Reporter: Hamish Rutherford

Source: The Dominion Post


Wellington jeweller Ian Douglas has signed a deal to design an exclusive range of engagement rings for a chain of more than 200 bridal shops in China.  Douglas, who founded The Village Goldsmith 30 years ago, will travel to Beijing with the mayoral forum at the end of the month to present the first five of 15 wedding designs to Hiersun, which will sell the designs in it’s “I Do” branded stores throughout China. Hiersun will manufacture the rings, paying royalties for the designs.  It is the first major deal for The Inspired Collection, an internationally focused brand which Douglas said was also in talks with companies in the US, Canada and Britain.  Formed several years ago, The Inspired Collection aims to create unique rings which Douglas said are works of art.

They would only appeal to a niche market, but they were unlike anything else available. Hiersun approached Douglas at last year’s Hong Kong Jewellery Fair, where Inspired’s presence was boosted by its second consecutive supreme award for men’s Jewellery from the Gemological Institute of America. Douglas has since signed a deal to sell 15 exclusive designs a year to the Chinese firm. The rings would sell for $1000 to $5000 each. “The scale of it is phenomenal for us, and that’s what’s so exciting; they’re basically acknowledging the point of difference.  There’s no other international designers putting out anything remotely close to what we are doing,” Douglas said. He said only about 6 per cent of married Chinese women had diamond engagement rings, a figure expected to increase substantially over the next decade.

Photo: Ross Giblin / Fairfax Media

Rings featured in picture (left to right): Vinko Diamond Ring,  Mens GIA Award Winning Diamond RingStellad Platinum Diamond RIng