A Talk With Fiona Childs – Bell & Brunt

Bell & Brunt Jewellers, with over a century of heritage as an Australian family-owned business, deeply values its connection to the local community.

Written by Jewellery World

How has Bell & Brunt’s heritage as an Australian family-owned business influenced its approach to serving the local community?

Bell & Brunt Jewellers, with over a century of heritage as an Australian family-owned business, deeply values its connection to the local community. Our longevity—over 100 years and now in the hands of the fifth generation of our family—has fostered a unique trust and bond with our customers. This generational loyalty is reflected not just in the business but in the stories of those who come to us, some families having celebrated multiple life milestones with our creations.

We are more than a business; we are a community where every customer is made to feel like part of the family. Encouraging our customers to share their stories is an essential part of how we operate. It allows us to not only connect on a personal level but also to embed these narratives into the jewellery we craft, honouring both our craftsmanship and the stories of love that these pieces represent.

Proudly based in South Australia, our history is intertwined with the state’s tradition of fine jewellery manufacturing. This local pride is reflected in every piece we create, ensuring that our customers not only feel a sense of belonging but are also part of a continuing legacy of excellence and heartfelt craftsmanship. At Bell & Brunt, every interaction is an opportunity to deepen our community ties, celebrate our shared heritage, and craft exceptional pieces that carry personal and collective histories forward.

How does Bell & Brunt celebrate and incorporate Australian culture and heritage into its custom jewellery designs?

We draw on traditional craftsmanship techniques passed down through generations, ensuring that each piece of jewellery is not just an accessory but a wearable piece of art that honours the cultural legacy of both our craftsmanship and the Australian spirit. In our collaborations with customers, we actively incorporate elements that resonate with their personal connections to Australia, especially opals Australian sapphires or Argyle pink diamonds and pearls—whether it’s through design or by crafting pieces that symbolise personal or local history. For example. family opal pieces came in—grandfather mined an opal, and granddaughter came to us with it. We designed and crafted a jewellery piece out of it. 

Can you discuss any initiatives or partnerships that Bell & Brunt has undertaken to support local Australian artisans or businesses in the jewellery industry?

For more than 25 years, we have been members of the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA). We participate in their events, entered the JAA Awards last year and came out as finalists in the Diamonds for Men category. I have a seat on the JAA SA Committee. GAA—Gemmological Association of Australia—we send our staff to GAA for training periodically and also to support GAA’s work. We support Australian Jeweller Suppliers (AJS) and get almost all our tooling, equipment and machinery from them. We try to work with local suppliers for materials. We joined the Women in Jewellery community, and participate in the Jewellery Industry Fair

We make time to go on educational trips:

– Our team went to the South Australian Maritime Museum to learn about the history of the pearling industry

– Team trip to Peter W Beck tour – South Australian family-owned and run business to learn about gold refining. 

– The team went to an international jewellery fair in Sydney and also went to Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm last year. 

Images supplied by Bell & Brunt

In what ways does Bell & Brunt cater to the unique tastes and preferences of Australian consumers in its jewellery collections and custom designs?

We recognise that each customer has a distinct style and story, which is why we offer extensive customisation options. This allows individuals to be intimately involved in the design process, from stone selection to collaborating on the design, ensuring that the final piece reflects their personal taste and lifestyle. Whether it’s a bespoke engagement ring or a piece celebrating a personal milestone, we ensure that every detail is tailored to the client’s preferences.

How does Bell & Brunt contribute to promoting and preserving Australian gemstones or materials in its craftsmanship?

Because we custom handmake every piece, with SA’s rich opal mining history, we often get customers with pieces of rough opal mined by their family, and we are able to turn that into a meaningful piece for them. We have seen pearls from regions like Lightening Ridge, Andomooka, Coober Pedy, and Mintabie which customers bring to us for crafting special pieces. We take pleasure and pride in sourcing certified Argyle pink diamonds for customers as well. 

Can you share any insights into how Bell & Brunt navigates and adapts to the specific challenges and opportunities of the Australian retail market?

In 2020, the onset of COVID-19 necessitated a significant shift in our operations. As a traditional physical retail and manufacturing jeweller, we embraced innovation by transitioning our services to Zoom, allowing us to continue creating custom, handcrafted jewellery with our clients virtually. This adaptation not only kept us connected with our customers during challenging times but also aligned us with the evolving digital landscape of the retail market. We are now fully equipped to meet our client’s needs with the same personalised care and excellence, both in-person and online.

How does Bell & Brunt leverage its status as one of Australia’s most trusted custom jewellers to foster loyalty among its customer base?

With our recent renovation, we are focused on tangibly representing the century of history we have, and our family ownership and connection which garners the trust of our customers. This transformation not only pays homage to our legacy but also reinforces the trust and connection we share with our community. As the same family-led business that has proudly served for more than 100 years, we continue to honour our values and tradition while welcoming customers old and new.

What role does Bell & Brunt see itself playing in the promotion of Australian jewellery craftsmanship and heritage on both a national and international scale?

Our approach to crafting jewellery is rooted in traditional, international techniques, honouring the art of handmade craftsmanship. We consciously steer clear of computer-aided design (CAD) and casting methods to preserve these age-old skills. Through our commitment to these methods, we educate our customers on the value of handcrafted jewellery, supported by a century of proven expertise. We advocate for the superiority of these artisanal techniques over machine-made alternatives, ensuring that every piece reflects our dedication to excellence and tradition. 

Looking ahead, how does Bell & Brunt plan to continue representing and championing Australian values and creativity through its role as a leading Australian retailer in the jewellery industry?

Looking ahead, Bell & Brunt Jewellers remains committed to upholding and promoting Australian values and creativity, deeply rooted in our founder Keith Brunt’s legacy. Rising from humble beginnings, Keith exemplified the quintessential Australian values of mateship and perseverance, transforming his challenges into a successful career in jewellery and establishing a nurturing community at Bell & Brunt. His approach was always grounded in humility, treating everyone as an equal and fostering a warm, welcoming environment.

Our commitment to these values is evident in our embrace of multiculturalism and diversity in the workplace. We recognise and value talent from all backgrounds, which enriches our creative process and broadens our perspectives. To further this ethos, we’ve established a Design Hub, where our team of qualified design consultants—our master designers—can collaborate and share their diverse ideas and skills. This initiative not only promotes creativity within Bell & Brunt but also positions us as a leader in fostering Australian craftsmanship and innovation in the jewellery industry.

As we continue to grow, we aim to attract and nurture the best creative talent, ensuring that our pieces not only represent the best of traditional craftsmanship but also reflect a modern, inclusive Australia. Through these efforts, Bell & Brunt will continue to champion the values that have been the foundation of our brand’s century-long legacy.

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