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13 skilled designers and jewellers in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire

PUBLISHED: 11:13 07 November 2014 | UPDATED: 11:13 07 November 2014

Blue Sapphire Cabouchon ring with diamonds in 18 carat yellow gold, Woolfe Jewellery

Blue Sapphire Cabouchon ring with diamonds in 18 carat yellow gold, Woolfe Jewellery

Archant

Who can resist a beautiful piece of jewellery, especially one that has been made just for you? Katy Eachus seeks out highly skilled designers and jewellers

As well as being a thoughtful and beautiful gift, a piece of jewellery is a long-lasting reminder of a special occasion and an investment for the future. If you’re looking for an alternative to factory-produced items, visit a bespoke jewellery designer and have something specially made. Your involvement in the design process – from selecting the stone to seeing your ideas translated into something real – will become part of the piece’s story.

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Tom French, Ascot

Tom’s passion is coloured gemstones – a Fellow of the Gemological Association, he delights in sourcing the finest rubies, emeralds and sapphires, as well as less well-known stones such as Aquamarine, Tanzanite, Tourmaline, precious Topaz and Tsavorite garnet. Thirty years in the business have enabled him to build up a network of suppliers of stunning stones of highest quality which he uses to create his own one-off designs. Nothing is bought or made in quantity and all jewellery is 18 carat gold or platinum.

He opened the Ascot shop nine years ago, having completed a Jewellery Design degree and gained valuable experience working in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter for Deacon & Francis. He married and moved down to London to set up his own studio in Covent Garden but after the birth of his first daughter he decided to return to the security of working for others and “learned a huge amount” from Peter Harper in Cobham and Lionel Jacobs in Richmond where he was manager for five years.

As well as his one-off creations, Tom designs and produces exquisite jewellery to commission and will endeavour to make any item you are looking for. Among the thirty or so pieces that will be on sale this Christmas are four fabulous pendants with different types of rock crystal and precious stones.

Tom French, Hermitage Parade, High Street, Ascot SL5 7HE. Tel: 01344 624555. www.tomfrenchjewellery.co.uk

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Jason Charles, Sunninghill

Jason Weekes specialises in working with clients to design unique handmade and bespoke wedding rings or special occasion jewellery, from a simple solitaire ring to an intricate symbolic pendant. Old or unworn jewellery can also be remodelled and turned into a stunning piece to wear and enjoy. As a certified Fair Trade jeweller he is very excited to be selling Fair Trade Wedding & Engagement rings this Autumn. Choosing Gold certified to Fair-trade Standards provides small-scale miners and their communities in developing countries with an opportunity for better living and working conditions.

While studying for his Foundation Art qualification, Jason did a jewellery making module and became hooked. After college he started in a mass production workshop in Hatton Garden, and eventually joined ACB Jewellery in Bracknell. He took over the business in 2007 and opened the Sunninghill shop in 2011.

“The piece I am most proud of is an engagement ring I designed that had a very technically difficult mobious twist to the shank that was set with 50 tiny brilliant cut diamonds,” he says. Another memorable commission was a £50,000 diamond and blue topaz bangle. It was designed to match a customer’s existing jewellery suite and contained over 8cts of diamonds and beautiful marquise shaped blue topaz.

Jason can work to your design or produce a range of designs for you to choose from. After discussing your needs and ideas in the relaxed Consultation Area of the showroom, diamonds and gemstones can be sourced for you to view and 3D Cad designs presented so you can see the piece come to life on screen and know exactly what you are getting. The jewellery is then made up in the on-site workshop.

24 High Street, Sunninghill SL5 9NE. Tel: 01344 874496. www.jasoncharlesjewellery.co.uk

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Jacobs of Reading

Award-winning Jacobs of Reading, the luxury jewellery and watch shop, is one of Berkshire’s longest-established family-run businesses, now in its third generation. In 1948 Douglas and Jean Jacobs opened Douglas Jacobs on the King’s Road in Reading, initially selling a hand-picked selection of second-hand silver and jewellery. They developed their business together for over 15 years, after which their son Ian took over. Ian, his wife Adrienne and their son Adam continue the family name looking after existing and new customers in their King Street store which they opened in 2005.

