Two Things You Must Never Do When Making Jewellery

For most of us, jewellery making is a happy pursuit that lets our creative juices flow and may make us a few extra pounds whilst decorating those around us with unique artisan bling. However one jeweller this week got himself fined over £70,000 and sentenced to 10 weeks in prison and to complete 60 hours of unpaid work. What went wrong?

The Beastie Boys
Fight for your right to party perhaps, but don’t fight for your right to use trademarks!

It’s really tempting to make jewellery in the shape of company logos. Ever since The Beastie Boys sparked the trend of wearing car badges as necklace pendants, ghetto inspired jewellery has been a quick selling area. Other common trademarks jewellers have tried to reuse include Lego building blocks and Twitter’s bird logo. In every case, it’s a really bad idea. Marketplaces like eBay watch for products sold using trademarks and pull the listings unless it can be proven that they are officially licensed goods. And in the case of Umran Rafiq, the jeweller who was just sent down, using logos for BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nike and Playboy on rings without a license from the trademark holder was part of his crime.

British money is historically tied to hallmarking and silver quality
British money is historically tied to hallmarking and silver quality

Hallmarking is the oldest form of consumer protection in the world. The letters 925 on silver jewellery mean it’s no less than 92.5% pure silver, with the other 7.5% of it’s metal made up of other metals like tin or rhodium to add strength and shine. In fact it’s from this 700 year old tradition we get the words “pounds sterling” because in the old days money was literally a pound in weight of precious metal. British money still carries the words on bank notes “I promise to pay the bearer on demand of the sum of xxx pounds”. This was because the Bank of England kept the equivalent weight in precious metals for every note it issued. You could take your bank note to the Bank of England and redeem it for your metal if you so chose and the words were the bank’s guarantee. Similar standards exist for gold and other precious metals.

In this day and age, money isn’t linked to physical assets any more and you can’t change notes for metal since the 1970s. Yet even though that has changed the seriousness of falsifying a metal’s quality has not. Umran Rafiq was also found guilty of this. His jewellery was tested at Birmingham Assay Office and found to fail standards needed for hallmarking, thereby contravening the Hallmarking Act 1973.

Creativity sells and there are few things cooler than something unique. Good products will sell themselves if they are a good fit for your target market. On our jewellery making classes, you’ll learn the skills you need to make eye catching and commercially successful pieces of jewellery without using illegal tricks. Come along and see what techniques need to be mastered.


J’adore le Francais

It’s no secret that women the world over love Make Me Beautiful’s exclusive ranges of clip on earrings. We’ve been shipping them worldwide for many years now and we’re constantly finding new ways to make it easier for our customers.

In 2010 we launched our North American returns centre so customers outside of Europe could have low cost returns.

In 2011 we opened our multi-lingual customer services with French and German staff as well as English.

In 2012 we partnered up with leading couriers to offer faster delivery to key European destinations.

Make Me Beautiful France
Make Me Beautiful France

Now, in 2013, we’re pleased to announce the next step in our commitment to making shopping with us easier. Make Me Beautiful France will offer our latest ranges for the French market, all in French and priced in Euros. Importantly, a lot of focus will be made on ensuring the best delivery and logistics possible is laid on for our French clientelle, to respect the differences between the way the French delivery networks work versus those of the UK and other destinations. This attention to detail and excellence will allow us to provide a better service for our French fashionistas, rather than forcing them through the one-size-fits-all approach of a single website.

There will also be a style magazine and social media support, all aimed at offering the local ladies ready to wear costume and fine jewellery all served with our special Minxy’s Jewellery accent! Tres bien!

Make Me Beautiful France launches mid April.

The Jewellery Hallmarking Debate: Will You Stand For Quality?

Did you know that hallmarking is the oldest form of consumer protection? A hallmark is a stamp placed upon metals that are certified to be of a certain quality. Hallmarking in Britain can be traced back to 1300 when King Edward I passed laws that required all items sold as silver to meet a standard known as “Sterling Silver”. Guardians of the trade would independently certify that the silver met this standard and would stamp it with a special mark of a leopard’s head. But what is “Sterling Silver” and why is hallmarking still important?

The 925 Mark
Sterling Silver today is marked 925. This means it is certified to be 92.5% silver. The other 7.5% can be other metals; some jewellers for instance like to add a little rhodium as it makes the silver shinier than it would be otherwise. In the past, unscrupulous merchants cut their silver with cheaper metals like tin or iron and gold would also get mixed with brass. The result would be metals that weren’t worth what the customer was paying for them and in modern day times there have been scares over cheap jewellery. There are laws in the EU that prevent the use of metals like Nickel which are well known to cause irritation to the skin and allergies, but  in the USA there have been some big cases. In 2010 for instance, Wal-mart withdrew celebrity teenage Miley Cyrus jewellery after it was found to contain toxic cadmium. Claire’s Accessories also took action to withdraw lines that year. In both cases, the jewellery did not have a hallmark. To carry a hallmark, the jewellery would have needed to have been certified by an Assay Office who’s job is to ensure that consumers are protected.

