stuart moore bio

Stuart Moore biography…

Stuart Moore, born in England, left school at 14, completing an engineering apprenticeship 4 years later, 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. Needing to eat, Stuart 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 the working of metals and inspired by the Bauhaus, Stuart started doing drawings of mini-sculptures 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 which, to Stuart's joyful surprise, quickly sold.

Two years later Stuart moved to Vancouver, Canada and fell into a bed of roses. Starting work at a small jewelry shop (Swedish Jeweler). He was soon offered a chance to buy into the company and it worked. The journey to the moore design business model of today was on its way.

A small digression.....................
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. The Bauhaus 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.

He soon became aware that his little company was unconsciously following the Bauhaus course, motivated by almost exactly the same concerns as those of a century earlier. Once aware of this, his partner and team 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 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 believes the jewelery industry is descending down the same path that led Detroit's Big Three into such difficulty in the ‘80s. 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...............

Stuart's next step was a move 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.

At that time 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 Stuart semi-retired to England following a long-held dream to become a sculptor.

But Stuart soon missed the action, so he and a friend 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.

The difference?

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 those galleries a very successful operation.

In 1997 Stuart opened a 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.

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.

If given 20/20 hindsight at the time, retailers in Bricks & Mortar locations, particularly in high rent areas, would have quickly shut their doors and found another business model. But few saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime permanently disruptive event as all seven previous recessions had proved that cutting back on expenses for 18 months got you through and, a few months later, business was better than before the crash. However, by mid - 2015 when leasing negotiations for the next 5 years came up with fantastic increases, Stuart realised the model that had worked so well for decades was now obsolete and saw the necessity to close the New York gallery and seek another route. Six months later the two California galleries were closed. 

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 his galleries were closed, he received assurances of ongoing support from almost all designers whose work his 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.

Now with moore design, Stuart believes this new model, a website combined with virtual offices in which to meet clients by appointment, will evolve through the 2020s to become the 21st century version of the now obsolete Bricks & Mortar galleries, the best source of top level, modern design jewellery in the country.

Stuart is thrilled to join his fellow designers in launching 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.

If you haven’t yet watched this video we suggest you do so. It says it all in two and a half minutes...

 July 2019