Hello, I’m Mitch! I am a local Hampshire girl, happily married with one gorgeous daughter. Look out for her as she sometimes models for us! I took over from my Mum, Petra who started the business, about 8 years ago. I’m a mechanical engineer grad, ex Royal Engineer officer, investment banker and construction project manager – actually all proven to be perfect training to become one of the best jewellers in Hampshire!
What’s the background to your business?
My Mum started the business when she met my dad (on a ski slope in the Alps – he was an Army Officer, she spoke no English) and he’d left the Army. They arrived in Basingstoke needing her to make some money. She did not speak any English, so had to do something with her hands! The only thing she could do was make jewellery (trained with a Master Goldsmith in Germany). My Mum has always insisted we keep her high German standards in terms of product offering and also customer services – we take huge pride in both of these!
The company description is the “Not So Traditional Traditional Jewellers”…the Champagne Design Experience for engagement couples and the Engagement Offer in association with Tylney Hall .. are just two examples of the little extra you offer. What’s the inspiration behind these ideas to highlight the engagement of couples?
Our official description is the “Not So Traditional Traditional Jewellers” And we’re sticking with that! We take such time in getting to know our customers and understanding exactly what they want and need.
The recently launched, Champagne Design Experience for engagement couples at our workshop that really helps make the moment even more special! And the Engagement offer in association with the local, beautiful Tylney Hall are just two examples the little extra special bits you get with Petra!
We always Mystery Shop at other jewellers – including some big names in London and were shocked at how little enthusiasm and compassion the retail assistants demonstrated as we posed as customers looking for engagement rings. So we’ve decided to blow our customers away with the most amazing engagement experience ever, that they will remember for ever with tons of expert design advice thrown in as well. So you come away with a unique experience rather than just hearing the tills ringing as you leave!
As well as offering a comprehensive range of jewellery services and you have your own exquisite jewellery range too – where do you get your inspiration from?
Anything and everything: I’m constantly taking photos of things that inspire me, I’m a magazine junkie, I always ask to look at people’s jewellery even if I’m not in the shop, trade fairs… but the underlying emphasis is creating beautiful jewellery that lasts a lifetime. Not many designers seems to care that much about how their designs are actually going to suit the lifestyle of the wearer.
What’s the most unusual item of jewellery you’ve designed or have you had any strange design requests?
Loads of unusual and wonderful requests: a vial for someone’s dog’s ashes, a child’s tooth made into a pendant, copies of crazy costume jewellery designs, a major’s badge, wedding rings for a pilot mum who met in the cock pit of a plane (yes, up in the sky), banana cufflinks, snooker cue brooch and diamond set ball triangle pendant for a snooker World Champion…BUT – for me, these creations are amazing in their own way, they are truly individual and the recipients have been beyond excited at the end result.
To date, what has been your most popular item ordered from your website/ shop?
Hard to say as we don’t do any one design en masse – our new Angel Whisperer Collection is really, really popular. I think because it is so beautiful and different and again, it can be personalised and changed immediately, depending on where your mood takes you!
What’s your most favourite item in your collection?
That’s an easy one! My 30th birthday present from my Mum: an 18ct gold bangle immaculately set with 30 diamonds. It is stunning and is so me! So many customers have seen it and asked us to re-create it for them – that’s an honour.
You do a “your gold” service – using old gold provided by the customer melted down to make a new piece of jewellery – what a lovely idea! What’s the most popular recycled jewellery piece?
It’s all about memories again and making something special and unique. Our solid gold handmade bangles that will last forever – we normally use the customer’s old gold and they talk to us about how they would like it ‘recycled’. Every single customer who has used this service, has been over the moon with the final result – that’s a pretty satisfying thing at the end of the working day.
When it comes to wedding rings, you can make rings out of platinum; 9ct, 14ct, & 18ct white, rose, & yellow gold; palladium and titanium. My own engagement & wedding ring are platinum (I’m a lucky girl :)) …what metal is the most popular with your customers?
You are a lucky lady – platinum is still the best! I’m also big fan of palladium – it is a good alternative to platinum although our goldsmith moans like crazy about making anything bespoke from it as it’s not easy to work with! Our best-selling metal however is our 18ct white gold – it’s ‘palladium rich’ so naturally much whiter than normal 18ct white gold so we can guarantee it will never will look yellow like most High Street white gold will – this is a huge selling point and our customers trust that we are right (we always are!) Lots of people are disappointed with their white gold as once the rhodium plating wears off their rings take on a ‘straw white colour’, not a nice experience!
You do offer branded jewellery from other designers that you’ve picked for their creativity and flair – what brand seems to be of interest this season amongst your customers? Any favourites yourself?
Both from Germany: unrivalled quality and finishes:
My iMenso – interchangeable pendants –
Festina and Candino watches (new brand to UK – swiss mech and sapphire crystal face but only £200- £300)
Calvin Klein style but sometimes from charity shops, Primark – anything plain which works well as it shows off the jewellery I’m wearing.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Oh dear, I discovered LK Bennet dresses: perfect for Saturdays in the shop – makes me feel like a lady! Off duty I’m on ‘Wiggle’ buying cycling kit! Always on the look out for sexy sports clothing!
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Our brand colours ,sports kit that I can brand as Petra Jewellery and advertise as I run and cycle round the Hampshire countryside! And then a new time trial bike in Petra colours and I might even add some diamantes!
Boots or Shoes?
Now – boots ‘n’ skinny jeans – so I don’t get wet feet!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Petra Jewellery.
Photos published with kind permission from Petra Jewellery