So welcome to my Mayfair. For this quantum leap, let’s ignore the sometimes fictional history and concentrate on the permanently fantastical present. I am a jeweller. I will talk a great deal about my trade but, for the time being, let’s concentrate on generalities. After university, I worked in my family business selling diamonds and then set up a jewellery division. Meanwhile, my brother topped his year at design school and won the UK’s best designer award. His art increasingly became digital. Sadly for him, but most fortuitously for me, he stumbled, ten years before its birth in public consciousness, into a new manufacturing process called 3D printing. It was far too expensive to print a piece of furniture way back when but, he thought, a teeny weeny bit of jewellery could be far less. Thank goodness, his adoring family were there for him. His gift. My gab. GUY&MAX was born. It had only taken us over thirty years to figure it out but, I’m guessing that after you have finished reading my missives, the reasons for this delay will become clear.
Like many wonderful new ideas, it was shunned from the off. We didn’t actually tell our clients that he was creating heirlooms for the future by painstakingly designing them, amalgamating softwares ranging from architectural to movie animation, on a computer before pressing the ‘print’ button. It was just too difficult to explain back then. I barely understood and was selling it. We put our case to The Goldsmiths’ in their award scheme but were rejected because we did not make the jewellery by hand. It is testament to my brother’s incredible vision that, fifteen years later, most jewellers, top brands and trade artisans, including the applicants of the competitions organised by one of the oldest, and certainly the richest, City Guilds, now use these basic technologies to lesser or greater degrees.
But that misses the point. Technology moves so fast that, before you know it, there is an App for that. Any jeweller can now buy the process to create and recreate ad infinitum. The difference is vision. Max still does not use the jewellery software for sale on the market. Every GUY&MAX patron, whether within the globalised community of Mayfair or the big bad world beyond, is ensured that every piece is designed personally for that peculiar or particular individual’s stone choices, the complimentary metal tone for his or her skin, a realistic and comfortable budget, plus the practical necessity versus damn right flamboyance that makes a piece of jewellery incredible. The time taken to choose the perfect gems, code them on a computer, render the virtual perfection on an email, to model and 3D print, to model and 3D print, to model and 3D print, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, again and again and again, until the resin resembles the conceived reality of the commissioning dreamer, committing to the agreed fine metal medium, before, finally, making, setting and polishing, is painstakingly long. Like the last sentence.
I am a hopeless romantic. This business therefore serves me pretty bloody well. I sit, every day, talking to very happy people about the way they wish to celebrate the most important milestones in their lives, through the timeless perfection of jewellery. Think about it. When some emperor, pharaoh, tribesman or princess is exhumed, it is their jewellery that survives. Their togas, skirts, thongs and gowns have usually long since perished, shrivelled to dust like the skin and bones that supported then for a brief period in history and the tombs that housed them for slightly longer. But gold! But jewels! They usually survive. In a state of perfect animation, the metal that does not rust and the gems that glow for eternity live on and on. So, maybe that is our own legacy. An intricately stamped hallmark, an English taxation requisite since around the time of Magna Carta, that proclaims that the jewel was made in London during the early twenty first century, which bears the initials GB or GBS, is translated into ant language, after their colonisation of the previously human run world in a couple of thousand years time, as one of the great pioneering moments in the digital age. Now, that would be amazing.