I never tire of seeing beautifully crafted jewellery. If someone is wearing a beautifully designed piece, my eye is drawn instantly to it, and I just have to enquire further! Ben’s family owned the famous Kozminsky – a Melbourne icon. Now Ben has branched out with his own online jewellery business Ben Albrecht Jewellery and is carrying on, albeit a little differently, in the family tradition of designing beautiful bespoke pieces that reflect the individual client’s tastes. So if you’re after a beautiful engagement ring that will stand the test of time, or some elegant cufflinks for the man in your life prepare to have a serious case of the ‘must haves’! The biggest problem will be choosing just one!
Please tell us a little about yourself, your background, and how you came to be in the jewellery industry?
I have been surrounded by jewellery my whole life! My late Father Kurt Albrecht immigrated to Australia after the 2nd World War. Arriving in Melbourne in 1956, he began working for Proud’s and was in charge of the diamond department. In the 1960’s he purchased Kozminsky which remained with the Albrecht Family for the next 50 years. In 1989, I travelled to Tokyo, Japan and worked with one of the worlds largest wholesale pearl companies. Returning to Melbourne I was employed by Leonard Joel Auctioneers as an Auctioneer and valuer! After six years I joined the family business as Director/Proprietor until 2012, when I sold the business to the now current owners.
Who most inspires you – past or present?
My Father and Mother are a great inspiration! My mother was a very talented self-taught artist, very loving and was the major force behind my father’s success in the jewellery industry. One of the most important things my father taught me was to treat others the way you wanted to be treated……also one of the most important pieces of information when dealing with people…”Never segregate clients”. One of the nicest parts of my job is dealing with very different people from different walks of life with very different needs.
What inspired you to start your online business – Ben Albrecht.com?
I’ve always wanted to be in a business that is mine. I always felt that Kozminsky was my father’s business, and I was in a way, “looking after it for him” after he passed away. Being online is probably the most important factor for any business, and yes….it does make pieces of jewellery more affordable – however, there are certain pieces of jewellery that will still command high prices regardless of where they are selling.
What services does your business provide to clients my? Do you provide a design service?
My services encapsulates most aspects of what you can expect from a traditional jewellery store. Design plays a big part of my business, from finding certain diamonds and gems, to then designing a piece that suit my client’s taste.
When designing jewellery for brides the biggest thrill is lending the bride something beautiful for “The big day”.
Please describe the process of designing a piece for a client – for example an engagement ring?
Clients will contact me where I will ask what they want? What style…..the size and quality of stones they want to use, what the setting will be made of? Everyone has a budget and I will always try to maximize what my client can get for that.
The design and workmanship in the end will make the stones beautiful. I have seen thousands of times the best stones in very bad settings…and unfortunately that is what stands out in the end; the design and overall beauty of the setting is paramount. I have re-designed many rings that clients are not happy with….the majority of my work is handmade, which means you are acquiring a one-off bespoke piece of jewellery that is not mass produced.
On average how long should your client allow for this process?
Depending on how intricate the workmanship, and what stones are required the process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 4. I recently worked with a client that had a particular style in mind and stones that are incredibly hard to get in Australia. This took 4 months. I never rush my clients….I want the whole process to be enjoyable and for them to love what I do for them.
How can clients be assured of the quality of the gems they purchase from you?
You are firstly dealing with me. I have been a part of the industry for the past 20 years, and have built a reputation for dealing in only the best and most beautiful pieces of jewellery. Ben Albrecht Jewellery is a business that is built on trust, discretion and honesty.
The majority of all the stones I deal with will be certified. Because I deal with clients and their own personal needs, they will either request a certificate which I will provide, where in other instances it will not be needed. Diamonds will be GIA certified, as this is the most trusted global certification document for diamonds.
Some clients only look at the overall beauty, and don’t worry too much about the diamond quality.
Do you have a particular ‘design style’?
Traditional. I admire modern aesthetics in art, furniture and architecture but with jewellery I lean to traditional. Art Deco being my most loved movement. An engagement ring will be worn for a long time, so it’s advisable to go with a design that transcends time and doesn’t date. I spend a lot of time re-designing rings that were bought in the 1980’s.
My favourite gems to work with are……
London Topaz, Aquamarine, Sapphires, exceptional black opals……and diamonds.
Men are provided for with a variety of cufflink designs on your site. Are you able to design bespoke cufflinks for the groom?
Definitely…….but the antique or vintage cufflinks that I stock could never be replicated or made to the same standard. I tend to be quite adventurous with cufflinks and have a collection that could be considered very European. Australian men lean towards a cufflink that is more restrained.
If money were no object, I’d give a gift of…………..
The most beautiful Ceylonese natural blue sapphire.
Thank you Ben for sharing your story. The world of jewellery is an endlessly fascinating one – even more so when you can now find these exquisite pieces online! To find out more about Ben Albrecht Jewellery please visit the website.
Images courtesy of Ben Albrecht