John Franich Jewellers is a New Zealand family owned and operated business that offers a range of unique diamond jewellery pieces, working with authentic, high quality and ethical stones. WOMAN chats with John Franich about the beginnings of the family-run company, how trends come-by in jewellery, and where to start when you want to select a commitment ring!
How Did You Get Into Jewellery?
I came back to Auckland after high school in the 1960’s… Back in those days, when you left school you went to see a vocational guidance office to figure out a career. This one was down on Custom Street. They walked me through town and after telling them my brother was a hand-engraver, he took me into Cliff Garvie at Garvie Jewels in Randolph St, Newton.
I introduced myself to Cliff Garvie and we only spoke for about five or 10 minutes before he said “I’ll offer you a job and I’ll pay you twice as much as what you are getting now.” So that was that, I decided there and then and here I am 60 years later.
In those days, the trend in jewellery was driven by hand engraving, so the craft went hand-in-hand with jewellery making. Every wedding ring had hand engraving on it, not just on the inside, but on the outside with organic patterns inspired by nature being the most popular.
What Pattern Of Trends Have You Noticed In Your Years In The Industry And Where Do You See Them Going?
Jewellery trends come and go, but unlike clothing fashions, they tend to last for at least ten to twenty years at a time. Since the dawn of jewellery, which really dates back as far as Ancient Egypt being most synonymous with jewellery, the styles have always been heavily detailed with engraving, symbolism and embellishments. When less was definitely not more.
It was really in the 90s that jewellery trends started to evolve to the smoother more refined looks we see today. This was not just driven by design trends, but also the accessibility to larger diamonds, the development of the tooling and skills to cut diamonds and stones into a more varied style and shape, as well as the discovery and processing of a wider variety of precious and semi-precious stones.
The older processes of hand mining and gemstone processing made jewellery a lot more exclusive and expensive and the domain of kings, queens and the nobility. However, in the late 20th century, new technology and the global expansion of mining means precious jewels and materials are more accessible, widely available and due to the basic economic principles of supply and demand which has also made jewellery more affordable.
So When Did You Open Your First Store?
It was only in 1970 that we registered John Franich Jewellers and then in 1992 Jenni and I decided to take the giant leap and open up a retail store. Like many trades, and in particular one so specialised as jewellery, there’s a community of crafts persons, retail store owners and suppliers and manufacturers that get to know each other over time. These people have remained our support network throughout our time in the jewellery trade and we are grateful for their support.
So John Franich Is Really A Family-Run Business? What Are The Benefits Of This?
Independence. Vision. A shared sense of purpose and values and being true to those values. Jenni and I have worked together in the retail store since inception. We’ve built a loyal following of customers who respond positively to the authenticity of our hands-on approach and accessibility. Having heritage helps customers feel secure in forming an attachment to our brand. A high level of discipline and staying focussed.
What Is Your Favourite Product Or Material To Work With As A Jeweller?
My favourite material is 18k yellow gold because of its malleability and durability and the high level of polished finish.
So for someone reading this who knows nothing about jewellery, How would they approach you?
We have many customers who started their jewellery journey with us in exactly this same way. Especially for men, traditionally they have not paid any attention to jewellery until they are ready for that big commitment. Often their friends know nothing either, and depending on their background, their family may also not be much help.
We treat every customer according to their needs. Some need to start with the basics: what’s the difference between 18k and 9k gold. How do I know the difference between Platinum and Silver. Where do I start with diamonds?
We can either sell to customers from our range of hand made jewellery designed by John Franich, or we have a variety of options that we bring in from other manufacturers. However, if they are looking for something bespoke that they designed, well, that’s a special process that takes some time.
Luckily through the use of CAD we can now draw up highly accurate 3D renders of designs and specify the materials according to the client’s budget. That process really helps the customers visualise and be certain about what they are getting.
From approval, we begin to create. Using engraving either on the outside of the ring, or hidden on the inside of the band is a beautiful way to share your memories, moments and milestones with one another.
Years of design experience coupled with a significant design library are the catalysts that will set you on your way to creating a jewellery masterpiece that is uniquely yours. John Franich invites you to visit our store and sit with us. Together we can create a design as individual as you.
Visit John Franich Jewellers online to start your diamond journey today. John Franich also offers Afterpay to help spread the upfront cost of your investment.