Viva La Evolution at Isabella’s Fine & Antique Jewellery

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Thirty years in business doesn’t happen by accident. Deb Caruso discovers what makes one local business shine.

Isabella’s Fine & Antique Jewellery have been an essential ingredient on Hastings Street ever since Jan Grant threw open the doors 30 years ago.

For Rebecca Thomson, who has been a part of the business for more than half that time, including independently managing it for the past seven years; it’s been a natural and beautiful evolution for her to take over the reins from her mum.

“Kudos to my mother Jan who took the risk and moved from a country town to Noosa 30 years ago to start a new business and a new life,” she said.

While Rebecca pursued a HR career in Sydney, Jan established a loyal clientele with customers from all over the world.

Rebecca’s desire to raise her babies in Noosa, led to working with her mother in the business a few days a week. 

“Mum was a strong influence on me and I admired her because she started this business at 50 years old,” she said. “She welcomed me into Isabella’s and I loved it instantly.”

Rebecca’s fresh perspective saw the business blossom and she worked to strengthen relationships with antique dealers to secure unique stock.

She is now the face of Isabella’s and committed to evolving the business.

“While Mum will always be an important part of the business and loves keeping in touch with clients who have become friends; she enjoys retirement and trusts me to look after her baby.”

Rebecca said that Covid was a gamechanger for Isabella’s.

“Pre-Covid, we did a lot of remodelling or custom designs with our Master Jewellers,” she said. “But without the interstate and New Zealand clients, we saw an increase in the drive market – and they wanted diamonds!

“It was like a slice of Monte Carlo had come to Noosa,” she laughs. “I had to up the ante significantly and Isabella’s has been moving forward at a great rate ever since. I’m a bit of a risk taker and Mum’s always encouraged and supported me, so I went for it.

“We secured a lot of very exclusive stock, particularly from New York which was a risk to get here, but we did and every piece sold, quite quickly,” she said.

“I get very excited over certain pieces and I think that becomes infectious. I love the history, the mystery and stories that come with antique jewellery.

“We recently sold an antique emerald cut diamond ring that belonged to a woman who sewed her jewellery into her skirt hem when she fled the French Riviera during the second World War.

“It was a stunning piece from the 1930s with a fascinating story.”

Rebecca is rarely seen without pearls and Isabella’s enjoys a 30-year affiliation with the world’s oldest pearling family, Ellies Pearling.

“It’s so interesting  coming into our store, as alongside our special jewellery, we have our signature French Pintard (Guinea) ceramics, porcelain collectables, Italian umbrellas, walking sticks and shoehorns to adore.

“It’s such a unique mix, I don’t want to lose that heritage but I am more passionate about focusing on antique jewels.

“It’s been such an interesting 30 years for us, we were a formidable team with lots of respect for one another. Now I feel like I’m evolving into a new and exciting direction for the decades and the new stories ahead.”

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