W Hamond 1860 - 2010
150 Years and growing stronger...
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 (Pic 1).
Located at the top of Whitby's historic Church Street and at the foot of the famous Abbey steps (Pic 2), 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
Find us at - W Hamond, 112 Church Street, Whitby
Tel: 01947 603 330
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Today, as the large lathes and dust-filled rooms of Victorian times (Pic 3) have been replaced by modern equipment and a healthy working environment (Pic 4), W Hamond's craftsmen still combine age old techniques with modern technology to keep the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.
W Hamond York Boutique
In 2007 W Hamond opened its first outpost. Located in equally historic surroundings, W Hamond York (Pic 5) 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.
Find us at - W Hamond, Shambles, York
Tel:01904 632 059
The period charm of W Hamond has not only appealed to generations of visitors over the years - it's also a popular location for film crews.
The 2002 movie Possession, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, featured W Hamond Whitby's boutique as a backdrop to the story of a forbidden love affair. The boutique has also appeared on the popular television drama Heartbeat (Pic 6) - filmed in and around North Yorkshire.
1. W Hamond Whitby Jewellery Boutique
2. A bustling Church Street, Whitby
3. Whitby Jet Workshops circa 1860
4. W.Hamond's modern day Whitby workshop
5. W.Hamond York Boutique
6. Famous faces outside W.Hamond