Six Birmingham jewellers will supply Birmingham’s new John Lewis, the retail giant has revealed.
James Newman, Kate Smith, Becca Williams, Rhiannon Lewis, Collette Waudby and Fei Liu will be the first group to supply more than 500 pieces of jewellery for the new store.
Business leaders in the Jewellery Quarter had originally put forward a shortlist of 20 designers to contribute to its autumn and winter collection.
Jilly Cosgrove, board member of the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust, said it would be a major fillip for the jewellers.
She said: “For these designers, who range from established businesses to small start ups, to have their collections in John Lewis’ new regional flagship shop is amazing.
“This project has been over three years in the making and will allow John Lewis to access talented and upcoming designers from the Jewellery Quarter, providing a unique customer experience.
“Each group of designers will rotate on a six-month basis, allowing us to demonstrate the breadth of talent here in the quarter."
Pictures: Tour of John Lewis three months before opening
Mr Newman, who graduated from the Birmingham School of Jewellery 18 years ago and now has his own shop in Vyse Street in the Jewellery Quarter, has designed an exclusive range of limited edition pieces for the launch.
He said he took inspiration for his collection from the exterior design of the new John Lewis department store, the Staffordshire Hoard and the Big Peg in the Jewellery Quarter.
A collection of 180 pieces will be exclusive to John Lewis.
He said: “Creating unique, distinctive and beautiful jewellery is something I am passionate about and the iconic design of the John Lewis Birmingham shop provided great inspiration for my collection.”
Ms Smith, from Stourbridge, whose designs were also chosen, believes her jewellery will be perfectly placed in John Lewis.
She said: “The expectations of John Lewis customers are on a par with my own; they demand quality, excellent customer service whilst taking something very special home that they are thrilled to own.”
Ms Waudby is the current British Jeweller’s Association Jewellery Designer of the Year and former graduate of the internationally renowned Birmingham School of Jewellery.
The jewellery will be available as soon as the long-awaited store opens.
Lisa Williams, head of branch at John Lewis Birmingham, said she was keen to ensure the new store reflected the significance of the Jewellery Quarter.
She said: "I’m really impressed with the pieces we will be stocking in the shop and look forward to hearing customers’ thoughts come opening day.
“Supporting the local community is extremely important to us and we hope that our partnership with the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter is the start of a long and fruitful relationship with a variety of businesses in and around the city.”
John Lewis Birmingham stock more than 350,000 products from its full range, including jewellery, fashion, furniture, homewares, beauty and technology trends.
Its opening is part of a major retail boost in the coming weeks which will also see the redeveloped Mailbox open its doors and the wider Grand Central scheme, above New Street station, finally open.