Enjoyed @Discovery’s #SharkWeek ? These

Enjoyed @Discovery’s #SharkWeek ? These opening and closing shark head cufflinks are ideal for shark lovers! http://ow.ly/i/2PHa2

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Showing our support for another fine Eng

Showing our support for another fine English summer of #sport! http://ow.ly/i/2o64x #England #UK #SummerSport

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The History of Hand Engraving

Today a piece of engraved jewellery or a piece of decorative home ware is a thoughtful gift, a reminder of a memorable event and engraving is a common practice amongst jewellers in the UK and across the world.

The skills required for this intricate craft have been passed down throughout the ages and there are associations dedicated to preserving the specialist tradition of hand engraving.
The practice of engraving has been around for hundreds of thousands of years and some of the earliest examples can be found in etchings upon cave walls and rocks showing our ancestors as they hunt for food. In Greece and Egypt, cameos (carvings into gemstones) have been found depicting ancient leaders, dating back to the time of Christ,

Traditionally, engraving was used as a way to signify wealth and decorate items, with metal engraving being developed in the 5th century BC. This type of metal engraving became increasingly popular in the 15th century when it was used to engrave coats of armour and shields with family crests.

The engraving of signet rings was also very popular and has become a lasting tradition amongst jewellers. It was common for the wearer of the signet to have their family crest engraved in reverse on the front of the ring, known as seal engraving. This meant that when the ring was pressed into the wax seal of an envelope it would show the crest, thus confirming the sender’s identity. Seal engraving today serves to provide a link between modern generations and their family ancestry with signet rings still being a firm favourite of men’s jewellery.

Here at Deakin & Francis all of our engraved cufflinks and signet rings are done by hand, using the same tools and methods passed down from the early days. So why not say something special this Christmas with a personalised gift that can be handed down throughout the generations of your family. With a ‘Design Your Own’ feature and an engraving service available online we have the perfect gift for any passion or personality this Christmas.

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Spirit of Christmas Fair, Olympia London.

Enjoy an exceptional Christmas shopping experience at Spirit of Christmas Fair, 30 October – 4 November 2012 at Olympia, London. You’ll discover a hand-picked collection of beautiful and unique gifts that you simply won’t find on the high street. From gorgeous fashion accessories, stunning interior decorations, beautiful children’s clothing, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Venture into The Food Hall and discover a mouth-watering selection of fine food and wine from artisan producers, all selected for their distinct specialist qualities.

Deakin & Francis are exhibiting on stand G39 and with over 2000 cufflink designs we have cufflinks for every passion and personality. Made from precious metals incorporating fine gemstones and vitreous enamel our cufflinks are the perfect gift to give this Christmas.

Why not design your own cufflinks? Our hand engraving service is free on orders placed at Spirit of Christmas Fair, of two or more pairs! Personalise your cufflinks for a memorable gift this Christmas. You can also create your own cufflinks with our vitreous enamel designs. Choose the design, the colours and the back fitting to create your own unique cufflinks. Prices start from £205 per pair.

Or buy from Deakin & Francis’ New Range of Leather Accessories. Deakin & Francis leather accessories are made using England’s finest bridle leather, which is tanned and handcrafted into luxurious accessories. The hand finished leather accessories are fitted with a stamped sterling silver enamel disc and branded with the Deakin & Francis logo. The Deakin & Francis leather accessories will quickly become an essential part of your everyday attire.

So if you’re looking for something to do this weekend, why not visit us at Spirit of Christmas Fair!


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Dress Like James Bond

The latest Bond film, Skyfall, is released this month and in it we see Daniel Craig journey to China’s capital Shanghai. Aston Martin has just opened its first dealership in Shanghai, so we are expecting to see the sharp suits, fast cars and beautiful women we’ve come to expect from Mr Bond.

Talking of suits, we’re wondering if we’ll see any classy cufflinks on display in the latest film. If the producers ever get stuck for ideas we’ve helpfully listed some appropriate cufflinks that 007 could have worn throughout the films.

