André van Goudpoort Jewellers: ‘I didn’t think it was possible that retro jewelery would become modern again’

André Erkan comes from a real goldsmith family. His father was a watchmaker and goldsmith, his brothers are both watchmakers and he himself is a goldsmith. He worked for years in his father’s shop, and since 1983 he has his own jeweler in Ede center, Goudpoort Juwelier.

“In 1953, my father started a business on Maanderweg in Ede under the name Erken Jewellers. My two brothers worked there as watchmakers. I was going to the conservatory for singing and flute, but when my father fell ill, I started working in the business with my brother.” They even had to shake hands because André was not yet 18 years old. The High Court then decides that you may have a company or business as a minor. “Then I gave up my plans for the conservatory”, says André. “I started training as a goldsmith, but I learned most of it by doing.”

“My father wanted me to also train as a watchmaker, but I was less enthusiastic about that. As a test, he gave me an alarm clock that I was allowed to repair. As I did so, the alarm spring loosened against my fingers. My hand still hurt for days and I said to my dad: nice try, but I’m not doing that. My two brothers are watchmakers, so it wasn’t really necessary. One of my brothers still does watch repairs for my business.”

Own design

At Goudpoort Juwelier you will find jewelery in gold and silver and with diamonds, watches, vases, photo frames and children’s items such as piggy banks and children’s jewellery. “In addition to selling jewellery, we also do a lot of repairs and buy old gold and other old jewellery. We resell some jewelry as used, but damaged jewelry is usually remelted. I also design jewelery myself, I would describe my style as natural with Scandinavian influences.”

“Someone I really admire is Anneke Schat, she is the designer of the Gouden Televizier-Ring. Her work has a very unique style, I recognize it immediately when something is made by her. Sometimes people come up with their own design or idea, we can usually do that too. It is often, for example, a wedding ring from a deceased partner. You can leave it in the closet, but you can also have it made smaller and, for example, put a diamond in it, so you can still wear it yourself.”

jewelry

“What you see more and more in recent years is ash jewellery. These are pieces of jewelery in which the ashes of a deceased person have been incorporated. For example, a ring with a small tube or a ball containing a small amount of ash. It is a good way to carry a deceased with you. Sometimes I also experience special things. Like a woman who came in with a jar of Completa. I thought she had brought her own powdered milk for the coffee, but that jar turned out to be her dead husband’s ashes. Then you will look a little strange.”

There are also trends in the jewelery world, nowadays it is jewelery from the seventies. Rings with large garnet stones and lots of colors. “I never thought it would be fashionable again, but young people love it. My older customers think it’s all old fashioned and I don’t like it either. When we received this type of retro jewelry used a few years ago, we usually melted it down. Today we put them back in the shop window and sell them well.”

“There is a big difference between the jewelery of the past and the present. When my father had the business, the jewelry was much larger and heavier. Nowadays, it’s all a bit nicer and people wear, for example, several small bracelets together instead of one big bracelet. But you can see with the retro jewelry that things from the past can also come back into fashion.”

successors

Unlike many other stores, André is not bothered by online competition. “It is not easy to buy a ring online. With jewelry, you feel that people still want to see, feel and care for it, which works in our favor. However, many goldsmiths have disappeared from the centre. Ten years ago there were eight goldsmiths, now there are only three. Most stop due to lack of followers. I don’t know yet if my children will take over my business, I leave them free to do so.”

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