Category Archives: Jewellery Quarter

A national treasure

If you want to see the beating heart of the UK’s jewellery industry, it’s well worthwhile taking a trip to the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. This has been described by English Heritage as a “national treasure” and a “place of unique character”.

The organisation went on to note that it represents a “particular combination of structures associated with jewellery and metalworking which does not seem to exist anywhere else in the world”.

Spoiled for choice

The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter is positively brimming with superb jewellers selling all manner of gleaming goodies, so if you make the trip to England’s second city, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

There are more than 800 businesses operating in the area, including 100 specialist retailers and 50 contemporary designer makers.

Make sure you clear your diary

When you plan your trip, make sure you give yourself plenty of time. There are no fewer than 100 stores for you to explore containing a mixture of classic jewels, modern items and handcrafted jewellery. Also, whether you’re keen to splash out on exclusive and expensive gems or want to bag yourself a bargain, you’ll be able to find plenty of products that fit the bill.

Of course, even the most enthusiastic shoppers need a break from time to time and you can rest assured that as well as the fabulous array of jewellers, there are also plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes for you to refresh and recharge in.

In addition, you can check out some of the galleries, museums and antique shops in the area.

The old and the new

Jewellery makers have operated in the district for over two centuries and they continue to do so in great numbers. Despite rising property values and new developments, jewellery is still the main player in this part of the city.

Indeed, the area is said to contain the highest concentration of dedicated jewellers in Europe. Around a third of the jewellery made in the UK comes from within one mile of Birmingham city centre.

Meanwhile, a renovated 1960s tower block named The Big Peg is now home to several hundred small arts and jewellery businesses.

Getting there

Before you set off on your trip to this iconic district, you’ll need to think about your transport options. It’s easy to get to the area by car and you might favour this option for its convenience. However, it’s important to remember that you’ll have to find parking when you arrive.

If you’d rather travel by train, it’s worth noting that the area is served by a Jewellery Quarter station, which is a co-joined stop on both the Midland Metro and the main rail line into Birmingham Snow Hill station.

Who will you take?

It’s great to wander around these shops with pals, but if you fancy a romantic weekend, why not take your other half? Whoever you go with, you might end up with some fabulous new additions to your jewellery collection and you should have a great time too!

New Parking Sensors Piloted in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter

Anyone looking for jewellers in Birmingham inevitably ends up making a beeline for the city’s Jewellery Quarter, home for the last two centuries to some of the most highly skilled and talented jewellers and goldsmiths in the world.

It’s still very much the UK’s industry hub, and these days this part of town also offers some of Birmingham’s top museums, restaurants, bars and art galleries, alongside hundreds of retailers and designers.

Now life for those visiting the area is set to become easier, with the launch this year of the pilot of a street parking scheme to help drivers find somewhere to leave their car locally.

In chosen streets of the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter, around 200 sensors have been embedded, designed to identify the presence of a parked vehicle. Data can then be offered via a Smartphone app or website so motorists know where they can find a space.

The scheme is likely to be extended to the streets of the neighbouring Colmore Business District, and the firm organising the pilot is confident both local businesses and visitors will feel the benefit.

A statement from the city council’s highways partner commented: “Everyone has at some point found themselves in an unfamiliar area of town, unsure of where they might find somewhere to park and having to go around in circles until they can find a spot.

“We hope that this trial will give us some indication of how these sensors can successfully be used and the benefits they hold for the city.

“By using the data our sensors gather, motorists can reduce how long they spend hunting for that elusive space, and fuel wasted at the same time, as they will be able to find out where there are pockets of availability.”

The Jewellery Quarter Development Trust agreed: “It can be frustrating to waste time looking for a parking bay, and we think this initiative will help to lessen some of the stress that can come with trying to park in the city centre.”

The Jewellery Quarter is just five minutes’ drive from the city centre, and probably the best way into the district is along the A457 or along Great Hampton Street. (There are also plenty of buses, or you could walk from the centre of town.)

Look online for more information about where to park, and further details of local facilities.

