65 years of excellence…
Born in Dresden in 1920, Horst Kneisel a master watcher, trained by the prestigious Glashutte watchmakers college, left post war Germany with his wife Marianne, and came to Galway where he worked as a watchmaker with Hartmann’s Jewellers.
Once established, he then went on the road selling watch parts until finally settling in Waterford, with his wife and their first daughter Gabrielle. The first Kneisel premises was located on the second floor of Hughes Grocery Stores, now Dunnes Stores.
Horst and Marianne worked as a great team, with his enormous skill and talent and her accounting and management proficiencies the business became evermore successful and larger premises were needed to accommodate the progressive trade. The astute decision was made to purchase the Lido Café, Barronstrand St (now John Robert Square), and Kneisel Jewellers first opened its doors here November 30, 1952, coinciding with the birth of their second daughter Joanie and went on to become the successful and established Jewellers and Goldsmiths it is today.
Horst Kneisel was held in great esteem in Waterford and indeed throughout the Jewellery trade in Ireland, where his skills, craftsmanship, initiative and professionalism were highly thought of. An extremely talented man, he was a self-taught goldsmith and still to this day customers come to the shop with his handcrafted pieces for cleaning as they are worn regularly. He trained many young apprentices, some even went on to open establishments of their own.
His daughter Joanie followed in his footsteps, first studying Jewellery design in Kilkenny and then in the highly esteemed goldsmith’s college in Pforzheim Germany, where she met her future husband Jannes Helmholt, a seriously gifted artist and goldsmith. They returned to Ireland in their hippy attire and worked alongside Horst and Marianne until eventually taking over the business in 1980’s. Jannes became well known for his exquisite design and craftsmanship at the bench, handcrafting many unique pieces for people all around Ireland. He was also commissioned to produce historical pieces in Waterford such as the second Mayoral Chain of Office, and the South East Regional Assembly chain.
Again, working as a team Jannes and Joanie brought the business into a new era, modernising and up-grading the premises and stock, but all the while maintaining the high standard of service and professionalism which is synonymous with Kneisel. Joanie frequently travelled abroad, especially to Germany, sourcing fine jewellery and cutting-edge designs, her aim, to make Kneisel one of the most prestigious and cosmopolitan shop in the South East of Ireland.
Kneisels pride themselves on being one of Waterford’s oldest family run businesses, with second and third generation family members currently working in the shop. Having being passed down through successive generations, each making their own modifications and adjustments to suit the needs of present customers whilst maintaining the high standard in customer service and quality workmanship as is the Kneisel legacy. The company is now entering into its third generation as the gauntlet has been passed to grand-daughter Georgie who has recently take over.
“Since 1952 Kneisel Jewellers has defined style, quality and craftsmanship in Waterford and the South East. Together, with our team of professionals and highly trained sales staff we are committed to maintaining the high standards of the past while keeping the Kneisel name at the forefront of design and innovation.”