London has been my design and business home since the start of this venture, where I conjure up cufflinks in a former paint factory on the River Thames. But my final 3D printing, precious metal casting and finishing was done in Belgium and the Netherlands.
I’m proud to say that as of summer 2019 that manufacturing work is also now done in England – in Birmingham’s famous “Jewellery Quarter.” I brought the goldsmithing process “home” for a variety of reasons, but in particular:
- Birmingham is a short train ride away from London, and I’ve found a couple great companies there that are willing to work closely with me. I’m very exacting how I want pieces finished (see some of my notes below) and particular about quality. They’re happy to collaborate as partners, not just service providers.
- Although not as high-tech as the new 3D-focused companies, these conventional smiths have decades of experience and offer a broader range of jewellery services. They are also more suited to high-end jewellery, for example offering gold and rhodium plating at 1 micron or more – which is roughly 5x as thick as the 3D companies’ typical flash plating.
- The Jewellery Quarter’s rich 250-year history* and sense of community lives on today. After casting, my cufflinks go for hallmarking at the Birmingham Assay Office literally steps away, and then on to finishing a 5-minute walk down the road. It truly is still a small village of craftspeople, working closely together to produce exquisite pieces.
*I can highly recommend a visit to Birmingham’s “Museum of the Jewellery Quarter” where you can tour a perfectly preserved jewellery workshop and learn about the steps involved in making pieces like mine.