A link with craft tradition
The firm behind Meghan Markle’s engagement ring, Prince William’s garter star and finery the world over, has now produced some exceptional cufflinks for Boisdale, writes Timothy Barber
April 8 2020
BY TIMOTHY BARBER
When I first speak to Peter Scott by phone, he’s in West Africa – on holiday, I presume, or perhaps sourcing gemstones for his company, the artisan jeweller Cleave? The answer is much more interesting. “I’m in Sierra Leone because we’ve done work for the paramount chiefs here,” he says, referring to the country’s tribal chieftains. Cleave has made them staffs of office, replacing ones originally presented by Queen Victoria. “I realised that since many had been lost, 140 chiefdoms shared less than 30 staffs of office. And of course it was inappropriate that a country that had been independent since 1961 should have officials carting symbols with Queen Victoria’s royal coat of arms on it, so we made new ones.”
Cleave is not your average jewellery business – it has no shop, and jewellery is the very least of what it produces. Regalia, medals, insignia and finery of the most ornate and highly-crafted kind are its stock in trade, both for the British establishment – it holds Royal warrants from both the Queen and the Prince of Wales – and for governments around the world. Though it very much does do jewellery too: Cleave made the diamond engagement ring Prince Harry gave his bride, Meghan Markle.
“That was all top secret, even the guy who made the ring didn’t know,” says Scott. Other recent commissions have included an eagle-headed scabbard for the Emir of Qatar to present at Sandhurst, a baton for the king of Swaziland, and the Duke of Cambridge’s magnificent Garter Star.
To this list one may now add another name of rare eminence: Boisdale.
Cleave, whose London HQ is a stone’s throw from Boisdale of Belgravia, is producing a set of fine cufflinks, made in sterling silver and vitreous enamel, and available to patrons to buy. On one side, in red on white enamel, is the Lion Rampant, the Royal Banner of Scotland; while on the large outer side, in green enamel, is the family crest of the Macdonalds of Clanranald, the ancient Highland clan of Boisdale’s founder, Ranald Macdonald. The motto, “Dhandeon co heiragh”, is also that of the SAS: it means “Who dares wins”.
Cufflinks are a popular part of the work Cleave does on private commission, as are decorative fountain pens and bespoke jewels. “It’s applying the skills we have as medalists and insignia-makers in different ways,” says Scott, founder and managing director of Cleave, which has a hard-working studio in Sussex, while also working with London’s rich network of artisans.
The process, Scott says, is much like having a bespoke suit made: a client can be involved in every decision as an item is gradually crafted.
“People don’t necessarily want something that’s standard and commodotised,” says Scott. “This is about doing something unique.”
The cufflinks are priced at £149 per pair and available from Cleave - please call 020 7016 1499 and ask for Peter Scott