The 1892-established property on the corner of Blackett Street hosted an evening for loyal clients and friends of the business. The guests of honour were a group of ladies who had all met as colleagues at the store over the decades, one of which was about to mark a milestone of her own.
Born on 25 July 1915 and set to celebrate turning 100 years old, Deborah Storey had worked on the china and clock department in her time with Northern Goldsmiths and her husband was the company Secretary.
An employee of 39 years, 85-year-old Vera Hewitt from Chester le Street joined Deborah and her friends in the company of the store team.
Vera said: “I worked at both stores of Northern Goldsmiths in town – the old showroom on Westgate Road and the one that people know today on Blackett Street. I used to sell Rolex watches on a strap for around £49 or on a bracelet for slightly more.
“My role was everything and anything. I dressed the windows, went out to do the buying and made sure the girls in the sales team were performing. I took some time off to start a family but the company asked me to come back after I’d had my children, which I did.
“My manager was Geoffrey Pettinger, a lovely man who was adored by us all. We were a very close knit team, often enjoying dinner parties together. I loved the job and still do.”
Vera holds jewellery talks for various female and church groups of which all the money goes towards the St. Oswald’s Hospice, where her husband was cared for.
Vera said: “I’ve visited Darlington, Stockton, Consett and Whitley Bay, and it’s not always women who are interested. I’ve led talks for gentlemen’s groups too. I show them how to take care of silver, explain about the different stones and tell stories about the items I’ve acquired over the years.”
Also in attendance was Eileen McDonald and Alison Waugh who worked in the cash office, Jane Yates who worked on the sales floor and Christine Probert who worked on watch repairs.
Newcastle-born executive brand director for Goldsmiths, Craig Bolton said: “We loved taking the opportunity to proudly tell the story of our 123-year legacy, but the real showstopper of the event was having Deborah, Vera and the other ladies there, which was a huge privilege.
“I’ve always said Northern Goldsmiths is something we’ll never truly own but instead that will be passed onto generations to come and this has been demonstrated by the experiences we heard. We’re even talking about getting Vera back into the store to give the team a pep talk!”
Craig and Northern Goldsmiths general manager Jason West presented Deborah with a pearl necklace for the occasion.