Our Timeline

  • 1939

    The story begins

    Mr Holt, a pre-war Jewish refugee from Vienna, arrives in London aged 16 and works as an apprentice diamond polisher in Clerkenwell

  • 1948

    Still our home today

    Mr Holt opens ‘R Holt & Co’ shop on Hatton Garden

    A new chapter...
  • 1950

    A signet ring

    Mr Holt was given a signet ring by his father, visiting Jersey he was asked to design and sell signet rings

  • 1955


    A new branch of R Holt & Co began selling gold and metal jewellery to ‘Boots The Chemist’

    A new chapter...
  • 1960

    Turquoise Baby

    Mr Holt was asked to make a waist wide ribbon with a Turquoise stone to help a lady with her fertility. A few months later she returned and announced to a packed shop that Mr Holt had made her pregnant!

  • 1967

    Mr Howard joins the business

    Holts Gems’ first official apprentice!

  • 1970

    Stone Cutting

    R Holt & Co opens an on-site stone cutting workshop!

    A new chapter...
  • 1972

    Mr Holt Goes to China

    Mr Holt was one of few allowed to enter China - as advisor to the government. Mr Holt sold diamond powder and become fascinated with the chinese minerals and carvings which led to their importation.

  • 1983

    Mr Holt Escapes!

    Mr Holts made a trip to Sierra Leone to value diamonds, a government coup took place and he had to escape by joining a tour group and pretending to be a tourist!

    A new chapter...
  • 1986

    Holts launch a re-stringing service

    Mrs Debbie Minshall joins the business and launches our popular re-stringing service. 

  • 1996

    National Training Award

    Holts Gems are awarded 'Winner' of the National Training Awards 1996!

    A new chapter...
  • 1998

    50th Anniversary of Holts Gems

    Holts Gems 50th anniversary! We celebrated by creating a miniature model of 'The Albert Memorial' which was launched by Dame Judy Dench who played the infamous Mrs Brown.

  • 1998

    Pink Tourmaline Discovery

    A new deposit of Pink Tourmaline was discovered in Nigeria, Holts Gems was the place in London to buy it from!

  • 1999

    Jason Holt joins the family business

    Jason Holt (son of Mr Holt) joins the family business after successful law career and quickly identified that the industry was in danger of losing its craftsmanship. Jason focused on driving more apprenticeships into the industry which not only ensures Holts Gems have world class stone cutters and jewellers but that ensures the longevity of the lapidary industry in the UK.

  • 1999

    Head of Lapidary works on the V&A

    Our Head of Lapidary, Roger Dunkin, was commissioned to repair some of the gemstones wtihin the iconic V&A Monument.

  • 2000

    Holts Academy is launched

    Jason sets up Holts Academy to train the next generation in Jewellery & Lapidary.

    A new chapter...
  • 2001

    Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

    A particular type of Turquoise experienced a resurgence in 2001, the 'Sleeping Beauty Turquoise'. This type of turquoise has a very consistent egg-blue colour which shows very little to no veining or webbing.

  • 2002

    Holts Gems wins again!

    We were thrilled to be awarded Winner at the National Training Awards again in 2002.

    A new chapter...
  • 2002

    Jason is recognised by the DfES

    Jason Holt was awarded 'Winner' of a Special Award from the Department of Education & Skills as part of his ongoing work at Holts Academy.

  • 2004

    London Business Award Winner

    Holts Gems were awarded 'Winner for Commitment to the Community' at the London Business Awards which are staged by the London Chamber of Commerce.

  • 2004

    Parliament Calls...

    Holts Gems achieve supplier status for fine jewellery to Lords, Ladies and MP’s including the The House of Lords. We continue to work with the House of Lords, this is an example of our latest work.

  • 2005

    We launch our Bespoke service

    We introduced our bespoke design service allowing us to fully complete the 'rock to ring' journey. We have created unique items and celebrated along with our bespoke customers through proposals, anniversaries and birthdays. Our service is much loved by returning customers and we ensure that every item is truly unique and perfect for the recipient. Book an appointment with us today.

    A new chapter...
  • 2005

    Pretty in Pink

    Pink Sapphire gemstones took off in the market, primarily as an alternative to pink diamonds, Holts was the place to buy from. We take great pride in sourcing the very finest gemstones at the right time.

    A new chapter...
  • 2006

    Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion

    Jason Holt is awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.

    At the awards event, Mr Holt (senior) and the Queen reminisced about the time when Princess Elizabeth had visited a diamond factory where Mr Holt had polished the stone for her engagement ring!

    A new chapter...
  • 2007

    Holts Gems Invention

    Invented a self-setting mechanism ‘ROQUE’ to set gemstones without needing a jeweller...

  • 2008

    UK Jewellery Awards

    Holts Gems were thrilled to be awarded winner of the UK Jewellery Awards, for 'Independent Retailer of the Year'. 

    A new chapter...
  • 2009

    Holts sees virtually...

    Holts Gems wanted to incorporate virtual ‘trying on’ with our bespoke creations which led to the birth of ‘Holition' now a world leader in augmented reality.

  • 2010

    Kate reignites trend for Blue Sapphire

    Prince William proposes to Kate Middleton with a blue sapphire ring belonging to his mother, Princess Diana and immediately reinvigorates the market for blue sapphire engagement rings. 

    A new chapter...
  • 2010

    Colour comes alive

    Precious coloured gemstones storm the market, more rare than diamonds!

  • 2012

    Talented craftsmen

    Holts invented and manufactured new Lapidary machinery to polish, grind and facet all types of gemstones, available to buy.

  • 2013

    Rachel Lichtenstein comes to HG

    Rachel Lichtenstein, a respected author, artist and archivist visits Hatton Garden for her documentary 'Diamond Street: The Hidden World of Hatton Garden'. Rachel chooses Holts Gems as her no.3 focus, you can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dE2SomN53Mg 

  • 2015

    Awarded a CBE no less!

    The wider Holts family were overjoyed that Jason was awarded a CBE for services to Apprenticeships & the Jewellery Industry.

    Mr Holt, an apprenticeship ambassador for the government, CEO of Holts Gems and founder of Holts Academy, said: “I have always felt as a business owner I needed to act — to do something about the skills gap in our sector. I’m always willing to help if I know that I can make a valuable contribution, and to be recognised for that in this way is very humbling.”

    A new chapter...
  • 2015

    We love Hatton Garden...

    So much so that we signed a new lease for 20 years for our shop location at 98 Hatton Garden. Visit us and find out why London's Jewellery Quarter is iconic!

    A new chapter...
  • Today

    A new chapter...

    It has been an exciting year at Holts Gems, we have refreshed our branding and invested in a world class ecommerce platform to showcase our gemstones and our unique lapidary skills. We hope you like our nod to our past and come on the journey with us.