This month brought the news that WB The Creative Jewellery Group, which owns Domino, Gecko and Weston Beamor, has been sold to the Heimerle + Meule Group by owners Patrick and Vivian Fuller.
I have met Patrick many times since becoming editor of Jewellery Focus and what always struck me about him was how much of a deep mine of information he is about the jewellery world both today and historically. He is of the generation in the jewellery world who knew it before and after the advent of computer aided design and manufacture, and his firm has been at the forefront of applying that technology in sustainable and profitable ways.
Fuller and his team twice welcomed me to the manufacturing facilities in Birmingham’s’ Jewellery Quarter, and I was always impressed by the modernity of the place – mixed though it was with the obviously perennial skills of hand-finishing stone-setting. It is a marvel of a facility especially in an age where so many in the UK jewellery industry feel pressure on their price points from cheaper overseas manufacturing.
The group will continue to operate as an independent entity and join a number of other companies operating across the UK and Europe, including Cookson Precious Metals. Heimerle + Meule was founded in 1845 and is one of Europe’s largest precious metal suppliers.
In a statement Andrew Morton, managing director of WB, said “retention of independence” was a key consideration for previous owners Vivian and Patrick Fuller in the sale, and that operationally, little will change.
After more than 40 years in the trade, during which the business grew into one of the largest independent UK jewellery manufacturers, and as champions ever-greater supply chain integrity in the British jewellery market, I wish Patrick and Vivian the very best for their retirement.