In 1936 Henry Gifford Birks (1892-1985), the eldest son of William Massey Birks, began to collect examples of marks used on sterling silver articles produced before 1899 by the predecessors of the Birks silver factory, including Hendery and Leslie. In the course of his research, Birks became concerned that the supply of early Canadian sterling silverware produced by master craftsmen was disappearing and he began collecting outstanding examples, including numerous pieces by artisans of New France. In time, what was known as the Henry Birks Collection of Canadian Silver became the most comprehensive collection of antique Canadian silver in existence. It included ecclesiastical and domestic pieces, flatware and holloware, created by exceptional Canadian silver craftsmen from the early 18th century to the present. As the collection grew, parts were loaned to museums in Canada and abroad and to select non-profit institutions for exhibition and education purposes. In 1979 the Henry Birks Collection of Canadian Silver, comprising approximately 12,000 objects, was donated to the National Gallery of Canada in celebration of the 100th year anniversary of the founding of Henry Birks and Sons Ltd. In 1993, Henry Birks and Sons was acquired by the Italian company, Borgosesia SpA.
Who : Birks
What: Reengineering the business
Why: Unforeseen shift in shopping trends
From the streets to shopping malls
Increased competitive advantage
Promotion of quality jewellery in malls
Birks products become more accessible to the mass population
100 year anniversary!
The Birks Brand Fine Jewelry Collections were launched in the U.K
Immediate source of acquisition: The initial donation consisting of items from the Henry Birks Collection of Canadian Silver was made by Henry Birks and Sons Limited in 1979. The second and third accruals were donated to the National Gallery ofCanada Library and Archives by Frances Gilsenan in 2006 and 2008.