The shop specialises in diamonds, gemstones and prestigious watch brands. Jacobs goldsmiths and designers offer design, repair and bespoke services at the in-house workshop. Recently voted one of the UK’s Top 50 inspiring independent jewellery retailers for the third year in a row, Jacobs is the area’s exclusive agent for a fantastic new European jewellery brand called Hulchi Belluni and will be revealing another exclusive brand in the next few weeks.

Douglas Jacobs House, King Street, Reading, RG1 2HE 0118 907 0775. www.jacobsthejewellers.com

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INUTI, Windsor

What better way to stand out from the crowd then by wearing creative jewellery that emphasises your own unique style? The ‘Story’ range from Kranz & Ziegler allows you to mix and match leather or shimmering faceted gemstone bracelets with elegantly plain or dazzling crystal links.

Look out too for their sparkling winged necklace which flatters the neckline and is all you need to make that little black dress a truly killer look. And Georg Jensen’s pave ‘Fusion’ rings come in 18 carat yellow, rose or white gold, enabling you to combine different colour metals to suit your style. All this beautiful jewellery is available from Inuti Designer Jewellery in Windsor. Not only do they stock a spectacular range of jewellery for both men and women, they also create bespoke designs so you can commission your ultimate treasure... from unique engagement rings, reworking of old jewellery to personalised gifts (check out InutiDesignerJewelleryLtd on Facebook to see some examples).

43 King Edward Court, Windsor, SL4 1TG

Tel: 01753 620860.

www.inutijewellery.co.uk www.facebook.com/InutiDesignerJewelleryLtd

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Woolfe Jewellery, Milton Keynes

Look out for a special offer from Woolfe Jewellery in our November issue!
If you’ve been to the Tower of London, you may have seen a spectacular necklace and earring set designed to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 displayed in the Jewel House. The set was designed by John Woolfe, founder of Woolfe Jewellery in the Centre MK which has become a premier destination for diamond and coloured stone jewellery since opening in 2005. John Woolfe’s appreciation of jewellery was awakened by childhood trips to museums and art galleries with his mother. He learned a lot about design from a very talented jewellery designer who allowed him to study with him while he worked and sit and watch everything he did.

John is passionate about designing pieces for beautiful gemstones, and Woolfe pieces include some very unusual stones such as pink topaz, pink sapphires, tanzanites, tourmalines and alexandrites. His favourite Woolfe piece is a pearl, emerald and diamond pendant, shown in the picture, which has a timeless elegance.

29 Crown Walk, The Centre MK, Milton Keynes MK9 3AH. Tel: 01908 397711. www.woolfejewellery.com

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Robert Gatward Jewellers, Windsor

This eye-catching shop in the heart of King Edward Court has expanded steadily since opening five years ago and is the biggest of the Robert Gatward stores which are all owned by Keith and Bridie Gill. Bridie has been in the jewellery business all her life so when twelve years ago the couple saw a jewellery shop in Thame for sale, they took the opportunity to buy from owner Robert Gatward and keep the name. They later opened another shop in Abingdon which now forms the head office, and subsequently opened branches in Reading and Ipswich. The Windsor shop, managed by Mark Morrison who previously worked in the Reading shop, began as a small unit but when the next-door shoe shop closed down they took the decision to move into the space and later acquired another unit.

The shop offers finest quality luxury jewellery and watches, accompanied by very attentive personal service. Stockists of an extensive collection of desirable brands including Pandora, Rolex and Michael Kors, they are specialists in diamond bridal jewellery, including their own Robert Gatward platinum engagement rings. New this Autumn are Tudor Watches (little sister to Rolex) and a range of jewellery by UK designer Astley Clarke.

