It has been 34 years in the making but a Wellington jewellery business is dazzling the international market.

When Ian Douglas founded the The Village Goldsmith in Kelburn in 1981, he never expected an award winning business that would grow from one person to 20, or have an international division.

Demand for quality from Wellingtonians had spurred the growth, he said.

Within New Zealand, his Victoria St store was thriving and there are plans in the near future to expand the offices.

But perhaps the biggest success story has been the attention the business has been getting overseas with its international 'Inspired Collection' brand.

About five years ago Douglas called on the financial expertise of Chris Benham, and along with his wife Christine Douglas, formed the Inspired Jewellery Group with the intention of  expanding overseas.

Inspired is broken into three different business, The Village Goldsmith, Inspired Jewellery Limited and Wilshi Limited.

Inspired creates bespoke jewellery designs for individual customers and manages high-volume manufacturing processes for international designer collections.

It provides specialist design, marketing, branding, prototypes and finished jewellery for individuals and companies.

"The Global Financial Crisis was the hardest time to launch a brand, customers were not buying and we had to learn a lot and adapt. We were warned it could take about five years for customers to commit," Benham said.

Collectively the Group has been profitable and Inspired profits had been reinvested to fund international growth.

Benham, Inspired founder and chief executive, said there had been a lot of investment to grow the international Inspired side of the business.

It has only been during the past 12 months the owners have felt comfortable their business was flourishing.

Investment had resulted in "amazing" contracts and opportunities, he said.

In 2010 and 2011 the Inspired collection won awards for the best piece of men's jewellery in the world.

Other international and New Zealand  jewellery awards led to design contracts in the US, China, Japan and India.

The market in India for men's diamond dress rings was growing, which was providing huge opportunities, Benham said.

The business was also close to finalising a large contract in Japan, which was supported by NZTE.

The owners are committed to building further international relationships in an industry where "your word is your bond".

Ian Douglas said the secret to success was simple - "it's the customers".

"We're still intentionally one store, still talking to clients that we first met 34 years ago. Our business is about people and about relationships. We discuss the detail of the most personal object people will buy for themselves or a loved one and it's a privilege to be involved in that process."

All designs start from the "heart" with a hand-drawn design with pencil and paper, and a burning desire to be different, he said.

Then the intuition of traditional craftsmanship and the best of cutting edge technology are combined to create a piece of inspiring jewellery.

He "tore up the rule book" of design years ago and all his jewellery design was driven by the emotion, not a perceived market need, he said.

"We're going to continue flying the flag for innovative design, superior quality and finish, and break new ground with exciting developments in how diamonds are held in jewellery, so watch this space."

The business is affiliated with the American Gem Society and the Goldsmiths Guild of New Zealand.

Clients, companies, commissions, inspirations, and collaborators have ranged from Grammy Award-winning pop artists Kimbra and Katy Perry, to sporting All Black legends Jonah Lomu, Dan Carter and Victor Vito.

Collaborations have included several top film industry movies, and a commission by the NZ Government for the Queen of England.