New lease of life for BYG


The John Lewis Partnership Supports Bright Young Gems® 2022 As New Retail Associate Partner

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British high street retailer, The John Lewis Partnership, joins the expert line up supporting the Bright Young Gems® 2022 mentoring scheme for graduating jewellery designers. 

Bright Young Gems®, now in its sixteenth year, is the highly successful jewellery industry’s mentoring platform designed to discover and nurture new talent whilst providing the winners with their first commercial showcase. 

Elena Bergonzi, Jewellery Buyer for John Lewis, will join the winners’ selection judging panel and contribute to the winners’ mentoring sessions with the winning designers and existing associate, the National Association of Jewellers. 

Elena Bergonzi says: “We are excited and honoured to be sponsoring this mentoring scheme. John Lewis is keen to nurture new talent and support them in their journey to become successful and commercial designers. We are always so impressed by the designers’ creativity and ability to challenge the status quo. They bring exciting ideas and innovation to jewellery design, and we are eager to ensure that the customer will also be able to see and purchase their unique creations in the future. “ 

Lindsey Straughton, Head of Communications and Industry Liaison, National Association of Jewellers, adds: “It is excellent news that John Lewis is supporting Bright Young Gems®. Their commercial acumen and knowledge will provide a valuable new dimension to the scheme. Industry support especially from the retail sector is so important in encouraging new talent and making sure that emerging designers thrive and achieve commercial success.”

Suzanna Hammond, CEO of Hammond PR, comments: “We are delighted to welcome The John Lewis Partnership as an associate to Bright Young Gems® 2022.  Their considerable retail expertise will bring valuable constructive commercial content to this year’s programme. It is especially beneficial as current challenges are stacked high for young designers trying to establish themselves in the commercial arena.”                               

The Bright Young Gems® mentoring scheme made a welcome return in 2021 amid the challenges of the pandemic. Curated by Hammond PR, the 2021 programme was backed by the National Association of Jewellers, who provided dedicated mentoring for the winners as well as individual travel and accommodation bursaries of £300 through The Benevolent Society. A stellar line up of judges selected the five winners from 36 student entries from 7 leading universities and colleges.  The two judging categories: ‘Show Off - Statement Pieces’ and ‘Responsible Thinking - Sustainable Eco-Heroes’ were equally popular. Leading industry jewellery magazine, Retail Jeweller provided the winners with an exhibition stand at the first Retail Jeweller UK Jewellery Festival trade event in London in September.  Another first in 2021 was the production of an informative Bright Young Gems® brochure, highlighting the winners and the ‘Ones to Watch’, sponsored by Fuli Gemstones.

Jennifer Hall-Thompson, Hammond PR Associate, concludes: “Thanks to the generous support of the industry – The NAJ, Retail Jeweller, The Benevolent Society and Fuli Gemstones – and not forgetting the college lecturers up and down the country - Bright Young Gems® 2021 was very well received.  To date the programme has enabled seventy-three BYG® designers to showcase their work to the industry, retailers and opinion formers and so many of these have gone on to carve out very successful award-winning careers. We are looking forward to rolling out the 2022 programme to this year’s UK jewellery graduates in April.” 


Rebecca van Rooijen


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