New Colchester jewellery store bucks trend as high-spenders part with thousands in single trip

PUBLISHED: 15:51 24 July 2019 | UPDATED: 19:14 24 July 2019

Richard Burton at his jewellery story in Thorpe-le-Soken  Picture: R BURTON

Richard Burton at his jewellery story in Thorpe-le-Soken Picture: R BURTON

Richard Burton

A north Essex jeweller is showing all the stellar pulling power of his Hollywood namesake - as high-spending customers beat a path to his door.

Richard Burton Jewellery, which has been launched on the High Street at Thorpe-le-Soken  Picture: RICHARD BURTONRichard Burton Jewellery, which has been launched on the High Street at Thorpe-le-Soken Picture: RICHARD BURTON

Award-winning goldsmith Richard Burton wanted to put some sparkle back into Thorpe-le-Soken's high street when he launched a jeweller's shop featuring his bespoke works 'on a whim'.

Richard Burton Jewellery, whose typical customer - usually in their 50s or 60s - will spend an average of £3,000 to £4,000 per trip, is also attracting younger couples seeking a bespoke experience when purchasing engagement rings.

MORE - 'High streets need to improve customer experience' - warning as footfall hits seven-year low

One of his recent bespoke commissions was for a ring set with a 2.7ct cushion-cut diamond with a price tag of £50k.

Mr Burton, who opened his store in February 2019, decided to give the premises a go after its previous occupant vacated. So far, it has exceeded his expectations.

Richard Burton Jewellery, which has been launched on the High Street at Thorpe-le-Soken  Picture: RICHARD BURTONRichard Burton Jewellery, which has been launched on the High Street at Thorpe-le-Soken Picture: RICHARD BURTON

"The opening of the shop was a fortuitous accident, after the florist previously occupying the space, who I had planned to do a private collaborative event with for my own jewellery designs, shut down," he explained.

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"I decided, on a whim, to take over the lease and I haven't looked back. We're in a great position in Thorpe-le-Soken, on a busy road with lots of passing traffic and we're nearby a popular wine bar and luxury spa."

Before opening the store, he worked on private client commissions and before that for internationally acclaimed designer Tomasz Donocik.

The shop sells bridal jewellery and loose gemstones ready to be set into bespoke commissions, which are made and designed by Mr Burton. He also sells works by other designer jewellers including Tomasz Donocik, Myia Bonner and Alexander Davis, and silver jewellery brand Sif Jakobs. He has also been running experiential events - such as jewellery making classes run in collaboration with Myia Bonner - to attract local footfall.

"There have been a lot of jewellers within a 20-mile radius that have shut down recently," he said.

"Often it is because they just haven't moved with the times. The store environments haven't been updated and the type of jewellery they sell isn't exciting or tailored to the current market, so when the lease comes up, they just shut down instead of innovating."

He was trying to do something a "little bit different" and "create a buzz around fine jewellery and introduce the local area to high-quality jewels with a considered design", he said. "So far, it's working."

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