25 years: A silver anniversary for Seychelles’ Kreolor jeweler
One of the first Kreolor shops at Camion Hall opened in 1991 ( Kreolor)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles jewelry brand Kreolor may be known for its golden beauties, but it’s the silver anniversary that the company is now celebrating, as the jeweler marks 25 years of distinctive hand made bracelets and necklaces.
Unique to the western Indian Ocean archipelago of Seychelles, Kreolor blends expensive gold with attractive but economical local materials to produce a wide variety of necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and pendants. The golden Coco de Mer jewelries produced by Kreolor remain their best seller.
During the last 25 years, Kreolor enticed local clients with frequent new designs, since most tourists saw the company’s products for the first time during an island visit.
|One of the clients trying on a pair of the finest jewelries of the Kreolor. ( Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“To them our collection is always new. Our products are unique. You cannot find them anywhere else in the world,” said Claudio Izzi, the managing director. “Our best marketing tool has always been our quality and clients, the people wearing our products.”
As other jewelry shops have opened in Seychelles, Izzi, who comes from a family of jewelers and goldsmiths, sees this growing competition as a sign of a health market place.
On the other side, Susan Louys, the brand manager of Kreolor says that there has been cheap spin-offs by people copying certain Kreolor products.
“This can be misleading to the person receiving the good who may think that it is from us,” she added, while mentioning that Kreolor offers after-sale service to their clients.
Setting roots in the Seychelles
Kreolor was founded in 1990 by a group of investors in partnership with the government. This followed a visit by Izzi from Italy in 1981. The Italian saw a lack of artisanal gold craft products on the market.
As gold craft was new in Seychelles, local goldsmiths and craftsmen were trained. The company started with six workers producing gold jewelries that recalled the tropical environment of Seychelles. Kreolor now has 40 employees.
|The managing director Claudio Izzi keeping an eye on the designs and production. ( Kreolor) Photo License: CC-BY|
Kreolor opened in a small shop in Camion Hall in the heart of the capital, Victoria, in May 1991. Today it runs a total of six shops on the three main islands of the archipelago. The other shops on the main island Mahe are on the second floor of Kenwyn House opposite the National Library in the centre of town and at the departure lounge at the International Airport at Pointe Larue. Two more shops can be found on the second largest island, Praslin, whilst the sixth is on La Digue, the fourth-largest island.
In 1998, Kreolor began producing hand-made artifacts from local timbers and seeds of palm trees endemic to the Seychelles.
“The craft items are not your typical souvenirs. They have practical uses as well. There are home decor, office pieces, and things for the table or bathroom. There are also some other types of jewelry more chunky and ethnic looking,” Louys said this week in an interview at the factory at Le Rocher, on the eastern side of Mahe.
The jewelry craft collections can be found in all the Keolor shops with jewelry prices ranging from $45 to $4,100 and craft prices from $25 and up.
|Some of the Coco de Mer designs that is popular with clients ( Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
In 2008, Kreolor bought out the 50 percent share the government owned when Seychelles started its economic reforms. The company went into a partnership with Jouel which is part of Caratco, a diamond retail and wholesale company in South Africa.
The rise in the price of gold brought about the introduction of the silver collection in Kreolor. This offered a more economical alternative to clients, Izzi said.
A wide-ranging collection
Apart from the iconic 18-karat gold Coco de Mer, Kreolor’s pieces capture the unique fauna and flora of Seychelles, including fish, dolphins, tortoises, palms and flowers. Anyone looking for a souvenir to remember the beauty of Seychelles will find something unique in the shops.
|A local trying on one of the rings. ( Joe Laurence, Seycelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“This is done to allow people to have a choice. You can have the stars, you can have the moon, you can have the tropical motives or you can have something neutral and plain in terms of designs,” said Louys.
“The most important one that we have to mention is the sun. An old Italian gentlemen once told me that ‘Gold is nice and shiny, but without the sun it will never shine,’” added Izzi.