What Might Happen?
The UK Government has recently put forward a proposal asking whether the public think that hallmarking regulations should be maintained in Britain. We strongly believe they should be for several reasons:

  1. Hallmarking is independent – an Assay Office is an expert who works to protect you against substandard goods, regardless of what retailers or manufacturers say
  2. Hallmarking makes prices fair – when you pay for 925 Sterling Silver (or other jewellery hallmarks like 990 Gold or 950 Platinum) you can be confident that that is what you are getting with no hidden nasties
  3. Hallmarked goods hold their value – gold and silver prices have risen dramatically in recent years and a hallmark means your jewellery will benefit from that

Hallmarking creates trust. It keeps the industry safe from cheap and potentially dangerous fakes. Steve Bennett, CEO of GemsTV had this to say:

As Steve rightly says, these regulations are here in the interests of consumers. Please add your opinion to whether you want to keep them on the Government’s Red Tape Challenge website.

Zandra Rhodes and Adele Marie Get Together to Make Beautiful Jewellery

When the queen of British fashion gets together with the queen of British costume jewellery you know something special is about to happen! Zandra Rhodes has confirmed she’ll be collaborating with Adele Marie London to create the Zandra Rhodes for Adele Marie collection. Make Me Beautiful Magazine covered that there was a new clip on earring collection by Zandra Rhodes earlier today and here’s some of the official press release from Zandra Rhodes and Adele Marie at Pure London Fashion Show:

August 2011 will see the iconic British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes launch her range of vintage inspired jewellery in collaboration with Adele Marie, one of the leading costume jewellery brands in the UK.

The collection draws inspiration upon Zandra’s iconic internationally renowned creations and bears the hallmarks of this fashion celebrity who is famous for her creative statements, striking prints and passionate views.

Zandra’s vision for her new collection of jewels is to infuse her unique and eclectic style with current fashion trends to create a stunning modern day collection with sweeping statements from her earlier years. The collection incorporates the designer’s original textile work, featuring dramatic and unique prints, the range consists of retro necklaces, brooches and earrings.

The Zandra Rhodes Jewellery Collection transcends fashion and like her famous creations will become collector’s pieces of the future. Zandra Rhodes for Adele Marie is unmistakably a Rhodes creation that exudes timeless quality.

We also hear a rumour that some of the first items to ship from the collection will be hand signed! We can’t wait!

Now Accepting American Express

American Express has long been the credit card of choice for those who want preferential treatment. It’s a small step, but we’ve added it to our list of payment choices for both online and telephone payments at Make Me Beautiful and Make Me Sexy. We still accept many other forms of payment including:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Visa Debit
  • Maestro
  • Switch
  • JCB
  • Diners
  • Electron
  • PayPal
  • Cheque
  • Postal Order

It’s always been our commitment to make online shopping safe, secure and simple. Our inclusion of Amex amongst our payment choices is another step towards being the online retail jeweller of choice and we look forwards to introducing many further small steps and innovations this year.

We’re Part of The British Jewellers’ Association

We’re pleased to announce that we recently took full membership of The British Jewellers’ Association or the BJA. We joined because we are believe in what the British Jewellers’ Association stands for and were already doing everything they expect of members. Their Code of Ethics is something we wholeheartedly stand by, endorse and strive to uphold:

The British Jewellers’ Association Code of Ethics

1 – To maintain the highest level of personal integrity, honesty and business ethics

2 – To comply with all Government laws and regulations relating to the jewellery, watches and related industries

3 – To support and abide by the Articles of Association and objectives of the British Jewellers’ Association and this Code of Ethics

4 – To provide a standard of product and service of the higest possible quality commensurate with price

5 – To establish clearly the guarantee or service policy regarding all merchandise and to fulfill that policy.

6 – To provide knowledgeable and competent expertise and clearly indicate the true quality of products offered for sale

7 – To adhere to sound business practices and thus ensure continuing service to customers and suppliers alike

8 – To refrain from all forms of design copyright and trademark infringement

9 – To refrain from trading in Conflict Diamonds

The following is our personal British Jewellers’ Association member bade with our member number. You can click it to see our verified details on the British Jewellers’ Association website:

British Jewellers' Association Membership Badge

We’re really happy to be working with The British Jewellers’ Association in making a strong and vibrant industry with a focus on standards and quality for the customer. It was a joy to celebrate our first decade in the business this year and we hope that as we enter the second we can work to build a better and more beautiful jewellery industry for everyone.

What’s Sofort?

Some of our customers have noted a new logo that’s started appearing on our websites. It says Sofort… but what is it? logo logo

For a long while we’ve had some customers in Europe who’ve said they’d prefer to make a bank transfer than pay by credit card. We’ve chosen German bank Sofort as our partner in enabling this so now we can accept a direct bank transfer if you bank in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium or the UK. That means you don’t have to have a credit or debit card to buy online.

