Welcome to the Ainsworth Jewellers' Museum and Diamond Exhibition
Ainsworth Jewellers – Blackburn town centre’s oldest retail business was founded by Phil’s Great, Great Grandfather Joseph Ainsworth in 1870 at the start of the gold and diamond rush in South Africa. Significantly this made these precious minerals more accessible to ordinary people, now in the same spirit 5th generation Phil and Helen are delighted to open the first floor of the Darwen Street store to share the family history story and celebrate the importance of diamonds with a permanent exhibition.
The Ainsworth Jewellers Museum of Family History
With a proud heritage spanning over 150 years (and a family trait of never throwing anything away!), their collection of archives is proudly displayed in beautiful Edwardian cabinets, originally from the Market Street location.
To think the business was started when Queen Victoria was on the throne, it has survived two world wars, a global pandemic and has moved around the town to a total of 7 locations.
Joseph’s original silver spectacles case and his pocket watch are some of the oldest and most treasured personal items on display, alongside original photographs and hand drawings of various shop front locations. Vintage artefacts, original newspaper articles over a 100 year’s old and historic jewellery sit together with memorabilia from the 1970 centenary celebrations.
The business had an important local and national significance having manufactured the FA Cup medals from 1907 – 1927. After losing the contract just a year later in 1928, Blackburn won the FA cup medal; frustrated Arnold Ainsworth (then owner and Phil’s grandfather) never went to another match again. A replica is on display today and the family hope one day an original might be both available and affordable!
Items belonging to client’s over the years have also contributed to the most significant artifacts. This includes a 1936 sixpence in its original embossed leather pochette that was given at the time to all customers purchasing either their wedding or engagement rings from Ainsworth Jewellers. Helen is keen to re-introduce gifting this charming keepsake representing the bridal wedding day rhyme:
and a [silver] sixpence in her shoe”
A new section recently added is a gallery of customer’s wedding photos from over the years, framed in beautiful sterling silver frames to accompany the Ainsworth family pictures. Moreover everyone has enjoyed hearing the stories about the bride and groom, the location and anecdotes they have about their rings, proposal and the big day itself.