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75 Years of History

Holts Gems was established in 1948 by Robert Holt, a pre-war Jewish refugee, who upon arriving in London from Vienna found his calling within London’s bustling jewellery scene. Aged 16 he began an apprenticeship as a diamond polisher in Clerkenwell, soon developing ambitions of expanding his trade and taking his place alongside the fellow Hatton Garden jewellers that have made the area what it is today.
"Our mission has always been to be the trusted source of meticulous craftsmanship, expertise in gems and diamonds and going the extra mile for our customers. Our whole ethos is no matter what the customer needs and want, we will find a way to make it happen. "

jason holt

  • 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

    35 Greville Street

    Mr Holt opens the first ‘R Holt & Co’ shop at 35 Greville Street in Hatton Garden

  • 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

    Boots

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

  • 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! And remain in the company over 50 years.

  • 1970

    Stone Cutting

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

  • 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 Holt 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!

  • 1986

    Holts Launch A Re-stringing Service

    Mrs Debbie Minshall joins the business and launches our popular re-stringing service. And you can still have a cup of tea with her every Wednesday in her office!

  • 1996

    National Training Award

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

  • 1998

    50th Annniversary 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.

  • 1999

    Jason Holt Joins the Family Business

    Jason Holt (the eldest son of Mr Holt) joins the family business after a successful law career. He quickly identified that the industry was in danger of losing its craftsmanship so Jason focused on driving more apprenticeships into the jewellery industry. This not only ensures Holts Gems have world class stone cutters and jewellers, it also ensures the longevity of the lapidary and jewellery 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 within the iconic V&A Monument.

  • 2000

    Holts Academy is Launched

    Jason sets up Holts Academy to train the next generation in Jewellery & Lapidary skills and craftsmanship. It is the only place providing training specifically dedicated to the jewellery industry.

  • 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.

  • 2003

    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 today.

  • 2005

    We Lanuch 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.

  • 2006

    Queen's Award For Enterprise Promotion

    Jason Holt is awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion. At the awards event, Mr Holt Snr and the Queen reminisced about the time when the then, Princess Elizabeth had visited a diamond factory where Mr Holt had polished the stone for her engagement ring!

  • 2007

    Holts Gems Invention

    Invented an inter-changeable gemstone mechanism called ‘ROQUE’. It allows the wearer to change their gemstone easily, to suit the occasion or their mood. And we won the Goldsmiths Design Award for Technical Innovation in 2009!

  • 2008

    UK Jewellery Awards

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

  • 2009

    Holts Sees Virtually...

    Holts Gems wanted to incorporate virtual ‘trying on’ with our bespoke creations which led to the birth of ‘Holition' which is now a world leader in augmented retail and uses future technologies to create intelligent and beautiful digital experiences that bridge the gap between technology and retail. http://www.holition.com/.

  • 2012

    Talented Craftsmen

    Holts invented and manufactured new lapidary machinery to polish and grind all types of gemstones with ultimate precision. It can also be used by any craftsman who requires precise cutting techniques such as those who work with glass, tiles and much more!

  • 2013

    Rachel Lichtenstein Comes to Holts Gems

    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 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.”

  • 2018

    Robert Acker Holt

    A sad start to the year, as our founder Robert Acker Holt, passed away unexpectedly on 12th January 2018. At nearly 95 he remained Chairman and active in the every day business, he was young until the final moment and will be greatly missed by us all.

  • 2019

    Holts Has a New Home

    In February 2019 we moved to 39 Greville Street. Our new light and bright 1st floor showroom is the perfect place to come and view our huge selection of responsibly sourced gemstones.

  • 2020

    Alicja took on the role of MD

    In 2020 Alicja took on the role of MD, which she has found to be a fascinating and rewarding journey. ‘Coming from bespoke background, the individual client is always at the centre of any decision we make. I love talking to people and find them fascinating. We work on a lot of engagement rings and special pieces of jewellery. Hearing client’s story behind their inspiration for the design and guiding them through the process makes us a part of their happy story, which I find priceless.’

  • 2023

    New Branding And Website

    An exciting year at Holts Gems, we refreshed our branding and invested in a world class e-commerce platform to showcase our gemstones, jewellery and our unique lapidary skills. We hope you like our nod to our past and that you will continue the Holts Gems journey with us.

1939
1939
2023

Creators, Designers and World-Class Jewellers

Meet Our Team

Holts is a stalwart of the UK jewellery industry. Still part of the Holts family, its values of integrity, trust and care remain at its core. It is proud to have been a founding member of the London Diamond Boarse, The Hatton Garden Business Improvement District, and led on a number of regeneration initiatives which instigated the changes to the cluster so that developers could not easily convert jewellery workshops into residential. Holts is proud to have played its role in ensuring there remains a strong Hatton Garden.

MULTI AWARD-WINNING

Our Awards & Accreditations

From UK Jewellery Awards’ Independent Retailer of the Year and Outstanding Contribution to the Industry to Family Business of the Year Awards’ Luxury Business accolade. Holts Gems are proud to have won the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council Competition a total of 45 times, and in 2015 celebrated Jason Holt’s appointment as Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the jewellery industry.

  • 1985 -2023

    Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council Competition – Winner over 45 times

  • 2015

    Jason Holt was invested as Commander of British Empire (CBE) for services to Apprenticeships and the Jewellery Industry, New Years Honours list 2015

  • 2014

    Winner of the Luxury Business accolade at the Family Business of the Year Awards 2014

  • 2012

    Growing Business Awards - Local Hero Winner

  • 2012

    Winner of the UK Jewellery Award Outstanding Contribution to the Industry 2012

  • 2008

    Winner of the UK Jewellery Awards, Independent Retailer of the Year 2008

  • 2006

    Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion – Finalist August 2006

  • 2004

    London Enterprise Competition – Winner, October 2004

  • 2002

    National Training Awards – National Winner, December 2002

  • 2002

    Special Award from the Department of Skills & Employment – Winner, December 2002

  • 2001

    Special Award from the Department of Skills & Employment for contribution towards up-skilling in the UK, 2001

  • 1996

    National Training Awards – National Winner, 1996

Apprenticeship

Fostering the Next Generation

Holts Gems has always been passionate about safeguarding the jewellery sector in the UK through skills training. From the beginning it has always trained apprentices but took it to the next level when, in response to a national skills crisis, it set up the first and still only government apprenticeship school in the UK. Since 2000, Holts Academy has taught over 20,000 people across the UK the vital skills they need to succeed.

About Holts GEMS

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