Stuck in your boring job? Colleagues driving you slowly insane? Thinking about throwing yourself through the fifth floor window the next time someone talks about tactical synergy and talent retention? It’s time for a new job.
Why not become a jewellery concierge? We spoke to Ruth Donaldson, the founder of Heirloom London, about finding the perfect diamond, to a typical day in her life.
Why did you become a jewellery concierge?
I’ve spent over 13 years in the jewellery industry now, and felt the jewellery busying experience wasn’t personal enough.
I wanted to develop a service which could provide the convenience of a personal shopping experience, with the peace of mind in the knowledge that a client has secured the ultimate piece of jewellery for their budget.
I don’t think it is even a concierge service we are offering, it’s a totally personalised jewellery buying experience which works to client tastes, not ours.
What happens in a typical day?
There is no such thing! I may be briefing designers, discussing ongoing projects with craftsmen, choosing diamonds or gemstones or seeking out specific styles of jewellery based on the client brief I’ve taken. It will depend on the projects I’m working on.
And of course, client meetings are key to all this, and these can happen at any point in the day between 7am and 9pm!
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
The moment of jewellery handover is always such a pleasure. Because the service is still so new, clients are usually excited and nervous – is this too good to be true? Then they open one of our white lacquered boxes and see the piece they have purchased, which is every bit as good as what is found on Bond Street and they are delighted.
Tell us about some of your clients
One of the hardest things when choosing engagement rings is trying to work out finger size. Our site has some advice on it, which I’m permanently adding to as clients try out new methods of subterfuge!
One lovely chap was caught trying to borrow his fiancée’s ring to calculate the size, and there nearly wasn’t an engagement while he tried to talk his way out of what he was doing and still keep it a surprise!
Another wanted to get something very special for his wife, as she’d just had their first child. He wanted something that was from all of them. In the end we made a platinum ring, set with all of their birthstones, which she loves as it’s so personal.
I also had a client who wanted to source something for his wife to wear every day.
After a few recommendations he chose a platinum and diamond tennis bracelet. He also racked up £120 of parking fines while choosing! But it was so important to him. I found out that his wife had conceived after having been told that she was never going to have children, so it was a very special purchase and one where he really wanted to let her know how precious she is to him. She now has two healthy children, and an eternity ring as well!
How many hours do you work?
At the moment, most of them! We celebrated our first birthday in February, and we are getting busier as word spreads.
What qualifications do you need?
It is less about qualifications, more about experience and contacts. I’ve worked with jewellery from a styling, production, thought leadership and marketing perspective. The best craftsmen and atelier in the industry know and trust me.
This combined with a deep understanding of consumer expectations and the ability to see things from my client’s perspective has made Heirloom a very powerful secret weapon.
If you could own any piece of jewellery in the world, what would it be?
My ultimate is the amazing Japanese jewellery designer, Kaoru Kay Akihara of Gimel.
She produces pieces that are works of art. Famous for her diamond cherry blossoms and other floral work, she makes tiny snails, some no more than 6mm long. These are set with tiny diamonds and precious stones and are gorgeous. There is a price to this perfection, and one day I hope to own one.
Look at the detail in the Sea Bream brooch! It’s no wonder many of her pieces wind up at Christie’s. This is jewellery perfection and what dreams are made of.