Tel: 01753 851669 www.robertgatwardjewellers.co.uk

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Woodley Goldsmiths, Woodley

Woodley Goldsmiths is a small independent jewellery store which prides itself in having only the best quality jewellery in store. Only select suppliers and brands are used to ensure the highest quality for customers. All jewellery is hand picked by the staff as they feel its only right to sell you something they also feel passionate about.

Andrew Buck developed his passion for goldsmithing at school during metal work lessons. During his lunch hour, he would cut agate stones and copper. He went on to train in Wokingham in the early 80′s went on day release to college in London to obtain both a City & Guild award and an Advanced City & Guild Award. After his fifth year he left to start his own company, ACB Jewellery in Bracknell, doing trade repair and manufacturing work for many local jewellers, private commission work for customers and expanding the workshop and showrooms to employ five staff. In 1998, Andrew opened a second store in Woodley, currently known as Woodley Goldsmiths, moving over fully after and leaving ACB Jewellery.

Since its opening in 1998, Woodley Goldsmiths has gone through some vast changes and is now home to many household jewellery brands such as Fiorelli, Clogau, Unique and many more. A large selection of well known watch brands is also available including Citizen Eco-Drive, Sekonda Seksy, Rotary, Bering & Seiko.

55 Crockhamwell Rd, Reading RG5 3JP

Tel: 0118 944 8844. www.woodleygoldsmiths.co.uk

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Walton’s Jewellery, Caversham

Walton’s is an independent manufacturing jeweller in the heart of Caversham, stocking an impressive selection of platinum, gold and silver jewellery which has been hand-finished in the workshop on the premises, offering excellent value for money. Chris Walton trained at Jobin Jewellers serving a five-year apprenticeship as a goldsmith and has built up over 30 years experience in producing high quality jewellery. Walton’s opened in 1986 and quickly established itself as one of the leading jewellers and goldsmiths in the area. Chris is often invited onto Radio Berkshire and Radio 107 to be interviewed for his expertise.

As well as offering variously priced pieces to suit weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas, the team designs and manufactures jewellery for other special occasions, together with items that have their own sentimental significance to the giver and receiver. Highly trained staff are there to ensure that having a piece of jewellery made is a memorable and exciting experience. Customers are able to choose their own gemstones which can be incorporated into a piece made to their specifications.

2 Prospect Street, Caverhsam, Reading RG4 8JG. Tel: 0118 948 4576. www.waltonsjewellers.co.uk

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Beaconsfield Fine Jewellery

This lovely boutique in Old Beaconsfield which opened in 2011 offers beautiful bespoke jewellery and homeware as well as a repair and valuation service. As a fifth generation jeweller, Peter Ungar has experience, knowledge and a drive for the highest standard of customer care. His grandfather Arpad Ungar came to England during the Second World War. After working for the government making sights for army rifles, he established a successful retail and manufacturing business in London employing over 100 goldsmiths. One of Peter’s fondest school-age memories is of spending weekends working in his grandfather’s shop in Oxford Street.

These days he combines the traditional skills he learned there with contemporary design and modern technology to create a unique jewellery collection. “I believe that we are in a very privileged position to be dealing with people at momentous occasions such as engagements, weddings and anniversaries which makes our job very special,” he says. “Everything we sell carries a memory and therefore we have to make sure everything we do is guided towards making the whole process a joy.”

52 London End, Old Beaconsfield HP9 2LH. Tel: 01494 677 782. www.beaconsfieldfinejewellery.com

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The Jewellery Workshop, Amersham

Bring your old stones or gold to the Amersham Workshop and let the skilled team of designers create the piece of your dreams in their fully-equipped on-site workshop. In addition to carrying out the most intricate manufacturing and repair work, they offer an extensive range of pre-made jewellery with pieces ranging from a few pounds to thousands of pounds. Owners Tim and Connie Platten are originally from South Africa the home of exquisite jewellery and diamonds where Tim trained under top craftsman Charles Greig. “Creating something from nothing is an amazing thing, and working with the most precious natural resources of platinum and diamonds, and turning them into the most beautiful creations is a pleasure and a joy and of course requires a great skill and years of experience,” says Connie. Customers can be involved in creating their own piece of jewellery, including hand-picking the diamonds or stones.