Simply register with Sofort by selecting the “Bank Transfer via” payment option during checkout as shown:

Bank transfer payment selection
Bank transfer payment selection

Then when you check out you’ll be transferred to Sofort’s 128bit secure payment servers. To pay you’ll need your sort code and account details. It’s like logging on to your online banking, as this example of paying whilst using a HSBC account shows:

The Sofort payment process
The Sofort payment process

Sofort are insured against fraud claims up to 5,000 Euros per claim yet there has still not been a single instance of a consumer suffering fraud as a result of making a bank transfer. The whole process is run to the highest standards, in fact since launching Sofort have processed many million transactions and have not had a single fraud case, making it one the safest ways to pay online. We do not see any of your banking details ever, we simple receive a payment from you together with a notification that your order is paid for.

It also costs a lot less to perform a bank transfer than it does make a credit card payment. In respect of that, we’re giving a free pair of clip on earring cushions to every order paid for by Sofort! It’s never been more comfortable to shop online!

Summer Sale Now On!

It’s getting close to that time when we all pack our bags and go for a week or two in the sun. To send you off in tip top form, the Make Me Beautiful Summer Sale is now on. There’s up to 50% off a range of gorgeous designer clip on earrings including:

Antique Coins Clip on earrings - Silvery from £8.99 to £5.99
Antique Coins Clip on earrings - Silvery from £8.99 to £5.99

Antique Coins Clip on earrings – Silvery from £8.99 to £5.99

Gold Hearts Charms Clip On Earrings was £9.99 now £6.98
Gold Hearts Charms Clip On Earrings was £9.99 now £6.98

Gold Hearts Charms Clip On Earrings was £9.99 now £6.98

Golden Sunshine Droplets Clip On Earrings & Necklace Set from £19.98 to £11.99
Golden Sunshine Droplets Clip On Earrings & Necklace Set from £19.98 to £11.99

Golden Sunshine Droplets Clip On Earrings & Necklace Set from £19.98 to £11.99

The Summer Sale ends midnight on the 31st July and stock is limited on some lines. Here’s to you looking beautiful wherever your travels take you!

Help Is Close At Hand

It’d be pretty shoddy if you stepped into Harrods and were told you needed to take a hike up the street to the nearest phone box if you wanted to ask customer service something, right? We just wanted to give you a quick heads up about something we’ve added to our sites – live customer service. It stops you having to go away and get your phone or wait for the delay of sending an email if you just want to ask a quick question like “is this in stock?”, “when would it arrive?” or “I just wanted to tell you…”. Here’s how it works:

Live Customer Panel docked
The Live Customer Panel whilst docked at the right corner of the window (click to enlarge)

The Live Customer Service Panel is a black bar that appears at the bottom right of the screen. It’ll tell you on it whether someone is online. Typically we’re open from 9am to 6pm but sometimes we’re in the office much later working on new releases in which case there may still be someone on. Also, if all the operators are taken or we are out of hours it’ll say. You’ll be invited to drop an email for when we’re next available.

If you do want to chat, simply open the chat window by clicking on the title or up arrow to maximise it, then type your message:

Live customer service chat
Live customer service chat

We get your message in real time, although it may take a second or two for an operator to pick up the chat, just like it takes a moment or two to realise the phone is ringing and respond. Once we’re there with you, you’ll get replies back in real time too. There’s no need to log on, no registration, no fuss and no waiting. So if you’ve a simple question you just want to ask, this will be the easiest way for you to get an answer. Let us know what you think – it’s good to talk!

We’re Growing Up Rather Than Growing Old

Isn’t amazing how quickly time flies? It seems like only just the other day Prince was telling us we were going to party like it was 1999. We did that and we liked it so much we started our company in 2000. Now the naughty noughties have gone, we’re launching for a new look for the decadent decade. You’ll notice our sites will start to show these changes over the coming weeks.

What will change?
Initially, most of the changes are cosmetic as we’d like to have a more unified approach to what we’re doing. We’d like you to recognise us wherever you see us, particularly since advances in technology have made it easier for people to share information about us outside of our websites. Having a consistent look and feel will help make sure you always get the quality experience you’ve come to expect. So expect to start seeing small tweaks to our logos and packaging.

What will stay the same?
We’ll continue to stock a large number of lines that no-one else provides and we’ll continue to focus on providing you the best service we can. We’ll still be reachable on the same office number, Monday to Friday as always. You’ll still continue to see our gear on celebrities and television.

What else will happen?
We’ve become very proud of the talent we’ve seen in London and elsewhere in Britain and Europe and we’ll be launching new themed collections. These will give you exclusive access to short runs comissioned by us from up and coming talented designers. It’ll be a way in which we can help fresh talent get started, to support the British economy and to let you get your hands on to-die-for styles that you can’t get on the High Street.

Will you be part of it?
We love it when you talk to us. Your feedback has helped us to refine our service and to select the items you want to define your identity. We’re not all ears – we have eyes, noses, mouths and faces too – but we do listen and really value your opinions. If any of the changes we make spark off something within you, share it with us!