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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I'm hoping to buy myself a couple of pairs of cufflinks in London in the next fortnight or so and would like the advice of some of the members here as to which shops I should consider visiting. One pair of links will be sterling silver with enamel, the other will be 9ct or 18ct gold with a small decorative border ready to be engraved. Both will be classic ovals with chain fixtures between the plates.

The shops on my list so far are:

Bentley and Skinner
Bruford and Heming
Armour Winston
Richard Ogden
MP Levene
Susannah Lovis

I think I will buy the enamel links from either Bruford and Heming or Susannah Lovis but the gold links are my real concern. As always I shall only be considering links made in England or Scotland and would prefer to buy them from a company with its own workrooms for hand engraving and one that uses its own sponsor's mark rather than simply retailing a product made elsewhere at a huge mark-up. The sponsor's mark means that they have to have taken responsibility for the assaying of the item and shows a little pride in the merchandise that they sell in my opinion.

All of the above firms seem to have suitable links within my price range (either new or vintage/pre-owned) but are there any other London jewellers that I have left out? Asprey, Garrard, Hamilton and Inches and Michael Rose all come in above my budget and so are not included here for that reason but I'm hoping some members here might know of some lovely jewellers off of the beaten track that could be worth a visit.

All help gratefully received as always,
Thanks very much,
Chris.
 

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Of the jewelers listed, I've only dealt with Levene . . .

. . . whom I found entirely satisfactory.

Levene carries a full line of links from Deakin and Francis, who supplies most of the London jewelers with their links (despite what name is on the box), and I have found their prices to be fairer than those jewelers located in the Burlington Arcade.

Best of luck in your search.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello,

Thanks for your reply. Yes I was aware of the fact that between them Deakin & Francis, the London Badge & Button Co. and Alabaster & Wilson make for virtually every jeweller of note in the city. Bentley and Skinner do seem to be something of an exception, though, as their links carry the London assay mark rather than the Birmingham one used by the three companies mentioned above. This may just be due to their insistence on using their own sponsor's mark, though.
I know that many of Longmire's links are made by A&W but also plenty of others are made overseas. That rules them out for me and the eye-watering prices don't help either!

Thanks again for your input,
Chris.
 

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^^^^^ +1 for Levene, excellent service and product.
 

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Chris, based on what you said, I do not think that you really need additional options, but in case you want to be extra thorough, you may wish to contact the British Jewellers Association in Birmingham, cf., www.bja.org.uk. They are a trade association representing British jewellery suppliers. The only caveat is that, as I said, they represent suppliers rather than retailers who are represented by, amongst others, the National Association of Goldsmiths, cf., www.jewellers-online.org, and may sell both British and foreign makes.

On the matter of engraving, I can appreciate your wish to deal with someone who has an in-house hand engraver, but I think that this particular requirement unnecessarily narrows down your options without necessarily gaining anything other than, of course, narrowing down your choices.

On a trivial note, I would not read too much into whether the item was assayed in Birmingham or London. There are people in London who routinely send their goods up to the Birmingham Assay Office simply because the London Assay Office can suffer a long delay caused by a seasonal surge in imports or the perception, rightly or wrongly, that Birmingham misplaces fewer submissions than London.

Photos at a later date?

Happy hunting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello,
Thanks to all of you who have replied to the thread so far.

PJC- I am a very happy and established Benson and Clegg customer and have a couple of pairs of links from them already. Unfortunately they do not have exactly what I want on this occasion- I do have a couple of very specific enamel designs in mind- but thank you anyway.

misterdonuts- thank you very much for your detailed reply. I just prefer to shop at firms who provide an all in one service and do not farm their work out elsewhere. If a firm cares enough to employ their own exclusive engraver then I feel that speaks volumes about the sort of company they are likely to be. It also means that they have total control over the quality of their work which is also very important of course.
I certainly take your point about assay marks- I know they are far from an exact way of judging the manufacturer of a specific item. I will also look in to the trade links that you supplied. Thank you again.

I wasn't really sure whether it was worth making the extra journey to MP Levene or not. I knew that they had a big selection of D&F and A&W links but, given that all of the other jewellers on my list are grouped together very nicely and given that Levene's are certainly not appreciably cheaper than most of the others, it seemed like an extra journey with little prospect of a major reward. However given the recommendations they have received I shall now be paying them a visit.

Thanks again everyone and I will let you know what I decide upon in the end. Photos won't be a possiblity though I'm afraid as I don't own a digital camera!

Chris.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello again,
Just a quick update for anyone who might be interested.

I contacted or visited all of the shops on my initial list and, although all seemed to be excellent, a visit to Bentley and Skinner put them right at the top of the pile as far as I was concerned. Their chain links are made on site in their own workshop and not in a factory, the engraving fee was to be over £100 but was promptly waived by the salesman and, as you might have guessed given the last comment, the service was exceptional. The engraving should be finished by Thursday and then the links will be posted to my home address- again totally free of charge.
Bentley and Skinner now join my elite list of companies that I feel have offered me exceptional service and I can't recommend them highly enough. I really was treated like royalty.

Thanks for all the help offered by the posters in this thread. I explored all of my options carefully and am very satisfied with the outcome so far. I shall be looking again at the end of the month in order to try and find a pair of suitable enamel links.

Chris.
 
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