Matthew Girling's career working with jewelry started in 1977, when he joined a dealer specializing in antique silver and jewelry in Norwich, Norfolk. Bitten by the gemstone bug, he moved to London in 1979 and joined Garrard & Co, the Crown Jewelers. Here he honed his valuation skills before becoming a buyer of gemstones for the special commissions created in the company's workshops. At Garrard, Matthew qualified as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain in 1981.
Eager to progress within the industry, Matthew joined the department store Liberty in 1982, where he was appointed their youngest-ever buyer – in the antique and ethnic jewelry department.
In 1984 he took a career break of eighteen months to travel the world. This included a stint working with a diamond prospecting company in Western Australia. Returning to the UK, he took up academic studies and completed a BA Hons in English Literature at Sussex University.
After graduating, Matthew joined the jewelry department at the recently re-launched Bonhams in 1989. Almost two years later he joined the jewelry department at Christie's King Street as an associate director. This was followed by a transfer to the jewelry department at Christie's Geneva in 1994. During his time in Geneva he valued and handled the sale of 'The Jewels from the Personal Collection of Princess Salimah Aga Khan'. After a worldwide tour, this collection sold for $28m in November 1995.
Whilst in Geneva Matthew was also closely involved with the sale of the Ahmadebad Diamond, the Archduke Joseph Diamond and the Vera Huw Williams Collection.
The opportunity to return to Bonhams as the head of the Jewelry Department came in 1996. In the ten years since Matthew took over the helm, Bonhams UK jewelry sales increased from £3 million to in excess of £10 million. In 1998 he valued and advised the owners of 'The Bird of Paradise Collection', which sold in Geneva in November of that year for $9.6 million.
With the merger of Bonhams with Brooks in 1999, Matthew assumed global responsibility for the jewelry, silver, clock and watch and miniatures departments and was appointed to the board of the company. The subsequent merger with Phillips UK in 2000, and the acquisition of Butterfields in California in 2001, put Matthew in charge of Jewelry sales within the group of over £20 million.
In 2003 Matthew was appointed chairman of Bonhams Knightsbridge and later in 2004 group deputy chairman. Since 2005 he has assumed responsibility for Bonhams' offices in continental Europe.
Matthew conducted his first auction in 1990. Since then he has become one of Bonhams' senior auctioneers, taking charge of some of the most prestigious sales. These have included that of the 'Exceptional Jewelry from the Estate of Francoise Hermann', which sold at Bonhams & Butterfields in the USA in April 2004 for $6.2 million. As well as regularly taking sales in London he has also conducted auctions in Geneva, Singapore, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In January 2007 Matthew Girling addressed an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on the subject of: "The Art of Investing in Art."
In October 2007 Matthew was appointed as Bonhams Chief Executive Officer Europe with a brief of raising the company's profile and business performance across Europe and the Middle East where currently the company has a presence in 13 countries.
Matthew was made a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in 2008 and is a member of the Guild of Fine Art Dealers and Scholars.