Glenn Chapman, owner of The Goldsmithy in Stony Stratford, is a gem of the jewellery world as he’s one of the last Cartier-trained apprentices left in the UK. Celebrate:MK editor Jon Boyle went along to meet him and his son, Paul, at their shop in Odell’s Yard.
They say that sometimes the old ways are the best.
This certainly rings true when it comes to making jewellery, as I discovered at The Goldsmithy traditional workshop in Stony Stratford.
The shop is a hidden gem of Milton Keynes, tucked away down the picturesque Odell’s Yard in the High Street.
In there you’ll find owner Glenn Chapman – whose expertise in the goldsmithing trade is worth its weight in gold – and his apprentice son, Paul.
Glenn has served in the goldsmithing industry since 1972 and he was the last trained Cartier London apprentice at Wright & Davies, working as a smallworker to create luxury goods such as watch cases and pens.
Goldsmithing is sadly a dying trade these days as Glenn is one of only around 20 goldsmiths of his type left in the country.
But the expertise he acquired from working for the legendary Jean-Jacques Cartier will live on as he has spent the last two years training Paul to take over the family business one day.
The pair’s passion for traditional methods is infectious as they emphasise that you won’t find anything mass-produced in The Goldsmithy, only the finest bespoke handcrafted jewellery in Milton Keynes – designed by you.
Glenn explained: “I served with some of the most brilliant goldsmiths in the world at Cartier, who worked for Russian, French and English royalty, as well as film stars.
“I’ve always had the same philosophy as Jacques Cartier, to do the best quality work you can under any circumstances – and that’s what we do.
“Mass-produced jewellery in big high street shops is usually made in moulds up to a standard, but the quality of our jewellery far exceeds that standard, which is why we guarantee our work for 25 years.”
The Goldsmithy’s slogan is ‘Your Design, Our Craftsmanship’ as you can design your own jewellery and even help out with making it if you like.
Glenn and Paul allow you to leave your own personal mark on your piece by filing and sanding it, which is what I had a go at (pictured below).
When I first sat down at the bench with the torch flickering and hand tools of every shape around me, I started off by filing my fat fingers more than the ring.
But once Glenn had corrected my grip and arm action, I soon began to feel like a pro!
Paul told me that they offer jewellery-making tuition, which would be a fabulous idea for a present as they are both so knowledgeable and it’s great fun.
The Goldsmithy also offers jewellery recycling, arthritis rings, wedding jewellery, restoration, repair, cleaning, polishing, watch repair, engraving, enamelling, stone setting and lots more.
Their work is brilliant, as you can see in the photos, and their prices are cheaper than many city centre shops too.
It seems that the old ways are ALWAYS the best.
Call 01908 565200 to book a free consultation and start your journey towards creating a beautiful bespoke piece of jewellery, or visit www.thegoldsmithy.com