Well equipped with green juice in hand, ever ready with camera, notebook/pens, and eager to explore the area prior to our meeting. A tad early, we enjoyed a brisk walk across the Millennium Bride, along past Tate Modern, and back across the river to the Victoria Embankment. Meandering through the hidden cobbled paths, and clanging with every stride. At long last we made it, and still with 10 minutes to spare.
Nestled in the London Borough of Camden (Holborn), amongst the architecturally stunning buildings, is a world within a world within a world. Steeped in history, tradition, and carats upon carats of handsomely priced jewels and jewellery – Hatton Garden. Synonymous with the diamond trade, after De Beers lead the way in the late 19th/early 20th century, there is certainly an ambiance one cannot explain in words. An underlying sense of excitement, and simultaneously enigmatic – we spot something new every time we are here!
On this occasion we had the opportunity to watch a master at work. With a penchant for car racing, eye for detail, and known for regularly commissioning pieces for royals and the ‘who’s who’ of the Jet Set, we could spend hours observing and chatting to this unassuming Diamond Mounter.
Over time, we witness the transformation from rough, to cut/polished, and stones mounted into what can only be described as works of art, it is simply astounding.
During the last five decades in The Garden, there has been a change in paradigm. In a response to market dynamics there has been a shift, from selling wholesale, to nurturing an environment for stone dealers, retail jewellers, and buyers (to name a few).
This time-honoured industry is filled with intriguing people, stories, and idiosyncratic history. If only walls could speak…
Recommended reading: Rachel Lichtenstein’s DIAMOND STREET: THE HIDDEN WORLD OF HATTON GARDEN, Hamish Hamilton, 2012
Acknowledgement: Sincere gratitude for the individuals that make Hatton Garden what it is, especially those we regularly interact with, and of course beyond the fine craftsmanship, the time taken to speak to us.