It’s hard to imagine that the Wills Jewellery shop was almost under water in 1885. It was the high tide line of the estuary back then and that’s where our wonderful CBD began.
They are located on Bridge Street, right next to the Bus Depot. It’s one of Nelson’s oldest retail stores and they are still going in 2023! They took over from the Wills in 2006 and Fleur recalls seeing an old picture of a boy fishing off a wharf which would have started near the rear of their shop.
Bridge Street, as we now know it, was built on re-claimed land. And it wasn’t that long ago when the Jewellery shop was a butchers shop, then became a hair dresser salon, then selling undergarments/corsets and was also a fruit shop for a season.
Will’s Jewellery specialise in all things from classic jewellery to iconic cultural jewellery, fitting watch straps, to servicing old grandfather clocks. It’s a busy shop that helps locals with all things like buying birthday presents for dad, to re-shaping an engagement ring to a custom fit, or installing a new watch battery…
In 1862 it was sold to Mrs Rodgers for 216 pounds. Her husband drowned in a tragic accident and the shop was passed down several generations through her family.
Ian and Fleur came to New Zealand from the UK. Ian’s mother was enticing them to move to New Zealand and initially Tauranga was their first place to land, but Ian’s mum was living in Motueka and successfully persuaded them to re-locate here in Nelson.
Ian is a qualified Diamond setter / Master Jeweller has been in the industry over 50 years. He did a 5 year apprenticeship in the UK as a Diamond setter in the world famous Hatton Garden district in London. Then moved to South Africa for 10 years.
Ian has just returned back to work from his second knee surgery. He attributes it on his former rugby adventures in his youth, but it’s Saturday morning and he has a smile in his dial. He’s clearly a hard worker and genuinely loves his job.
When Ian was working in South Africa, he made jewellery for the Miss World Competition.
“I worked on Elton John’s Iconic Sun glasses. Filled with Gold and diamonds, he had he money to spend and we made it look amazing”, says Ian.
It’s great we have shops like this in Nelson. They work quickly to help Nelsonians to get their watches and more looking good. Design, repair and re-make is their motto.
Cleo is a staff member and she loves helping the public with all sorts of technical problems. It’s a healthy workplace and the staff members are hand picked based on their natural talents.
You will always find them upbeat and helpful every time you enter the store.
Visit their website for more information. Know you are supporting local and will enjoy great service.
Find them at 29 Bridge Street, Nelson.
Explore the virtual tour at Ian Wills Jewellers
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