Hi, I’m Liz: dyslexic, dyscalculic, and I’m a magpie.
That is I’m drawn to shiny treasures.
I ran away from school after being told I couldn’t amount to anything, but 35 years later I couldn’t be happier.
For those that don’t know me, I thought I’d share a short story of how I got here.
After running away with nothing but low self-esteem, I hitchhiked across the country to go and do a part-time silversmithing course. I was there for 2 years and loved every second of it. I gravitated towards shamanic jewellery and eventually made enough for a one-way ticket to Asia.
I travelled the world on a shoestring budget for years. I had a natural affinity for jewellery and different cultures. I worked hard to save up and buy jewellery which I would eventually bring home and sell with my partner at the time at markets. We had 2 children, but this was swiftly followed by a devastating separation, in which I lost my business and home. I was left with nothing and had to move home with my parents. I thought all hope was lost. I gave up on my business dreams for years and did lots of part-time jobs to feed my kids!
That was until one fateful night at my children’s Christmas fare, where I was struck with inspiration. I saw a mother was selling handcrafted jewellery, and this reignited a spark inside of me that had been dormant for so many years.
I decided to get back into jewellery. I bought a jewellery making kit and would make jewellery after work. My children would often help, and we would sit around the kitchen table making jewellery for hours.
One day I took the leap of faith and put up a stall at the next school fair. I was petrified. But I will never forget the feeling of excitement after selling my first piece. I didn’t know it then, but that moment marked a turning point in my life. The seeds for Armed & Gorgeous were sown.
I started taking our jewellery to farmers’ markets and it was received very well. I was ecstatic that I was working towards my goal, but I knew that my true passion lay in admiring other people’s designs, as opposed to creating my own. I had seen so many skilled craftsmen that I really wanted to leave it to the professionals!
I decided to go travelling again and find jewellery from abroad. I still had contacts of great designers I had met all those years ago. But I’ll admit it, those weeks of travelling we’re so heart wrenching. I had to leave my children with my parents. I would call them every night and put them to bed remotely. I missed them dearly and they missed me but I knew what I had to do.
I also scouted out competition from local jewellery galleries. I was truly overwhelmed by the amount of stunning handmade jewellery there was in the UK. The trouble with galleries is I find their prices to be inflated and they only display a small selection at a time. I wanted a wider selection at a more competitive price.
I knew this would be a difficult battle, but it was one I couldn’t afford to lose.
Fast forward about 25 years and we’ve grown from a school fate stall to a 2 storey shop. We’ve won multiple awards for our jewellery selection ( many – including the jewellers we stock – say it’s the best they’ve ever seen).
Even to this day, my children play a part in my business. My youngest son renovated the shop for me during lockdown, and my eldest son learnt how to code in order to create a website for me.
Its funny looking back – Armed & gorgeous was formed all those years ago with me and my boys sitting around a kitchen table. 25 years later, we’re still here. A little older. Maybe a little wiser. But still sitting around that same kitchen table. Only this time we’re not trying to create jewellery, we’re trying to create a great customer experience.
Throughout my life, jewellery has been my guiding light. I wish that you can experience jewelery too
Liz has formed some long-lasting friendships with over 15 of her cherry-picked british jewellers over the last 20 years, and many of the pieces you see are exclusively designed for Armed & Gorgeous. This list of designers grows every year, always hand-chosen by Liz, always with the aim of showcasing the best that Britain has to offer in terms of fine jewellery!
Liz continues to go travelling every year. She has great relations with her supplies, many she has known for 15+ years. To many, she is a family friend. She has met the family, had meals with the family and visits the family house. One particular designer is Sandeep – his wife makes jewellery for Bollywood. Liz has known Sandeep for 15 years, met his children, and has been shown his wife’s personal jewellery collection (which she plans to put in a museum when she passes).
The expansion of our newer ‘on-trend range really came through Liz’s own experience of financial difficulties. Armed & Gorgeous quickly grew a following as one of the best jewellery shops in the area, but Liz felt that it was unfair to exclude those who were less financially stable than others. Liz broadened her horizons and started finding excellent jewellery without the price tag that comes with handmade.
Armed & Gorgeous is now a multi-award winning jewellers. It showcases the best in British jewellery, as well as some of her worldwide finds. On top of that, Armed & Gorgeous is a welcoming place and has built a solid community over the years. We cater for anyone, no matter who you are and what your price tag is.
Fast forward to now: A&G has won best jewellery shop in Gloucestershire 2017 and 2018, and runners up 2019, as well as best gift shop Gloucestershire and Worcestershire 2021. Liz is also a prominent business owner in the local area, having featured in multiple local newspapers and magazines countless times. You can read our latest articles here. This is a perfect way to get to know who Liz and A&G are in greater depth!