Continuing a Family Legacy: Kennett Crafted Jewels
Synonymous with stylish, breath-catching bespoke jewellery, iconic Christchurch jewellers Kennett Crafted Jewels has been making the city’s jewellery dreams a reality since all the way back in 1880. It’s still a family business, now in the hands of a fourth generation of Kennetts; manager and jewellery designer Anne Kennett is carrying on the legacy that was begun by her ancestors Robert and Annie Kennett in High Street some 137 years ago. A little event known as the Canterbury Earthquakes forced a physical relocation to their current spot at 462 Colombo Street, but in other important ways the business remains very much the same one that Robert and Annie founded in High Street in the 19th century.
You don’t stay in business for 14 decades without having a few clues. Anne reckons the key to Kennett’s longevity has been adapting to the times while also sticking to its core business. “Each generation has had their own take” Anne says, pointing out for example that her father Tony focused more heavily on watches than the business does today, thanks to recently changing consumer habits (care of cellphones in pockets). All those long years though, the core business focus on stunning engagement rings – which they’ve been crafting for over a century – has remained strong.
Anne has taken this tradition into the 21st century with bespoke ring design, allowing clients to become closely involved in making their jewellery dreams a reality. “Each job is different,” says Anne. “People come in with an idea or sometimes no idea at all … we might look at combining design aspects that they like from different rings … there’s a lot of discussion at the start of the process.” Anne then most often deploys computer aided design (which doubtless would have seemed pretty amazing to Robert and Annie back in the day) to create one or more design options before making the design in metal and then finally fixing the stone when all parties are completely satisfied. “Customers are involved and making input at each stage of the process,” Anne says. “They can see the piece take shape as it is designed and manufactured, and ensure they get what they want.” Anne also adds that it’s often a common misconception that bespoke design is a pricier option than going for an off-the-shelf design. “Because of the way material costs and the process works, often bespoke design is no more expensive or even cheaper than off-the-shelf jewellery,” she says.
Kennett’s has plenty of classical and gorgeous ready-made jewellery designs to be inspired by as well though of course, from precious and semi-precious stone rings and gold and silver bands to earrings, leading watch brands, and more, as well as offering expert repair and valuation services.
Anne notes that a great many of her engagement ring customers are men who have come in by themselves, looking for that special piece with which they can pop the question. “Perhaps that old tradition of the guy making a surprise proposal is coming back – or perhaps it never really went away!”
Create your own lasting memories by browsing Kennett’s exquisite in-store range, or talk to Anne and the team about embarking on your own creative jewellery journey.
Kennett Crafted Jewels
462 Colombo Street
03 366 1232