The Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham’s city centre dates back to the 17th century and is like a living museum.
King Charles II began a fashion for buttons and shoe buckles, and trade for metal workers increased, especially in the Birmingham area. They also made trinket boxes and jewellery, which became known as “Brummagen Toys”. As this trade continued to grow, more houses and workshops were set up and in the 18th century this concentration of skills became the Jewellery Quarter. In the 19th century the area became famous for the manufacturing of pen nibs.
Visitors to the area today can visit an old jewellery factory in the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. Here they can see different jewellery-making methods being demonstrated. The museum also takes visitors through jewellery making in Birmingham over the last 200 years.
The Jewellery Quarter has many listed buildings which can be seen on guided tours or using the area’s own website and following the self guided trails. Buildings of significance include the museum, 69-70 Great Hampton Street and the Jewellery Business Centre in Spencer Street.
Alongside the history, around 1,500 businesses still operate in the Jewellery Quarter today and many of these are still jewellery traders. It attracts customers looking for wedding rings, and as a result there are also shops selling wedding dresses, flowers and photography. Many buildings in the district have now been licensed for wedding ceremonies and there are plenty of venues offering wedding reception services.