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History of W Hamond

Over 150 Years of jewellery excellence...

Unbeknown to many, it's not always the far flung corners of the world where you'll find stunning gemstones. Here in Britain, there's a beautiful, intense gemstone that's been a head-turner for centuries, known as Whitby Jet. It's found off the majestic shores of Whitby - Yorkshire's archetypal fishing town - where W Hamond - the Original Whitby Jet Shop - has been transforming it into desirable jewellery for 150 years.

Located at the top of Whitby's historic Church Street and at the foot of the famous Abbey steps, W Hamond is the town's oldest surviving Whitby Jet Jewellery Shop. Local man James Storr first opened its doors to an admiring public in 1860, at the height of the town's Jet jewellery and ornament production, which counted Queen Victoria as one of its most distinguished patrons.

This charming boutique continues to operate from its original location. It's a Victorian treasure and an undeniable part of the town's heritage offering a glimpse of an era when Whitby as a holiday destination was in its infancy and fashionable Crinoline-clad ladies sought a piece of handmade Jet jewellery as a souvenir of their visit

Maintaining a local workshop heritage

During its heyday, Whitby Jet's popularity spawned a industry around the collection of the local gemstone from the nearby coastal cliffs, which in turn supplied the hundreds of workshops in the town.

Today, as the large lathes and dust-filled rooms of Victorian times have been replaced by modern equipment and a healthy working environment, W Hamond's craftsmen still combine age old techniques with modern technology to keep the traditional craft alive.

Sometimes the size and shape of the raw gemstone material, collected from local beaches, dictates the finished appearance of a piece of jewellery. This can be seen in the unique items produced by W Hamond, whose designers and craftsment may take an extra large and perfect piece of raw material and make it into a single, stunning pendant or brooch rather than cutting it to make several smaller items.

Boutique Openings

Following 147 successful years in Whitby, in 2007 W Hamond opened its first outpost. Located in equally historic surroundings, W Hamond York nestles among the quaint shops of the famous Shambles. Roman excavations throughout the city have unearthed many items of Whitby Jet so it's a fitting place to continue the tradition. Small but perfectly formed, this pretty boutique with its ancient timbers and flagstone floor offers an equally inspiring experience for customers.

Maintaining strong North Yorkshire links, W Hamond Leeds opened in 2013 in the Victoria Quarter, Leeds – the North's premiere fashion and lifestyle destination. Housed in elegant Grade II listed buildings and home to over 70 of the world's leading fashion and lifestyle brands, W Hamond is in good company amongst the likes of Louis Vuitton, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Mulberry, LK Bennett, Reiss, Liz Earle and of course Harvey Nichols. All of these make the Victoria Quarter justifiably renowned as one of the country's finest shopping destinations and with heavy emphasis on British Jewellery design, the Leeds boutique is home to one of the finest diamond collections in the north

Find all contact details and locations of our boutiques in the Store Locator page

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