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Cathy Stephens in her workshop  

Cathy was born in Welkom in South Africa and spent her early childhood in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where her Father was involved in building the towns which were springing up around the new gold mines of Southern Africa.

Her family moved to England when she was eleven and she spent her teenage years in Yorkshire.

Following her A levels she attended Loughborough College of Art where she achieved her Degree in 3 Dimensional Design. During her studies Cathy was initially captivated by the ancient art of blacksmithing. The idea of working with metal and creating things appealed to her and she was considering this, albeit unusually for a women, as a career. However another aspect of her degree introduced Cathy to finer metals and in making her first piece of jewellery as part of the course, she fell in love.

Cathy was beginning to design and make jewellery and some of her original pieces are still worn by her children. Her raw materials were funded by her father but when she ordered 18ct in green, yellow, white, and red gold instead of silver he baulked at the cost saying 'You've got savings!' and put the phone down. This was the very same gold that was used to make the ring that her daughter Pippa (who is now the General Manager of Cathy's company) now wears.

On the completion of the 4 year course Cathy started her first job in the jewellery industry at Maurice Lipkin, an engagement ring manufacturer in Birmingham, on a graduate apprenticeship. She quickly realized that she wanted to have more input into what she was making. She knew the only way to do this was to work for herself.

She then found herself back in her original situation that she experienced during her degree. She needed raw materials. This time it was Cathy’s new father in law who gave her, as a wedding present, £43 worth of Silver and the tools to transform it. Cathy’s business began on April Fool’s day in 1972, the same day that VAT came into being.Cathy began her business by designing and hand making silver jewellery during the week which her new husband Michael then sold to craft shops in and around the Lake District on the weekends. Cathy’s jewellery was immensely well received and demand was such that they decided to grow. Cathy started off with a small range of about 20 pieces in 18ct Gold set with Diamonds, Sapphires and Rubies. She attended her first trade fair at The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in London. At first no one was interested in the newest addition to the Jewellery Trade, in fact one potentially interested party remarked

‘I like your product and if you are still here in 5 years time then I will buy from you!'
Cathy replied '
'You'll be lucky! I won't be here in 5 years if no one buys from me, I've sold nothing yet!

The gentleman took a closer look at Cathy's product and declared that he thought De Beers may be interested and he would mention her to them. De Beers were in fact interested and came to Cathy's stand on the last minute of the last hour of the last day. They liked what they saw but wanted Cathy to create a whole new range that could be unique to them... For the following Wednesday. Now seeing as the day was Friday this was quite a challenge. They did not want to see drawings but a complete and finished range. Cathy had to order materials on the Friday, make the range on Saturday and Sunday and send the items to the setter to set the stones on Monday and Tuesday. Not to mention actually coming up with the totally new ideas from scratch (and paying for the materials, again!). The trade was wonderful and the magic word was DeBeers. The task was difficult but the rewards were high. Cathy was chosen to be a representative of The DeBeers Diamond Collection. Her company began to fly...

Success followed success.... On the 4th day of July in the 28th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and in the Year of Our Lord 1979 Cathy was delighted to be made a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and given the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of her work in design. This accolade allows her to drive her sheep over London Bridge and means that she cannot be arrested for over imbibing but rather can be driven home in a carriage to sleep it off. Cathy has yet to put either of these privileges to the test but is delighted to have both Freedoms.

On Cathy's 30th Birthday on October 25th 1979 her business moved to Groby where they remain today. Her new premises comprised of a brand new custom built showroom and large workshop with the latest technology of the time. The retail part of her business boomed and Cathy expanded into two new shops. The second shop was opened in Nottingham in 1990. By this time Cathy's business was focused almost entirely on retailing and with her workshop working solely for her customers.

Her workshop, where Cathy still spends most of her time, is focused on meeting the needs of each shops customer, allowing her to produce unique commissions and meet seemingly impossible deadlines. Cathy focuses on creating new and exciting ranges that are exclusive to her shops, giving her customers the individuality they have come to expect.

Cathy's business has been built up around her family with each of her 4 children being involved in the company in various ways at different times. Indeed each of the pieces on Cathy's web site is modelled by her daughters. In 2004 her eldest daughter Pippa joined the company as branch Manager. In 2008 she returned to Head Office to take over the running of the company as the General Manager.

Cathy continues to move her business forward, expanding her Groby Showroom to include a new design room in 2008 and brand new premises for her Nottingham Shop in 2009.The company continues to grow as Cathy's son in law Jonathan joins the business in 2010. Jonathan manages her shop in Nottingham city centre, on Flying Horse Walk, and also designs commissions for our customers who visit there. Always with an eye to the future whilst retaining the core 'family' values of the company, Cathy's third daughter Tiffany joined the business in 2016. Tiffany will follow in Cathy's footsteps as a goldsmith and will continue to make beautiful pieces in both her own and Cathy's style for both shops, as well as designing and making customer's unique commissions. There is no future without a past...

Cathy driving sheep across London Bridge   Cathy is seen here
exercising her right
as a freeman of
The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths
to herd sheep across London Bridge
in a fabulous day out
in September 2016.

Groby, Leicester     0116 2870041 Nottingham     0115 9410800
     
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