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Unique family jewellery hits Christmas markets after 45 years in attic

By Jade Verity and Anna Mauremootoo

Retro French fashion makes an appearance in Manchester with the arrival of the Christmas Markets.

A French sector has been set up for the first time since the Christmas Markets appeared in Manchester 11 years ago.

With it comes the unique jewellery produced by Julie Wagemans, who creates pieces from French Bakelite, which she said can no longer be found anywhere else.

She said: “What’s nice is that all the beads were produced by my Grandpa 45 years ago, I found them in the attic 3 years ago.”

Shoppers can choose from an array of beads and Julie will custom make earrings or bracelets out of them on the spot.

This is the first time Julie has had a stall at the Manchester Christmas Market.

She said: “I’m completely excited about the prospect of a French market in Manchester.”

The French stalls are situated on King Street and include luxuries such as crepes, wine and cheese to tempt passersby.

Debbie Blois, who is originally from France but currently lives in England, said: “It’s great that the markets are here, I feel like I can get back in touch with my heritage.”

This year around 300 stalls have been set up on eight different sites, with the main European Christmas Market taking centre stage in Albert square.

Shopper Kathryn Timmins said: “I love it when the Christmas Markets are in town, I feel like a little girl again.”

The markets have become a very firm fixture of everyone’s yuletide countdown as well as generating great economic profit for the area.

Councillor Pat Karney: “Many visitors agreed that the markets were the best that they had visited and that they generated a feeling of local pride strengthening Manchester’s identity.”

The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German speaking part of Europe.

The market in Manchester in 2007 attracted nearly 1.2 million visitors over five weeks.

This year the market is one of the largest Christmas markets in the UK.

This festive treat runs until December 21st between 10am-8pm, with alcohol severed until 9pm.

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