After three generations and 67 years of dedication building their family business, it is with mixed emotions that the Kneisel family will be retiring from the jewellery industry at the end of February. Kneisel Jewelers was opened in 1952 by Horst Kneisel, a master watch maker from Dresden, Germany.
The business started in a small premises on Michael Street and in 1969 it moved to the former ‘Lido café’, in which it continues to trade today. Horst and his wife Marianne dedicated their lives to building the business before passing it on to their daughter Joanie and her Dutch husband Jannes, both fully trained goldsmiths who studied at the prestigious Goldsmith college in Pfortziem, Germany.
Joanie semi-retired a few years ago and her daughter Georgie proudly took over the main running of the business: “I am full of gratitude to my grandparents Horst and Marieanne and my Mum and Dad for allowing me the opportunity to be part of a family business, to be part of the Kneisel tradition,” she said.
“I never once took it for granted when I opened up the shop door each morning. Our shop walls have seen generations come and go. They have seen couples get engaged, choose wedding rings, christening gifts and seen those children grow up and come in to purchase their own engagement rings and so the cycle of life continues. It has been a huge privilege to be part of so many lives. People say that working in retail and with the general public can be really hard however I personally feel it has continued to build my faith in humanity. Jewellery is often a very sentimental purchase and we would have heard many emotional stories from our customers over the years. The kindness, love and generosity people have for each other is quite amazing and I want to thank all those who shared their stories with me, my family and our staff. We will remember them, learn from them and never forget them. We are hugely grateful to all our customers for their constant support, trust and confidence.”
Kneisel Jewellers holds a reputation for fine handmade bespoke jewellery, restoration and remodelling, and also have the distinction of producing historical pieces in Waterford such as the Mayoral Chain of office. Each piece of the chain was handmade by Jannes and his team of goldsmiths on the premises in John Roberts Sq. They will always be known for creating individual unique pieces, treasured heirlooms for families to pass from generation to generation.
“It is difficult to be ending a three generation family tradition but it a comfort to us to know we are leaving on our own terms and that we are leaving on a high,” says Georgie.
“The last six months in the business have been great, the staff and warm atmosphere made it a pleasure to come to work every day, and the run up to Christmas was the most profitable in many years. The atmosphere in Waterford city centre was buzzing and we felt there was a much more positive vibe than the previous 5 years. It is ironic to actually be leaving the business at this point in time considering it has started to thrive once again but it is the right time for us as an extended family.”
The good news and a great source of comfort to the family is that their manager Lisa Staham and her husband Lee will be taking over the business and that trading will continue as normal. Lisa has trained alongside Joanie Kneisel for over 15 years and the transition appears like a natural progression for the family. Considering that three locally owned businesses have closed in the city centre in the last two months, it’s fortunate that the shutters won’t be closed for good.
The Kneisel family fully endorse Lisa and Lee and support them in their transition of ownership. They are entrusting their heritage in Lisa’s capable hands as she upholds the reputation as the South-East’s premier jewellers, continuing their legacy of quality workmanship, professional service and unique designs.
The family want to look on the positive side of the shop’s legacy and in doing so are holding a sale to celebrate their farewell on February 12th, 13th and 14th. Considering Kneisels have had only one sale in its history, for their 65 year celebrations, this is going to be an exciting event giving people a chance to purchase a high end piece of jewellery, a once in a life time piece or maybe a piece they have had their eye on in the window for some time. It is also just in time for Valentine’s Day!
The Kneisel family are very grateful for all the support over the years, from their valued customers, their suppliers and their staff.
“Most importantly I would like to thank our loyal staff throughout the years who have helped make our family business a success, especially our current staff who have been working alongside me the last six months. Lisa, Ally and Heather, you have been the dream team! Your efficiency, camaraderie, patience and constant good humour (even in the long shifts up to Christmas) made our decision to leave all the more harder. Mum and I will always be grateful for your time, loyalty and dedication not only to the business but to our family. We all wish Lisa and Lee every success in this new and exciting era of Kneisel Jewellers. Customers can be assured that when they arrive in store they will find the same quality brands, luxury jewellery and professional service.”