Marianne Saunders is a director of Saunders and Pughe, a designer jewellery shop and goldsmiths based in a beautiful 17th Century Grade II listed cottage in the heart of Corbridge, which she runs with her partner and husband Robert Pughe.

She is a trained silversmith and designer, and also holds the internationally recognised Gem-A Diamond Diploma, specialising in assessing and grading diamonds as well as an extensive knowledge of precious coloured gem-stones and pearls. Marianne and Rob have two grown-up sons and Alfie the whippet completes the family.


My two sons surprise me every day with their humour, hard work and generosity. My lovely staff at Saunders and Pughe are experts in all things luxe in the jewellery department so they would have to feature here too.


For a weekend > Mallorca, Fornalutx is my little slice of heaven, walking through the orange and olive groves from Soller, stopping off for a lazy lunch at Es Turo, getting the tram back to Port Soller for a dip in the sea followed by dinner at Sa Barca watching the sun go down.

A long holiday > We do an annual trade trip in January after our busy Christmas period to the Tuscon Rock and Gem trade fair in Arizona, it’s an amazing international week-long event with gem traders from all over the world. We spend a week painstakingly choosing our coloured gemstones, sapphires, rubies, rare garnets and amazing coloured diamonds, which will all be set into beautiful jewellery when we return, but to wind down we have a week of hiking and mountain biking in the incredible red rocks of Sedona, picking up amazing trinkets and fascinating Native American kachina dolls.


Best restaurant > We always have a great time with Pam and Manuel at Il Piccolo in Corbridge, and I love the vegan pub grub at The Ship at the Ouseburn in Newcastle.

Best wine > We recently had a lovely wine tasting at the Chateaux Meursault in Burgundy and enjoyed beautiful champagne in Ammbonay, needless to say, a few bottles came home with us…

Perfect weekend > A bracing early morning swim at Wentworth with my OneLife Triathlon Club pals before work. I’ve worked Saturdays since I was 16, such is the nature of retail. A great, buzzing day in the shop selling gorgeous jewellery and showing customers our amazing stock of loose gemstones and diamonds.

I love it when we the guys come in looking for an engagement ring, we always try to make sure they get lots of help, making sure they get something truly gorgeous to fit their budget. I do love my job! One of Rob’s famous curries with the family for dinner, relaxing and listening to records.

Up early on Sunday morning for the Allen Valley Velo cycling club run on my road bike, lots of hills and a nice coffee stop, we have such a laugh. I’ll be exhausted when I get home, ready to curl up on the sofa with a nice glass of red wine and the high octane thrills of The Antiques Road Show.

Downtime means > A large cup of tea / gin and tonic, depending on the time of day, in the garden, with sunshine on my head and birdsong in my ears with Alfie the whippet by my feet, gives me the ahhhhh feeling.

Best telly > I LOVE telly, Game of Thrones, Versailles, Girls, and anything with David Attenborough, I enjoy a good drama, but quite often fall asleep in the middle. No soaps for me, I haven’t got the patience.

Best book > The World According To Garp, or anything else by John Irving, I love the characters and I find myself laughing and crying my way through his books.

Best sounds > The songs which bring back memories, take you back to a place or remind you of a time in your life, Bowie’s Lady Stardust, ELO – Mr Blue Sky, Beyonce –  Crazy in Love, Dire Straits –  Brothers in Arms, The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary… I could go on and on…


Best shopping city > Newcastle, as I know where all the shops are, I love the buzz lots of small independents, big stores and great places to eat.

Favourite shop > Well apart from Saunders and Pughe, I love The Corbridge Cookshop for bits and bobs, Zara for clothes and Cycle Art in Prudhoe to drool over the beautiful bikes.

Best buy > My Carbon Cervelo S3 road bike with DI2 electronic shifters, its given me miles of smiles, everyone still beats me up the hills, but It makes me feel like the Queen of The Road!


Best party >We threw 18th birthday parties for both of our boys, danced the night away with a cheesy DJ and saw how they and all their ‘little friends’  had grown up into the most amazing young adults, great parties, but made us feel so old.

A memorable night out > Rob and I recently went to see Professor Brian Cox at Metro arena, so thought provoking, when you see pictures of our little blue planet from outer space it makes you want to treasure and protect it, the fighting between countries just seems crazy.

Dinner date > My lovely husband Rob, eating homemade spaghetti bolognese and drinking champagne in our VW camper van. We’ve been married for 20 years and worked alongside each other almost every day, he still makes me laugh my head off.

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