House of the Dragon gems help small business shine

Published at : 05 July 2024, 03:00 pm
House of the Dragon gems help small business shine

Binge-worthy TV and Hollywood films are bringing extra sparkle to the tills of independent London jewellers.

Fans of shows such as House of the Dragon, True Blood and Damsel have been lusting after replicas of jewellery worn by their favourite characters.

Some designers are seeing big returns from their unique creations being featured on the big screen.

The boost in sales and commissions has been welcome after what one designer described as a "gruelling" few years.

The lucky charm is set to continue, after London and surrounding areas saw a recent boost in investment in the film industry, including the expansion of Shepperton Studios in Surrey, the second biggest studio in the world.

Storytelling jewellery designer Jessica De Lotz, who created a collection for House of the Dragon, said since the show was released she has had fans contacting her to buy replicas.

“Traditional advertising on screen is really important to me,” she said.

“When you can see the pieces on an actor, you build a relationship with them and then build a relationship with a brand that you probably didn't know.”

Ms De Lotz, whose eponymous business is based in Kentish Town, said being in the north London area benefitted her.

“It’s home to lots of creatives who are collectors of my work. After creating relationships with them, they return with a brief for their next show,” she said.

The new customer base has helped her brand through what she has described as “gruelling times for independent businesses”. 

Stephen Einhorn has been tasked with designing signature pieces for stars including Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt.

The Islington-based jeweller is contacted by costume designers in the industry who commission his work.

Sometimes he works to strict briefs with specific sizes and colours, basing his work on something that has already been featured in a production.

Mr Einhorn often has to make more versions of a single item or develop a collection around the item, which can include rings, necklaces and crowns that work alongside the initial design.

Other commissions offer a creative licence, like when he created a stag beetle collar for Charlize Theron.

“The costume designer just brought me a box of beetles and told me to go for it," he said.

“For someone new to us, it gives us an extra layer of validity,” he said.

When making jewellery for film and television, it is common for Mr Einhorn and his team to be asked to make multiple replicas.

“We may need one for the body double, one for the stuntman, or they may be filming two scenes at once,” he said.

Mr Einhorn said he was often contacted by fans who wanted replicas of items or similar pieces. He also creates collections of similar items that complement the original design.

Michelle Ovens CBE, founder of Small Business Britain, said she hoped the new chain of requests for jewellers' services would "create long-term customer relationships".

"It is extremely encouraging to see this boost for small businesses, especially in the midst of a very difficult time for the jewellery sector.

"Small firms have been hit hard by rising costs and the cost-of-living crisis squeezing consumer spend, and independent jewellers have struggled to export to the EU due to Brexit, going instead after a stagnant or declining local market.

"In this sort of challenging climate, big brands supporting small businesses can make all the difference."