Flying the flag for British jewellery manufacturing
We are passionate about jewellery creation and its wonderful British heritage.
At Jeweller's Loupe, we are a talented, hard-working bunch, so basically there is no need for us to send any of the creative process abroad, unlike many high-street jewellery shops.
It’s from us to you.
All our manufacturing is proudly undertaken in the UK. From designing, to casting into your chosen (ethically-sourced) precious metal, hand-setting each and every (ethically-sourced) diamond and gemstone, and finally polishing your sparkling jewellery piece.
We love our unique jewellery service and are dedicated to providing exquisite, affordable and ethical jewellery, just for you. All of which is inspired and founded on a rich heritage of British jewellery and craftsmanship.
The history of jewellery here in the UK, is phenomenal - with the Romans using our gold resources from as early as 70 AD! And over the centuries, jewellery has been used as much for symbolism and ritual, as it has for decoration.
"The story of jewellery in Europe"
The Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK) has a notable jewellery collection that tells “the story of jewellery in Europe” with over 3,000 jewels! But just in case you don’t get the opportunity for a visit there, here’s a brief overview of British jewellery heritage…
13th and 14th century
“Status” was important. Jewellery = wealth.
The rich wore gold, silver and precious polished gemstones.
Those of lesser wealth, imitated expensive jewellery using pewter, copper, enamal and crushed coloured glass.
Colour was used to symbolise religious and magical beliefs.
Gemstone and diamond cutting wasn’t hugely prevalent.
Introducing... the Renaissance era.
- Coloured stones continued to be dominant and symbolic.
Specialised craftsmanship skills (e.g. gem-engraving and stone-cutting) appeared.
Fashion went a bit calmer
Pastel gemstones such as pearls were on the rise.
Gemstones from overseas were becoming more available to the jewellery trade.
18th CenturyAll for show!
Faceted stones (and particularly diamonds!) really made their move.
Large diamonds were used for brooches. Smaller stones were actually used within clothing!
Gold and silver-hilted swords also came into fashion. In fact, many jewellers (rather than swordsmiths) were crafting these as they were often used for ceremonial purposes.
Late 19th centuryThe Victorian Era and the Industrial Revolution!
- Ancient gold techniques were being restored by jewellery craftsmen.
- With the death of Prince Albert, the UK followed their Queen in a state of mourning wearing black-stoned jewellery. Thus, there was an increase in mining of specialist stones such as Yorkshire’s Whitby Jet. (Go Yorkshire Go!)
- Platinum arrived in the UK
- Saw the start of “mass production” inc. electric gold plating machines and the production of imitation stones.
- Houses with workshops and small factories began to spring up in trading towns.
- Affordable jewellery enabled a larger consumer market
- Enter... the rebellious Arts & Craft Movement - promoting bespoke design and handmade jewellery created by skilled craftsmen.
- Highly polished (cabochon) gemstones were favoured over faceted stones
- Curving/flowing designs proved skill over repetitive production.
Art Nouveau jewellery
- Bold, organic designs were common.
- Materials such as horn, enamel and glass were being explored more.
Art Deco jewellery
- Angular patterns and flowing motifs were more prevalent.
- Despite the economic depressions of war, the demand for sparkling, stylish and inventive jewellery was ever-growing.
- Europe and America were the big fashion industry influencers.
- Larger factories with showrooms started to appear.
- Independent jewellers traded directly with the public.
- Home to prominent jewellery manufacturing workshops.
- Local employees passed on craftsmanship skills from one generation to the next.
Late 20th/early 21st century
- Many UK manufacturing industries / business took advantage of overseas opportunities
- Overseas production = cost-effective for manufacturers, cheaper material and labour costs.
- Consumer market grew in demand for cheaper products.
- UK manufacturing industry went into decline.
However (and hoorah!)
A conscious, positive change!
- Both consumers and manufacturers are returning to an increased focus on quality over cost.
- Consumers and manufacturers are interested in the ethical repercussions of how and where their products are made.
- Consumers and manufacturers are noticing how they can help the UK economy by “buying British”, rather than exporting jobs and industry abroad.
Thank you for taking notice and helping to change British fashion and retail for the better. We couldn't be doing this without you!