How to make the most of a visit to the Jewellery Quarter
Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter is an internationally renowned treasure, but many visitors don't realise there's more to this historic district than just its jewellery shops.
So we've got some tips on how to make the most of a day trip to the Quarter - and we've also compiled a guide on how easy it is to get there too.From small beginnings, over 250 years ago, the Jewellery Quarter grew to become what is Europe’s largest concentration of businesses involved in the jewellery trade.Cheap Jewelry Sites
While it’s as far back as 1553 that the first goldsmith was recorded as living and working in Birmingham, by the early 1900s - when the trade was at its peak - it had grown to employ a staggering 30,000 people in a concentrated area of Hockley.
The jewellery trade was just one of many to prosper on the back of the Industrial Revolution when Brum became known as the "city of a thousand trades".
And by the mid-19th century, it was considered to be Brum's “most lucrative” trade - with jewellers being some of the best paid workers.By 1850 it was claimed that half of the gold and silverware on sale in London jewellery shops was Birmingham-made.
During the late 1800s the jewellery trade continued to boom and unlike other city trades, it also thrived during World War One because the demand for military buttons, badges and medals, which jewellery businesses also produced, increased.
Today the Jewellery Quarter, which is a designated Conservation Area, is home to more than 500 jewellery firms producing around 40 per cent of British jewellery.
The district also boasts over 200 listed buildings and contains the city's last remaining Georgian Square, which is St Paul’s.Located at 75-80 Vyse Street, this museum is built around the preserved Smith and Pepper jewellery factory, which closed its doors in 1981.
It gives visitors a rare glimpse into the working life of bygone jewellers in this famous district of Birmingham.
You can take a guided tour of the factory - at 11.15, 12.15, 1.15, 2.15, 3.15 and 4pm - watch demonstrations and visit two galleries that explore the history of the jewellery craft.
On selected days you can also take a walk and talk around the Jewellery Quarter from the museum as well as take part in several jewellery workshops.