Stuart Moore biography…
Stuart Moore was born in England in 1944, left school at 14, completing an engineering apprenticeship in 1962, the same year his mother died.
At his mother's funeral his grandmother gently informed him that, although he had always been told his father had been killed in WW2, he was still alive, living in Australia
In those days the Australian government paid all but £10 of the cost for English people to emigrate there so Stuart immediately set out to find his father...
Remarkably he found him the first day he landed in Sydney but his father was not interested in forming a relationship. In some kind of nervous reaction to these events, Stuart found his eyes wouldn't stop blinking so he (temporarily) couldn't continue with his engineering job so, needing to eat, took the first jobs offered; a night job as a drink waiter in a jazz club and a day job in, you guessed it, a jewelry shop.
Being familiar with working with metals, Stuart started doing drawings of mini-sculptures, reflecting his preference for modern art, that could be made in the only way he knew; sawing, filing and welding (the process now called fabrication). His boss liked the ideas, had them made as brooches and pendants. To Stuart’s joyful surprise, they sold.
In 1965 he moved to Vancouver, Canada and fell into a bed of roses, starting work at a small jewelry shop (Swedish Jeweler). In 1967 he was offered a chance to buy into the company, it worked and the 50-year journey to the ‘moore design’ business model of today was on its way.
By 1973 Swedish Jeweler had grown five-fold, now with three shops specializing in the modern design work of a group of Swiss and German goldsmiths, most using fabrication techniques instead of casting. Stuart’s personal specialty of design quickly coalesced into engagement and wedding rings and this has remained his foundation ever since.
A small digression.....................
At this time, 1973, at 29, Stuart wasn't yet aware that he’d started on the path of The Arts & Craft Movement of the late 19th and the Bauhaus of the early 20th century.
Their mantra was that even every-day objects should be well crafted as well as pleasing to the eye and touch, a philosophy Stuart has carried through his career and passionately embraces to this day.
Stuart soon became aware that his little company was unconsciously following this course, motivated by almost exactly the same concerns as those of a century earlier. Once aware of this, his partner, team and I he picked up the baton with enthusiasm and worked hard to further refine the company’s niche of quality, craftsmanship and design, emulating those visionaries of 120 years ago.
In today’s world, we are all dealing with the pluses and minuses of another revolution at least as profound as the industrial one. The internet. In Stuart Moore’s work he enthusiastically embraces - yet also rejects - some of the changes this new revolution has brought about.........
With the launch of moore-design.com Stuart embraces with gusto the world-view and pricing transparency the internet has made possible. Such inventions as computer aided design (CAD) and 3D printing have revolutionized the way he works, providing an amazing opportunity for a new business model where a tiny, niche operation like “moore design” can say hello to the world.
At the same time Stuart is saddened by the last two decades where marketing hype has promoted fluff over substance. Today's consumer is bombarded with exaggerations of quality and value where, in fact, both are fast diminishing.
Stuart Moore believes the jewelery industry is descending down the same path that led Detroit's Big Three into such difficulty. American manufacturers and retailers had a captive domestic market for too long and became lazy. They forgot the foundation:
The buyer wants a great product, not a great advertisement!
Digression over, sorry, we had to put that bit in...............
In 1977 Stuart moved to California, opening a store based on the Canadian model and named it Wyndham Leigh (his two middle names). While continuing to carry his own work and featuring other ‘architectural’ designs - mostly by Swiss or German craftsmen - a strategic decision regarding diamond rings was made.
Now that GIA ‘certificates’ had become dominant, instead of fighting their influence, Stuart signed on with enthusiasm. He changed the operational format to one where all diamonds over .75 carat came with the GIA certificate and with radically reduced profit margins on the stone.
40 years ago this combination of designer jewelery and low-priced but top-quality GIA certified diamonds was very rare. The customer now made two purchases instead of one: a designer ring at a fair price and a stone they selected, loose, to set in it, at close to wholesale. This formula was immediately a winner and, in 1984, Stuart semi-retired to England following a long-held dream to become a sculptor.
Ha! As one of his friends, Brian Harwood, predicted, Stuart soon missed the action, so, in 1987, they opened Harwood & Moore in New York's Soho district. This company was built on a different paradigm than in the past, opening as a Gallery, not a store.
It ran just like an art gallery; the designers displayed their jewelery (on consignment) under their own names and the gallery paid them as soon as their pieces sold. It soon proved to be a winning cooperation and Stuart will forever be beholden to these designers as it is their beautiful work that made the renamed Stuart Moore galleries a successful operation.
In 1992 Stuart changed the name of the Newport Beach store from Wyndham Leigh to Stuart Moore and its operations to the Gallery model.
In 1997 Stuart opened his third gallery, in San Francisco, and it was an immediate success, almost as if the San Francisco customer had been waiting for the concept to arrive.
This group of three galleries became one of America’s largest sources of, mostly European, hand-fabricated platinum pieces and many luminaries of the modern jewelery design world became permanent exhibitors at the Stuart Moore galleries;
In addition, attracted by this unique approach, many up-and-coming young designers stretched their budgets to show their work in the galleries and Stuart was humbled by their faith in his new concept and delighted to properly introduce their work to the US market.
The format worked very well until the crash of 2008 when the combination of reduced sales, higher overhead and “search by mobile” made expensive bricks & mortar operations increasingly untenable.
In May 2016 Stuart’s son, who by mutual consent had left the company in 2013 after 20 years, led a petition to put the three Stuart Moore galleries into Involuntary Chapter 7 Bankruptcy which instantly closed them down.
This, of course, was a shock but, as the Chinese proverb says, “Chaos is Opportunity”...
Stuart’s eyes were quickly opened to the newly possible business model that new technologies (CADS, 3D printing, Virtual Offices) offered and “moore design” is the result. But, of course, no business model will work without the support of faithful designers and loyal clients...
To Stuart’s vast joy, immediately the galleries were closed, he received assurances of ongoing support from 26 of the 30 designers whose work the Stuart Moore galleries had shown for so many years. Their loyalty has touched Stuart deeply and he remains moved by the many warm and appreciative letters clients have sent him asking to meet to design another piece for them.
We at “moore design” hope this new model, a website combined with virtual offices in which to meet clients by appointment, will evolve throughout 2018-19 to become the best source of top level, modern design jewelery in the country.
Stuart is thrilled to launch “moore design” and, in this ‘Arts & Crafts Movement’ way, perhaps he can give a little back to the industry that has been so good to him, steering a little part of it away from the “fluff over substance” hype that’s starting to dominate.
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