One of the most common questions I get asked, other than "Where did you get your good looks from?" is "Have you always wanted to be a jeweller?"
The short answer is no. However how I became a jeweller and how this happened was a bit by chance.
Traditionally most jewellers in Hatton Garden, the jewellery centre of the UK, are in the business because it has been in the family for a few generations. The tradition of bringing your children into your business is something which happened quiet a lot years ago. Not so much anymore. As in most industries, things are getting harder and harder.
My son at work with me in the London Diamond Bourse:
I was 16 years old when I was first introduced to the back end of the jewellery industry. A friend of my parents was a manufacturing jeweller, and wanted to know if I was interested in helping out for a few weeks in the summer holidays. I was intrigued by the offer and accepted. I was fascinated by what I saw. The attention to detail and the intricate work involved was mesmerising for me. Working with some of the most precious gemstones and metals on earth was something I wanted to do. My mind was set. This was for me.
After 2 weeks of what can only be described as a great summer job, I looked into starting a course in jewellery making, and found one which was starting that term at Sir John Cass School of Arts. It was an apprenticeship course and they assisted in finding me work placement too. I loved it. Learning everything I could. From soldering to sawing, filing to buffing, polishing to setting, casting to bending. All my friends were doing A level exams and then off for a gap year. Not me. This was it.
I was fortunate for the college to find me a guy called Laurence who, with his father, ran a wholesale company making 18ct and platinum ring mounts, as well as bespoke pieces by hand. I spent a total of 9 years with Laurence, the person I owe a lot to for my career path, then decided to move on and go on my own.
Some shots of procedures used in making jewellery in my workshop:
In 1999 I took a gemmology course and passed. Learnt so much that all it did was fill me with a desire to learn more. Diamonds are one of those things I am fascinated by. The fact that something so small has such beauty and lustre to command such a high price is extraordinary.
In the year 2000 I founded and started on my own, and focused my business on creating bespoke pieces for private clients. The best way, and in my opinion the only way, to do this is to create a network of people who can, and will, happily refer clients to me. I joined a networking organisation called BNI and have been a member since 2002.
I joined the London Diamond Bourse in 2005 and a few years later was invited onto the board, and to this day I proudly sit as a board member as part of an 11 person strong committee. The fact that I have a say in the future of the diamond industry and can make suggestions to improve and evolve is something which excites me.
2014 was a special year for me. Having spent years with clients discovering their genuine needs and desires when it comes to jewellery, I took this insight and used it to create my very first collection. Rebranded and changed my business name to Lewis Malka London. Launching in July 2014, the range included 13 distinct designs with a focus on refinement, ensuring the stone(s) remained a true focal point with the metal merely complimenting. Each piece is hand crafted and bespoke to each client.
- I continue to champion a personal approach within the fine jewellery sector, offering one-to-one appointments for a bespoke experience where customers are able to impress their own individuality onto the outstanding design and incredible craftsmanship that Lewis Malka London is known for. I myself continue to hand craft all orders for a unique personal touch.
- To coincide with the launch of the first Lewis Malka London collection, my company began working with an award winning PR agency to help create awareness around the brand and cement me as the go-to expert in fine diamond jewellery. Since this appointment I have become a regular contributor to the likes of the Daily Mail, The Mirror, OK!, MSN and Huffington Post. In addition, the debut collection has starred in a variety of titles, most notably, within Harper’s Bazaar as part of their top 30 engagement rings, alongside household brand names like Cartier and Tiffany. As a result of this investment in PR, Lewis Malka London has seen a huge increase in website hits, social media followers and direct calls regarding the brand.
- In October of 2014, I was approached by Eva Longoria and Ricky Martin and asked if I wanted to get involved with their charity, The Global Gift Gala, evening they were hosting here in London. I didn't hesitate and I donated a diamond necklace for the auction which Iveta Lukosiute wore on the night. There were lots of famous faces there and more than £500,000 was raised. You can read all about it in this blog I wrote.
- This increase in press coverage and in turn, brand awareness put Lewis Malka London on the celebrity radar. As a result, I became the exclusive jeweller to philanthropist Katie Piper, working with Katie and her fiancée to design and create her stunning engagement ring in December 2014.
So as you can see, it's been a busy time for me lately and things are going from strength to strength. When I'm not at work either sourcing diamonds or in the workshop crafting some beautiful pieces of jewellery, I enjoy running marathons, going to the cinema and seeing the arts. I also seem to have quiet a geeks obsession with James Bond! Well, we've all got something. So with that and my three kids, I'm pretty busy and very content in life. I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds. I'd love to create a piece for an A-list celebrity to wear on the red carpet at the Oscars within the next few years. So watch out, because this time next year...
If you would like an appointment, then please do call for a free consultation in our central London Hatton Garden office and we would be glad to try and help you. Our details are on the main page of the Lewis Malka London website.
Lewis Malka is a recognised expert in making diamond rings as well as being a famous jeweller to the stars. All his blogs are his own opinions. He is a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB) and also sits on the board within the Diamond Bourse. You can follow him daily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you would like any bespoke jewellery made, then please visit his website.