What do diamonds, martial arts and Lego have in common? The answer is one man, Steve Irvine. With a background in design, tech and fine jewellery, the talented father of two is Editor of Jewellery Monthly and founder of LionSorbet, a creative production company for luxury brands. We were privileged hear his expert insights on bridal jewellery, buying the best engagement ring, and why UK jewellery shoppers don’t need to worry about Brexit.
Thanks for taking the time for this interview! First of all, can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
“I set up my current company www.LionSorbet.com nearly 10 years ago. We work predominantly with luxury brands, jewellery retailers and manufacturers providing bespoke website design and 3D content for their marketing. I have been the owner and editor of Jewellery Monthly, a dedicated consumer Jewellery and Watch magazine for nearly 6 years.”
What’s your background?
“I come from a background in product design, graduating from Loughborough University with BA Hons in Industrial Design and technology and started my career designing for Nokia Mobile Phones. With a keen interest in 3D CAD I joined the team at Domino Jewellery in Birmingham as one of their original CAD team and helped set up their Rapid Prototyping Service.”
How was Jewellery Monthly Magazine born? Tell us a little bit about the magazine’s history.
“JewelleryMonthly.com was an internal project started by one of my employees. We wanted to set up a website to test SEO best practices and eventually grew over time to allow us to promote our own clients as well as meet new and interesting people in the jewellery industry. Jewellery Monthly is now a dedicated Jewellery and Watch Magazine helping to educate and showcase products and brands from around the world.”
Any interesting anecdotes from your career?
“I spent about 3 years designing consumer toys for children launching products with companies such as Disney and Lego. I was a founding member of the company which is still going strong today. I sold up to follow my passions in other areas.”
The big topic right now is Brexit. What do you think UK shoppers should know regarding its effect on jewellery retail?
“Unfortunately in situations like this scaremongering and misinformation causes ripples in all business and commerce. People are maybe a little hesitant to invest or spend where they normally would which causes dips in trade, especially marketing but I don’t feel it will affect consumers at all longer term. Whether I agree with Brexit or not, we are a strong country with a lot to offer and feel we can stand strong against our European counterparts.”
We believe diamonds are the ultimate jewel you can wear. What do you think? Are diamonds just as popular in jewellery as ever?
“I love diamonds. They hold an inherent value that no other product compares to. They are beautiful to look at and something all men can work to earn and all girls aspire to own.”
Right now we are in the season for bridal and wedding jewellery. What sort of styles, metals or gems are you seeing this year?
“I’m a big fan of classic solitaires such as this 1 carat mount (below). Stone sits high on the finger and is protected by 6 delicate claws. Although I love platinum and white gold, I do think a mix of styles such as yellow or rose gold shank can work beautifully.”
As the editor of a jewellery magazine you must have heard lots of different advice on how to buy an engagement ring. In your opinion, what’s the main factor buyers should consider?
“Buy what you can afford, set a budget and don’t overspend. I would always go for a slightly larger, lower quality certified diamond than a smaller flawless stone. Only a trained eye can really see the difference with cut grades and clarity. A 0.9ct D/E Colour SI2 is a practical choice without breaking that 1ct price barrier. Above all find a company that you can call and get their advice. It’s what they do for a living. They might even have a deal just for you!”
What about other jewellery – what types of pieces do you think will be hot during spring and summer 2017?
“I love the simple solitaire necklace a perfect accessory for all occasions and of course their matching earrings. Personally I prefer smaller stones in stud earrings. They look more delicate and considered.”
Finally, we imagine that being Editor of Jewellery Monthly is a busy job. How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance after a stressful deadline date?
“Aside from my two daughters that take up most of my free time, I’m a keen practitioner of martial arts and have studied Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Stick fighting for over 10 years. This keeps my mind clear and in control. I also play the guitar when I can and study sketching and illustration on my odd evening off. You can view some of my scribbles at www.fitzngiggles.co.uk.”