The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter
The Jewellery Quarter is the colloquial name by which the area of Hockley is more familiarly known within the city. The jewellery trade developed here over hundreds of years, from metal products in the 16th century, to its glory days as the most important centre for Britain’s jewellery trade at the height of the industrial revolution.
Metalworking, the forerunner of Birmingham’s jewellery trade, was already established in the 1500s. Birmingham’s metalworkers were casting large cannons, swords and anchors. While those industries have long since left the city, the anchor is still used as a symbol in hallmarking to denote jewellery made in Birmingham.
In the 1600s the industries evolved from heavy casting to finer items such as cutlery and mirrors and in the 1700s Birmingham was supplying the world fine, elaborate items such as silverware, guns, and snuffboxes.
Eventually the area known as Hockley became a hub for toy making, tinkering, clock making and the manufacturing of jewellery. In the late 19th Century the area had over 7000 professionals exclusively working with jewellery, and began to earn its reputation as The Jewellery Quarter.