In part two of our Family Jeweller series, we consider what makes multi-generational jewellers special and explore the nuanced correlation between families, the professional networks they create, and the relationships that fuel high jewellery success.
Some of the most treasured aspects of being part of a family jewellery brand are learning skills that can't be taught; they are passed down from one generation to the next because of a commitment to family legacy and a determination to preserve these artisanal skills. At Ronald Abram, we have refined this artistry across three generations and, in the process, developed an approach unique to our high jewellery brand.
Family is an essential ingredient for high jewellery success
Family high jewellers are surprisingly rare in today’s world of luxury conglomerates. It's something we explored in part one of this series. At Ronald Abram, we are preserving a tradition that dates back centuries, when family jewellers were held in the same regard as confidants, advisors and friends. The purest interpretation of high jewellery has family at its heart, and so does our brand.
Family jewellers can recognise beauty and understand value and rarity
As family jewellers, our appreciation for beauty is passed down from one generation to the next. Chemical compositions and gemmological characteristics can be explored with textbooks without ever having to hold or examine a stone. But that's just one part of the science. There's a critical human element in recognising the inherent beauty of a gemstone, and that results in a kind of instinct that is difficult to define and nearly impossible to teach.
"We never look at the certificate first, always the stone. We base our judgement on how the stone makes us feel, not on what gemmological features are listed in a report. That's the difference between those trained in the classroom and those who truly learned their trade," Ronald Abram.
Jewellery isn't a commodity, it’s an emotional experience. Like art, the factors determining value aren't always quantifiable; they require professional interpretation and understanding. Clients seeking to build their high jewellery collections will always benefit from the instincts and expert advice of a family jeweller to make the correct decision
An intuition for acquiring gemstones is one of our greatest strengths
Learning how and when to acquire an important stone requires intuition and confidence. The finest and rarest gemstones are not readily available on the market; they are bought and sold strategically and emotionally in a way that blurs the line between a family jeweller and asset manager.
At Ronald Abram, we acquire and collect magnificent gems as part of an ever-changing and comprehensive inventory of rare, precious stones. For example, we have an important 23-carat, old mine Colombian emerald that our family first acquired in the 1960s. It was sold to an established international jewellery brand and then onto one of their collectors before we ultimately reacquired it 50 years later.
"Our best suppliers have always been our clients." Ronald Abram
This interconnectivity is only achieved by nurturing bonds of trust over many decades. Clients rely on us to acquire and sometimes sell pieces, knowing that we have nearly 100 years of experience as collectors and active traders. Once an acquisition is made, we serve as a familial advisor to guide and nurture a collection and this allows the unique jeweller-client relationship to flourish.
Ronald Abram's network was forged in Asia
Ronald Abram with Queen Saleha of Brunei, 1986
Every family has a home. Ronald Abram moved to Hong Kong in 1974 and felt a great synergy with the city from those early days. When we opened the Ronald Abram salon at the Mandarin Oriental in 1988, we continued to trade in gems while building relationships across Asia and with visitors from around the world. As a result, the name Ronald Abram is now part of the fabric of luxury jewellery in Asia and beyond.
"Continuity is vital for family jewellers. Our consistent and multi-generational presence in Hong Kong is part of the Ronald Abram story. Collectors similarly value that sense of home and what it represents," JJ Abram
History has shown that strong family bonds have been responsible for building the high jewellery industry. But, more than that, they have helped ensure unteachable talents like identifying beauty, intuitively acquiring gemstones, and nurturing a network of collectors were passed from one generation to the next.
What Ronald learned from his older brother and father, he has now passed down to his son in a way that can't be taught in the classroom. This is the exclusive preserve of family jewellers, and if we're to retain that rich history and tradition, it needs to be cherished and protected.