There are two companies in the area that have been issued with Royal Warrants by the Queen, the jewellers G Collins & Sons on the High Street and Connolly Brothers, ‘curriers’ or leather workers in Cranbrook.
The warrants are ‘granted’ permission and responsibility to display the Royal Arms, and there are around 800 in total. These include giants such as Waitrose and Xerox, but the majority are from more specialist suppliers to the households of the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales.
The honour has been bestowed by the Lord Chamberlain since the 15th century, when traders vied for the attentions of the itinerant monarchy.
The Connolly Brothers’ leather work would fit comfortably into luxurious surroundings. Established in 1878, they have covered the benches of the Houses of Lords and Commons and the seating on the Queen Elizabeth, Mary and QE2, in Concorde and at the Ritz and Dorchester hotels. They also furnished the first Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, Ferrari and Aston Martin cars.
Harry Collins’ renowned jewellers can boast an even more intimate relationship to the royals. His family business was appointed personal jeweller to the Queen in 2000 and then Crown Jeweller seven years later, which handed them responsibility for the upkeep of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.
They care for the Queen’s private collection, which consists of more than 300 items worth around £35million. The company also create original items including pear-shaped tanzanite and diamond pendant and earrings crafted to match the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring.
In 2012 G Collins and Sons were honoured with the commission to recreate the crown of Henry VIII, which was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in 1649. Using Tudor methods including hand-twisted gold wire, the crown was covered with 344 rubies, sapphires and pearls. The work is displayed at the king’s former palace at Hampton Court and bears the legend ‘Made by Harry Collins’.