Portrait by Inès Elsa Dalal

Martin has early memories of being part of a ‘jewellery family’; he used to visit his family’s jewellery business at weekends from the age of 7 and remembers working there during the summer holidays.

After leaving school, Martin went to London and worked for Watches of Switzerland from 1984. He returned to work in Birmingham at Mayfair Jewellery and then at his family’s factory on Frederick Street. Despite being a successful company, exemplified by their repairing of the famous Ryder Cup, the business declined in the early 2000s due to the growth of outsourcing to the Far East. Martin and his brother Grant began investing in property instead of jewellery and closed EL Chaplain and Co. in 2005. They were very sad to see how the business and manufacturing trade had declined over a relatively short period.

Since I can remember, I’ve got memories of being in a jewellery family. Even when I was seven years old, I was being taken in while my dad was polishing rings, I’d be sitting beside him, helping him, spinning rings from a very young age and that was when we had the factory in Hylton Street. It’s really been the background to my life, always, pretty much until 2005 when I came out of the jewellery trade.

– Martin Chaplain

Listen to Martin

Martin talks about when his company repaired the Ryder Cup