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Gems that touch the heart
French photographer, author and blogger Garance Dore once said, “Jewelry is a very personal thing...it should tell a story about the person who’s wearing it.”
Using this as their guiding philosophy, Michael and Mia Edwards have been quietly working to turn Qirat Jewellery into a minimal yet modern, fine jewelry establishment.
Deciding on the name, which is fashioned after the Arabic word for “carat,” Michael, who would only say that he is “in his 40s” explained, “In this business, everything is really based on carats whether you are talking about diamonds or the quality of the metal.”
Having opened its doors in 2013, the Diego Martin residents described themselves as fifth generation jewellers who sought to make fine jewelry more attainable.
Armed with this rich heritage— as Mia’s family comes from a longline of jewelry-makers—and their background in science, the two joined hands matrimonially and professionally to strike out on their own.
Revealing his interest was first piqued as he worked for Mia’s dad, Michael said the idea for the business was borne.
He said, “I got an idea that using the contacts they had, I could actually branch off and set up my own thing because I saw a need in T&T.”
He added that they opted to forgo the traditional jewelry retail store modus operandi, instead opting to focus on creating one of a kind, custom designed pieces.
“In T&T, there isn’t anywhere that you can go and decide on what you want and get it customised to your specification,” Michael said.
“That was the need I saw and I responded to that.”
Michael added that Qirat Jewellery’s customisable designs allowed customers to create pretty much any design they could imagine.
Acknowledging the wider public was ignorant of what jewelry-making was all about, Michael said his long-term goal was to educate persons about the intricacies involved in the manufacturing and production of jewelry.
Mia said, “There was a lot of misconception in the market about what jewelry making is and how people make jewelry.”
She added, “There was also a misconception that fine jewelry was very expensive so people would go abroad to purchase items as they looked at brands.”
Seeking to disabuse persons who were under the misapprehension that all stones and gems don’t come from the same place, Mia revealed, “Diamonds and gold are all sourced from the biggest mines in the same place and that’s knowledge people don’t have, that the supply source is the same.”
“You can get fine jewelry right here at an attainable price.”
To build their customer base, the couple said they were able to create personal connections with their customers through social media via messages and emails.
They claimed it is the first of its kind for a Caribbean jeweller to offer customers the ability to design high quality gold and diamond Jewelry online from the comfort of their home.
Soaking up the success of the last two years as the company has been able to carve out a niche as the “go to designer” of custom-made engagement and wedding rings for the modern man and woman, Mia proudly said,
“The jewelry Michael designs is simple and minimal, and you can have it for years to come.”
“You don’t have to go with what’s trendy or fashionable, you can have quality pieces.”
Michael added, “Most importantly, you can come and share your ideas and together we can create the piece to reflect your personality or for whomever you are having it made.”
The couple said that while they continue to benefit from traditional techniques, they have been able to incorporate modern technology in their operations.
Every piece that is designed is transformed into a 3D Digital Render which is then 3D printed on-demand to perfectly fit the diamond/ stone the customer selects.
Cognizant of the economic reality currently facing the country, the Edwards said they had an advantage of accessing an already established supplier-base which allowed them to keep client costs to a minimum.
Having started his professional career as a patent examiner for the government, Michael said he was very careful to steer clear of infringement breaches as he was frank with customers who came with copies and pictures of designs they wanted to have replicated.
He said, “I make sure to tell customers upfront that we do not copy anyone’s design, so we will provide our version of the design.”
Asked how they were able to juggle a growing business with parenthood, the two said while they had a wealth of family support, their days often included accepting calls and interacting with customers at all hours of the day and night.
Indicating their ambition to expand Qirat Jewellery internationally, Michael said, “It is really an incredible feeling when we look at the customer’s reaction when they see the final product.”
“It is such a good feeling and one that tells a story...becoming part of the journey.”
Michael said even as they are working on fashioning heirloom pieces which would perfectly complement their essential collection pieces, they also had to be cognizant of market trends locally and internationally as they had foreign- based customers as well.
Demonstrating how simple it was to log onto the website and select the piece (s) a person wants, Michael said the process was tailored to suit customers of all ages.
Although the bulk of their customers ranged in ages between 18 to 45, Mia pointed out that within the last year, they had observed a more mature audience gravitating towards customised jewelry either as treats for themselves or presents for loved ones.
The two concluded by assuring that their pieces were indeed oneof- a-kind—never to be replicated or duplicated.
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