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

The company is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, with American corporate offices located in Tamarac, Florida.

History

Henry Birks and Sons

The Birks store in downtown Vancouver

Birks Group traces its origins to the opening by Henry Birks of a small jewellery shop in Montreal in 1879.[2]

With an investment of CAD$3,000, Henry Birks opened in 1879 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.[2]

Commencing in 1901, Birks oversaw the expansion of the company across Canada, with stores opening in the country's largest cities. In some cases, it bought local jewellers, adding its name to the local one (the Birks store in Toronto was Birks-Ryrie and the one in Winnipeg was Birks-Dingwall).[2] The store on Phillips Square in Montreal opened in 1907.[3]

In 1934, Birks received a Royal Warrant of Appointment. In December 1934, Birks opened its first store in Vancouver.[3] In 1954, the first Canadian shopping centre opened in Dorval and Birks is the first to open a jewelry store within a shopping centre.[3]

In 1953, Henry Birks and Sons bought out Roden Bros. Ltd., a company that produced silver hollowware, flatware, cut crystal, and medals.[4]

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 Montreal (City of).

Regaluxe Group

In 1993 Jonathan Birks sold the company to Italy-based Iniziativa Regaluxe SrL.[3] The Birks Group is now publicly traded under the ticker symbol BGI.

In 2001, the company completely renovated its flagship store on Phillips Square in Montreal.[3]

In November 2005, Henry Birks and Sons Ltd. and the American Mayors Jewelers Inc. merged to create the Birks & Mayors Group.

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. The freestyle skier Jennifer Heil was a spokesperson for the company.[5]

In 2013, the group changed its name from Birks & Mayors to the Birks Group.[1]

In 2015, Birks caused some controversy[6] after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, wore a number of their pieces to meet the Queen.[7] One of jewels was a maple leaf brooch that Birks had loaned to her.[8] Since this brooch was worth $7,125, it raised questions regarding the ethics of such a loan.[9]

UK development

The Birks Group sold the Mayors chain (founded in 1910 in Ohio) to Aurum in 2017. 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. This transaction allowed the company to develop internationally, starting with the UK in October 2017.[10]

A month after it launched in the UK, Birks made headlines when Meghan Markle wore a pair of 18K yellow gold and opal earrings for her official engagement announcement to Prince Harry.[11] This publicity increased the demand for the brand on digital stores and some inventories sold out.[12] Meghan Markle supposedly holds Birks among her favorite jewellery brands, bought at least seven Birks pieces for approximately $20,000.[13][14]

Activities

The Birks flagship store in Vancouver.

Maison Birks 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.[15]

Maison Birks has six flagship stores in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.[16]

The company also operates one Rolex-branded store in Orlando.[17]

Awards

References

  1. ^ a b "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. ^ a b c Villeneuve, René (2005). "Birks, Henry". In Cook, Ramsay; Bélanger, Réal. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. XV (1921–1930) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Birks - About us".
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ "Olympian Bling: Canadian Gold Medalist Jennifer Heil Does Silver for Birks". Imabeautygeek.com. 24 December 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  6. ^ "'The political wife as ornament'".
  7. ^ "Trudeau's wife sported $7,000 brooch for meeting with Queen".
  8. ^ "What Sophie Grégoire Trudeau says about feminism and politics".
  9. ^ "Birks botches brooch boost".
  10. ^ "Birks Group Completes Sale Mayor".
  11. ^ "Meghan Markle chooses Birks, the Canadian fine jewellery brand, for official engagement announcement". Newswire.com. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Meghan Markle's choice of earrings boosts jeweller Birks". Ft.com.
  13. ^ "Meghan Markle's four favourite jewellery brands".
  14. ^ "Meghan Markle's Favorite Jewelry Designer Predicts the Royal Bride-to-Be's Wedding Style".
  15. ^ "Birks Group Business Wire".
  16. ^ "Network". About Us. Birks & Mayors Inc. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  17. ^ "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.
  18. ^ Jennifer, Braun (22 July 2018). "Birks wins Brand Of the Year at World Branding Awards 2018". Fashion Network. Retrieved 4 September 2018.

External links

  • Official website
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