The popular conception of the wedding ring as a simple band of gold may soon be no more. Automatic machinery using diamond tooling is today making available attractively patterned wedding rings at prices within the reach of all. Many of the patterns are so intricate that it would be virtually impossible to reproduce them by hand, and those that could be hand produced would be uneconomical to manufacture for the mass market, and be of inferior finish.
One firm of manufacturing jewellers contributing to this new trend is S. Blanckensee & Son (London) Ltd, founded in 1826, but today amongst the most progressive firms in the industry. The firm was founded by Solomon Blanckensee, originally a general merchant who set up a specialist service supplying finished jewellery and silver plate to the retail trade. By 1939, the firm had become one of the largest distributors in the country. During the war, the firm turned to production engineering with considerable success and after the war continued to specialize in this field. In 1952 the jewellery manufacturing side of the business, consisting of S. Blanckensee & Son and their associated company the Albion Chain Company, was acquired by Mr E. W. Podolsky. Today, E. Podolsky & Co Ltd is the holding company for the group, whilst the Albion Chain Co Ltd (in the early 1900’s one of the first companies in this country to install machinery for the manufacture of fine gold chain) is the selling agency for the products of S. Blanckensee.
Three years ago, Blanckensee’s decided to experiment with the production of pattern jewellery in quantity ; and a Sixis milling machine, adapted by the makers for diamond cutting, was installed. Although the results were most satisfactory, the Sixis was limited in capability and output, and last September, a more advanced Swiss diamond cutting miller, the Tous Diamant, manufactured by Meyrat and Luisoni to Blanckensee’s exact requirements, was installed. With it, extremely complex highly-finished patterns can be cut at very high speed on a wide range of gold jewellery, ranging from wedding and signet rings and bracelets, to cuff-links, tie-tacks and watch cases. For example, a complex multi-faceted pattern can be cut into a man’s gold ring in a little over two minutes with just one pass of the diamond tool; on a long continuous run, the Tous Diamant will cut over twenty dozen rings in a day. The number of designs that can be produced is virtually unlimited and already several hundred different patterns have been used. (They are worked out on copper blanks before the actual cutting of gold takes place.)
The present managing director of the group is Mr Paul Podolsky, who in addition to his other responsibilities, designs many of the pieces of jewellery that his group manufactures and sells. In the recent De Beers’ diamond engagement ring competition, two of his designs were awarded a first prize and a commended certificate. Mr Podolsky’s progressive attitude to jewellery manufacture has resulted in a considerable increase in the output and size of his companies; so much so that next year the three companies and their staff of fifty will be moving from their present quarters in London’s Clerkenwell Road into a new and considerably larger building in Benjamin Street.
Appropriately, diamonds, both gem and industrial, will have contributed to this success story for Mr Podolsky and his companies.
Source: Industrial Diamond Review - July 1964