Why The Jewellery Quarter is one of Birmingham’s jewels? The Jewellery Quarter is one of Birmingham’s most commercially, creatively and industrially successful areas. It is also an area where you can find hundreds of stories of history and culture packed into each street.
For example, Vyse Street was cut by Howard Vyse, the renowned archeologist whose discoveries illuminated our understanding of the Pyramids of Giza. Vyse’s discovery of four additional chambers inside the Pyramids, one of which contained the Pharaoh Khufu’s cartouche provided strong evidence that the famous Pyramids had been constructed as his final resting place. While we can’t recreate the Pyramids of Giza here in Birmingham, the Jewellery Quarter provides you with many other wonderful experiences that you’ll remember for years to come.
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It is impossible to write about Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter without mentioning diamonds. The most precious stones in the world are ordered on a daily basis by master jewellers who craft them into beautiful bespoke pieces for some of the world’s most discerning clients. Everything that you ever dreamt of in a watch or piece of jewellery can become a reality in one of the area’s exquisite boutiques. From engagement rings that will engage the attention of your partner and all of their friends for at least several days, to timepieces that shine as brightly as your personality, anything you purchase from one of these jewellers will be remembered for years to come. Booking appointments with jewellers in advance of visiting the area is essential.
If you’re thinking of buying a home in the Jewellery Quarter but you're not sure how much it will cost, you can read our article about property prices in the Jewellery Quarter. To give yourself a clearer image of the true value of your property, we highly recommend that you book a full market appraisal with one of our expert team.
From tandoori to tiramisu and classic English dishes to Ethiopian favourites, every palate is catered for by the Jewellery Quarter’s enormous selection of restaurants. The area has always had a history of serving great food. From lunches between some of the most important players in 19th Century Birmingham, in one of its private members’ clubs, to buffets accompanying some of Birmingham’s biggest music events, the Jewellery Quarter and food have gone hand-in-hand to host some of Brum’s most momentous moments.
The Industrial Legacy
The Jewellery Quarter has always been marked out by a combination of technological advancements and artisan skill which has created industrial innovation. For example, from 1840, manufacturing of jewellery in the area was aided no end by the gas sent through jewellers’ blowpipes by The Birmingham and Staffordshire Gas Light Company. The result of this innovation was immense productivity. At the time, approximately half of the gold and silver produced in Great Britain, which contributed to the production of an immense range of goods, came from this part of Central Birmingham. In the 19th Century, the Jewellery Quarter was not just a hub for the creation of fine jewellery though.
Factories in the Jewellery Quarter supplied a number of other products which were in exceptionally high demand at the time. These included steel-nibbed pens, which were made with such immense success that the Pen Museum was established several generations later to chronicle their legacy.
Button making also became a hallmark of industry in the Jewellery Quarter, as one of the industry’s major factories in the 19th Century was established by Joseph Elliot whose patented cloth-covered buttons gained him fame nationally. Button making of the highest quality is still part of Birmingham’s industrial output. Firmin & Sons, who have held Royal Warrants for the supply of Insignia, Buttons and Accessories to The Royal Household every year since 1796 can be found just outside the Jewellery Quarter on New Town Row.
While some industries continued to thrive in and around Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, unfortunately, others did not achieve the same success. A number of the disused factories in the area are now being converted into a series of museums, art galleries and luxury apartments. Many of these apartments can be found at the top end of Birmingham’s property market.
Despite the renovation, the area’s industrial legacy and the history of the famed ‘Industrial Middle’ in particular, are being stringently preserved and promoted by the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust. A £1.8 million restoration grant secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund by the Trust will provide resources to fund crucial improvement works of some of the area’s oldest and most storied buildings. This funding will allow these buildings to return to regular use so that they can once again play an active role in the community’s commercial growth.
The Townscape Heritage project of which these renovations are part, began in 2018 and will run until 2021.
The Jewellery Quarter is becoming one of Birmingham’s biggest cultural hubs. The Blue Orange Theatre on Great Hampton Street regularly offers a huge range of great performances, from Shakespearian epics such as Othello to The Long Walk Back, which chronicles the search for redemption of Clive Lewis who enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame as one of England’s most promising batsmen before being convicted of smuggling over 3kg of cocaine into the UK in 2008.
Lewis subsequently attempted suicide on his first night in custody, before serving six years of a thirteen-year sentence in HMP High Down. This play explores how he rebuilt his life following his release.
In the Jewellery Quarter, art is not just limited to the theatre. Exhibitions featuring artists from Birmingham to Haiti are regularly organised at galleries around the area. Whatever your interest in art, you’ll definitely find something that piques your interest in the Jewellery Quarter. Whether you like looking at fine paintings, the latest quirky modern art, art that you can lease for your office, or edgy art in a gallery that also has a fully licensed bar serving some wonderful cocktails, the Jewellery Quarters caters to you perfectly.
Literature also has a lasting legacy in the Jewellery Quarter. Washington Irving, diplomat, historian and author of the famous short stories ‘Rip Van Winkle’ and ‘The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow’ lived and wrote ‘The Sketch Book Of Geoffrey Crayon’ in which these stories appeared, in the Jewellery Quarter.
St Paul’s Square
Amid the hustle and bustle of the city centre, sits St Paul’s Square, a tranquil hotspot in the middle of the Jewellery Quarter. The Square is surrounded by some of the trendiest places to network, meet friends, and host business meetings in Birmingham. These boutique locations include St Paul’s House, which is so much more than just a restaurant.
This unique venue includes superb accommodation, wonderfully equipped meeting rooms, ample space to host high-level conferences and a bar that becomes an asset to Birmingham’s nightlife after dark. At the centre of the Square sits St Paul’s Church.
Some of Birmingham’s most important business figures have frequented St Paul’s Church since its consecration in 1779, including Matthew Boulton and James Watt. The Church is particularly notable for a stained glass window depicting St Paul’s conversion to Christianity. It is also known for its beautiful grounds.
In summer these grounds become the perfect location for picnics or just relaxing with your favourite book or your best friends in the sunshine. These grounds also give staff working in the many professional services firms dotted around the square a great opportunity to take a break and walk around some fantastic green space while they consider their latest strategies.
The Jewellery Quarter offers Birmingham’s residents and anyone visiting the Second City a series of fantastic opportunities to immerse themselves in history and culture while admiring some of the most meticulously crafted pieces of art and jewellery in Birmingham.
The area is therefore considered to be a prime real estate location. Purchasing a property here is an investment that you won’t look back on with anything other than immense happiness.
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