1960’s: A gold old fashioned apprenticeship
Petra Moore, born in post war Germany in 1946 and is now 68, studied for her goldsmith’s apprenticeship in the 1960s in Germany. With very little money to buy materials most of the apprenticeship pieces were made from copper. Her Mum gave her the money however to buy some 18ct yellow gold to make her final piece of jewellery with which she graduated with the highest marks on her course. High standards were something that would stand to set her and Petra Jewellery apart from the rest 50 years later too.
A labour of love: 3 months in the making 18ct yellow gold hand made bracelet set with cabochon amethysts and fresh water pearls.
1960’s: Love in the Alps
She was swept off her feet by a dashing young British Army Officer whilst skiing in the Alps with her father. They soon married, had a daughter and came back to the UK where Petra, who spoke very little english, needed to find a way of making a living for their young family.
Basingstoke was an obvious place to settle and Petra was delighted to get a unit at the Viables Craft Centre on the Harrow Way; just outside of the Basingstoke Town Centre.
Here’s the original newspaper clipping from June 1979…
The pieces of jewellery you can see in this article Petra made herself – she had no money to buy any stock to sell at this stage. Gradually she made an income through carrying out repairs and alterations for local people and soon the word began to spread.
1979: Opening of the shop at Viables Craft Centre:
Her daughter Mitch, now 39, was four year’s old when Petra opened her business and Mitch remembers her always being a ‘roll up your selves and get on with it’ type of mum:
2006: Moving with the times:
Mitch, who followed the family tradition and served in the Army for four years after graduating from Swansea University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, joined the family business eight years ago and did all the obvious things to modernise what was already a very successful independent jewellers by then: she created a website, started emailing customers and introduced new technologies and ideas into the manufacturing processes.
2008: Expansion – quite literally!
Soon they needed staff and a bigger premises so thankfully the wood turner in the double unit next-door, who was planning to retire, was happy to swap units with them. This was their chance to create a retail space that match their vision of a contemporary, forward thinking jewellery business.
Here’s Mitch, five month pregnant and Petra, as usual, girls doing for themselves!
Expanding the unit and Mitch’s tummy – 5 month’s pregnant with her daughter Heidi.
2011: Three generation business - Heidi, Mitch & Petra
Heidi, pictured further below, is already keen to help in the shop, cleaning the glass and tidying things away.
2014: Celebrating 35 years
When asked how they have survived the recession:
It seems the family business has bloomed through the so called economic down turn simply by doing what they do, the best that they can do with loyal customers that trust and value the service they give. In fact, early in 2014 they were awarded Britain’s Most Loved Jewellers Award; testament to their core values.
2015 - Moving into the Cottage!
We moved into our new shop - a significantly larger premises; still on site at the Viables Craft Centre: a delightful 100 year old building known as 'The Cottage'. With a splendid retail space, Creative Design suite and workshop with onsite Goldsmith, this was a really exciting step for us!
And it was a real family effort, everyone picked up a paintbrush and even owner Mitch's 7 year old daughter Heidi did her bit to help!