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Monday, October 1, 2012

Destination Shopping: The Uwe Koetter Experience

It’s not every day one gets an invitation to visit a jewellery store. Even more so, one does not expect it to have a bubbly bar. However, Tanith, from Luxury Brands, thought it wise to send me an invitation to visit the newly opened Uwe Koetter Jewellers Showroom that has recently set up shop at the beautifully quaint destination shopping location, Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village.

Located in The Square, level 1, Uwe Koetter on approach resembles what possibly will be a tiny corner shop that one would be congratulated for having walked right passed. But when I stepped closer, noticed the dark granite exteriors with glossy walls and saw three jet-black mannequins dressed in gold, I knew I was in for a surprise.

At the entrance, you’re met by an enthusiastically professional front of shop team member, who greets you and proceeds to ask if you’re expected. I was, of course, that’s how I roll. He then ascended from his seat and opened the reasonably sized glass door and directed me to where I needed to go to get the best attention one can expect from walking into the space I found myself in.

Sublimely deceiving, Uwe Koetter Jewellers, is a space short on height and wide on space. Soft, comforting lighting and well positioned seating areas indicated this space is more set to entertain as you shop, rather than to get you in to buy and then to leave. It’s a true concept showroom. An experience.

And mind you, everyone in here is rather beautiful.

I was greeted by Tanith and then by Uwe Koetter’s tourism manager, Janina Kutzer. And yes, that’s correct, I stated, Tourism Manager. Her title could easily fool you into thinking that someone got something wrong somewhere, however, within a prestigious brand of this calibre it makes perfect sense. Aptly put, Janina is the brand ambassador whose passion involves taking tour groups through the retail experience of buying jewels from Uwe Kotter. And yes, tourists do visit Cape Town to buy jewels.

Janina then popped a question I wasn’t waiting for. “Can I get you something to drink? Coffee? Sparkling wine?” My visit was during the week and it was before noon. But as the question shimmered in my ears I remembered I was here for the experience, so I politely laughed, made a comment about being offered sparkling wine so early in the day, and proceeded with a yes. I mean really now, if I’m going to do this the Uwe Koetter way, sparkling wine is the only route to take.

I heard the pop of a cork and I knew we were in business. Janina and Tanith sat me down and started to walk me through the concept space’s existence. From the 3 – 4 month search for the right space, to the space’s multitasking ability to convert itself into an event venue. At this point, Janina offered me a tour of the premises, which started outside. The same as she would do if she were entertaining a group of guests.

I was introduced to the three mannequins, and the wall of fame they were poised before. The 1st mannequin wears an astonishingly delicate and gorgeous chastity belt which was bought in 2002 by an English broker as a wedding present to his 2nd wife and a bangle bought by Kate Moss. The 2nd mannequin wears an intricate neckpiece which designer, Johan Louw, adapted from inspiration after sighting a dragonfly. The 3rd mannequin, warm-heartedly named, Lizzie, wears a beautiful multi-precious stone, gold and diamond encrusted brooch, which was commissioned by Nelson Mandela for HM Queen Elizabeth II.

Mannequin with Kate Moss bangle & the quirky gold chastity belt

Tanith and Janina standing in front of the Wall of Fame

Here I stand next to the mannequin adorned with the Johan Louw creation

Close up of the specially commissioned brooch for HM Queen Elizabeth II

Janina getting in there fixing "Lizzie's" brooch

Phillip, being the gentleman that he is - opening the door to romance

Through the glass doors you go and you find yourself facing the presentation room, which doubles as an event space. The presentation room Janina usually uses to talk guests through the 4 Cs of diamonds: Cut, Carat, Colour and Clarity. Then the tour around the showroom began and I got to see amazing diamonds of all shapes and sizes. Including, the soon to be officially launch Halo Collection of diamonds, which consists of diamonds larger than life itself.

Uwe Koetter has taken the stance on jewel shopping and engagement experiences to another level. They have teamed up with Allée Bleue Wine Estate, who feature the in-store Bubbly Bar and The Aliet Group who specialize in award-winning Wedding and Special Events consulting. This specific partnership creates a new dynamic and further extends the romance of getting engaged, buying a ring and planning that special day.

I was also honoured with a trip inside the workshop were all these beautiful jewels are crafted into specially designed rings. This was a first for me, and to get to see craftsmen at work creating something someone out there will cherish for the rest of their lives, was an incredible experience. Also made me slightly jealous I wasn’t getting married any time soon.

If anything, Uwe Koetter have set themselves as the ideal if not, only, place for gents to go to get their romance equipment sorted out. With an impressively enthusiastic team there to assist, no man could or would feel overwhelmed by the act that usually has men in dams of sweat.

“As Africa's first concept store to offer the complete Engagement Package, patrons can look forward to a truly unique and engaging experience unlike any other,“ says Johan Louw. “It is a collaborative effort, an experience that is memorable, and signals a personal juncture in your life to create something truly unique — something that no one else has. The final item is treasured forever.”

So gents, don’t get bogged down by the pressure of selecting a diamond, designing the ring and proposing to your beautiful beloved. Visit Uwe Kowetter for your exquisite one-stop solution to creating a moment so magical so will forever remember it as the best experience of her life. And all because of you.

For more information on how to create that special moment, contact Janina Kuzter via email – - and let the magic begin.

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