With so much going on in the area, and so many places to eat, drink, relax and be entertained, you really can make a day out of your visit here, even if you aren’t on a particular jewellery buying mission. The Jewellery Quarter, our original website for the area, is packed with info so you can plan your visit.

But if you are looking for a particular item, such as a wedding or engagement ring, it makes sense to arm yourself with as much information as you can before you start shopping, The website of a reputable retailer such as Marlow’s Diamonds makes an excellent starting point.

Finding special gems in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter

You might have lots of items of jewellery, but when you’re looking for really special gems, it’s worth making a little extra effort. To benefit from a superb selection of products, you can take a trip to the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter.

This area is filled with top-quality jewellery makers and shops and you can peruse them at your leisure. Whether you’re looking for an engagement ring, wedding ring or anything else, this is the go-to destination.

An illustrious past

It’s no wonder this part of Birmingham enjoys a reputation as being a mecca for jewellery lovers. After all, for more than 200 years, it has been home to some of the world’s most highly skilled goldsmiths and jewellery makers.

By 1861, more than 7,000 people were engaged in jewellery making in the area and, traditionally, the tradesmen worked from home or in small workshops. However, this all this changed as shops began to open to the public.

The here and now

Most of the retail outlets have sprung up since the 1970s and there are now lots to choose from. Regardless of the style of product you’re after, you won’t struggle to find it. Now when you arrive in the Jewellery Quarter you’ll benefit from plenty of shopping opportunities. Nowhere else can you find such an abundance of outlets catering to jewellery lovers’ every need.

Meanwhile, as well as taking a peak at the stunning variety of rings, necklaces and other items available, you can absorb the atmosphere of this bustling and vibrant part of Birmingham.

Choosing trinkets in this part of the UK is a real treat in itself and it can be a memorable experience.

Beyond the bling

Of course, the Quarter doesn’t only boast jewellers. Once you’re all shopped out and you fancy doing something else, you can take advantage of some of Birmingham’s best art galleries, museums, restaurants and bars.

Like many visitors, you might opt to make a real trip of it and stay for a weekend. You won’t struggle to find suitable accommodation and then you can really relax after perusing the impressive selection of jewels on offer. The great thing is, located in the heart of the country, Birmingham is easy to get to whether you’re travelling by car or public transport.


You might decide that this part of Birmingham would make a fantastic romantic trip. Imagine the look on your other half’s face if you told her you were treating her to a weekend away and she would be able to select a gorgeous piece of jewellery as the icing on the cake. This is a definite brownie point earner!

After your shopping trip, you could head to a fancy restaurant for a bite to eat and then get a night cap in a plush bar.


Meanwhile, thanks to the abundance of skills available, the Jewellery Quarter is the perfect place to get repairs done. Whether you’re looking to fix a favourite old watch, bracelet or something else, you can visit the best jewellers in the UK for help.

Diamonds Of The Jewellery Quarter

The Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham is the spiritual home of diamonds in the United Kingdom. This is literally the jewel of Birmingham, a tourist attraction in its own right and the place to come if you are looking for a gem of a gemstone. There are many reasons to seek out jewellery shops in Birmingham, but to be truly savvy one must undertake a bit of research first. Fortunately, there is a simple rule to follow that can allow you to spot the obvious defects in diamonds, and ensure that your not sold a zirconia instead of a natural diamond. The 4 Cs are your ticket to spotting a diamond in the rough!

Reputation And Certification

First, you must ensure that your diamond comes with documentation. Every diamond should be standardised and each shop that you find in the Jewellery Quarter will provide certificates with purchases. This will most likely come from the GIA (Gemological Institute Of America) or the IGI (International Gemological Institute). Both of these organisations independently affirm that the gem you are holding is what the seller says it is and is accordingly worth the asking price.

