Diamond specialist shares interesting tale of how her Northampton jewellery shop led to TV career

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A luxury gems and diamond specialist, with more than 35 years of experience, has shared the interesting tale of how her Northampton jewellery shop led to her television career.

Laurie Wickwire is a certified diamond and pearl grader, an accredited Arts Society lecturer across Europe, and addresses more than a million viewers each week on television.

Laurie is the on-air diamond expert for international shopping channel QVC, and her love for jewellery really began when she moved from Houston, Texas to Northampton in 1992.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Having opened a jewellery store in York Road in 1997, named Winston’s Fine Jeweller and Goldsmiths, the diamond enthusiast left the town for London in 2009 and landed a job at QVC.

Laurie Wickwire is a certified diamond and pearl grader, an accredited Arts Society lecturer across Europe, and addresses more than a million viewers each week on television.Laurie Wickwire is a certified diamond and pearl grader, an accredited Arts Society lecturer across Europe, and addresses more than a million viewers each week on television.
Laurie Wickwire is a certified diamond and pearl grader, an accredited Arts Society lecturer across Europe, and addresses more than a million viewers each week on television.

The channel also hired one of Laurie’s former staff members Alison O’Reilly, who still resides in the county, and the pair are both specialists in different fields.

Laurie has designed two jewellery ranges for QVC, one fronted by Lisa Snowdon and the other by former soap star Donna Air.

It was Laurie’s eccentric aunt Nell from Alabama who inspired her love of sparkly jewellery as a child, as she had an impressive collection.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When she moved to Northampton in the nineties, Laurie soon realised independent retailers had maintained popularity – unlike the US – and she decided to take the plunge.

Laurie has designed two jewellery ranges for QVC, one fronted by Lisa Snowdon and the other by former soap star Donna Air.Laurie has designed two jewellery ranges for QVC, one fronted by Lisa Snowdon and the other by former soap star Donna Air.
Laurie has designed two jewellery ranges for QVC, one fronted by Lisa Snowdon and the other by former soap star Donna Air.

“I’d always dreamed of working for myself, and Northampton was the intersection and location I’d been waiting for,” she said. “My clients pushed me to learn more and train, so I was comfortable purchasing big diamonds on behalf of them.”

What set Winston’s apart from other jewellery shops was the personal approach, particularly the bottles of wine waiting to be opened when couples purchased engagement and wedding rings.

“It grew by word of mouth and I was commissioned to do the Prince’s Trust 30th anniversary piece,” said Laurie. “I loved my job.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When the opportunity to move to London arose, Laurie did not accept any offers on the business and took all her jewellery to the capital to sell to new clients.

Laurie is the on-air diamond expert for international shopping channel QVC, and her love for jewellery really began when she moved from Houston, Texas to Northampton in 1992.Laurie is the on-air diamond expert for international shopping channel QVC, and her love for jewellery really began when she moved from Houston, Texas to Northampton in 1992.
Laurie is the on-air diamond expert for international shopping channel QVC, and her love for jewellery really began when she moved from Houston, Texas to Northampton in 1992.

“Aunt Nell says nobody puts it on your plate,” said Laurie. “If you want to eat, you farm your food. I did not have the advertising budget like the big brands in London.”

After consistently writing to a national journalist, Laurie was eventually featured and that is where QVC first read about her work in the jewellery industry.

She said: “I mentor young people now and I tell them to keep showing up. I’m in my element now talking about diamonds.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Laurie was hired straight into the role of luxury gems specialist, with a focus on diamonds, pearls and tanzanite.

When asked what she likes most about her role at QVC, the specialist said: “You don’t have to buy jewellery but you want to. Diamonds are a product nobody needs but everybody wants.

“I meet people in a happy state, who are looking forward to their future and in a loving moment.

“I get to talk for an hour each show and throw in some education, which is key with jewellery. I have a lovely following who trust me and enjoy what I impart.”

Looking to the future, Laurie hopes to continue mentoring young entrepreneurs and encourage them not to give up – particularly those with an interest in jewellery.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.