Grant Macdonald, the official silversmith for Aston Martin, uses processes both old and new to create luxury pieces worthy of 007.
The luxury carmaker Aston Martin is renowned for combining traditional craftsmanship with modern technology. Nobody understands this better than silversmith Grant Macdonald who is a pioneer in using high-tech processes like Rapid Prototyping and 3D technology as well as traditional silversmith techniques from chasing to forging.
Grant Macdonald has been Aston Martin’s official silversmith since 2011 and, so far, his company’s work has resulted in ‘The Aston Martin Collection’ an exclusive homeware and gift range that’s included a polished sterling silver, carbon fibre champagne cooler inspired by the air vent of the One-77, priced at a staggering £19,400.
To celebrate the release of the new 007 film ‘Spectre’, Grant Macdonald and Aston Martin have launched two exclusive products – a limited edition model of the first ‘Bond car’ the DB5 as seen in Goldfinger in 1964 and a set of silver Martini glasses. Head to Harrods or the Grant Macdonald website to purchase.
Grant’s studio, the home of his business for the last 38 years, is hidden behind an unassuming door in Southwark. It’s here his team design and create their luxury products and is a place I was lucky enough to visit to discover how the process works.
I saw how the first step in modern day silversmithing is to turn initial sketches into a 3D model resin prototype using RP machines and 3D printers. ‘We want to harness new technology and 3D printing prototypes allow us to take the design process to the next level,’ says Grant.
Casting & Workshop
The next stage is to cast the 3D resin prototype in silver. Andy is the ‘casting’ expert here, using a master pattern to mould the silver beads with wax and intense heat. I then visited Mark the workshop manager who oversees the filing and forging stages and had the opportunity to work on a small key ring to take home.
One of the most intricate and traditional processes that silversmithing is known for is its chasing technique. Chris is the ‘chaser’ who creates the intricate designs on silver by hand using a ‘snarling iron. ‘I once hand chased a feather, which took me 3 weeks to finish,’ he said.
One of the last processes the final silver product goes through is the polishing. Grant explains how the Aston Martin champagne cooler took 60 hours to create and 10 hours to polish.
As I left with my cast, filed, forged and polished key ring in hand, I couldn’t help but feel amazed by my glimpse into this highly skilled industry.
For further information visit: grantmacdonald.com