Percy Marks Continues to Sparkle
For over a century, family owned business Percy Marks has shared its passion for Australia's rare gems with customers from around the country, and indeed around the world.
From its heritage as the first purveyor of Australian Black Opals, Percy Marks' current collections include all of Australia's rare gems, from lustrous South Sea pearls to the highly prized Argyle Pink Diamonds.
Now in its fourth generation, one of the key ingredients to the jewellery business's longevity has been its ability to adapt and remain attractive and relevant to successive generations. Percy's great-grandson, Cameron Marks, says that marketing the business to Generation Y has been particularly challenging because there are no Gen Y family members currently working in the business. Yet it is important that the company understands the new generation of customers, and that this is reflected in everything from retail fit-out to web design.
Cameron says, Gen Y are hungry for new, innovative, and ever-changing designs, as opposed to traditional designs that have remained constant over the years. They are also used to customer add-on service and want the product ready for a quick buy, rather than waiting for a piece to be designed for them.
As well as the challenge of meeting Gen Y's needs, the diamond trade itself has changed dramatically over the past 20 years and Percy Marks works within an environment characterised by a reduced number of mining and wholesale businesses. The result of this has been the supply chain process for the large remaining companies has sped up considerably.
The demand for diamonds has also increased substantially as countries such as China, Russia and India have become more affluent. With no new major source of rough diamonds found in recent years, there has been global pressure on price and availability. Cameron says it will be the relationship that companies have built with their suppliers that will enable them to source diamonds as supply tightens. It is the strength of these relationships that has allowed Percy Marks to offer an extensive range of hand selected gems and fully certified diamonds, sourced from around the world for their individual beauty.
Cameron says that one thing that hasn't changed is Percy Marks' commitment to the highest level of customer: knowing what your customer wants and consistently being able to provide and even exceed this.
Another facet of the business that will remain constant is its commitment to quality. Since 1998 it has offered the talents of Kenneth Manserge, who has won many awards, including two international diamond awards and more than a dozen Australian Design Awards.
And as it becomes increasingly difficult to source quality antique pieces, the Marks family have enlisted the services of antique jewellery specialist Jaap Fabery de Jonge, who comes from one of Europe's leading antique jewellery families that has operated since 1849. Each year the collection culminates in the annual Percy Marks International Antique and Period jewellery exhibition held each Spring at its flagship Elizabeth Street store.