September is a month of celebrating the old and the new at Amulet.
It’s hard to believe that it was 16 years ago, on September 10th 1999, when Liz started the shop, originally as Iguana. For those of you unfamiliar with Berkhamsted, it’s a lively market town just half an hour from London Euston – our shop is located at a busy intersection with the High Street. The premises was originally concealed behind a brick wall which had hidden the the cold store for Pike’s the greengrocers (now Petals the florist). When Liz took the building on, she agreed to demolish the wall and fit the shop window; this in itself was a tricky business, as the only day permitted to do the work was on a Sunday, and due to our proximity to the traffic lights, a skip was out of the question. Everything was loaded straight onto a lorry, and the whole exercise had to be completed within the day. Later this was to be the source of much confusion amongst the passers-by, who would debate what had existed there previously. Very few people guessed correctly, and would cause us considerable amusement to hear the raging debates as pedestrians admired our jewellery.
Sometimes we have been quizzed on the origin of the name (coined by my son, who was 8 at the time, and studying the Ancient Egyptians): Amulet -‘a lucky charm, worn around the neck’ – was his synopsis of the word. And it stuck.
Over the years we have built up a considerable following of loyal customers who like our eclectic mix of silver and gold jewellery, sourced from independent designers. Originally each year, I made one or two trips to Mexico to buy products. This was a real delight, it is one of my favourite countries, with its beautiful architecture, amazing food and kind people. Now I try to keep my air miles down, but can still buy from my favourite suppliers there, whom I have known for many years. In addition many designs are from small workshops here in the UK, and we still try to maintain personal contact with them – a trip to Orkney to see the Ortak production process was particularly interesting.
We have shared in the successes and delights which have brought clients to Amulet for a celebratory gift, and in return they have shared with us recommendations for holiday destinations, restaurants and days out – that is probably one of the most rewarding aspects of the job.
Our website continues to grow, both as a way of couch surfing for locals before visiting the shop, but also for those who aren’t nearby to buy our products. Having an evening email conversation regarding a potential sale with someone on the other side of the world is becoming the norm, as www.amuletfinejewellery.com expands its customer base to as far away as Japan, Australia and the US…