Hatton Garden is a street and area that can be found in the Holborn district of the London Borough of Camden. Though the area is known as London’s jewellery quarter and centre of the UK diamond trade, it is also famous for a wide range of media and creative businesses.
History of Jewellery
Throughout human history, jewellery has been the symbol of romance, passion, magic, inspiration and earnest feelings. The word “jewellery” comes from the word “jewel”, which was anglicized from the Old French word “jouel”, and beyond that, to the Latin word “jocale”, which means “plaything.”
Jewellery is one of the oldest forms of archaeological artefact. 100.000-year-old beads made from Nassarius shells are considered to be the oldest known jewellery. Jewellery forms vary from culture to culture and are often extremely long-lived.
In European cultures, the most common forms of jewellery date back to ancient times. Adornments for the nose or ankle, which are important in other cultures, are less important in European cultures. Historically, Asia has made the most widespread influence on jewellery from the point of view of style and design.
The first signs of jewellery are associated with the people in Africa. Perforated beads suggesting shell jewellery made from sea snail shells have been found at Blombos Cave and were 75.000 years ago. In Kenya, at Enkapune Ya Muto, beads made from perforated ostrich egg shells were created over 40.000 years ago. In Russia, a stone bracelet and marble ring are thought to have been created in a similar age.
When it comes to diamonds, they were first mined in India. Pliny may have written about them. However, the exact nature of the stone he mentioned as Adamas isn’t still clear. In 2005, Australia, Botswana, Russia and Canada became known as the main sources of gemstone diamond production.
The diamond found on the British crown is known as the Cullinan Diamond. It is part of the largest ever gem-quality rough diamond found in 1905, at 3.106.75 carats (621.35 g).
The usage of diamonds in engagement rings is associated with the marriage of Maximilian I to Mary of Burgundy in 1477.
The name “Hatton Garden” is associated with the garden of Ely Place, the London residence of the Bishop of Ely. Elizabeth I gave it to Sir Christopher Hatton in 1581, during a vacancy of the see.
Since medieval times, the area surrounding Hatton Garden has been the centre of London’s jewellery trade. The old City of London had streets or quarters, which were centres for this or that type of business. The area around Hatton Garden became known as a centre for jewellers and jewellery.
About 300 businesses in Hatton Garden belong to the jewellery industry and more than 55 shops represent the largest group of jewellery retailers in the UK. The largest of the mentioned companies is De Beers. The latter is the international family of companies dominating the international diamond trade. The headquarters of De Beers are in a complex of offices and warehouses just behind the main Hatton Garden shopping street.
The area also boasts a large number of media, publishing and creative businesses, including Blinkbox and Grey Advertising. It has a large underground infrastructure of vaults, tunnels, offices and workshops.
The invention of the machine gun is associated with Hatton Garden. Sir Hiram Maxim owned a small factory at 57 Hatton Garden. In 1881, he invented and started to produce the Maxim Gun, capable of firing 666 rounds a minute.
The nearby streets such as Hatton Place and Saffron Hill have recently turned into residential areas after several blocks of luxury apartments have been built, including Da Vinci House located in the former “Punch magazine” printworks and the Ziggurat Building with its unique architecture.
St Etheldreda’s Church can be found at Ely Place, off Hatton Garden. This church is one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in England and one of only two remaining buildings in London dating back to the reign of Edward I. A building with statues of charity school children was once a chapel and parish school, and now it’s known as Wren House.
The first retail jewellery store was opened by Laurence Graff of Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond fame in 1962.
Hatton Garden Jewellery
London’s world-famous jewellery quarter and the very home of British jewellery craftsmanship, Hatton Garden has been home of the jewellery trade for already 3 centuries. During all this time, it has been the embodiment of all the qualities that jewellery provide.
During the 19th century, Johnson Matthey started their gold and platinum business, and the diamond trade expanded dramatically after the Kimberley diamond rush. Since the 1870’s, the Hatton Garden area has become known internationally as London’s Jewellery Quarter.
Since medieval times, Hatton Garden has been at the very heart of the world’s trade in diamonds and precious gemstones. It boasts almost 300 local businesses and more than 30 shops that make up the largest jewellery retail cluster in the UK.
At Hatton Garden, you can be sure to find precious jewellery made with a long and rich tradition of craft skills. The area offers an amazing selection of both traditional and modern designs to enable you to celebrate every important occasion in your life in a special way.
Today, London’s famous cluster of independent jewellers offers the finest selection of diamond rings, wedding bands, diamonds, gemstones, bespoke jewellery and vintage jewellery to its customers.
The range of unique jewellery offered at Hatton Garden is associated with a unique buying experience. Most jewellery shops here are run by families, and customers directly deal with store owners, jewellery makers, and jewellery designers. So customers can be sure that their personal experience of choosing jewellery is accompanied by an equally personal attention and quality service.