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!