Once owned by the Bishop of Ely and famous for its verdant spaces, Hatton Garden and the surrounding area has a rich and diverse history which can be glimpsed at every step along the Hatton Garden Trail, which runs until Saturday 13th June. Part of Coutts London Jewellery Week, the Trail not only provides you with an excuse to revisit the past deeds of nobles, gun makers and escapees from the law, but also offers a rare insight into the workings of some of the finest jewellery makers in the capital, many of which have been based there since the area established itself as London's jewellery quarter in the 1870s.
This week Londonist negotiated its way through the throng of excited couples picking out that all-important ring and went to investigate Adams Gold, a casting workshop that mass produces gold, silver and platinum jewellery and is offering tours of its premises for the duration of the Trail.
Welcomed into the hidden basement workshop, we were immediately hit by the smell of burnt metal and the hum of machinery, and stunned by the small size of a facility which can produce thousands of pieces per week. Our guide took us through the ring production process, which goes from an insignificant-looking rubber mould to a polished and prepared ring by way of a 'ring tree', a bizarre, Christmas tree like structure that ensures that the molten metal can move freely to each impression.
Although Adams Gold concentrate on mass production, particularly for foreign markets, they also create bespoke items by hand, and are often greeted by the sight of a new customer nervously bearing a sketch of their ideal ring upon a scrap of paper. The workshop is well worth a visit, and like all the other events on the trail it is free to enter and will be open until 6pm Saturday.
Tomorrow also brings the first Hatton Garden Festival, which will offer additional events to those already taking place along the Trail. Between 11.30 and 6pm there will be guided walks, family activities, live demonstrations, workshops, talks, musicians and a fine food market for the point at which the dazzle of precious metal becomes too overwhelming. The festival runs all the way between Holborn circus and St Cross St.
By Caroline Roddis