David M Robinson, the luxury jeweller and watch retailer, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. But while the company, established in the north west of England, with a store in Canary Wharf, works in a traditional centuries-old industry, its approach is anything but.
DMR’s vision is modern and forward thinking. Take bridal jewellery, for example. It’s been at the heart of what they do since David Robinson opened his first workshop in Liverpool in 1969. ‘We’ve been privileged to play a part in so many love stories over our history,’ says Liz Allister, head of marketing. ‘It is still very often the first purchase that clients make with DMR, starting a relationship that spans personal milestones in the lives of our friends.’
Reviewing how best to deploy the knowledge of their staff to pivot their approach to engagement and wedding rings, the company brought about a younger, female-focused ‘renaissance’, bringing together women from across the business, creating a collection that is inspired by those who will wear it. ‘Colleagues from our showrooms, workshops and my own marketing team have allowed us to collate a wide range of opinions,’ Allister says.
As well as applying the suggestions of female staff, DMR is listening carefully to clients, too. Allister’s involvement in the project is born out of her understanding of the DMR client, tailoring the collection towards the enquiries and requests that the showrooms are receiving. Later this year, the first full DMR bridal collection will be launched, all designed and handmade in-house. For the launch, there will be five engagement ring mounts with matching wedding bands alongside an eternity ring collection. Each mount will be available in a variety of stone shapes and metals, with the option of making the ring semi-bespoke by adding diamond details.
‘The beauty of having our own workshops and highly qualified goldsmiths means we are able to create pretty much anything our clients want,’ Allister continues. The focus is on refined bands with intricately made settings designed to make the centre stone sing. ‘It’s important to us to not only design rings that are exquisite to look at but that also consider durability and wearability, and our goldsmiths constantly ensure that design doesn’t compromise quality,’ Allister says.
‘The new collection focuses on traditional engagement ring styles, reimagined with more refined, delicate features,’ describes Nicky Owens, after sales manager. ‘The emphasis remains on the unrivalled beauty of settings to best display the central stone. We have added features under the settings, so you see the extra sparkle when you look at your piece from different angles.’ Yellow gold, which has seen a recent resurgence, features strongly. ‘Simple single stone rings, delicate diamond-set shoulders, hidden halos and a contemporary approach to classic Art Deco rings are key in this new bridal collection,’ says Owens.
A traditional diamond is the most popular stone choice, yet recently more clients want to express who they are. ‘A bespoke ring or a piece from our collection with the addition of a personal twist has been the choice for many,’ observes Alisha Foulkes, showroom manager of DMR’s Liverpool boutique.
All the rings are fully handmade on site at DMR’s workshop in Altrincham using traditional techniques and tools. While laser and 3D printing are used, ‘we mainly use the tools and methods that have been used for centuries,’ says goldsmith Alex Pritchard. ‘We prefer to completely hand make pieces wherever possible.’
DMR understands clients want something different, and the new bridal collection allows them to find the perfect piece, with friendly and expert guidance. And, DMR’s dynamic environment that encourages female staff to share their observations about ring design is innovative management. ‘Our organisation works from the bottom up in this sense,’ says John Robinson, DMR’s managing director. ‘Our younger female colleagues have enjoyed the opportunity to share experience and expertise in the creation of this collection, and this is something that absolutely resonates with our clients.’