  •    Jamaica, the setting of Dr No featuring Sean Connery, and home to tropical fruits such as bananas and pineapples. We have the ideal cufflinks to make James feel right at home.
  •     In 1971, we saw Bond in the extravagant surroundings of Las Vegas in the film Diamonds are Forever. Diamond cuff links are the obvious choice here along with these ‘Road to Ruin’ cufflinks for chaps who should know better…
  •    For 007’s latest escapades in China, why not honour an animal native to the country and don these panda cufflinks? They’d go well with Bond’s black tie ensemble.
  •    Of course we couldn’t forget old Blighty in this list! Bond’s home and the country he protects on his many missions abroad. We have a variety of British cufflinks and think these handmade Union Jack cufflinks would do a great job of cheering him up when he gets home sick.

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Sky Dives, Ice Creams, Cufflinks and other World Records

Over the weekend, millions of people tuned in world wide to see Fearless Felix Baumgartner sky dive from a height of more than 128,000ft. Risking his life Baumgartner managed to break three world records: the highest freefall jump, the fastest freefall speed and the highest balloon flight by a human. He is also the first man to break the sound barrier.

There are many world records from the death defying to the unusual to the downright crazy. Here are some of our favourite and strangest;

  •     The record set by Dan Abbate for the largest hotdog commercially available is The Big Hot Dog which weighs 7 lb and measures 16 in long and 4 in in diameter.
  • The most expensive pair of cufflinks sold and recorded was in 1996. Sold to Michael Jackson, the cufflinks were made from diamonds and sapphires set in platinum and 18-carat gold and went for £23,850.
  •    In April 2011, Charlotte Lee won the record for the largest collection of rubber ducks, she has 5,631 different rubber ducks!
  •     World records can also be broken by our furry friends, in 2003 Augie, a golden retriever owned by the Miller family in Dallas, collected and held five tennis balls in his mouth!
  •    The heaviest motor cycle ever recorded was the Harzer Bike Schmiede, built by Tilo and Wilfried Niebel of Zilly, Germany. It weighs a scary 4.749 tonnes.
  •    The smallest living horse recorded in 2006, is a miniature sorrel brown mare who measures 17.5 in to the withers and is called Thumbelina.

We think it’s also possible that we hold a world record… the record for the most cufflink designs created by one company!

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Funky or Formal?

A friend of mine recently announced his engagement and a rather formal dinner party was held to celebrate the occasion. While the party was a wonderful mix of fine champagne and delicious food accompanied by a talented pianist, the invite did bring up a few problems of the sartorial kind. It simply stated black tie, which whilst appropriate for many occasions is also quite restrictive.
My friends and I wanted to acknowledge the fact that soon we would be losing one of our own, once married he would no longer be free to rampage around with us unmarried scoundrels. He was swapping late night drinks for weekends of choosing wallpaper or whatever it is married couples do…

We also wanted to avoid turning up looking like the groom-to-be’s 90-year-old great-grandfather, whilst a nice chap he is not one to ask for style tips.

Luckily I had the perfect solution…cufflinks!

At the engagement party we presented my pal with these silver drinking monkey cufflinks engraved with the date and his initials. The six of us also had matching cufflinks of our own! The plan is to wear the cufflinks to the stag party and again at the wedding in the hope that they serve as a reminder to the groom of his life before marriage (the drinking!) and also to remind him of all of the stages of his wedding, which I’m sure will be the best time of his life.

If you are attending a black tie event here are some tips to bear in mind:

  • Always wear a bow tie with your dinner jacket! This is one of the few occasions where a bow tie is actually called for so make the most of it.
  • Where possible opt for a double-breasted tuxedo to look more refined than wearing a single breasted.
  • Always wear black shoes and make sure they are polished!
  • The devil is in the detail so remember to include a pocket square in your ensemble.
  • Add the finishing touches with your signature cufflinks, this is where you have the freedom to express your individual tastes. If you are a keen golfer why not choose a pair of golf ball cufflinks? Or perhaps you’re dressing to impress with these white gold onyx & diamond cuff links.

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Proverbs and Idioms: One man’s excuse is another man’s truth.

Waking up to dark mornings can be disheartening but the thing that always manages to lure me away from the comfort of my bed and into the cold autumn air outside is one of my grandfather’s favourite sayings, “The early bird always catches the worm”.

It reminds me that all of the hard work and early mornings I put myself through now will ultimately result in a big, juicy worm… To put it a better way, my worm is successfully maintaining a business that I can look back upon with a sense of pride. I’m also hoping for an early retirement, of course.

