Birks Group

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Birks Group Inc.
Jeweller
Traded as AMEXBGI
Headquarters Montreal, Quebec
Key people
Jean-Christophe Bédos (CEO) Henry Birks
Website www.birksandmayors.com

Birks Group (formerly Birks & Mayors)[1] is a designer, manufacturer and retailer of jewellery, timepieces, silverware and gifts, with stores and manufacturing facilities located in Canada and the United States. As of October 2017, it operates stores under two different retail banners: 28 Maison Birks stores across Canada (formerly Birks) and 2 Brinkhaus stores in Vancouver and Calgary.[2] The company also operates one Rolex-branded store in Orlando.[3] The company is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, with American corporate offices located in Tamarac, Florida.

Birks Group was created in November 2005 through the merger of the Henry Birks and Sons Ltd. chain in Canada and the Mayors Jewelers Inc. chain in the United States.

History

Birks Group traces its origins to the opening by Henry Birks of a small jewellery shop in Montreal in 1879.[4]

Henry Birks and Sons

The Birks store in downtown Vancouver

With an investment of CAD$3,000, in 1879 Henry Birks opened a small jewellery shop on Saint Jacques Street in the heart of Montreal's financial and commercial district. In 1893, Birks went into partnership with his three sons (William, John and Gerald), and the name of the firm became Henry Birks and Sons. As the focus of Montreal's commercial centre moved northward towards Saint Catherine Street, the Birks store moved to new premises on Phillips Square in 1894, where the company still maintains a store and corporate offices.

Commencing in 1901, Birks oversaw the expansion of the company across Canada, with stores opening in the country's largest cities.[4] In some cases, it bought local jewellers, adding its name to the local one. For instance the Birks store in Toronto was Birks-Ryrie and the one in Winnipeg was Birks-Dingwall. In 1934, Birks received a Royal Warrant of Appointment.[5] In 1953, Henry Birks and Sons bought out Roden Bros. Ltd., a company that produced silver hollowware, flatware, cut crystal, and medals.[6] In 1955, the company successfully sued the City of Montreal before the Supreme Court of Canada for forcing it to close on Catholic holidays, in Henry Birks & Sons (Montreal) Ltd. v. the City of Montreal. In 1993 Jonathan Birks sold the company to the Regaluxe Group.[7] The Birks Group is now publicly traded under the ticker symbol BGI.

In 2007, Birks was named as the Official Supplier of Jewellery for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The Ottawa store on Sparks Street became a source of gifts to Official Parliamentary visitors during its existence.[8] Olympian freestyle mogul skier Jennifer Heil was a spokesperson for the company.[9]

Mayors

The Mayors chain was founded in 1910 in Ohio. The Birks Group sold the Mayors chain to Aurum in 2017.[10] As part of the agreement between Birks and Aurum, the Birks Brand collections of fine jewelry will continue to be offered in 16 locations in the U.S. through the Mayors network.[11]

Expansion to UK

Birks launched their brand in the UK on October 9th, 2017.[12] The Birks Brand collections of fine jewelry is now offered in 12 locations in the U.K. at various Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths stores in addition to their respective e-commerce sites.[13]

Awards

In 1998 Birks won the Diamond International award.[14] In 2004 Birks won the Diamonds: Nature’s Miracle award.[15]

Trudeau Controversy

In 2015 Birks caused some controversy[16] after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Treudeau's wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, wore a number of their pieces to meet the Queen.[17] One of jewels was a maple leaf brooch that Birks had loaned to her.[18] Since this brooch was worth $7,125, it raised questions regarding the ethics of such a loan.[19]

Meghan Markle's Engagement

At the end of 2017, Birks made headlines when Meghan Markle wore their jewellery for her for official engagement announcement to Prince Harry.[20][21] Afterwards, web traffic to the Birks site increased 400% and some pieces sold out.[22] She has also worn the brand on other occasions such as her visit to Scotland[23] and the Queen's official Christmas lunch.[24] A "mainstay in her jewellery box",[25] Birks has been described as Markle's "favorite jewellery designer" and her "go-to jewellery brand" after purchasing at least seven pieces for approximately $20,000.[26][27]

Flagship stores

The Birks flagship store in Vancouver.

Maison Birks has six flagship stores in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.[28]

References

  1. ^ "Birks & Mayors Announces a Corporate Name Change" (PDF). Financial News. Birks & Mayors. 30 September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Birks Group Business Wire". 
  3. ^ "Maison Birks unveils its new corporate identity and opens its first mono-brand store". Birks & Mayors Inc. / CNW. Archived from the original on 27 August 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Birks, Henry." Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  5. ^ "Birks - About us". 
  6. ^ Giorgio B. (2014). American Sterling Silver Marks: Marks and hallmark of USA and Canada manufacturers of silver hollowware, flatware and jewelry. Retrieved from http://www.silvercollection.it/AMERICANSILVERMARKSRDUE.html
  7. ^ "Birks - About us". 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Olympian Bling: Canadian Gold Medalist Jennifer Heil Does Silver for Birks". 
  10. ^ "Birks Group Completes Sale Mayor". 
  11. ^ "Birks Group Completes Sale Mayor". 
  12. ^ "Birks Shifts Its Strategic Focus to Growing the Birks Jewelry Brand Internationally". 
  13. ^ "Birks Shifts Its Strategic Focus to Growing the Birks Jewelry Brand Internationally". 
  14. ^ "Birks - About us". 
  15. ^ "Birks - About us". 
  16. ^ "'The political wife as ornament'". 
  17. ^ "Trudeau's wife sported $7,000 brooch for meeting with Queen". 
  18. ^ "What Sophie Grégoire Trudeau says about feminism and politics". 
  19. ^ "Birks botches brooch boost". 
  20. ^ "Meghan Markle chooses Birks, the Canadian fine jewellery brand, for official engagement announcement". 
  21. ^ "Meghan Markle chooses Birks, the Canadian fine jewellery brand, for official engagement announcement". 
  22. ^ "Meghan Markle's choice of earrings boosts jeweller Birks". 
  23. ^ "Meghan Markle shines bright in Birks diamonds during Scotland visit". 
  24. ^ "Meghan Markle Wears Snowflake Earrings by Birks to Queen's Lunch". 
  25. ^ "How Meghan Markle and Birks are rewriting the royal jewellery rulebook". 
  26. ^ "Meghan Markle's four favourite jewellery brands". 
  27. ^ "Meghan Markle's Favorite Jewelry Designer Predicts the Royal Bride-to-Be's Wedding Style". 
  28. ^ "Network". About Us. Birks & Mayors Inc. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
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