Although current Owner, Amy Brenan, started her journey with Heirlooms in 2017, the full story started in 1986 when it was founded by gemmologist Gabrielle Young and her watchmaker husband Michael.
The building, in the historic market town of Wareham used to be a pub and large parts of it date back to the 18th century. The original flag stone floor can be found in our workshop area and we have recently uncovered a rather stunning Victorian fireplace that had been boarded up.
Our understanding of jewellery, it’s historical significance and intricate construction, have made us the first choice for those seeking to build, restore or value a collection. We have worked with the same Goldsmith since the business began and can repair and sympathetically restore almost any piece, modern or old.
Amy has extensive experience in the field of antique jewellery having spent ten years of her career as Head of Jewellery at a leading auction house. She has valued and successfully sold many important collections over the years and is a qualified member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A), the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and a member of the Society of Jewellery Historians. She gained her Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors status in 2010 and received her Certificate in Gemmology from the Gemmological Association in 2011.
MEET THE TEAM
I’ve always had a passion for jewellery as my Grandmother was a bit of a collector and she would often pick up ceramics and jewellery and anything interesting that caught her eye from market stalls and shops where she lived. She had lots of pieces of jewellery and I recall many hours spent playing with her jewellery box and trying it all on, starting my love of jewellery from a very early age!
My passion for jewellery continues – I am a member of the Jewellery Historians Society and work as a jewellery valuer for ITV’s Dickinson’s Real Deal. I’m also building my own collections of paste buckles and 18th century Romantic jewellery so as you can see, for me, jewellery is my work and play!
My favourite bit of my job is when I sell an engagement or wedding ring as I love being part of something so special that people are going to keep for a lifetime.
Jewellery has always been a feature in my life and when I was in my late teens, encouraged by my teacher, I studied silversmithing as part of a Design A-level. For a short while, I started making silver bangles and rings and loved more contemporary pieces like chunky Danish-style jewellery. And I’ve always loved a big diamond!
While I was a stay-at-home mum, I was always creative and got really into upcycling and creating new pieces from old stuff. Then five years ago, I met Amy and found my perfect job. I’ve discovered a bigger love for different designs, styles and periods of jewellery.
The best part of the job for me is redesigning older, maybe outdated, pieces of jewellery. From creating the design using my artistic skills to drawing an image and then using the stones to make a new piece to suit what a customer would like – this is my favourite thing.
This is my first venture into jewellery coming from a strong retail background. For me, it’s all about the people. Giving customers an excellent experience when they come in to the shop is what I love. I’ve found it fascinating discovering the stories behind some of the jewellery we sell and sharing that with customers is so much fun.
I’ve already started buying jewellery for myself! My favourite are simple designs in silver which is very on trend but is also an affordable entry point for anyone looking to start a jewellery collection. I’ve also had some jewellery made for my daughter’s 30th birthday and had mine and my husband’s wedding rings redesigned. They were a little too wide, which was the fashion when we got married, but we’ve had them made narrower and incorporated some gold from my Mum’s wedding ring which makes them even more special now.