The 4 Cs

Carat, Cut, Clarity and Colour. These are the four areas you will need to know about in order to truly understand why a diamond is special. It is important to realise that the diamond is a naturally occurring stone that is by the processes that formed it, imperfect. This does not mean that diamonds cannot be very perfect, but the more perfect they are, the more they cost. Internal defects which can inhibit light performance are called inclusions and comes under the broad heading of Clarity. Some inclusions can be hidden by setting the diamond properly, but generally, the majority of trustworthy diamonds won’t have visible issues.

Colour is a very important part of the diamond, since it have a large impact on the pricing. The engagement rings Birmingham has to offer, for instance, typically make use of white diamonds (clear) for that classic crystal look. Coloured diamonds such as those that are pink, green and blue can fetch huge sums of money because of their rarity, while those that are yellow are not considered to be worth as much. The colour is created when certain other elements are present when the diamond was formed.

Cut is the shape of the diamond. Round brilliant cut is the typical cut for a diamond but others are common as well. The so-called fancy-cut diamonds include the princess, cushion, heart, pear, marquise radiant, emerald and oval. The jewellery shops Birmingham boasts will offer a wide variety possibly including some other rarer cuts as well.

Carat is the weight measurement for the mass of the diamond. Be aware that this means that some diamonds could be denser and weigh more, even though they are technically the same size. 1 Carat is typically akin to 200 milligrams and as you would imagine, the more carats, the more the diamond is going to cost. Large diamonds are quite rare and also subject to high demand which inflates their price a great deal.

Plenty to see and do in the Jewellery Quarter

When you’re on the lookout for diamond jewellery, there’s really only one place to go and that’s the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter. For more than two centuries, it has been home to some of the world’s most highly skilled jewellery makers and goldsmiths.

Meanwhile, since the opening of a range of retail outlets in the 1970s and in subsequent decades, it has become a mecca for consumers hunting for beautiful gems.

Plenty of shops

If you’re to find your ideal rings, bracelets and other products, it’s important that you have enough choice and you’ll certainly not be stuck for options in this bejewelled area of Birmingham. Whether you want an engagement ring, some beautiful earrings or anything else, you can peruse a vast array of options in a range of different jewellery shops.

Seeing the items first hand means you can get a completely accurate idea of what they look and feel like, meaning the products you end up with will be perfect for you.

Make a real trip of it

However, it’s not only the shops that stand out in the Jewellery Quarter. If you travel to this part of the city, you’ll also be able to take advantage of lots of other attractions. This is great if you’re heading to the area with your friends or partner.

You can indulge in the ultimate retail therapy by purchasing fabulous jewellery and then relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the quarter. Ideally, you’ll be able to stay over in one of the local hotels so you can sample the quarter by day and by night.

Feeling hungry?

When you get peckish, you can take your pick from a range of great eateries. For example, the Rectory Bar & Restaurant is a superb place to unwind and get your fill of tasty grub, all washed down with beverages of your choice. Located in St Paul’s Square, it overlooks St Paul’s Church and if stylish, modern surroundings are what you’re after, this could be the place for you.

Meanwhile, for a taste of something more exotic, Henry’s Cantonese Restaurant might be ideal. This eatery serves delicious Chinese cuisine in authentic oriental surroundings and has been popular since opening 20 years ago.

Some night life

There are also plenty of bars for you to check out, including The Jam House and The Red Lion. The former venue is atmospheric and could be perfect if you fancy some live music, particularly of the funk or jazz variety. Meanwhile, the latter is more traditional in feel and offers entertainment including pub quizzes and comedy clubs.

A little culture

It would be a shame to visit the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter without checking out some of the museums and art galleries on offer. The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Gallery is located off St Paul’s Square and it offers a range of exhibitions, workshops and demonstrations. Meanwhile, St Paul’s Gallery on Northwood Street specialises in music-related artwork and artefacts.

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is also well worth a look and you can enjoy a guided tour around a real jewellery factory that’s little changed since the early part of the last century.

Visit Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter this Christmas

The cosmopolitan Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham is the perfect haunt for all those looking to purchase a beautiful gift for a loved one this Christmas. Offering some of the best jewellers in the country and exquisite items that are sure to make any recipient smile, it’s the perfect place to visit to pick a stunning gift for that special someone.

