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Classic wedding bands, trendy silver or gold bracelets and other sparkling beauty – the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham is the best place to find that perfect souvenir or gift. For generations, jewellers in this district have been crafting the most beautiful handmade jewellery in England. And the closer to the source, the lower the price tag.
The Jewellery Quarter, in the south of Hockley, features hundreds of historic buildings. And jewellery is everywhere. Visit the picturesque Museum of the Jewellery Quarter: this authentic workshop takes you back to a bygone era and reveals the secrets of the goldsmiths. A visit to a jewellery store is of course also a must. Admire lovely handmade jewellery and other shiny trinkets at the many jewellers on and around Vyse Street and Frederick Street.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city lies a charming green oasis: St. Paul's Square. The tree-lined square is a favourite destination for a picnic or to relax at one of the patios to watch the shoppers. The main attraction on the square is St. Paul's Church, also nicknamed the Jeweller’s church, which was built in 1779. If you are hungry, you will find plenty of food options in and around the square: 'bangers-and-mash' in a British pub or a spicy curry at an Indian restaurant.
The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, further down on Vyse Street, is undoubtedly one of the most authentic spots in the area. This used to be the Smith & Pepper goldsmith’s shop, until the owners decided to retire in 1981. They simply walked out and locked the door, hanging their dirty overalls on a hook and leaving their tools scattered across the workbenches. Their legacy has been transformed into a remarkable museum that tells the history of the Jewellery Quarter through authentic artefacts and presentations.
“Dirty overalls still hang on the hooks on the wall, tools are scattered everywhere: the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is one of the most authentic spots in this district.”
Back in the 17th and 18th century, the forges in Birmingham were doing a booming business. Buttons, bottle caps, buckles, pins and metal toys – you name it, it was made here. In 1780, the neighbourhood also boasted 26 goldsmiths. They cleverly managed to establish a name for themselves: in 1845, a group of representatives travelled to Buckingham Palace with a set of jewellery to convince Queen Victoria of their craftsmanship. And with great success, as the Jewellery Quarter became the main supplier of valuable jewellery in the British Empire. By the end of the 19th century, the city counted more than 700 workshops. Even today, 40% of all British jewellery is made in Birmingham.