We opened the door to Saunders and Pughe Makers of Contemporary Jewellery on 7th November 2000.
Our first official sale was a small gold pebble pendant set with a 0.03ct Diamond, to our good friend Fiona Vallis. This pendant is still a popular choice and seems to have stood the test of time!
We were SO nervous when we opened the doors, not really knowing what a brilliant rollercoaster ride we were letting ourselves in for. Without the backing and support of our great family and friends we might not have survived to tell the tale!
Some of our early customers will remember the shop as being quite a bit smaller than it is today, as we started out in just one side, then 32 Hill Street. Five years later we got the opportunity to purchase the house next door, 34 Hill Street. Our old pal Roxanne lived in the little house, until we were ready to knock the wall between through and make it into a double sized shop. Jeff Kennedy was the builder in charge, with local furniture maker John Henderson continuing with his previous work in the old shop, with the shopfitting. The whole job was overseen by our great friend Philip Smith.
We have had some brilliant staff over the years, Clare Burns is the longest serving, joining us in 2002 and still part of the team. Jodie and Alex and Becky worked with us while studying and they went onto qualify as a vet and and two doctors, so we have had some brains behind the counter! Jane left us to become a chef, and has recently married and had a beautiful baby boy. Liz now runs her own B&B business but pops in often to let us know the local gossip. The current shop staff are Clare, Fay and Carolyn who are the lovely friendly team who help Marianne in all things shop related (Auntie Alex steps in sometimes too!)
Behind the scenes in the workshop, Rob was always something of a lone wolf. Until we recieved a letter from a young man who had spent the previous year desperately searching for a job as a jeweller. Something struck a cord with Rob and he decided to meet Ross and find out a little more about him. We decided to take him on as an apprentice and Rob and Ross now make a great team, producing the jewellery in the work shop.
The old workshop, above the shop was a bit of a dingy Dickensian affair, with tiny low set widows, getting very lttle natural light and very hot in the summer. We decided after 10 years, it was time to have a better environment in which to create the jewellery, so this time Jeff the builder and his crew went out backwards and upwards, creating a beautiful light, airy space over what used to be a lttle yard and outside netty! The lovely folk behind us at Coopers Court were very kind and patient as the old walls came down and new ones went up. Spencer Pughe, Rob's brother designed the space and John Henderson hand built the solid oak jewellery benches, we hope you will agree, it is gorgeous!
It certainly doesn't feel like 10 years since we opened our shop. We have had some great times and made some wonderful pieces of jewellery. It must be said, the best part of the last 10 years is the amazing people we have met along the way. Our customers are the most lovely people and we have had an amazing decade making jewellery for them and sharing some (mostly) happy, and sometimes sad times with them.
We have seen birthdays, new jobs, retirements, engagements, weddings, babies, anniversaries and break-ups and as well as making some fabulous friends we have also lost some great people too, who we shall never forget.
Thank you all for your support and frienship over the last decade, we hope to see you all for the next one!
A Splash of Colour.
Now the novelty of the snow has well and truly worn off, the left-over grey slush is leaving us feeling a little gloomy in the workshop, so it was lovely to have a visit from our Columbian emerald specialist.
We were particuarly drawn to some beatiful little pieces of bright green emerald in its natural hexagonal prism crystal form, these will make gorgeous little pendants set in a simple 18ct yellow gold tops. We were also tempted to a rich, velvety royal purple amethyst, a hand-cut oval of 23cts in weight, it is like a birds egg with gentle faceting on the back creating a litlle sparkle through the liquid depth of plain,buff polished top it will make a beautiful big cocktail ring set in 18ct yellow gold. Some richly coloured citrine, smoky quartz and amethyst heart shaped, plain polished gem-drops, for smooth, tactile little pendants rounded off the treasure haul.
We had a quick chat about a vivid blue Pariba tourmaline which we purchased a little while ago. This has become quite difficult to get in the sort of quality of our beautiful 5.16ct faceted oval, Rob has become very attached to this stone so it may take some persuasion to get him to set it!