In 1968 Richard Blampied returned to Jersey as a newly qualified goldsmith to open a small jewellery workshop, behind the current premises in Charing Cross, St Helier, Jersey.
The site, now owned by Richard, is part of Jersey’s history. Dating back to 1763, it was once Jersey’s main town prison and the site of St Helier’s west town gate.
In those early years, most of the work undertaken by Richard and his late wife Heidi, was in the form of repairs for other St Helier jewellers, including long established family businesses, some sadly no longer trading. This work helped to fund their initially small production of handmade jewellery, which was designed by Heidi, and crafted by them both. The details of his first job – including its charge are still etched in Richard’s memory; 13 shillings and sixpence to replace a damaged opal!
Expansion of the business
Perhaps its most unique feature compared to other St Helier jewellers is the size and accessibility of the onsite workshop, which together with the elegant retail shop, has grown and expanded with the purchase of the adjoining properties in 1978 and 1993.
HMS Victory Model
Often visitors to Aurum can be found staring with deep fascination at the impressive silver ship, Nelson’s HMS Victory, a piece commissioned by the Coombe Trust in London. The ship has been on display in Lloyds of London and Portsmouth and is now on permanent display in the Aurum showroom.
The train that took six years to arrive
Commencing in 1986 Richard Blampied and Derek Uren spent many long hours crafting a model of the locomotive ‘King George V’ using all the skills they normally employed to manufacture jewellery to the highest standards. This sterling silver replica is a faithful scale model of the locomotive, constructed using copies of the original plans.
It was entirely hand-made over a period of six years, comprising of 659 pieces weighing a total of 883 gm. 18ct yellow and red gold have been used in place of the brass and copper fittings and two-brilliant cut diamonds, total weight 0.25 ct., are set into the lamps. The tender holds 179ct. of sapphires which represent the coal. All the valve gear and wheels are in working order and the model will roll on the track if required.
A replica of the 17th Century Bailiff’s mace is created
As the workshop’s reputation for fine and individual work grew, Aurum was selected for many diverse commissions. Among these was an extremely important piece; the replica 17th Century Bailiff’s mace that was presented by the States of Jersey to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate her visit to Jersey. The original mace, which is housed in the Royal Court in Jersey, was given by King Charles II to the Bailiff of Jersey on 28th November 1663 in gratitude for the Island’s loyalty and hospitality and to remember his happy experiences in the Island on the two occasions he had stayed in Jersey during his years in exile.
Julie Blampied-Smyth joins the family business
Julie Blampied-Symth followed in her parents’ footsteps and became a qualified goldsmith, training, as they did, at the Goldschmiedeschule in Pforzheim, Germany, before joining the family business in 1997. During her time at Aurum she has made many trips to Europe and Asia sourcing and acquiring rare and beautiful gemstones which are of utmost importance to any prospective jewellery item. They are intrinsic to Aurum’s success and only the most breathtakingly beautiful, high quality stones are chosen.
Victoria College Silver Model
As an Old Victorian it was a great honour for Richard to create, along with Derek Uren and Nick Scott-Tomlin, a sterling silver model of Victoria College for the college’s 150th Anniversary year. The sterling silver scale model is on permanent display at Victoria College, on the staircase up to the Great Hall.
The First Aurum of Jersey Collection
Aurum’s talented goldsmiths have produced so far seven desirable limited edition collections. They have been designed by Richard’s wife Alexa, and as well as being extremely beautiful they have proved highly collectible resulting in most of the unique pieces being sold.
The Bailiwick Chess set
The limited edition chess set was conceived in order to celebrate and commemorate Aurum’s 40th birthday. The ‘Bailiwick’ chess set depicts the friendly rivalry between Jersey and Guernsey, and also reflects direct customer input as to which Channel Island characters would create the most interesting and practical chess pieces. After the design and wax carving stage, each cast sterling silver model is hand finished and polished. The board is made of 32 squares of Jersey Mont Mado granite and 32 squares of ‘blue’ Guernsey granite, cut and polished by a local firm. Each box is handmade from Jersey oak by a local craftsman.
We took part in a the Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council’s prestigious national competition, The Craftsmanship and Design Awards, which recognises excellence in gold and silver craftsmanship and design.
We were thrilled to announce that we won a Bronze award for our stunning piece ‘Orchidea,’ designed by Alexa Blampied, and created by Aurum goldsmith Derek Uren and setter Adam Bryant.
This handmade 18ct white gold pendant is set with vibrant pink and blue sapphires, trilliant cut tanzanites and brilliant cut white diamonds. It is a versatile piece which converts from a full ‘orchid’ pendant into a smaller pendant and a pair of fancy drop earrings.
Jersey ‘Bean’ range
Look out for our new ‘Bean’ additions now available in our showroom.
Beautiful additions to our popular bean range are the bean earrings and rings both available in 2 styles, in sterling silver. Remember you can still personalise them too!