West Jewellers

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West of Grafton Street Ltd.
Industry Jewellery
Founded Capel Street, Dublin (1720 (1720))
Headquarters Grafton Street, Dublin, Ireland
John Brereton Jewellers in the former premises of West Jewellers

West of Grafton Street Ltd. or West Jewellers was a jewellery store which was last located on 33 Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland. It was considered the oldest European jewellery store and one of the oldest companies in Ireland.[1]

History[edit]

West began its existence in 1720 as West Sons on the city's Capel Street.[2] It transferred to College Green in 1845 (1841?[3]) and to 102 Grafton Street in 1912.[1][3] Queen Victoria gave West the royal warrant as her watchmaker, and once bought two replicas of the Tara Brooch from the company.[2] The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was another customer.[2] The company also created the original 22-carat gold chain of office used by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and one replica.[4] West moved to 33 Grafton Street in 1965.[1] Kathleen Watkins, the wife of veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne, confessed in an interview with The Irish Times that she did not own any jewellery from West.[5]

West closed on 13 February 2010 after hosting a closing-down sale.[1][5] In its final week of existence staff said they had not been informed of a definite date of closure.[4] Three jobs were lost due to the closure.[6] Joe Moran was in control of the company at the time, while Geraldine L'Estrange West had a minority share.[1] Robert Halpin, manager of West with 46 years experience at its closure, said as it followed several other stores in ceasing to exist: "We are a dinosaur. Grafton Street just doesn't attract our type of clientele anymore. Our customers were the discreetly wealthy and they are gone now".[2][4] Bigger businesses, such as Boodles, Cartier SA and Tiffany & Co., had opened outlets nearby in the years before West's closure.[1]

The British Royal Collection has two brooches that Prince Albert bought for Queen Victoria from "West & Son" on a visit to Dublin in 1849, presenting them in November and as a Christmas present that year, which were apparently already being made in editions: "...such beautiful souvenirs, both made after those very curious old Irish ornaments we saw in the College in Dublin, one a silver shawl brooch, in smaller size than the original" was her reaction to the November gift.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Caroline Madden (21 January 2010). "West jewellers set to close after 290 years". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Jerome Reilly (31 January 2010). "Grafton Street decline claims iconic jeweller". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  3. ^ a b B., Giorgio. "West & Son". A Small Collection of Antique Silver and Objects of vertu. Retrieved 26 November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Alison Healy (11 February 2010). "West jewellers to close this weekend". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Rosita Boland (13 February 2010). "Grafton Street loses some of its sparkle". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 March 2010. West jewellers in Dublin will close today. As they look in the windows for the last time, shop customers share some of their memories with ROSITA BOLAND [...] “Unfortunately, I don’t have anything from West’s,” admits Kathleen Watkins, “but I do like those earrings.” (If her husband, Gay Byrne – interviewed on page 7 – is reading this, they are the only heart-shaped diamond earrings in the window, and they cost €3,800.) 
  6. ^ "Famous jewellery store set to close". Press Association. 10 February 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  7. ^ Royal Collection Archived 9 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Brooch given in November 1849, and Christmas 1849