Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's Kristin Robinson sparkles as new star of Channel 4's Posh Pawn

By Joanne Sweeney

Diamonds are definitely a girl's best friend - just ask Kristin Robinson, one of the stars of Channel 4's Posh Pawn.

The love of fine gems and all things sparkly has landed the 32-year-old her dream job as a diamond grader in a high-end London pawnbrokers.

The Co Antrim woman appears in the documentary series which uncovers the hidden world of the selling and buying of exclusive items such as cars, jewellery, art and celebrity mementoes.

Some of the quirkiest clients and items to be either sold or used as collateral against a loan include a £145,000 red Ferrari, a stunning £250,000 diamond necklace and a unique £10,000 yellow submarine.

Kristin appears alongside the slick owner of Prestige Pawnbrokers James Constantinou, who she has worked for since January.

Although not to be shown on the programme, she told the Belfast Telegraph of her recent surprise when she heard that the well-known girlfriend of a male celebrity was to be her client.

"My jaw just dropped when I heard her name. I was so excited as she's so well-known, well, he certainly is," said Kristin.

"She wanted to sell some of her jewellery that her boyfriend had given her."

While Kristin would not say who the client was, she did say that she valued the gems for an impressive six-figure sum.

As a gems specialist, she has 10 years experience in the pawn brokering business, having started off in Lancashire before moving to London two years ago.

She has diplomas in jewellery and diamond grading and is now studying gemology.

The Belfast-born woman left Northern Ireland when she was just aged 17 after being raised in Whitehead.

Her sister Susan Kelly still lives in Northern Ireland and her foster mum Eileen Hoey has now retired to Scotland.

She discovered her love of rare gems in her early teens, she said.

"I must have been 15 and 16 and realised that I really loved diamonds, gems and all good jewellery and that eventually led me to the business."

The former Downshire School student says that she can find the experience of valuing clients' items a bit emotional as sometimes they are disappointed with the valuation.

"Clients sell their precious items for a variety of reasons; some because they can pay the rent or mortgage or some because they need a loan as we offer better rates than banks nowadays.

"So while they can get a bit emotional when they hear the valuation is not as much as they had hoped for, they are usually fine when they know the reason."

Kristin's also got a big rock on her left hand as she's recently got engaged to her partner of 10 years.

Kristin is in Posh Pawn on Channel 4, 8pm, Tuesday, September 30.

Background

Pawn shops have been in business for centuries. There's two options available to clients – selling your items for an offered valuation or securing a loan on the item which is used as collateral. Posh Pawn has shown clients being delighted at items being valued at jaw-dropping sums. But big sums also mean big risks as clients sometimes struggle to pay back their loans.

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