A fine jeweller who reinvented herself through lockdown and designed some of her most iconic and deeply personal work has been awarded a top industry accolade. Kay Bradley, owner of Bradley’s Jewellers and Eco Rocks in York, was among the biggest names in the UK industry at the 2021 Professional Jeweller Awards, where she was named Independent Fine Jewellery Retailer of the Year.
She said: “After the toughest year in business, this is the pinnacle in my jewellery career. I felt honoured to have been shortlisted, but as a British, female jewellery designer I feel exceptionally proud to have won. The award is an incredible achievement for me and the entire family business because I truly put my heart and soul into everything I do. I walk to work each morning, with York Minister in the backdrop, and realise how lucky I am to do a job that I love so passionately in a city that is so fantastic.”
Kay Bradley (left) at the Professional Jeweller Awards 2021.
During lockdown, when her business was forced to close temporarily, Kay reinvented herself as a retail jeweller and devoted time to creative jewellery design. Inspired by her Yorkshire roots, these iconic new designs included The York Daffodil and The York Rose ranges.
Kay, who trained at the International Gemmological Institute in Antwerp, also created a number of Rainbow Hope pieces in homage to NHS staff working tirelessly in the battle against covid. The prestigious “Independent Fine Jewellery Retailer of the Year” award is given to a destination boutique business, with five stores or less, which excels in fine jewellery.
“For me, this is the most important award in the jewellery industry, as it is voted for by jewellery suppliers,” explained Kay, whose business is based in a 500-year-old, Grade II listed building in Low Petergate, near York Minster. “Of course, none of this would be possible without the loyal customers who have supported Bradley’s throughout the 20 years we have been in York.”
Kay holds her Professional Jeweller Award for Independent Fine Jewellery Retailer of the Year.
Kay travelled to London to attend the awards ceremony, which saw retailers, brands and suppliers come together to celebrate excellence in jewellery for the first time since before the pandemic. Her success comes just days after Kay gifted 200 silver rainbow bracelets to NHS Covid workers across the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. She is also working on the creation of a Rainbow Hope Badge in collaboration with Deakin & Francis, a leading British manufacturer commissioned to create the Queen’s Covid Cross.
She expects to launch the badge in mid-February, with all profits from online and in-store sales to be donated to the Trust and the Askham Bar NHS Vaccination Centre.
This article originally appeared in Yorkshire Living magazine (February 2022).