Mappin & Webb has long been associated with timeless elegance and beautiful craftsmanship. In 1775, at the age of 18, Jonathan Mappin started a small cutlery workshop in Sheffield. Within a year the first Mappin hallmark was recorded at the assay office and in 1780 Jonathan Mappin was given the Freedom of the Cutlers Company.
Jonathan Mappin’s son Joseph followed him into the business and was also a Freeman. His grandson also called Joseph followed suit. But it was under his four great-grandsons, who incorporated the business as Mappin Brothers Ltd, in the middle of the 19th Century that the significant expansion began.
In 1849, Joseph Mappin opened his first eponymous London showroom at 15 Fore Street. Shortly afterwards the eldest brother was knighted, becoming Sir William Mappin but as the business grew the brothers each took a different path. ??Sir William Mappin left in 1859, to become the senior partner at Thomas Turton & Sons’ steel mill, and gave his share of Mappin Brothers to the other three.
In 1860, John Mappin, the youngest at 22 years old, broke away from Mappin Brothers and started his business Mappin & Company opening the first Mappin store in 1860 at 77-78 Oxford Street, London. John Mappin was joined in the new adventure two years later by his brother-in-law George Webb.?? In 1864, Mappin, Webb & Co was formed, the very year that George Webb was to die.
Mappin & Webb Ltd was first recorded in 1889, and at this stage the business was focused on manufacturing based in Sheffield.?? Meanwhile, Mappin Brothers Ltd had remained with the middle brothers, Joseph and Edward. As the British Empire grew they had grown with it, with stores being opened worldwide. They were succeeded by Edward’s son Charles Mappin, who eventually sold the business in 1884. Over the next ten years, the new owners seem to have struggled with finding a direction and ultimately failed.
In 1903, John Mappin acquired the original London retail business, Mappin Brothers. From 1899, the Company was known as ‘Mappin & Webb Ltd incorporating Mappin Brothers’. The double named business is evident in some of the old photographs from this era that show both Mappin and Mappin & Webb names on shop exteriors.?? After a brief spell in the Asprey Garrard group today the company forms part of the successful, privately owned retail group Aurum Holdings Ltd. The brand continues to be known worldwide for its classic silverware and as a stockist of high-end watch brands, but it is through its fine jewellery that the renaissance is being driven.
The relationship with the monarchy began in the late 19th Century. It was formalised when Queen Victoria first granted a royal warrant to Mappin & Webb as silversmiths, in 1897, the year of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.
Mappin & Webb has held a royal warrant as silversmiths to each of the five subsequent sovereigns and today holds a Royal Warrant as Silversmiths to The Queen and The Prince of Wales.
“We are privileged to confirm that Mappin & Webb has been appointed Jewellers, Goldsmiths & Silversmiths to Her Majesty The Queen,” said chief executive Brian Duffy.
“This new appointment further enhances our position in the luxury market. We are honoured to be part of a company that serves the British Royal Family and household.”
The company’s longstanding royal connection was further cemented by the appointment of Mappin & Webb’s master craftsman in 2012, to the position of Crown Jeweller. The Crown Jeweller is the custodian of the Crown Jewels and handles preparing them for the State Opening of Parliament and other state occasions. The appointment of Mappin & Webb’s craftsman to the role of Crown Jeweller is a great honour for this truly English brand.
A Royal Warrant of Appointment is a mark of recognition of those who have supplied goods or services to the Households of The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh or The Prince of Wales for at least five years, and who have an ongoing trading arrangement.
The Monarch decides who may grant Royal Warrants. These are known as the Grantors: HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales.
The Royal Warrant is the document that appoints the company in its trading capacity and is granted to a named individual, known as the Grantee. The Warrant gives the Grantee permission, and responsibility, for the display of the relevant Royal Arms in connection with the business.
Today there are around 800 Royal Warrant holders representing an enormous cross-section of trade and industry, from individual tradespeople to global multi-nationals. They are united by a commitment to the highest standards of service, quality and excellence. Almost all Warrant holders are members of The Royal Warrant Holders Association.
Photo credit: Gryffindor