Standing proud on the corner of Blackett Street, where it joins with Pilgrim Street, you’ll find one of the most photographed buildings in the city centre of Newcastle; Northern Goldsmiths.
This flagship jewellery store has become somewhat of a Newcastle landmark not only because it is a beautiful building but because of the golden lady, Venus and the stunning 24 carat gold leaf clock on the corner of the building.
You’ll notice here that the clock has been newly painted, the gold is so bright that it literally glistens as the sun hits it. However it isn’t just the clock that has had a little revamp recently. The whole store has been closed for the last couple of months while it has undergone an incredible £1 million transformation and I was lucky enough to be invited along to their VIP reopening as part of their #NorthernGoldsmithsBigDay celebrations.
Northern Goldsmiths first opened its doors in 1892 and walking through the doors some 123 years later felt just as grand as I’m sure it did back then. The brass band playing outside made the experience that little more special.
This renovation hasn’t just been a quick lick of paint to freshen the place up though, this is the most significant refurbishment the store has seen since it first opened all of those years ago. They have taken the time to fully close the store to the public so that the creative vision of restoring the listed building to its grand decor of the 1890s could be brought to life.
|Image credited to the Goldsmiths photographer|
Stepping into the new look showroom with its fresh cream interior and gold accents was captivating and inviting in equal proportions. Local celebrities, including North East Hero Robson Green, Camilla Priest from the TV show Model Behaviour and adopted Geordie Faye Tozer from Steps were there to celebrate along with a number of journalists, bloggers, customers and staff past and present.
With a champagne flute between each of our hands, my blogger friends and I wandered around the store chatting to the staff who were happy to share anecdotes of the store’s history while we admired the fixtures and sparkling jewels enclosed in the polished cabinets.
|Image courtesy of Northern Goldsmiths|
Many of the existing store fixtures are listed which means that they have been more complex to restore and required a higher level of craftsmanship to be able to sympathetically restore them in accordance with local authority planning and listed building consent. This has ensured that the historic aspects of the store have been preserved and maintained for generations to come and enjoy.
Previous customers of Northern Goldsmiths will no doubt be pleased to hear that the beautiful Grandfather clock with the mercury pendulum as well as the original chandeliers and ‘The Birdcage’, an ornate product showcase cabinet, have all remained in the store and are looking even more spectacular than than they always have.
Northern Goldsmiths have also brought in some new additional fixtures to compliment the existing ones to further enhance the look and feel of the showroom. While being very grand and steeped in tradition, the whole shop floor had a feeling of being at ease and comfortable. It is definitely a store that you could feel relaxed to shop in, in a welcoming environment where you can take your time over deciding upon the purchase that you would like to make. This is the best way to shop in my opinion as theres nothing worse than feeling rushed or as though you are in an uncomfortable, pretentious environment, especially if you’re making a big purchase like your wedding rings or wedding jewellery.
As a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council, Goldsmiths have over 230 years of experience and tradition selling fine jewellery and diamonds from not only their own jewellery makers but also from some exclusive brands such as Vera Wang and Canadian Ice, so you know that you’re in safe hands when shopping there. They also operate the largest distribution network for Rolex, Omega and TAG Heuer.
Downstairs at the Newcastle store are the mini boutiques that Goldsmiths have worked alongside their luxury watch brands to create within their store so that their customers can continue to expect the first class choice and expert service that they expect and love from Northern Goldsmiths. They have extended their existing Rolex Boutique and introduced a brand new Omega Boutique.
A Rolex has been on my wishlist for years now and a piece that I am working towards saving for and after seeing the boutique, I couldn’t think of anywhere better than here to make my purchase when the time comes!
Upstairs on the first floor, there is a dedicated Goldsmiths Services area that deals with client repairs, including a specialist watch repairing section, as well as additional seating for customers and more consultation space. This ensures that each customer gets the care and attention that they deserve. It is also here that you’ll find the stunning artwork that was inspired by the kissing clock. I spent far too long admiring it in between taking selfies with my blogging friends- thanks for the photo North East Family Fun!
The enormous chandelier at the head of the stairs is undoubtedly my favourite fixture in the building, even beating the original tiles that were up a secret staircase. Although I do feel sorry for whoever has to clean the chandelier; such an intricate piece would require so much special care and attention!
During the welcoming speeches at the event, we were told stories of times gone by, including how some couples would engaged underneath the clock outside and then race into the store to pick out their engagement ring.
Known locally as the kissing clock, it is as important to Geordies as the building is itself. Before the days of WhatsApp and iPhones, courting couples would meet under the clock for date nights and so many people locally have romantic stories to tell connected to the store.
While I didn’t get engaged in this way, it did make me think of Mr WLL who picked out my own engagement ring from Northern Goldsmiths.
That’s the great thing about Northern Goldsmiths, aside from being diamond specialists, the staff are incredibly knowledgable. They’re able to help you to pick out the ring, or indeed another piece of jewellery, that is perfect for the person that you’re going to be giving it to. I couldn’t love my engagement ring any more than I do. I always wanted something that was super sparkly, timeless and understated so that I would love wearing it just as much in years and years to come as I do now. That’s exactly what I got and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Back downstairs, the party was in full swing with the brass band having moved inside and magician Chris Cross working his magic on the attendees. This guy is definitely a one off and if you’ve ever met him at an event before then you’ll completely understand where I’m coming from.
He’s an incredible magician but he’s also hilariously funny, he’ll have you in stitches while amazing you with his magic tricks. I’ve seen him at a couple of events before and to this day, I still haven’t been able to work out how he does his tricks. Its just a shame he couldn’t magic a diamond ring from one of the cabinets!
While the staff were on hand for ring fittings and jewellery and watch consultations, there was a silent auction to win this stunning diamond necklace that was donated so that the proceeds could be given to charity. It was no doubt worth a small fortune and whoever won it is incredibly lucky!
To celebrate the relaunch of the store, Northern Goldsmiths are calling for the people of the North East to come forward with their nostalgic items for them to borrow. They will become part of an archive collection that will serve as a visual representation of Northern Goldsmiths that can be admired and enjoyed in the store for years to come.
Specifically, they are also looking for someone who has an ‘original Northern Goldsmiths’ timepiece that was manufactured in the workshop above the Newcastle showroom. At the moment, Northern Goldsmiths only have a visual of one of the watches but they would really love to source an actual piece.
If you or anyone you know would like to put their nostalgic items forward then pop NorthernGoldsmiths@opr.co.uk an email with a photo and brief description of the item. I’m sure they’d love to hear from you!
Here are some of the pieces from Goldsmiths that have got me feeling all heart eye emoji (each picture is clickable and will take you through to the Goldsmiths website for easy shopping… or wishlist shopping such as my case!).
I had such a great time at the #NorthernGoldsmithsBigDay event and can’t wait to share more about the fabulous jewels available at Goldsmiths with you all!