Garrard & Co
|Type||Privately held company|
|Fate||demerged from Asprey (2002)|
|Predecessors||Asprey & Garrard Limited|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
Garrard & Co. Limited formerly Asprey & Garrard Limited designs and manufactures luxury jewellery and silver. George Wickes founded Garrard in London in 1735. Garrard is headquartered at Albemarle Street in Mayfair, London. Garrard also has a presence in Harrods, London, Geneva, Lebanon, Qatar Dubai, Moscow and Hong Kong. Garrard was the Crown Jeweller of the UK, charged with the upkeep of the British Crown Jewels, from 1843 to 2007.
The company that was to become Garrard was founded by George Wickes (1698–1761), who entered his mark in Goldsmiths' Hall in 1722. Wickes set up business in Threadneedle Street in the City of London in 1722; the company moved to Panton Street off Haymarket in central London in 1735 as a goldsmith and provider of jewellery and other luxury items to aristocratic patrons. Wickes was an accomplished silversmith known for his work in the rococo style, and gained the patronage of Frederick, Prince of Wales. Two apprentices of Wickes, John Parker and Edward Wakelin, purchased the company following Wickes' retirement in 1760, replaced by John Wakelin and William Taylor in 1776. Following the death of William Taylor, Robert Garrard became a partner in the company in 1792. Garrard took sole control of the firm in 1802, with his sons Robert Garrard II, James and Sebastian succeeding him in running the company, trading as R., J., & S. Garrard (or Robert Garrard & Brothers) until James' retirement in 1835, when the company became R & S Garrard. The company remained in the hands of the Garrard family until the death of Sebastian Henry Garrard, great-grandson of Robert Garrard senior, in 1946. The name Garrard & Company Ltd was registered in 1909, and the company moved to new premises in Albemarle Street in central London in 1911.
In 1843, Queen Victoria appointed Garrard to the position of Crown Jewellers, leading to the production of numerous pieces of silverware and jewellery for the Royal Family, as well as the upkeep of the Crown Jewels. The company has dealt with a number of famous jewels, such as the Cullinan diamonds (including Cullinan I, "The Great Star of Africa"), and created such pieces as the Imperial Crown of India in 1911, the crown of Queen Mary for her coronation, and the Crown of Queen Elizabeth in 1937. In 1852, Garrard were given the responsibility of re-cutting the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond into a brilliant.
In 1915, Garrard & Company were asked to manufacture precision range finders for the British Artillery as they had both the craftsmen and machinery needed. In 1915, the Garrard Engineering and Manufacturing Company was created, and later became known for its record playing turntables, ceasing operations in 1992.
Garrard created the Premier League trophy.
Garrard merged with the jewellery firm Asprey in 1998 to become Asprey & Garrard, moving from 112 Regent Street to premises on New Bond Street. The company was bought by Prince Jefri Bolkiah, a younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei, in 1995 for £243m, and later acquired by private investors Lawrence Stroll and Silas Chou for an undisclosed sum in 2000. The company demerged in 2002, with Garrard returning to the Albemarle Street site it first occupied in 1911. Garrard was acquired by the US private equity firm Yucaipa Companies in 2006, ending its partnership with Asprey.
On 15 July 2007, an announcement was made in the Court Circular, under Buckingham Palace, that Garrard & Co's services as crown jeweller were no longer required, with the reason cited being that it was simply 'time for a change'. G. Collins and Sons were appointed the new Crown Jewellers although Garrard still holds a royal warrant from the Prince of Wales.
More recently, Garrard has been noted as being the maker of the sapphire engagement ring given by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge to his wife Catherine. The ring once belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales.
- Gere, C., Culme, J., and Summers, W. (1994). Garrard: The Crown Jewellers for 150 Years. London: Quartet Books. ISBN 0-7043-7055-7.
- Noon, Chris. "Billionaire Burkle Buys U.K. Crown Jeweller" Forbes, 21 March 2006, retrieved 21 November 2006.
- KOSTER, O: "Queen hires new Crown Jeweller – after 160 years of Garrard" Daily Mail, 15 July 2007
- "Royal Warrant Holders Association – Garrard & Co Ltd". Royal Warrant Holders Association. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- ;David Wilkes; Fay Schlesinger (November 2010). "A ring fit for his mother... and his love: Prince William's sapphire and diamond engagement ring for Kate". Daily Mail. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- Article on the design of Garrard's Albemarle St base
- 1998 Evening Standard article on Garrard's responsibilities for maintaining the Crown Jewels
- Article on patented diamond cuts, including Garrard's Eternal cut
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