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Bicks Of Montpellier

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I love jewellery, what woman doesn’t, so imagine my delight at being asked to visit Bicks of Montpellier, a family run business with over 35 years of jewellery experience. You can feel the enthusiasm and warmth as soon as you walk through the door (you have to knock first as the door is locked but that’s a sign of the times). Stuart Bradley lets me in – while his wife Sonja is busy with a customer. I introduce myself and wait until she has finished by which time another two customers have come in. They are, it seems, always busy. This is a popular shop.

Sonja explains that their customers return over and over again. They have a lovely client base, she says, many of whom have become friends. I understand straight away why.

Bicks was established in 1895 and the Bradleys took over in 2004, having moved here from South Africa. Stuart was actually born in England but emigrated to South Africa where he spent 25 years in the gold and diamond industry. It was where he met Sonja, a jewellery designer. She is a qualified goldsmith who loves to ‘recycle’ old jewellery into new wearable pieces. Old jewellery has so much to tell. I tell her about a ring of my mother’s and how the diamond fell out some years ago. She shows me her beautiful necklace also made from an ‘orphaned’ diamond. She explains how she can sit for hours with a customer at her laptop creating CAD drawings of how a new piece could look. This can take ages but the design has to be just right. Then the piece is remodelled in their in-house workshop. This is a very hands-on business, she explains.

Stuart is still busy with yet another customer but chatting to Sonja is fascinating. She clearly has a passion for what she does. Jewellery has to make you feel good, she says. There is a lot of it in Bicks to make me feel good. A silver butterfly brooch catches my eye. It is from a designer range called Nicola Barr. It has four Moonstones and uses a technique known as plique de jour in which translucent enamels hold the silver framework like a tiny stained glass window. Then I fall in love with a pair of amber earrings. Bicks sell a wide range of amber.

As well as jewellery, they are stockists of Carrs Silverware and specialise in antique pieces as well as contemporary. But 90% of their business is bespoke. That is probably what makes them so special.

The shop is open Tuesday to Saturday and is located at No 5 Montpellier Walk, Cheltenham. You can call the shop on 01242 524738 or visit the website at:

www.bicksofmontpellier.co.uk