The Hatton Garden jewellery quarter is an area for people who love jewellery. Within the pages of this site, you will find stores that sell fine jewellery, see the work of our silver and goldsmiths, read about the myths and legends and pick up tips on how to buy and care for your jewellery.
London became a centre for trading in diamonds, pearls and precious gems in the 16th century, encouraged by Queen Elizabeth I who was keen to ensure a constant supply of her favourite gemstones! The increase in trade was, in part, due to the activities of the British East India Company, and the discovery of new, faster sea routes from the Orient to Europe. For over 2,000 years, diamonds and precious gems had been transported with silks and spices from China, India, Arabia and Persia, to the Mediterranean countries, North Africa and Europe – a slow and dangerous route – but now more markets were opened to the adventurous entrepreneurs of Europe, funded by wealthy and demanding aristocrats. And so a new class of merchants grew, anxious to fulfil the demands of their investors but inquisitions in Spain and Portugal forced many to seek safety in London bringing their funding, contacts and new technology with them.
It was the discovery of diamonds in South Africa in the 19th century that focussed the minds of the many small craftsmen, goldsmiths and manufacturers of precision instruments in Hatton Garden and Clerkenwell on the potential of this new industry. In 1836, there were only 13 jewellers, goldsmiths and precious metal refiners listed in the London Directory. By 1885, 67 diamond merchants were listed and by the 1930’s over 2 million carats of rough diamonds were sold through the Diamond Trading Company and their brokers.
Today, Hatton Garden is the jewellery quarter of London and an international trading centre for gems and jewellery. In an area less than one square mile, over 500 specialist business cut and polish stones, buy and sell precious metals and design and manufacture some of the finest jewellery in the world. Today, there are over 500 jewellery business trading in Hatton Garden – an area of less than a mile square – including retailer jewellers, diamond and gemstone dealers, precious metal dealers and refiners, tool makers, specialist workshops and artisans, gem laboratories and schools of jewellery and gemmology.