Whether you’re looking for a diamond engagement ring, a modern wristwatch or a beautiful pair of earrings, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for at the Jewellery Quarter. Most of the jewellers have been trading for decades upon decades in the historic centre, and are dedicated to presenting their customers with the finest items on the market.

Marlow’s Diamonds is a popular jeweller in the Jewellery Quarter as they specialise in an array of certified diamond jewellery, including engagement rings, wedding rings, eternity rings and more.

For repairs, head to F Meeks & Co as they offer full watch repairs, including battery replacements, strap alterations and restoration services.

As well as being the home to the finest goldsmiths and jewellery makers in the world, Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter also offers an array of leisure and shopping facilities. For example, you can treat yourself to a delicious meal at Pasta di Piazza in St Paul’s Square, enjoy a well earned drink at chilled Apres bar and even get your hair cut at Harris & Gibb’s hairdressers.

The Jewellery Quarter is the perfect place for a relaxed and enjoyable shopping experience this festive season. The centre’s Christmas lights will really help you get into the spirit of the season, and you’ll be spoilt for choice with the array of jewellers, restaurants and bars on offer.

The Jewellery Quarter is famous across the country for its renowned jewellery and metalworking heritage. So, if you want to brush up on your knowledge of the area then you should go to the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. Here you’ll receive a guided tour of the centre and witness demonstrations of jewellery making skills. You’ll find out how it all started, how it evolved and hear about some of the longest running jewellers in the Quarter. You’ll also realise that not much has changed, as the working practices, equipment and decor is quite similar to many years ago.

So, whether you’re looking for a gift for your girlfriend, wife, boyfriend, Dad, Mum, brother or best friend, make sure you visit the array of jewellery shops in Birmingham at the Jewellery Quarter. You’ll be glad you did.

New Group Fighting for Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter

A new heritage group set up this autumn will work to keep at bay concerns that historic buildings and traditional skills may be lost from the famous, 300-year-old Birmingham Jewellery Quarter.

Last year, English Heritage placed the area on its Conservation Areas at Risk list as being of “medium” vulnerability. However, in the list published in October for 2012, the jewellers district came off the list completely. Now the new group will campaign to make sure it stays that way.

Its leader, Marie Haddleton, who also edits a local magazine, and has worked in the area for some three decades, established Jewellery Quarter Heritage, and aims to work closely in conjunction with Birmingham City Council to create “affordable” workspace, attract new businesses to the district, and oversee the conversion of empty buildings back in to workshops.

She explained that the council had reduced its conservation officers to just a couple of them, while the Jewellery Quarter Regeneration Partnership Land and Property Group has also been lost.

Funds for the new group, which will have “supporters” rather than members, will come from voluntary donations.

The group is also campaigning for traditional jewellery making skills to be kept in the quarter.

Haddleton explained: “Technology has meant a change to some of these skills, inevitably. But the future of the jewellery industry will depend on having a fresh influx of designer-makers.

“Although the council does provide some affordable workshops for up to a year, the problem is what happens after that.

“Most local schemes for refurbishment are for offices or homes, and while there’s a lot of talk about ‘affordable housing’, workshops at good prices are never mentioned. But jewellery designers do not need a lot of space, only a small area with a workbench and basin, water and gas.

“Having a mixture of workshops and residential spaces doesn’t always work. We keep an eye on the planning applications coming in to check that they are in accordance with the management plan.”

Visit The Quarter!

The Quarter is the original website for Birmingham’s jewellery quarter, complete with a history of this district, in the heart of one of the UK’s most important cities.

You can also get all the travel information you need, along with a detailed map, and a lowdown on precious metals, diamonds and other gemstones.

As well as plenty of places to buy jewellery, this part of Birmingham is also full of places to eat and drink, as well as galleries and museums. There’s even a School of Jewellery! So you’ll have no shortage of opportunities to relax and celebrate after buying, say, a diamond engagement ring.

