The end of an era for Eric

Eric with his wife Yvonne. Photo: Duncan McCallum
Eric with his wife Yvonne. Photo: Duncan McCallum

One of Scotland’s best-known, award-winning jewellery designers is retiring – and closing the local business he and his wife have run for 45 years.

Eric and Yvonne Smith operate their popular jewellery shop and workshop on Ayr Road in Newton Mearns and, over the years, have built an enviable reputation as suppliers of bespoke-designed diamond jewellery as well as stocking some of the world’s leading luxury brands.

Diamond designer Eric, 67, revealed the decision to step down from business after consultations with his nine-strong team who will be made redundant when the shop closes.

He said: “Both Yvonne and I gave this decision a lot of thought but we’ve reached an age and stage in our lives that it’s time to focus on a different way of life away from the pressure of running a business. We intend to retire at the end of April.

“The decision was made with mixed feelings but we’re both ready to take time in life for ourselves. We’ve been fortunate to have an incredible staff who have been a tremendous support to us both.

“Telling the staff was the toughest thing we’ve had to do and our only regret about our decision is that they too have to move on with their lives and careers but we are confident that with their experience and skills they will do well.

“The reaction from customers has been one of surprise but also of incredible support and understanding.”

Before launching his own business Eric designed and manufactured diamond jewellery for more than 100 retail outlets in the UK.

At his Newton Mearns HQ, Eric and his team became known for their diamond jewellery designs, especially their creation of engagement rings.

They enjoyed repeat business from the subsequent family generations who followed in their parents’ – and sometimes grandparents’ – footsteps in their choice of engagement ring maker.

Eric, who in the past has secured a string of national awards including twice being named as UK Designer of the Year in the prestigious UK Jewellery Awards, has also created pieces for The Queen and The Princess Royal.

The couple started in a single unit workshop in what was then a row of five retail spaces on Newton Mearns’ Ayr Road and over the past decades expanded and extended until they now occupy the entire building, creating a high profile shop.

Yvonne said: “Without question we’ll both miss being involved in what we believe is the best kind of retail business.

“We built an incredible loyal band of customers, many of whom became good friends and for that we’re grateful.”

Eric concluded: “The phrase ‘end of an era’ can sometimes sound clichéd but that’s exactly how Yvonne and I feel and we know we’ll have heavy hearts when we close the shop doors for the final time in April. But we look towards the future and spending time relaxing and exploring fresh opportunities in life.”