London--In the wake of the controversial Brexit referendum, National Jeweler asked some of the United Kingdom’s top jewelers to weigh in on the nation’s decision to leave the European Union.

While some were hesitant to comment on a political issue, others were impassioned on the topic.

Below are the designers’ overwhelmingly negative responses to Brexit, mixed with messages of hope, in the words of those whom it will affect the most.

Stephen Webster
“The implications of Brexit for the jewellery industry are really the same for all industries. Brexit is nothing short of extremely bad news.

I can only hope that when we do find new leadership that they will be able to negotiate our way back in because now that we have had a taste of what being on the outside means, I’m sure given the chance of a second referendum it would probably be a landslide victory for staying in.

I wish I could find something positive to say about Brexit but I really can’t.”

Anna Jewsbury of Completedworks
“The financial consequences are still sinking in here in the U.K. but with an internationally diversified client base we hope we are in a good position to deal with any fluctuations and changes. What is most immediate for us right now is wanting to preserve the culture of our company that is currently very European, both in the makeup of our team and also in our outlook. How can you design conceptual jewellery for a global woman if you are not open and if that openness is not reflected in the studio and the design process?”

Solange Azagury-Partridge
“It was a really disappointing outcome for sure. However, I do think one should just move on and deal with the current situation and make the best of things. Adversity is a great boost for creativity. And the U.K. is certainly enterprising. I’m thinking positively.

No one can be sure [what Brexit will mean for the jewelry industry] yet. I’m sure there will be a period of uncertainty all around. The summer months are never the best in the year anyway. However, as the GBP (British pound) is low, it could encourage people to spend, but I’m no expert!”

Fernando Jorge
“Luxury is ultimately a global business, so like any sector we will be paying detailed attention in the coming months as to how any changes may affect our supply and distribution chains, and will act accordingly. The result was perhaps unexpected, but the British jewellery industry is a vibrant, dynamic and international community that has proven in the past to be well able to navigate difficult or uncertain times.”

“How can you design conceptual jewellery for a global woman if you are not open and if that openness is not reflected in the studio and the design process?” - Anna Jewsbury of Completedworks

Lily Kamper
“I am really disappointed about the Brexit result particularly on a social level and deeply saddened by those ramifications, which affect us all. As a jewellery business I think time will tell how it will affect the industry and small businesses.”

Diane Kordas
“Brexit can potentially complicate and increase the cost of operation. For example, fungibility of VAT across the EU is one of the big benefits of operating in such a big market and this may be lost or reduced.

Also, landing fees or tariffs may be imposed if producing in Europe and/or selling in Europe. In addition it may be difficult to hire European talent in the U.K. as it would incur additional costs, i.e. sponsorships, legal fees, etc.

The jewellery industry is not really different to any other industry that will be affected by Brexit, whether (it affects) movement of goods, movement of labor and accounting issues. In general, the more open the markets, the better. British jewellers are global players. A positive, however: if a British jeweller produces in the U.K. along with having the bulk of their expensive base in the U.K., the devolution of the pound will make them more competitive.”

Sheherazade Goldsmith of Loquet London
“Brexit has caused cost prices to soar as most raw materials are sourced from abroad and paid for in U.S. dollars. This will make things harder for emerging talent and will cause a shrink back in development for those already established. However, fine jewellery differs from the rest of the luxury market, in that for a lot of cultures it holds an intrinsic value.”

Imogen Belfield
“There is an overwhelming feeling of shock and disappointment about the results of the EU referendum. Ninety percent of U.K. businesses stated their preference to remain in the European Union, in a survey conducted by the British Fashion Council. The most immediate impact for the jewellery industry has been the sharp rise in gold prices, marked at over £1,000 per ounce earlier this week. The arts and sciences in general receive huge financial support from the EU. My business, as well as my peers within the jewellery industry, have benefited unequivocally from the European Union and the financial support offered.
“The most immediate impact for the jewellery industry has been the sharp rise in gold prices, marked at over £1,000 per ounce earlier this week.” - Imogen Belfield

In our loyalty and allegiance to the EU and for the Remain campaign I signed, along with 1,200 other U.K. business, the ‘Stronger In’ business letter. (It was) an act that we hoped would work as a significantly important intervention, showing the breadth of support for the U.K. remaining in the EU from businesses big, medium and small. This letter was printed in The Times a few days before the vote, and picked up by other media throughout that same day.

We must now look forward, not back, and look at how we can best work together for the greater good of our nation. One hopes there will be some positives that shine a light through these dark times, and that our historically close working relationships with our European friends will enable proactive negotiations to be made that allow our countries to collaborate and work in harmony with one another. I believe the future should be about tolerance, equality and unity.”

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