St Neots goldsmith celebrates 40 years and thanks public
- Credit: HUNTS POST
The owner of Goldstraw Goldsmiths, in St Neots, has paid tribute to the people of the local community and claims he ‘owes them everything’, as the family-business celebrates its 40th anniversary.
Paul Goldstraw started the business as a concession inside the Barretts store, in St Neots, in 1981 after finishing his goldsmith training. He says his loyal customers within the town and surrounding villages had allowed the company to thrive and upsize from a small and well-hidden unit into a high-profile and spacious spot on the High Street.
Paul has taken on everything from designing and creating bespoke tiaras, engagement rings and vessels to restoring or reassembling pendants and bracelets that have been left as heirlooms for future generations
Paul offers a complete and on-site service and has even been invited to create jewellery for royalty.
Over the decades, such is the regard Goldstraw is held in, Paul has been approached by high-profile figures to design and craft jewellery on their behalf.
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He shared one particular occasion: “A Scottish knitwear company got in touch, to ask if I would design and create a brooch for Anne, Princess Royal. As one could imagine, it was a tremendous honour to be invited to craft something out of our workshop for a member of the Royal family.
“I was invited to a banquet at Holyrood House, where the brooch was presented to Princess Anne. Unfortunately, I wasn’t offered the opportunity to meet her, but it was a fantastic and proud moment for my family.”
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Paul revealed he has also made jewellery for former world number one golfer, Nick Faldo, and, most recently, worked with the former mayor of St Neots, Cllr Gordan Thorpe, to create a ceremonial mace in memory of his wife and mayoress, Peggy.
Peggy was mayor of St Neots between 2009-2011.
Key design features include a representation of a crown atop a dark heavy wood staff. The decorative elements, including the crown, are crafted from silver and covered with 22ct gold. The ceremonial object shares similar aesthetics to the new mayoral chain, gifted to St Neots Town Council by Goldstraw Goldsmiths in 2019
Professionalism and ability to deliver in-house is crucial to the success of the business and despite the exponential growth of the ‘push-button’ shopping culture, Goldstraw’s business is flourishing.
Paul believes the key to ensuring customers return and enjoy their experience at Goldstraw is to offer personality and interaction – something that no smartphone or tablet can offer, he says.
“When people visit Goldstraw, they’ll find experts who offer the best advice from the start, guide them through the process, until the item leaves the store. Our products do not go to third-parties; we cover every step in-house, and I think that’s something our customers like and make us stand out,” he explained.
From a shop-owner’s point of view, witnessing the joy and happiness on a customer’s face when they arrive to pick-up a finished item and gaze at it for the first time is priceless.
“Some customers will be so pleased with the finished product that I’ll see a tear running down their face. It’s a fantastic feeling to know that we’ve made that person happy – one of the best feelings I could have.”
While Paul is the proprietor of Goldstraw, his daughter, Connie, is also heavily-involved in the day-to-day running of the company. As a family-oriented business, Paul says he is thrilled to see the business travelling down the generations and is confident Goldstraw is in safe hands for another 40 years.
Focusing on marking the first four decades, while celebrations will be understandably muted, due to the current climate, it is nevertheless an opportunity to mark the milestone and reflect on the last four decades:.
Paul says: “Time has flown by, I wonder where it’s gone, but we’re incredibly proud of how far we’ve come.
“We’ve also overcome some tough challenges along the way, but since we moved into our shop on the High Street, with the workshop on the first floor and the showroom on the ground floor, we’ve not looked back.”