The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is a perfectly preserved workshop offering a unique glimpse of working life in Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. For more than 80 years, the firm of Smith & Pepper produced jewellery from this workshop. Explore this extraordinary time capsule on a lively guided tour. Here you will find things left as they were on Smith & Pepper’s last working day. Gather round the main jewellers’ bench to watch a demonstration of the traditional skills of this fine trade and discover what it was like to work here.
The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter also has an interactive gallery exploring the ‘Story of the Jewellery Quarter’. Find out why the close-knit trade became established over 200 years ago and how Birmingham got its own Assay Office. Glittering displays reveal a broad array of locally made fine and intricate products. The ‘Earth’s Riches’ gallery showcases jewellery made from material found in the natural world, from whale tooth and coral to diamond and platinum.
Gold and silversmiths have shaped Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter for a good 200 years. Originally they were scattered all over the town and were more interested in quantity than quality. Buckles, buttons and all sorts of shining trinkets left the town in prodigious quantities and gave it a dubious reputation as "Europe’s toyshop". Self-employed, specialist craftsmen were the backbone of production. Originally a variety of small businesses worked together and they gradually became dependent on each other. Starting around 1780 they began to settle in a rural part of the town. The concentrated range of skills meant that the growing Jewellery Quarter soon blossomed to an inconceivable degree. At its zenith in 1913 the jewellery trade employed 30,000 workers not counting the many suppliers. Now the Jewellery Quarter is the flagship of a modern urban development which retains the structures which have evolved over the years and is simultaneously open to new ideas.
For centuries the art of jewellery-making has blossomed here in small specialist workshops and factories which export their goods all over the world. The Jewellery Quarter has retained its flair and unique traditions up to the present day. Dozens of jewellery shops, including the leading manufacturers in Britain, greet the eyes of window-shoppers with a rich feast of brilliant wares. Paths with specially marked signs guide visitors to the heart of the neighbourhood. This trail leads visitors past carefully restored jewellery factories, some of which are still in operation.
|Recommended duration of visit:||2-3 Hours|
|Duration of a guided Tour:||60 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||For details see website|
|Infrastructure for Children:|
|Visitor centre on site:||yes|
|Gift and book shop on Site:||yes|
Tuesday to Saturday 10.30am-4pm