Berridges Jewellers opened its doors in Ipswich for the first time in October 1994 but Christopher Hardman the co-founder had many years experience in dealing with Vintage jewellery prior to that.
Christopher left school in 1979 and joined Croydons Jewellers in Ipswich. Croydons were the county jewellers of Suffolk and being established since 1865 they had built an enviable reputation for quality and service.
At that time Croydons ‘dabbled’ in Vintage jewellery the display being housed in their front window on what was called ‘Croydons little shelf’. Christopher was enticed to join by Robert Croydon who was keen to expand the Vintage selection and being interested in the styles and history behind the pieces Christopher rose to the challenge.
With a surge in popularity of antiques programmes on television such as Lovejoy and The Antiques Roadshow during the 1980s business flourished and the ‘little shelf’ grew into the entire front window and a vastly expanded silver gallery on the first floor.
Christopher soon realised that in order to supply the demand he would need to look further afield and hence he became a regular Friday morning (2am!) visitor to Bermondsey Market, he built up a reputation as a regular trader and dealt there for over 20 years until its demise.
Other sources for stock included weekly visits to Antiques Fairs across the country from Newmarket to Newark and numerous visits to auction houses. Where he built up a close relationship with dealers and collectors alike which fuelled his interest and knowledge of the subject.
When Croydons closed in 1994 it was an obvious decision to go into business with his close friend and colleague David Berridge, and thus Berridges was formed. The unique formula of a quality jewellers with an upstairs restaurant was an instant hit and the rest as they say is history.
Berridges has flourished and the Vintage jewellery department has become an integral part of the business. Alongside this Christopher is also an Independent Registered Valuer which recognises his skill and expertise in evaluating both modern and Vintage jewellery. For six years he also sat on the National Association of Goldsmiths panel to monitor the quality of jewellery valuations.
The Large selection and reputation that Christopher had gained moved seamlessly into Berridges and business has continued to flourish.
This website is a natural progression of the business in order to reach a wider audience but please bear in mind that there are many more items instore.
We hope you enjoy our website and if you have any questions please feel free to call.