A little bit about us

and how we got to be who we are today


Saunders Shepherd & Co. Ltd is a family business handed down through three generations. It has an impressive heritage, rich in tradition that extends back to the golden days of the Raj and the legendary British Empire. The “Sands Of Time” logo captures the spirit of the Company.

Here are some important landmarks that have been influential in the development of Saunders Shepherd & Co Ltd.:

 

1869:

Company launched.
Partners: Cornelius Desmoreaux Saunders, accountant and James Hollings Shepherd, a traveller for Buller & Hutchinson.
At first Saunders & Shepherd specialised in mourning jewellery mounted on Whitby Jet
First premises: 23 Bartlett’s Building off Fetter Lane, London.
The Company experienced a period of growth and prosperity.
They became manufacturers to the British Empire.
Tea chests full of Saunders & Shepherd treasures shipped to their offices in India, Canada and Australia.

1889:

Licensees of “Krementz” patent one-piece collar stud.
They also invented the self-closing bracelet.

1899-1905:

Now recognised as manufacturing goldsmiths, jewellers, silversmiths, gem ring and gold chain makers.
They also specialised in silver, jet and onyx jewellery- wholesale and export.

1899-1905:

They built another factory with more offices at 58-61 Fetter Lane.

“Now the whole building forms one block, re-arranged internally and equipped with modern machinery driven by electric motor - power... in the basement is the young ladies’ dining-room they can obtain a hot lunch every day at a nominal charge... everything has been arranged for the comfort of the large staff who show, by their healthy appearance and happy demeanour the kindly manner in which they are treated.”

1906:

Branch opened at 62, Buchanan Street, Glasgow.

1909:

Factory opened at 94, Vyse Street, Birmingham.

1920’s:

Many new designs and innovations were introduced to keep ahead of changing fashion trends.

1930-45:

The Depression and World War II. 
The Glasgow branch and the Birmingham factory closed.
They reduced in size to survive.
Business very hard. Gold prices dropped. Wall Street crash. General strike.

1939:

Started to import and manufacture watches.

1941:

London premises very badly damaged by bombing. Most of our patterns were lost.
Business continued with limited manufacturing, trading in second-hand jewellery.

1945:

Saunders & Shepherd had less than 30 employees. Food rationed. Hard times for everyone at the end of World War II.

1951:

Exhibited at “The Festival of Britain,” London.

1952:

The country began to recover. Demand for jewellery started to increase.

1957:

Moved to new premises in St. Cross Street, London. Tony Shepherd, the present chairman and grandson of the founder, joined the Company. 
Slow post-war recovery during which Saunders & Shepherd moved up market manufacturing gold and diamond set pieces and watches.

1960-61:

Became agents for Corum, prestigious Swiss Watches.
Saunders & Shepherd commissioned to produce the British made gold watch that was presented to Her Majesty The Queen.
The company began a long association with Gay Freres, Geneva.

1972:

John Coupland, present Managing Director, joined the Company.

1975:

Malcolm Isaacs, present Financial Director, joined the Company.

1977:

Saunders & Shepherd enjoy good progress. Corum, by now, was becoming established.

1980:

Bought and moved to: 1 Bleeding Heart Yard, which is mentioned in Charles Dickens’ “Little Dorrit”. Building re-equipped totally.

1981:

Commissioned to make an 18ct gold bracelet - a 20th birthday gift to the Princess of Wales. The princess wore it on her wedding day.

 

 

 

1984:

The Company decided to concentrate on fine quality gold jewellery. Special commissions became their forte.
One unusual request was received from the Nigerian Chief. He wanted a very heavy Dancing Chain!

1990:

By this date Saunders & Shepherd had a quality workforce, in-house design team and their own in-house watchmaker. 
All these assets were supported by their first class customer service. 
In Britain the growth in sales of high quality gold jewellery was steadily increasing.

1992:

Invited to exhibit at the “British Goldsmiths Of Today Exhibition,” London.

1994:

Celebratory dinner to mark 125th anniversary of Saunders & Shepherd, at Goldsmith’s Hall, London.

1996:

A great Swiss watch brand joins the watch division: Eterna.

1996:

Michael Fowler joined the Company as brand manager of Eterna.

1998:

Porsche Design, another fine watch brand, joins the group.
William Coupland, son of the Managing Director, becomes part of the team.

1999:

Became exclusive distributors for Fope Jewellery of Vicenza, Italy. Stopped working with Corum.

2000:

Started its exports to the USA. Exhibited at J.A New York and JCK Las Vegas shows.

2002:

Moved the entire business to its factory in Albion Street, Birmingham in the centre of the Jewellery Quarter.
Now we have all our skills in our own grade II listed Victorian building, making everything from watch cases and bracelets to fine 9ct, 14ct and 18ct jewellery.
Our next stage is further expansion of Eterna, Porsche and Fope and to open a new office in Maine in the USA to service our valued clients in this exciting market.

2003:

Made an agreement with Prismax of Camden Maine to represent us throughout the U.S.A.

2004:

Launched, with its sister company W. H. Wilmot Ltd, a new 9ct gold watch brand called Bergerie

2005:

Fope becoming an important jewellery brand in the UK
Stopped working with Eterna and Porsche Design.

2006:

 Launched another new watch brand called SandS (the sands of time) in 18ct gold made here in the Wilmot factory.