The Pugata story is about a unique brand that has made an exceptional journey. 

The figurehead behind the company, Zak Patel learnt his trade in Lancashire before taking his skills and implementing them on a grand scale, eventually not only heading up several successful retail outlets, but also developing a global jewellery company.

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Born and raised in Yorkshire, Zak moved to Blackburn to work for his aunt in a newsagent on Preston New Road, where he learnt his trade.

It was the grounding he received which enabled him to strike it lucky in business twelve years ago when he became one of the first franchisees for the telecommunications company, O2. He successfully operates 16 stores.

“I started off in the jewellery industry by chance,” says Zak.

“I assessed the market after having the conversation and came to the conclusion that there was a real opportunity for someone to do something differently.”

The UK market was a dream 10 years ago but there was a reason why Zak held back and did not expand immediately.

2018 was the year in which Pugata made a real difference, Zak explains why it took him five years to develop the Pugata brand.

“All in all, it took us 5 years to bring the brand to where we are today, and it is still growing organically. We have a long-term strategy in place to create an opportunity within the UK as a luxury brand, where we have something for everyone.

“One of our most prestigious partners, Kahn Design, headed up by Afzal Kahn, refer to us as the ‘Kahn Design’ of the jewellery world, and that is some compliment, coming from such a world class team.”

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Zak insists he wanted to do something different, within the jewellery industry.

Pugata jewellery has since been worn at Buckingham Palace, where an Ambassadors wife was complemented on her choice of jewellery by HRH Queen Elizabeth.

Pugata Jewellery was also worn by an invited guest at the Royal Wedding when Prince Harry married his bride, Meghan Markle.

“The brand name encompasses what we do, the ethics had to be considered and set out in a very personal way,” the principal British entrepreneur and designer explains.

“It took 18 months to come up with a name. From a commercial perspective, the name had to feel and sound right, so we went back to basics and dug deep into the history of jewellery.”

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Zak explains how three elements of the periodic table, Silver, Gold and Platinum have been amalgamated into the Pugata name.

“AU is the chemical symbol for Gold, AG is Silver and PT is for Platinum. Pugata is the anagram of these 6 letters.”

Zak’s team scours the world and sources all its diamond and gem stones from ethical sources.

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Pugata is also certified by The Assay Office, which was founded in 1773 to provide assaying (testing) and hallmarking of precious metal items (gold, silver, platinum and palladium) as required by the Hallmarking Act.

The body also scrutinises Diamond, Gemstone & Pearl Certification, Jewellery, Watch and Silverware Valuations, non-precious metal testing, product safety and quality assurance testing as well as educational training and consultancy.

Zak explains how he stays ahead by purchasing raw materials in advance.

“We buy in dollars, well ahead of time, so if the currency fluctuates, it doesn’t have an impact.

Has the downturn on the high street affected the business?

“The jewellery industry, in theory, would be one of the first to suffer,” explains Zak.

“However, jewellery is a very personable experience where clients can touch and feel it, which means they will always be a demand for high street stores.

“Fashion and jewellery go hand in hand and we represent an amazing brand that creates opportunities.”

As for the matrimonial scene, this varies in terms of what the customers’ expectations are.

“The mission – which began in Blackburn – is to inspire every man and woman to feel creative in his or her self-expression through our universe of high-quality and contemporary jewellery.”

So what are the challenges in terms of staying relevant?

“The challenge is ongoing. It is about dealing with conditions and staying current. It is an ongoing struggle, but the fact is that we are our biggest competition.

“The level of service we provide does not change between a customer spending on a half carat diamond ring to someone who wants to invest in a ten-carat rare diamond.

“We have spent a huge amount of resources into the service element, with a great deal of success.

“The quality of jewellery is there for all to see. We have spent so much effort and resources ensuring all the jewellery is at the highest level.”

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Zak sees a strong, but diverse team crucial to maintaining the company’s competitive edge.

The team consists of colleagues with diverse backgrounds, including Operations, technology, fashion and photography, with one individual, who has over 30 years of experience from the jewellery industry.

“We have hand selectors, dedicated to picking the most valuable gemstones, it really is surreal they do a phenomenal job.

“We also have a world class team behind the scenes who believe every product should be a timeless classic, reflecting english style, individuality and quality, whilst confronting the convenient aesthetics of the mass manufactured projects.

“We combine elegance, contemporary technology combined with traditional craftsmanship.

“Our creative team includes product designers, 3d modellers, sculptors, graphic artists and technical engineers, who spend countless hours developing and refining products for clients who want that one ideal product.

“Every product is designed to make a statement, whilst perfectly integrating with our existing aesthetics."

“Our collection is brought to you from the artistic vision of one of the UK’s leading jewellery fashion houses.

“Therefore, it is of no surprise that we leave all our clients speechless.”