I’ve realised that my grandfather, through the repetition of this proverb, was communicating his life experiences and wisdom to me, all in this one simple saying. “Work hard and be prepared, son,” he was saying, “and you’ll follow in my footsteps, just like I followed the footsteps of my father and his father before him”. Either that or he really liked catching worms…

By definition a proverb is ‘A short memorable and often highly condensed saying embodying…some commonplace fact or experience” Proverbs exist in every language and culture. Some easily recognisable such as, “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush”, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” and “Never look a gift horse in the mouth” and some lesser known, such as the Finnish proverb “Even a small star shines in the darkness”.

It seems that the older generations still like to use idioms and proverbs, I remember my Great Aunt saying that she had only ever found frogs and never the prince! I sometimes wonder if it is going out of fashion with the younger people, it’s not often you hear these short ‘embodiments of truth’ in today’s conversations.

I often think about bringing them back, but I think relating the tale of the tortoise and the hare to explain my ‘slow and steady wins the race’ approach to completing paper work wouldn’t quite cut the mustard.

Although I did manage to pull the rabbit out of the hat whilst stuck between a rock and a hard place recently. My girlfriend accused me of complaining too much and I told her, “A problem shared is a problem halved”…you just can’t argue with facts.

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The Crown and Anchor

Since 1786, every piece of jewellery or silverware that has been manufactured in the Deakin & Francis workshops has been stamped with the mark of the Birmingham Assay office. A legal requirement, assaying is one of the earliest forms of consumer protection and was created by Edward I to protect the public from dishonest traders.

Many people wonder why Birmingham was given the mark of the anchor, as it is not a costal region, nor does it have any obvious links with sailing.  The answer to this lies in the story of Matthew Boutlon’s battle to establish a new assay office for the traders of Birmingham.

Boulton quickly realised that without its own assay office, the silversmith trade of Birmingham would diminish, unable to compete with the silversmiths and goldsmiths of London. With the aid of traders, locals and influential MP’s, Boulton set to work lobbying Parliament to build an assaying office in Birmingham.
Boulton faced severe opposition from The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths who objected to a new assay office in Birmingham just as they were campaigning against a new office in Sheffield.

In 1773, the Worshipful Company of Cutlers of Hallamshire, the applicants for the assay office in Sheffield, approached Matthew Boulton convincing him that by working together they could defeat their opponents, the Goldsmiths’  Company.

It is believed that during his many visits to London whilst lobbying Parliament, Boulton stayed in a pub not far from Goldsmiths Hall. Here he met with members of the Cutlers of Hallamshire where, close to their opponents, they would plan their campaigns.
Eventually both the Cutlers of Hallamshire and Boulton won their campaigns to establish assaying offices in their respective locations. Sheffield was given the mark of the Crown and Birmingham the mark of the Anchor. The pub used for the meetings of both parties was called the Crown and Anchor.

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All’s Fair in Love & Golf…How to Play Golf Like A Gentleman.

It was a wonderful weekend for a spot of golf with the chaps, the sun was shining, there was a slight breeze in the air and we were long over due a good sporting competition. It was time to sort the men from the boys, the amateurs from the Tiger Woods’ amongst us.
The day started out with plenty of laughs and good-natured humour, joking about one another’s choice of clubs and caddies. However, with the chaps being competitive sorts our light-hearted game quickly escalated into an all out war on the golfing green.
Having the lowest handicap of the group, I knew that I’d have to fend off some tough competition being the primary target. I kept my place, remaining below par through the early stages of the game and feeling quite pleased with myself.
That was until they resorted to cheating, deliberately talking as I was trying to take my shot and walking across my line.
With the Ryder Cup approaching I have complied this basic list of golf etiquette tips.

  •     Don’t move or talk whilst somebody in your group is about to take their hit.
  •     Don’t walk in front of another golfers line as he is hitting the ball.
  •    Don’t take your shot if there are still other players within range.
  •     Repair any ball marks, rake the bunkers and replace divots.
  •    Always be respectful of the rules and regulations of the gold course that you are playing on.
  •     And a golden rule for golf spectators and players- never talk on a mobile phone!

Finally, if one of your friends is a particularly bad player with a particularly bad temper try not to make jokes about his putts being afraid of the dark. It could result in broken golf clubs…

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