OF A PRESTIGIOUS LEEDS FAMILY JEWELLER
There was never any doubt in our family where engagement, wedding and eternity rings should come from – Berry’s jewellers.
Great gran, who hailed from Scarborough, had got her engagement ring from Berry’s Jewellers first shop there in around 1900 and she encouraged her daughter and sons to take their future wives and husbands do the same – and the tradition she started is still going strong in our family today no matter where they are resident.
This year Berry’s celebrates 125 years as a family run jewellers – surviving The Great Depression, Two World Wars and the pressures of High Street retailing.
The business was founded by Abe Beren, (pictured below) who had migrated to the United Kingdom from Eastern Europe. He chose Scarborough and Southport for his first shops and later established a shop in Lands Lane, Leeds before his daughter Jeanne and her husband Gee Wolff took the business forward as a top quality jeweller based in Bond Street.
Four generations later, Jean’s son in law Jeffrey Walton and his son Simon and Grandson Oliver, have developed and expanded the business which now has nine branches.
Their jewellery is sourced and imported from around the world so it ensures that there is both a very fashionable range as well as classic pieces.
Diamonds are expertly purchased loose in Tel Aviv, Israel and the coloured stones come from the best gem stone dealers. The diamonds are then carefully graded using the 4C’s (the colour, the clarity, the cut and the carat) and then the rings are designed and manufactured to their own designs.
To celebrate their 125th birthday Berry’s held a party at The Queens Hotel where their new collection OPEIA was unveiled. The Queens Hotel was particularly relevant to hold the event as Jeffrey Walton remembered as it was The Queens where Berry’s used to hold jewellery shows and exhibitions each Christmas in the 60’s and had cabinets there all year round displaying their jewellery.
Designed by Emily Rose OPEIA is a contemporary yet timeless collection focussing on wearable pieces.
I asked Emily how she got her inspiration for this collection.
“With Berry’s heritage, the theme of ‘family’ was a central concept from the mood board to final design.
Emily started her designs by jotting everything down on paper and doing lots of initial sketches, coming up with shapes and the feel of the piece
“ I was keen that the motif design wanted to bring a sense of movement to the piece. I also wanted to allude to the five generations of the family, so you can see there are five round brilliant diamonds that are repeated in a circle.”
The collection includes a bracelet, necklace, earrings, bangles, pendants and rings the latter two being Emily’s favourite.
“I love the classic pendant as the design if the first one I completed. Aside from that I also love the wrap rings because I think they’re a bit different and catch the light beautifully.”
OPEIA takes its name from Cassiopeia, a five point constellation in the shape of a W, which is a nod to the Walton family who have run Berry’s for five generation.
But the last word was left to Jeffrey Walton “If my mother and father-in-law would have thought that we’d be here after 125 years, they would have been amazed”