The directors of Glasgow jeweller James Brown and Partners are looking back on their combined 100 years working in the industry as the milestone approaches.
The bespoke jewellery manufacturing and repairs business is run by Ewan Coffield and Neil Grant who met when they responded to a newspaper advert looking for an apprentice jeweller.
Founded in 1950, James Brown and Partners was by the 1970s owned by Herbert McCrum and William Gray. Its focus was on jewellery repairs, manufacturing, engraving, valuations and working with diamonds and gemstones.
“In 1970 I was 15, just out of school, and looking for work”, said Coffield. “It was my Mum who spotted the advert and urged me to apply. I was lucky enough to get the job.”
Grant joined the business a couple of years later after spotting a similar advertisement.
The pair took over the business in 1980 with another partner. In 1988 the business moved from West Regent Street to the famous Argyll Arcade.
The business now derives nearly three quarters of its business from retail sales, the pair reported, a complete reversal from its early days of mainly servicing the wholesale jewellery trade.
They revealed that this means better margins and a growing turnover, as regularly returning customers recommend the firm to their friends and families.
Reflecting on the process of jewellery design, Coffield said: “I love the beginning stages of making a piece of jewellery, the sketches, figuring out how to connect all the different elements and then seeing its transformation into something beautiful and watching the look on the customer’s face when they first see it.
“We suggest that customers chat to our team about transforming an idea you have into a reality or let us help by creating designs for a unique piece of jewellery to suit you.
“With a combination of hand sketches and 360° computer images you will be part of the design process from beginning to end.”
Grant added: “We have a good team here, a lot of experience in all areas from manufacturing, stone setting, sourcing of the very best materials, quality repairs and specialist machinery.”