While you’re in the Quarter, either virtually or literally, check out Marlow’s Diamonds, for a full range of engagement, wedding, eternity and multi-stone rings, along with a selection of other jewellery.

We’ve been trading for more than three generations and deal only in diamonds of the finest cuts, colour and clarity. All come with independent certificates from globally recognised bodies. Learn more online.

A Guide to Birmingham’s Treasure Island

It’s a rare place where people who appreciate the finer things in life can spend hours (days even) salivating over all manner of gorgeous bejewelled products, from rings, bracelets and chokers to earrings, cufflinks and watches.

Truly, there is something for every want, need and budget in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter – a historic area of Britain’s second city where buyers and browsers alike can enjoy admiring everything from traditional gold, silver, diamond and sapphire jewellery to avant-garde products that are far more quirky and unique in nature. With stock jewellery, off-the-counter jewellery and bespoke jewellery designed and made to order, there really is no type of jewellery-related product that this unique area is not able to offer.

‘Treasure Island’
Nicknamed Treasure Island, the Quarter is home to more than 100 retail jewellery shops and is thought to be the only area of its kind in Europe, maybe even the world. The Jewellery Quarter Discovery Centre – a museum built around the restored workshops of the Smith & Pepper family business founded by Charles Smith and Edwin Pepper – describes the area as “both a unique flashback to the early days of the city’s industrial development and a living, evolving community of craftspeople, manufacturers and retailers.”

This is a very apt description.

When work began on the Discovery Centre in 1990, around 70,000 objects were photographed, catalogued and removed for safekeeping. In the process, the Smith & Pepper premises at 77-78 Vyse Street were repaired and restored and the contents put back exactly where they had been found, whilst No. 79 (next door) was rebuilt to provide visitor facilities and display space.

The origins of the city’s jewellery trade hark back to the glories of its industrial past. Indeed, metal implements, such as scythes and other cutting tools, were being made by local smiths as early as the 15th century. In fact, the earliest goldsmith recorded by name and profession was a gentleman by the name of John Blakwyn who worked in the city in 1460.

Birmingham’s jewellery trade reached its employment zenith just before the outbreak of the First World War when somewhere between 60,000 and 70,000 people relied on it for their living. Once the war began, craftsmen who did not go to fight in Europe found themselves making munitions instead of jewellery. Fortunately, normal service resumed in the Quarter after the war; however, life had changed and the jewellery trade in Birmingham would never again employ so many people.

The Quarter today
Even though Birmingham’s jewellery trade today provides work for a comparatively modest 8,000 people, it is still far and away Britain’s biggest volume producer of gold jewellery. In addition, The Quarter has now become a conservation area that is rightly proud of its many historic structures. Among them are the Grade I-listed jewellers’ church of St Paul, itself set within Birmingham’s last Georgian square; the landmark Chamberlain Clock erected in 1903; and the Birmingham Assay Office – which is still the busiest in Britain!

The Unique Appeal of the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter

If you are someone who has a real passion for jewellery then there is one place in the UK that you really need to visit – The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter.

This square kilometre in the Hockley area of Birmingham is Europe’s largest concentration of businesses involved in the jewellery trade. In addition, it is also home to the world’s largest Assay Office, which hallmarks around 12 million items a year. Traditionally, this unique, charming and innovative part of the city has been the birthplace of many pioneering advancements in industrial technology and attracted ‘in the know’ artisans and manufacturers from far and wide. Indeed, at its peak in the early 20th century, more than 30,000 people were employed in jewellery-based activities in and around the area.

However, because the Jewellery Quarter was a tight knit community which indulged in very little retail activity, it remained one of Birmingham’s best kept secrets.

Not any more.

Today, this part of Birmingham is a jewellery buyer’s heaven. In fact, Of the 400 jewellery related businesses in the area, 100 are retail jewellery shops so it really is something of a Mecca for anyone who has a passion for buying fine jewellery.

