Growing up as one of six children in an East London family, Ian Rosenberg spent his childhood watching how the other half lived. His father ran a small shop selling and mending pocket watches for rich gentlemen about the town. Every night Rosenberg would sit for hours watching and helping his father work on the watches. Together, they would work in silence with the radio playing in the background.
The young boy was amazed to see his father’s hands move with so much skill and precision on something which looked so delicate. On weekends he would mind the shop for the family and spent hours tinkering with the timepieces.
At school, young Ian was never talented at sports but found comfort in the arts. His creative nature impressed many from an early age and he won several national competitions for his metalwork. Unfortunately, Rosenberg’s talent was only outshone by disciplinary problems and he left school with barely enough qualifications to get a factory job.
Despairing at his son’s lack of focus, his father hired him as an apprenticeship in the watch shop, thinking he would pass the family company down to his son in the future. By this time, however, Ian had grown disillusioned by his city surroundings and felt stifled by the lack of creativity working at the shop.
One summer he fell for a French girl he met in the market and decided to go back to France with her rather than carry on his work as a watchmaker. Working as a waiter for a rich family, he became intrigued by the complexity of their jewellery and the skill it must have taken to create such stunning designs. Ian met a jewellery maker in Paris and persuaded him to take him on as an apprentice.
When his time in France ended, Ian returned to London and managed to land a job as a filing clerk for a law firm. The work was soul destroying but well paid and it is there that he met his wife. The two conspired to be married and saved up as much money as they could before eloping to be wed in secret.
Ian Rosenberg and his wife quit their jobs at the law firm and decided to set up a jewellers’ in his father’s old watch shop. Business was slow and with a young family to support, Rosenberg was forced to sell the shop in order to feed his wife and child. Instead Rosenberg tried to sell hand crafted jewellery door to door. When this failed, he started to design restaurant silverware and managed to secure an order with a small restaurant in the West End.
Buoyed by his success, Rosenberg would visit the biggest names in fine dining, determined to show off the quality of his products but each day returning to the family empty handed. Luckily, by chance, one of Rosenberg’s jewellery clients from the shop was opening a restaurant and hired him to supply the silverware.
Ian Rosenberg Jewellery has grown to be a world famous brand with outlets nationwide. Having found a profession which utilised his skills and creative ability, he was able to make jewellery mixing classic British influences with French extravagance to create something unique. To this day, Ian still designs and makes jewellery in the same workshop behind the family home.