2 Market Square, Amersham, Buckinghamshire HP7 0DQ

Tel: 01494 434178 www.jewelleryworkshopamersham.co.uk

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Aylesbury Bullion, Aylesbury

This independent and traditional family-run jewellers in Aylesbury has been established since 1977 and trading from its current premises since 1989. Tired of the amount of travelling involved in their regular jobs, Stephen Cox’s parents set up the business, inspired by Stephen’s grandmother’s love and knowledge of antique jewellery. Stephen helped out in his school holidays and weekends and on leaving school at 16 joined the company. His girlfriend Angela who he met at school went on to college to study hotel management but afterwards decided to join Stephen’s parents in their jewellery business instead. Their knowledge and expertise have been built up through 25 years in the business. Stephen’s parents retired six years ago but son Jack has now joined the company. Niece Maddison Smith and family friend Claire Parsons work part time. “Nothing fazes us,” says Stephen. “We regularly restore items that other jewellers have said would be impossible to mend. What they mean is it’s not worth their while, but in our opinion everything is repairable and pieces often have great sentimental value so are worth the extra time and effort that it takes to restore them. Keeping our customers happy is what makes us happy.”

The beautiful collection of jewellery includes brand new, custom-made, second-hand and antique items. Custom-made pieces are handmade using traditional techniques to create a unique item designed to meet your exact requirements.

11 High St, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP20 1SE

01296 423198 www.aylesburybullion.co.uk

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Harrison’s, Woburn Sands

Harrison’s describe themselves as “jewellers first, retailers second.” The family has been designing and creating bespoke jewellery and offering a skilled repair and alteration service since 1969. There are eight Harrison’s shops across Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, each with its own style selling a selection of beautiful bespoke and branded jewellery and watches. The bespoke service can be discussed at any of the shops and customers are then referred to the workshop at the Woburn Sands shop where the jewellery is designed and made by goldsmiths Matthew Harrison and Dean Quy. A combination of traditional and modern methods is used and specialist jewellery computer aided design brings designs to life before they are created.

63 High Street, Woburn Sands. Tel: 01908 585811. www.harrisonsjewellers.co.uk

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The Gold Smithy, Stony Stratford

Glenn Chapman fell in love with jewellery while at school and made his first item, a trinket box, when he was ten. He served his apprenticeship at Wright & Davis in London in the 1970s and has worked for Cartier, Elizabeth Gage, Grant McDonald and Cookham Goldsmiths. He now produces individually designed jewellery from watches and pens to engagement and wedding rings. He can work to a customer’s design or come up with a proposal for them based on a discussion of their requirements. One customer describes her thrill at receiving from her fiancé not a ring but an appointment to visit Glenn and have a ring designed specially for her. “A couple can also be involved in making each other’s engagement rings which adds to their personal value and we can let them have photographs of them doing so to go in their wedding albums,” he says.

The Gold Smithy, 60 High Street, Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes MK11 1FA. Tel: 01908 565200. www.thegoldsmithy.com

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Affordable jewellery

For distinctive jewellery for everyday wear try your local gift shop. We love these:

• Antique Rose, Wokingham Tel: 01189 798414; www.antiquerose.co.uk

• Bird in Sunningdale. Tel: 01344 622312; www.birdsunningdale.co.uk
• Pink & Brown, Sunninghill Tel: 01344 624456; www.pinkandbrown.co.uk
• Daniels, Windsor. Tel: 01753 801000; www.danielstores.co.uk

• Fenwick, Windsor. Tel: 01753 855537; www.fenwick.co.uk

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