Bling Bling - coming through
Your guarantee of cycling quality for the better part of a hundred and sixty years, in 2022 the Pearson rose head badge is set to get a glamorous makeover.
At Pearson, you might say we have a thing about heritage. It’s hard not to, when you’re the world’s oldest bike company and run by the fifth consecutive generation. The downside is that, while lots of organisations bang on about their history and provenance, finding yourself among fellow travellers is far from a common experience. Less common still, is the feeling of being completely outgunned. Based in the City of London, the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office has been the world’s leading organisation for the hallmarking of precious metals since the 14th century. (But, hey, who’s counting?)
The ‘London Assay Office’, as it’s better known, is also the location for the final stage of production for a very special Pearson product, due to arrive next year. But first, some background. W&W Jewellery is a bespoke jewellery business run by brothers Richard and Simon Warrender. Good friends of Pearson, they were once neighbours, too. Their grandfather, Stanley, started the Warrender family business in 1947, later moving to Sutton where our own founder, Tom Pearson, opened the world’s first bicycle store, in 1860.
Before Richard and Simon took charge, their father, Frank Warrender, ran the business with his brother, John. While they clearly believe in continuity as much as we do, they’re just as aware of the need to adapt or die (to paraphrase Charles Darwin). Or at least adapt to secure the future of the business (to paraphrase Deborah Meaden). Just as Pearson would eventually relocate to Pearson Performance, our state-of-the-art premises in East Sheen, so the Warrender boys, opened a boutique store in Battersea, in 2011.
Much like Pearson, they used this new development to put the knowledge of previous generations to practical use. In our case, a Pearson rose head badge cast in sterling silver (oh, yes) and destined to turn heads when it adorns a new Pearson bike in early 2022.
“Pearson head badges are typically made from pewter,” explains Richard Warrender, “and Will [Pearson] got in touch to ask if it was possible to make one from a precious metal.” The answer to which, it turns out, was ‘with difficulty’. “We wanted to treat it the same way we treat a piece of our own bespoke jewellery,” Richard says, “and that meant first creating a mould, then casting the raw silver in a foundry.” Each stage of the process required specialised expertise. First, a ‘rough’ casting was prepared by W&W’s goldsmith, before being sandblasted and polished, then sent on for hallmarking to complete the process.
To date, two sample head badges have been produced, one with a matt finish, the other with a black inlay. Both were hallmarked in the London Assay Office by laser and both feature W&W markings as a guarantee of provenance. “Hallmarking precious metals is the oldest form of consumer protection in the world,” Richard explains. “It’s a way to prove the quality of what you’re buying,” Richard says. “In the case of silver, it has to be 925 parts silver for every 1,000 parts metal.”
“There were lots of hoops to jump through,” Richard continues, “although we believe this improves the quality of the product.” Essentially, what you’re getting is a piece of extremely fine bike jewellery. “We’ve polished the head badges to same standard we would a bespoke engagement ring,” Richard adds. “We haven’t altered our approach, because we wanted to create a piece of work we were proud of.”
In keeping with Pearson’s design philosophy, sustainability was a key factor. “Silver and gold are refined metals,” explains Richard, “and the majority of them are recycled.” W&W are always keen to apply their jewellery expertise to ‘non-jewellery’ situations, Richard says, adding that previous projects have included pieces for the automotive industry. “It might also be possible to cast the Pearson head badges in platinum,” Richard says, “which as a pure white metal would look great on steel-framed bike.” Gold is an option, too, he adds, “if you’re after something a bit more bling”.
The Pearson Silver Head Badge will be available in 2022 please contact email@example.com for preorder.
For commissions, or more information on W&W’s bespoke jewellery visit wandwjewellery.com
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