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All the best ideas at Lily Blanche come from our customers. We have a lovely group of followers on Facebook who provide really great feedback for the business so when our customer, Heather Urbanczyk, asked about matching earrings and bracelets for our bestselling Memory Keeper Locket, our design team got their sketch books out.
The Memory Keeper Locket is a really unusual piece of jewellery in that it takes six photos. It is based on a vintage design, inspired by the jewel box of my grandmother Lily Blanche Sheridan. Because it is so special, we had been stumped in the past when we had thought about adding to the collection. We didn’t want anything gimmicky or anything that would diminish this unique locket.
The bracelet and earrings had to be lovely to wear with or without the Memory Keeper Locket, they had to be elegant and they had to pass the Lily Blanche quality test. As our customers know, we use a very high quantity and quality of precious metal in our jewellery. This gives it an “heirloom” quality and means that pieces will last.
We had a very successful brainstorming session in which we took as the starting point for the collection, the motif at the ends of the Memory Keeper. It is decorative and pretty and looked great when we reduced the scale of it to make it into a link for the bracelet and a button for the earrings.
From there, it was simply a case of building a repeat design. We made a prototype and we were really delighted with the way it turned out. We made the backs of the bracelet links smooth so that that bracelet can be personalised with engraving and added an extension chain so that the bracelet will fit wrists up to 9.5 inches. We also send the bracelets to the Edinburgh Assay Office for testing and hallmarking so that our customers have a guarantee of quality. If you like stud earrings, these are great. They are really eye-catching but incredibly easy to wear. We love pieces which work for every day but are good enough for special occasions and these fit the bill perfectly.
After testing the bracelet, we added an integral extension chain which takes the bracelet length from 8 inches to 9.5 inches and so will fit most wrists. Then we put them into production and the first batch of Memory Keeper bracelets and earrings is now available online in sterling silver, gold, rose gold and white gold vermeil at www.lilyblanche.com. We will look at adapting the earring to make a drop style next. We hope you like them.
Judy Murray, the tennis coach and Strictly Come Dancing star has been a great supporter and encourager of Lily Blanche over the years, so when we heard that she had lost her treasured Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket, we were determined to get a replacement to her. This unique locket opens up to reveal six secret photographs and is our bestseller. It comes in silver, gold, rose gold and white gold vermeil. Judy had bought the Memory Keeper in sterling silver some years ago - she was one of our first customers - and had worn it to all her sons' Andy and Jamie’s big tennis matches. We were thrilled when she tweeted to let us know how much she loved it. "It's my absolute fave piece of jewellery," she wrote.
So when a friend told us she was seeing Judy at a conference and offered to bring her a replacement locket we were delighted. A few days later we got an email from Judy telling us how pleased she was to be reunited with her Memory Keeper Locket.
What Judy didn’t initially realise was that, using our new photo insertion service, we had filled her locket with Andy and Jamie’s finest moments and, of course, Anton du Beke and Strictly Come Dancing were in there too.
When Judy opened the locket and discovered the photos she was thrilled. “OMG I love it,” she emailed. “That is amazing”. Then it was our turn to be surprised and delighted. “Would you like to come up and have afternoon tea at Cromlix House Hotel?” she asked. Cromlix is the hotel Andy bought near the family's home town of Dunblane and it is just a 20 minute drive from the Lily Blanche studio.
We had a wonderful afternoon, sipping Pimms,eating the most delicious Wimbledon themed tea and meeting some of Andy and Jamie’s biggest fans. (The tennis ball lollipop cake below is called a Murray Mound) We were delighted when Judy showed everyone the pictures inside her locket.
Judy likes the brand so much she also bought the Lily Blanche Birkin Handbag Locket which she is wearing on the cover of her autobiography.
Judy told us that she always sits alone at Wimbledon so that she isn’t distracted and doesn’t hear other people passing judgement on her boys. The one silver lining to Andy’s injury has been the fact that he has been able to spend so much time with his family, wife Kim, daughter Sophia and baby Edie. We even came away with a copy of Andy's granny's (Shirley Erskine's) famous shortbread.
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