Enhancing an Heirloom with Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery

Jewellery has always played a major role in my family. Growing up, few things were as special as raiding my mother’s jewellery box. Each piece had a story to tell and these little jewels held a world of wonder. She herself had always wanted to become a silversmith, and has instilled in me a love and respect for precious metals and gemstones. And maybe a slight obsession with all things of a sparkly nature!

It’s no doubt she got her love of jewellery from her mom. My grandmother didn’t just have a box; she had a whole drawer of magic. I’d love to watch her get ready, she’d always open that dresser drawer to add on the finishing touches. I’m not sure she ever went out without some jewellery on!

The Piper family ladies, 2010, missing one cousin! 

Sadly two years ago, she passed away. While her jewellery collection was not extensive, it was important. She liked to collect opals and had been telling us granddaughters (there’s four of us, no boys!) that we would all one day inherit one of her beloved opals.

My grandmother's opal ring, along with one of her trinket boxes

She made jewellery special. She would often talk about a piece like it was her friend. Some of the items in her jewellery box were dinky trinkets, but everything had a story. Many of the more expensive pieces were given to her by my late grandfather for birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions. Including her silver charm bracelet.

 My grandmother and I, perfecting our pouts, 2014

My grandmother and I, perfecting our pouts, 2014

Not many pieces of jewellery can tell a story as inexplicably as a charm bracelet can. The charms itself were given individually as gifts over the years. Each one has its own significance, it’s own tale to tell. While inheriting the opal almost felt like a birthright, receiving the charm bracelet felt just as dear.

I knew that I needed these pieces to become a part of my life, and weave them into my own story.  

So without hesitation I took them, along with a few other things over to the award-winning Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery. The studios themselves are like Aladdin’s Cave, full of treasures and wonder. But more so you could feel the passion, see the craftsmanship and know that if you walk out of there with something, it’s going to be special.

I love the brand for many reasons, one of which is the importance they place on nurturing new talent. The setup, while exquisitely modern, has a real feel of importance in tradition and craftsmanship to it. It’s clear that they care about the trade, and as such also uphold exceptional ethical standards – which can often be a bit foggy in the jewellery industry.

At Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery, Halls Green

Upon arrival (without an appointment I might add) at the Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery workshop in Halls Green I was offered a drink from their fully-fledged café and had a browse whilst I waited for one of their designers. After a few minutes I was introduced to designers Laurie and Beth. They were full of knowledge and ideas – pretty cool considering they’d had no time to prepare.

I wanted to have the opal ring made into a pendant necklace. The ring itself was far too dainty for me, but I thought repurposing the stone and diamonds into something more my style would be the perfect solution.

Laurie came up with a stunning design, taking everything I wanted into account but also making sure it was technically sound.  We decided to add in a new stone, a blue topaz (my birthstone) to truly make the new piece my own.

The inspiration, by Wwake

Laurie's design for the necklace

This is something the team at Harriet Kelsall excels at. If you’ve inherited jewellery that’s not quite your style, they can give it a new lease of life. Or you can incorporate meaningful stones into new items – much like Prince Harry did by adding two of his mother’s diamonds into his bespoke engagement ring for Megan Markle.

My own jewels were then taken to one of the jewelers for technical checks and pricing. The jeweler quickly noted that the charms were soldered on with lead – which was not good long-term for the integrity of the bracelet.

The charm bracelet before, very tarnished!

After carefully explaining the processes and prices to me, I decided to go ahead with the full bracelet refurb but would have to wait for the pendant as it was a bit out of my budget.

I’m sure I probably could have taken the bracelet somewhere else at a lesser price – but when you have such an important heirloom, you need to trust your jeweller. The standards at Harriet Kelsall are among the highest in the industry.

The jeweller reworking the silver fastenings. Image courtesy of Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery

I was given a three-week turnaround time, which considering it was just before Christmas was completely reasonable. It turned out that we would be leaving to go to the US for Christmas just a day or so after the deadline, so they very kindly pushed it up, allowing me to bring the bracelet back to show my family its transformation.

Polishing the tarnished silver. Image courtesy of Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery

The transformation itself was astonishing. I didn’t think it could be polished as well as it was – I wouldn’t be surprised if its shinier now than it was brand new!

I’m so pleased with the end results as well as the customer service and care I received.

 My shiny refurbed charm bracelet, worn with my ChloBo stacking bracelets, a gift for my first Mother's Day

My shiny refurbed charm bracelet, worn with my ChloBo stacking bracelets, a gift for my first Mother's Day

There’s no doubt that I’ll be working with Harriet Kelsall team in the future. I love the romantic notion of having a ‘family jeweller’ – a place that will help us celebrate life’s special occasions with tangible objects of sparkling beauty, heirlooms to be treasured. (Husband, take note!)

If you’d like to chat with the jewelers and designers at Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery they’d love to hear from you. In addition to their expansive Hall’s Green workshop and their Cambridge studio, earlier this year they opened a shop in London’s Primrose Hill. Whatever your jewellery needs, they will be able to help!  

(Note: This is a sponsored blog post, however I sought out and had decided to use the services of Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery before the idea for this collaboration came about. I would have used their services regardless and can wholeheartedly recommend them.)