A Guide to Boodles Jewellery

A look at one of England’s most iconic purveyors of Fine Jewellery


For six generations, the ongoing story of Boodles and the Wainwright family is one of entrepreneurship and family devotion. Now an independent jeweller of international acclaim, Boodles is one of England’s most iconic purveyors of fine jewellery.

It all began when Henry Wainwright took an apprenticeship with his uncle, William Wainwright, in 1878. William owned a watchmaking business in Leichester where Henry would learn the skills of the jewellery trade.


Boodles - An 18ct white gold and diamond pendant necklace from the 'Circus' collection

Sold for £5,800


Clockmaker Thomas Kirk established Kirk & Co. in Hull in 1798, expanding to the centre of Liverpool in 1889 where Henry Wainwright would manage the store. Throughout the 19th century Liverpool had been expanding rapidly, and its port had developed into the largest and most advanced in the world, which in turn resulted in the city becoming one of the wealthiest on the planet. As the population more than quadrupled within the city, an affluent merchant class with greater disposable income emerged. Amongst the backdrop of this increased wealth, Kirk & Co. thrived, designing jewellery for the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, and creating chronometers for Admiralty. In 1898 Henry took ownership of the firm and renaming it H Wainwright & Sons when his sons Herbert and Harold joined the business.

In 1910, the sons chose to break away from their father, purchasing the estate of another old-established jewellery firm, Boodle and Dunthorne. The mysterious origins of founders Mr Boodle and Mr Dunthorne sadly appear lost to time. Herbert and Harold took ownership of the dilapidated yet beautiful well-stocked premises, retaining the name. The company had specialised in rare objects d'art, jewellery, silver, antiques, gold pocket watches and special timepieces.


Boodles - An 18ct white gold and diamond 'The Knot' bangle,

Sold for £4,000

The administration of the two firms had already been centralised when Harold was unfortunately killed in World War I. Father and son, Henry, and Herbert, decided to amalgamate the two businesses, keeping the Boodle and Dunthorne name in favour of Wainwright’s, which Henry thought in a Liverpudlian accent wasn’t quite right. They opened on the desirable corner of Lord Street and North John Street; and this site remains as Boodles’ head office to the present day.

In 1934 Boodle & Dunthorne were commissioned to create a decorative silver-gilt switch box to be presented to King George V upon his visit to open the Birkenhead library.

Anthony Wainwright joined the family business in 1939. Following his return from service in World War II he discovered that his father, Herbert, and grandfather Henry had both died leaving the business in disarray. Despite the desperate financial predicament, Anthony persevered, and the business flourished.


Boodles. An 18ct yellow gold 'Kit and Kaboodle' bracelet

Sold for £1,600

In 1947 Boodle and Dunthorne designed and created a solid silver stand for one of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding cakes and produced the Grand National gold trophy in 1958. As the firm gained recognition, it expanded opening a second shop in Chester in 1965, a third in Manchester in 1980, and a fourth in London in 1987. Notably and strategically, the London store was opened opposite Harrods, which would be a crucial key to expanding the brand internationally.

Upon the death of Anthony in 1992, his sons Nicholas and Michael took over full control of Boodle and Dunthorne. The brothers focused on developing the brand and designing bespoke jewels, opening several more stores in London. In 2004 the firm rebranded and dropped the Dunthorne, to be known simply as “Boodles”. In 2008 they launched their first high jewellery “Wonderland” collection, they continue to innovate and introduce new designs every couple of years. In 2010, the V&A Museum in London invited Boodles to showcase their iconic “Raindance” ring in the permanent jewellery exhibition.

Today, Boodles has nine stores of which five are located in London; Savoy Hotel, New Bond Street, Sloane Street, The Royal Exchange and Harrods, three in Northwest England; Liverpool, Chester and Manchester, and one in Dublin, Ireland.

In 2023, Boodles was awarded “British Luxury Brand of the Year” at one of the industry’s most prestigious awards ceremonies, the Walpole British Luxury Awards. The name is synonymous with luxury British design.


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