We had a brew with the Jewellery Don of Douglas, Neil Dunwell last week.
He and his wonderful team at Dunwell Jewellers, kindly let us try on some incredible pieces from their exclusive collections.
Neil moved to the Isle of Man in 1999 to manage a well-established jewellery and watch business. This ended late 2016, and Neil opened his own business under his family surname of “Dunwell”.
It was an insightful afternoon, hearing from the most experienced jewellery team in the Isle of Man, with over 80 years’ industry experience between them.
Bond Street or Strand Street?
Neil and his team made us feel right at home from the moment we walked into this Gem of Strand Street, and it really is like stepping into another world.
Dunwell Jewellers has to be the most exclusive retail experience available on the Isle of Man. Neil’s vision for Dunwell was to, ‘Bring the experience of Bond Street to the Isle of Man’;
“As a location, the Isle of Man is very unique. Our customers can’t just drive to London or their nearest city to look at the different stores and shop around. At Dunwell Jewellers we need to offer products that you would expect to buy on London’s Bond Street”.
“I think we do a great job at this, supplying high-quality diamonds and gemstones, beautiful bridal pieces, dazzling jewellery and unique timepieces, all with international credibility.”
On an Island of individuals, exclusivity is key
“The jewellery and watches we have are exclusive to us, and cannot be purchased anywhere else on the Island. People also want bespoke designs produced and this is something we excel at, creating that piece special only to themselves”.
“We love bringing a special piece into our stock and can get ‘nicely frustrated’ that it sells quickly before anyone else has a chance to view it. The fact we only get that item in the once makes it so exclusive to the person buying it. I am sure our customers are happy about this.”
The Isle of horology
We asked Neil if there are any jewellery tastes or trends which are specific to the Isle of Man. He told us more about the Island’s obsession with watches;
“In terms of watches, the Isle of Man is the ‘Hub’ for horology – watchmaking. The world-renowned George Daniels who resided on the Isle of Man in Ramsey made exceptional pieces while living here, which now fetch millions of pounds at auction. Roger Smith is now continuing the art of making exceptional bespoke pieces under his own name. Few people know that the ‘automatic winder’ for mechanical watches was invented by John Harwood in 1923 while living in Baldrine”.
“We stock many limited edition exclusive watches. I love being able to help men and women showcase their individual style and taste with limited edition watch selections”.
“Carats and C*ck Rings”
We talk to Neil about how Dunwell Jewellers source specific items and meet the needs of their customers;
“We take great pleasure in sourcing unique pieces for our customers. We also take great pride in our attention to detail and our level of service, it’s something we’re collectively passionate about. Our customers can come in with ideas or designs they have seen elsewhere and we can have those unique pieces created. We source the diamonds and gems ourselves and only work with reputable designers to achieve the perfect look for the customer”.
“There has been one occasion where we couldn’t fulfil a customer’s requirement. A gentleman came in to ask for a custom penis ring. Although our service levels are high, I had to politely decline the opportunity as I didn’t want to do the ‘measuring’….!”
Neil’s time to shine
“The personal relationship I’ve built up with my client base means that some of my long-standing customers only know me as ‘Neil’. They don’t actually know that my surname is Dunwell!”
“Having the Dunwell name on the store fills me with the pride. As I have three beautiful girls, I’m the last to continue the family name of which we are all proud of. This gives them a unique legacy to continue (if they choose to). I just wish my Dad would have seen his name on the sign and engraved in the collection. He sadly passed away just before we launched”
With the season of romance in full swing, it’s well worth popping in to see Neil and his team, for some friendly advice on gift buying. Just make sure you’re asking for pieces to fit traditional body parts!