Indeed, the area is rich in designer-manufacturers who make bespoke items at incredibly competitive prices. Moreover, much of the jewellery that is made in the Quarter is also sold on to stylish London jewellers who inevitably sell it on for much higher prices. In fact, it is estimated that 40 per cent of all the jewellery sold throughout the UK is manufactured in this square kilometre of Birmingham! With this in mind, it should probably come as no surprise that the local assay office, (where gold is tested and marked) is the busiest assay office in the world.

Although jewellery is of course the main draw of the Quarter, it is far from the only attraction. The area is rich in culture and entertainment and has a wide range of bars, cafes, restaurants, museums, art galleries to indulge in and enjoy.

Furthermore, the Quarter also has some fascinating points of historical interest to explore. For example, the Georgian Square around St. Paul’s Church (the last Georgian Square in Birmingham) was once the home of James Watt (inventor of the steam engine) and Washington Irving (the author of ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’). Furthermore, John Baskerville, the printer, calligrapher and designer of the famous Baskerville typeface is buried in St. Paul’s churchyard.

There really is no better way to spend a relaxing and enjoyable day than wandering around this fascinating, charming and intoxicating area of Birmingham. Indeed, there is nowhere else quite like it so a visit here is guaranteed to be an incomparable experience. And, whilst you’re here; don’t forget to pop in and see us at Marlows. With our wide range of amazing jewels and precious stones available at ultra-competitive prices, you can be sure of taking a suitably beautiful souvenir home with you!

Fashion world goes Diamond Crazy for Queen’s Jubilee

If you have browsed your local high street recently, you may have noticed that corgis, teacups and Union Jacks feature more heavily than usual in the fashion world right now. From Marks and Spencers’ patriotic hosiery to Liberty’s limited edition scarves inspired by the classic ‘First Class’ stamp, the upcoming Queen’s Jubilee has captured the imaginations of some of the world’s top fashion designers. And since this year marks sixty years since the Queen’s coronation, the eyes of shoppers around the country are being dazzled by diamonds.

It is true that diamonds never go out of fashion, but with the jubilee only weeks away, the so-called girl’s best friend is considered even more on-trend than usual. From gem-encrusted Alexander McQueen clutch bags to QVC costume-jewellery replicas of the imperial state crown, diamonds and imitation diamonds seem to be prominent in both the high and low ends of the fashion market.

But for those looking for the genuine article, many jewellers in the UK have been preparing for the event by designing and creating special Diamond Jubilee ranges to celebrate the occasion and the jewellers of the famous Birmingham jewellery quarter have been especially busy. The quarter’s Worcestershire Medal Services (WMS) beat off international competition to win the £7 million contract to produce thousands of commemorative medals to be worn by the armed forces, emergency service workers, prison staff and others to mark the jubilee.

Beyond this wave of fashion, the 2012 jubilee is likely to renew public interest in diamonds and, here at Marlows Certified Diamonds, we can think of no better way to find out more about the gems than to visit to the jewellery quarter. If you are keen to learn more about diamonds and jewellery in general or if you would simply like to mark Her Majesty’s jubilee in a more unusual way before the street parties begin, you might consider a trip to the quarter’s jewellery museum. Originally a jewellery factory, the museum tells the story of the jewellery quarter and the tradition of jewellery-making and metalworking in Birmingham. Many visitors to the quarter find that a guided tour of the museum and witnessing a demonstration of jewellery-making techniques at the jeweller’s bench enhances their understanding of the quarter immensely.

If you decide to visit the quarter in advance of the jubilee, you may be tempted to jump on the diamond bandwagon by investing in a commemorative bracelet or broach. But if you would like to get a truly unique jubilee gift for a friend or relative or if you would like to own a one-of-a-kind memento, you might consider a Marlows Certified Diamonds custom-made ring, necklace, pendant, bracelet or pair of earrings. Having been in operation for over three generations, we are experienced manufacturers of high-class jewellery and would be delighted to tailor a piece of jewellery to your unique specifications to commemorate the jubilee, so that once the bunting has been binned and the Union Jack tea towel has been stained, you will still have your piece of history.