LONDON – The jewelers of London’s jeweler’s district are being left to fend for themselves against a resurgent local black market.
In the capital, there are more than 50 shops, with many shuttered, with more still on the brink of closure, and the local black-market ringgit has tripled.
“We are at the end of our tether.
We are losing customers,” said Louis Stokes, who has been in business for 25 years.
Stokes has been dealing in London jeweler goods for 30 years and has been hit hard by the recent rise in the ringgit.
It has also prompted him to consider buying up jewellery he sells at the nearby Arthur’s jewelery chain.
His jewellery, for instance, was used in a £1 million diamond engagement ring sold to the Duchess of Cornwall last year.
The Duchess bought it at a London auction for £7.9 million ($13.3 million).
“The price was more than double what we were paying,” Stokes said.
He is hoping to secure more money by selling jewellery to jeweller’s in the surrounding area, but said he has been unable to secure a deal for a few years.
Stokes said that in some areas the price of the ring is as much as £1,000, while in other areas, it is more than £10,000.
Arthur’s said it is working to help keep the business afloat and has launched a “Save the Jewelers” campaign.
At a news conference in London on Tuesday, the company’s chief executive, Peter Johnson, said that the company has seen a sharp increase in demand for its jewellery and the ring, which is still in production, is on the back burner.
However, the firm has begun making repairs to several of its jewellery premises, as it seeks to recoup its costs and invest in its own facilities, Johnson said.
Johnson said Arthur’s had to make the decision to close down some of its premises because of the threat of black market trade.
Johnson said the firm was making investments in its existing premises to help retain its customers.
But, he said, Arthur’s was still “a long way from profitability.”
“This is a business that has been doing well,” he said.
The local black economy is flourishing, with the black market for diamonds being worth more than half a billion dollars a year, according to the London Gold Exchange.
Many of the shops that Stokes and other jewellerer’s are working in have closed in recent years, with one shop in the area of St Pauls Square, for example, closing down and another going under the hammer.
As the local economy continues to shrink, it will be difficult for the business to survive, said Stokes.
We are losing our customers,” he added.
LONDON – The ring is only a fraction of the jeweler who has lost his livelihood because of this growing black market, said Louis Chambon, who runs the St Paul’s Square jewellery shop.
A few years ago, Chambons father, Louis Stakes, was in his 40s.
Now, he is 65 and struggling to make ends meet.
One of the shop’s most popular customers is a local businessman, and Chambos shop is packed.
Chambons grandfather, a former London jewelier, used to be the store’s head jeweller.
I am proud to be a jeweller in London, but I am not going to go anywhere, because this is a good day, I think, for London.” “
I am a firm believer that the city has a long way to go.
I am proud to be a jeweller in London, but I am not going to go anywhere, because this is a good day, I think, for London.”
St Louis Stoke is not the only jeweller whose business is on its knees.
Another London jeweller who also sells jewellery in the town of Hatton Garden, the area around the jewelers, is trying to recuperate his business after losing about £300,000 ($500,000) last year, his brother, Stephen, told the BBC.
Stephen Stokes owns several of the jewellery shops in Hatton Gardens, including the Hatton and St Paul shops.
Like other jeweller’s in Hingham, the family business has been badly hit by the ring’s rise.
And there is also concern about what will happen to the surrounding businesses that have lost their customers.