In the run-up to the Brexit referendum, certain industry sectors were vocal about their position on the matter. Financial services and academic institutions, for example, were amongst the strongest supporters of “Remain”.

The jewellery industry, however, was conspicuous by its absence from the campaign trail, possibly an indication that its members were unclear about how they felt about it, but now that the result has been decided, like everybody else, it has to work out it will mean in real terms.

Uncertainty is the only sure fact

Article 50 was triggered on the 29th of March 2017, marking the start of a two-year negotiating period which was slow to start, having been delayed by the snap election. At current time , nobody knows what will happen during the course of the next two years, or indeed beyond.

There could be a hard Brexit, without a deal, the negotiating period could be extended, by mutual agreement, or Article 50 could potentially be revoked, as has been suggested by certain politicians in Europe.

photographer: Jamie Street

Uncertainty makes tangible assets more expensive and more desirable

Precious metals and gemstones, particularly gold and diamonds, have long been viewed as safe havens for wealth. The fact that they can be expensive may add to their appeal in the sense of them being stores of value. Jewellery can have a particular attraction, due to the added value of the workmanship and the fact that it is literally a wearable asset.

This creates an interesting (read challenging) situation for the jewellery business. On the one hand, people may well want to buy jewellery (at least) as much as they ever did, on the other hand, if their finances are tight and/or they’re struggling to deal with uncertainty in their own personal situations, they may be looking to invest for as little as possible.

In this context, it seems fair to assume that discount jewellers are likely to feel the least impact from Brexit, while boutique jewellers are going to have the biggest challenge and may have to find creative solutions to them, for example by offering engagement rings made of silver and diamonds rather than the traditional gold, or of gold and a lower-priced stone. Managed adroitly, this could strike the right balance between having a piece which could be regarded as an investment and keeping prices on the right side of affordable.

Uncertainty is bad for the pound

It’s hardly news that over recent times the pound has been on more snakes than ladders in the currency marketplace. The weak pound is bad news for the jewellery trade in the sense that precious metals and gemstones are traded globally and typically priced against the dollar. This means that the lower the pound slides, the more expensive they become in real terms. On the other hand, the weak pound could create more opportunities for selling internationally, both to visitors to the UK (as a weak pound encourages tourism) and direct export.
The global reach of highly visual social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinter est could offer excellent opportunities for UK-based jewellers to capture the hearts, minds and wallets of buyers around the world.


Aiden Richardson, Jollys Jewellers

Jollys Jewellers are a family run jewellery business, established since the 1830's and specialising in antique and vintage jewellery.


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