FEATURES | 25/11/2014 | TAJINDER HAYER
DEAKIN AND FRANCIS
Head into any menswear retailer on the high street and you will be able to find yourself a pair of decent looking cuff links. They will do the job, in that they will hold your cuffs in place and the better of the picks out there will even add some colour and style to your shirt and suit. If you really want to up your cuff link game, you need to head to a more dedicated provider though.
That is where Deakin & Francis come in. Established in 1786, the brand is England’s oldest family jeweler and until recently, much of its beautiful creations were kept behind the scenes as the firm concentrated on commissions from retailers and luxury brands. Now the brand has taken the decision to put themselves on the map.
Now managed by brothers James and Henry Deakin (the seventh generation of the family to manage the business), they spent their school holidays joining their family at work, learning from the craftsmen or doing the rather more glamorous job of attending trade shows in Switzerland and London. Now, both fully qualified in Gemmology, they work to employ jewelers and specialist craftspeople for different stages in the creation, manufacture and design of jewelry. Whilst the current range encompasses neck pieces, rings and lapel pins, it is cuff links for men that are the brands real specialty.
The Birmingham based space is full to the brim with silver and gold. Whilst the label still carries designs made as far back as 1908, newer pieces have seen cuff links set with rubies, diamonds and sapphires and a more modern and varied design range. Model makers create new designs by sketching and storyboards before creating 3D cufflinks which are then taken to the mould makers to create the mould. More traditional designs are made using dies to stamp out precious metals. In over 200 years, there has been over 5,000 different cufflink designs including classic diamond and gold pieces and funky animals, pirates and car designs. With such a devoted approach to each product, it comes as no surprise that customers include celebrities and members of royalty worldwide.
It is this exact and precise approach that makes Deakin & Francis stand out from other jewelers and cufflink makers on the market today. They use new materials like pure gold and silver, as opposed to recycled metals to keep impurities away. Every stage is managed by hand by workers in the 15 team Birmingham based headquarters, where machinery dates back to the early 1900s. Each piece feels and looks special and unique which is why customers keep coming back and there are plans to open stand alone stores in the future (they are currently sold in Harrods and Selfridges in the UK and Barneys in New York). The designers will also work with clients to produce any design that they want, that is if they cannot already find what they want from the current, vast collection:
To find out more about the worlds finest cufflinks head to Deakin & Francis
Images courtesy of Deakin & Francis and Photographer Luke Carby