Jeweller calls time on his sparkling 50-year career

Jeweller Bert Maguire is getting ready for his golden years after deciding to retire.

Bert Maguire was born and raised in Edinburgh and qualified as a master goldsmith 50 years ago.

Now aged 65, he has decided to close up his Montagu Terrace store in April after 22 years.

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Falling into the trade after a visit to the Youth Employment Centre when he left Broughton High School in 1959, he hasn't looked back since.

Having set up his own workshop 32 years ago in Chester Street in the West End, Mr Maguire then up-sized to his current location, which he owns with his wife of 44 years, Caroline, who has worked as his assistant for 30 years.

"Never a cross word between us," he said.

Over the years, Mr Maguire has seen his share of characters.

He said: "There was one occasion where a girl burst into the shop with a diamond tiara. It was an heirloom. Every bride in the family wore it on their wedding day and, this time, it had snapped when the hairdresser was fitting it. We only had an hour to fix it, but we managed."

His most dramatic encounter was with Una McLean, star of Scotland's first one-woman TV show Did You See Una?, shopping for her engagement ring to actor Russell Hunter of Callan fame. "Before she got out of the shop she dramatically waved her hand and banged the ring on the steel door. The ring was fine though."

"I will miss the trade very much but I've been working for 51 years. We work six days a week. I'm ready for a rest.

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"People might not go out and buy a new diamond ring in times like these but if, say, they lose a diamond from their granny's engagement ring that they've had for 21 years, that's something that is still important to people."

Following the loss of two close friends in the last three months and with his own heart problems, Mr Maguire is looking forward to spending time with his loved ones.

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He said: "That brought everything into perspective. I want to be able to enjoy time with my family, especially my grandchildren."

The proud grandparent-of-four has two daughters – Ruth, a pharmacist in Cheshire, and eldest Caroline, a banker who still lives in the Capital.

He has plans to rent a house in the Lake District, painting or walking with his 62-year-old wife, a former model and self-confessed keep-fit fanatic.

"We've been there every year for I don't know how long," he said. "You can just watch the different seasons go by. When our youngest daughter was six, we went and on the way back she said to us, 'This holiday was like being in heaven'."

The shop's first ever sale will mark the end of the era. "Then, I'm going to sit back, have a cup of tea and think about what to do next," he said.