LUX April 2017

LUX - April 2017 31 Outrageously Beautiful Jewellery George Pragnell has a fascinating history that spans over 60 years. Having trained as a gemmologist with Biggs of Maidenhead, Jeweller to Queen Mary, founder George Pragnell worked his way up to running the prestigious jewellery business. In 1954 George and his wife Margaret took over the bijou jewellers in Wood Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, changing the name and quickly earning an excellent reputation throughout Warwickshire. The business soon out grew the original shop and advanced into the neighbouring Tudor building which was sympathetically restored to create a unique and welcoming showroom. The distinctive interior of the current showroom remains faithful to the Tudor period, with the gradual development resulting in the exposed walls, beams and original Jacobean ceiling; all of which have been meticulously cared for and preserved. Rarefied timepieces from twelve leading Swiss houses sit alongside jewellery collections straight from the George Pragnell workshops, with a backdrop of an historic building which was originally constructed in the late sixteenth century by a close associate of William Shakespeare. The stunning décor of the showroom reflects the breathtaking jewellery masterpieces the company creates. The family-owned and run jeweller, George Pragnell prides itself in a carefully curated selection of world- class offerings at their Stratford-upon-Avon premises and at their appointment-only showroom in London’s Mayfair. From engagement rings suited for a royal to a truly stunning deco bracelet, the third-generation family run jewellery company offers their customers high level, quality workmanship which is equalled by the first class customer service, as Charlie explains. “When my Grandfather founded the company in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1954, he opened with the tag line “Our knowledge is your safeguard”. These same, client focused company values are still strong and true to this present day. The vast majority of our jewellery is designed in house but also is manufactured in British workshops to ensure that our clients receive only the highest quality when they come to us.” Having studied gemmology and jewellery design at the Gemological Institute of America, then working in New York’s renowned diamond district, before completing an apprenticeship with one of the world’s most prominent antique and period jewellery dealers, Charlie joined George Pragnell in January 2005. Over the years Charlie, who is now the firm’s managing director has noticed the change within customer behaviour. “There has been a significant transformation, the demands of the customer have changed. There is a much greater demand for hand crafted goods and jewellery, especially British made. In general, customers have become much more discerning and educated and insist on a much higher quality. They are willing to invest and spend more money on higher quality watches and jewellery. Over half the people that visit our showroom have looked online at our website prior to visiting. They are very well informed before they first walk through the door and meet with one of our consultants.” Ensuring that the standards of the company are being met are the highly skilled experts who work at George Pragnell. The company counts its staff as the most precious assets. Most members of the business have been with the company for more than 10 years, key members of the team have worked there for significantly longer. Charlie highlights the importance of experience and the level of expertise within the company. “Education is a very important part of our company. Both experience and attention to detail are required through every stage of the process. Creating items of jewellery for which the company is proud to mark with our Pragnell seal.” At George Pragnell, we currently employ 80 people, 10 of whom are qualified gemmologists and two of whom are registered valuers. Under our one roof we In 1954, George Pragnell took over a small jewellers in Wood Street, Stratford-upon-Avon and re-established the company under his name. With over 60 years of providing high quality service to the Pragnell name, we invited George’s grandson, Managing Director Charlie Pragnell to tell us more. Outrageously Beautiful Jewellery have goldsmiths, watchmakers, experts in clocks, silver, high complication watches and experts in the history of jewellery. Everyone in our company has a specialist area and expertise.” Over time, the development of technology has made an impact on consumer behaviour. Considered both a strength and a weakness, Charlie outlined how technology has affected the business. “Like all aspects of life, the development of technology is changing the way in which people behave. Ensuring that our company develops in a beneficial manner by reacting to these technological developments, is a continual and ongoing challenge. Technology can assist us in improving our quality of service.” “Our ‘online window’, our website, is just as important as the windows of our showroom. The customer journey has changed, from advertising, response to marketing or word of mouth to a telephone call or visiting our premises.” Ultimately, running through the veins of this family company the ethos of individuality and quality still reign strong. Adhering to these beliefs, Charlie highlighted the company’s ambitions and aspirations. “Moving forward, in five years’ time we believe that George Pragnell will continue to offer our customers the highest quality goods and services, whilst developing artistic duality and original creativity. As such, our customers can continue to expect and receive a superior level of service, and expertise. Our investment in the future promises to intrigue and delight.”