With a history stretching continuously back to 1786, Deakin & Francis can claim to be the oldest manufacturer of cufflinks and jewellery in England. Today, it can also add ‘most playful’ to that boast.
The firm was founded in Birmingham, in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, where it remains to this day. Its headquarters occupy the same building that once housed the legendary James Watt, father of the Industrial Revolution. Over the years, the company has grown and expanded, and as of last year has a flagship store in Piccadilly Arcade, in the heart of London’s Mayfair. This fine double-fronted shop has proved to be the perfect way to commemorate an impressive heritage, while welcoming new customers to the world of Deakin & Francis.
Highly skilled techniques such as enamelling are passed down from one generation to the next
It’s a testament to Deakin & Francis’s commitment to quality and value that the firm has lasted 232 years as a family business. Through world wars and recessions, changing fashions, seasons and trends, the family has adapted to the demands of their clients to focus on what they do best – producing the finest cufflinks, jewellery and accessories possible. The current owners, brothers Henry and James Deakin, are the seventh generation to manage the firm.
The range today is remarkable for its breadth, not only in price but imagination. From traditional cufflinks in gold and lapis lazuli, to cufflinks in the shape of ladybirds with 38 moving parts that raise their wings, or skulls with masses of black hair, this is a company looking forward much more than back. And with prices ranging from £85 to over £10,000, Deakin & Francis caters for all pockets. What unites their products is a passion for craftsmanship: the company employs tools, traditions and techniques that have been passed down from one generation to the next, perfected as they go. From luxurious gold designs to classic sterling silver pieces and a beautiful, highly engineered range of base metal cufflinks, the handiwork is always exceptional.
Deakin & Francis is built on strong family values, which you sense as you walk up the stone steps into their Birmingham HQ
How do they maintain such high standards? By employing specialist craftspeople at every stage of the design and manufacturing process. Henry and James Deakin are themselves fully qualified gemologists, and James has a particular passion for cufflink design. Every piece is designed in-house so that whatever the item, every customer knows he or she is investing in an original design that has been carefully executed and beautifully delivered.
The company was built on strong family values, which you sense as you walk up the stone steps into their Birmingham HQ, the same steps trodden by their forefathers for seven generations. Speak to the brothers and you instantly feel
their energy. ‘The best lesson my father ever gave me was that there will always be someone that can make it cheaper than you, but never let them make it better,’ says Henry. ‘We still use this ethos today; we have never veered from the high standards of craftsmanship and quality that form the backbone of our heritage. It is this, together with our innovative product range and first class service that sets us apart.’
Deakin & Francis Ltd 19-21 Piccadilly Arcade London SW1 6NH +44 (0)1212 367751