A History in the Making: Wheatley Bros. Jewellers

A History in the Making: Wheatley Bros. Jewellers

Every once in a while when looking into the origins of a piece, we stumble across very interesting parts of history. It turns out that Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at one point was home to “one of the finest appointed jewellery stores in Canada”.

Here is the piece that started us on this discovery. It’s a lovely cameo of a woman in a standing pose, signifying she’s a goddess. It’s not a typical shell, but is fashioned from an agate stone. 

Agate stone on gold band with cameo motif        Close up of Wheatley stamp on inside band of gold ring

This hallmark stamp “Wheatley Bros.” led us down a most interesting path. Here are some photos taken in 1913 of the most impressive Wheatley Bros. Jewellers

Black and white photo of Wheatley Bros storefront from 1913

Unique to the store were curved glass windows.

Black and White Photo of Wheatley Bros interior, display cases

Display cases feature pocket watches, silverware, jewellery, women's evening bags, mirrors and picture frames. The safe is visible at the rear of the store as is a sign advertising marriage licenses.

Black and White Photo of Wheatley Bros interior, workshop

We particularly love seeing the workshop! They had three watchmakers and one goldsmith. An account of the opening states "even the well-lighted workroom at the rear has all its fittings in mahogany"

Black and White Photo of Wheatley Bros interior, glass display cases
When originally opened by C.H. Stephenson it was described thus "most dazzling of all is the effect in the apartment where $3,000 worth of cut glass glitters. Walled and ceiled with mirrors, the room as the effect of extending to an indefinite depth on all sides"
Black and White Photo of Wheatley Bros interior, optician's examining room
Interior of Wheatley Bros. Jewelers showing optician's examining room, crystal and glassware display, office, decorative stained glass panel, statuary and elaborate light fixtures. One of a pair of cut glass domes on either side of the store is visible as is one of four handsome brass chandeliers which gave a softer light to the main room.
It's interesting to see how much has changed since then, but what's even more fascinating is what's stayed the same! Many of the tools used back then are still relied upon today. and the design of the benches are nearly identical not only in design, but materials as well!
Learning about this sort of history helps us to stay connected to the traditions of the craft, combining them with modern designs and alloys.
Color photo of a woman working at a wooden bench fashioning a ring with traditional tools
Marilyn in the workshop in September 2023, using similar tools to those used over 100 years ago
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