Jason and the Argos Gnomes (Part Twenty): A 9 Carat Gold St. Christopher Pendant

Just the thing for travelling from one Argos store to another

Key to the success of the Argos retail chain is the Elizabeth Duke jewellery section. Part and parcel since the mid-1970s, it has cut out the middleperson in jewellery sales within its portfolio. Hence the lower prices, and how in recent years it has been associated (unfairly) with Chavdom.

Shortly after Richard Tompkins formed the Argos Catalogue Shop chain, he took the name ‘Elizabeth Duke’ from his wife. Whatever you say about Elizabeth Duke, it has democratised the purchasing of jewellery. It has made for a less snooty and invasive environment for shoppers. In its catalogues, it has been placed near the front, with the aim of impulse purchases.

Back in 1985, the average Tameside citizen had to travel to Manchester or Oldham for their nearest Argos store. The item we are about to see may be appropriate for our journey on the 216, 218, 219, 343 or 409.

A 9 carat St. Christopher Pendant

St. Christopher, not the unknown Greek god of Saverius Seven or Reprobusabout, is the patron saint of travel. The Patron Saint of long journeys, he was reputed to be 7′ 6″ tall and originally known as Reprobus. His face, if you pardon the pun, was supposedly like the back end of a Leyland Atlantean. Apart from that, St. Christopher is also the patron saint of storms, the city of Vilnius and toothache. (The last point could well have been caused by the baked beans and swiss roll in our previous entry).

The St. Christopher icon is a popular image of many a pendant. Autumn/Winter 1985’s edition of the Argos Catalogue was no exception to this, and our item is one of eight in the catalogue. Item Number 6 on page 30 is a large (though not quite cocoa tin size) circular pendant. It has a diamond cut border with a chain length of 18″.

Item 6, on page 30 was among its two most expensive St. Christopher pendants. Back in 1985, you could have also purchased a fistful of Wayfarer tickets for the equivalent amount as the pendant in Oldham bus station. With change for a brew at The Country Larder.

  • Argos Catalogue edition: Autumn/Winter 1985;
  • Page and item numbers: page 30, item 6;
  • 1985 Prices: £48.99 (£69.43);
  • 2014 Prices: £137.54 (£194.93).

S.V., 20 December 2014.

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