold is coming back into fashion quite heavily, whether it’s rings or chains – customers are choosing less bling and more classic, understated items. We’re getting more requests for yellow gold engagement rings, too, while signet rings have also made a big comeback.
People have become a lot more open to second-hand jewellery. The pandemic has played its part in that: because consumers couldn’t spend money on doing nice things, they’ve spent money on buying nice things for themselves instead. Collecting second-hand jewellery is a great way to treat yourself.
Browse the latest Gold Arts collections online or in store at:
Brighton: 7 Brighton Place, BN1 1HJ
Chichester: 1 East Street, PO19 1HE
Eastbourne: 150 Terminus Road, BN21 3A