The Royal Jewellers S01 ep13 : McCabe-McCarty [London]

Interview with David McCarty

LONDON- David McCarty- McCabe-McCarty - London's quintessential objet d'art makers [ex-Cartier]. When i first joined the company which was 1959, Cartier were all owned by the Cartier family. Jack Cartier owned the London business and his cousins had the other two, and he was the last one to sell. He used to give me my bonus every christmas. He was lovely, great guy, Ialways thought that he was a little bit nervous and shy in some ways about us. We were in awe of him. It was sort of tweedle dum and tweedle dee really.


David McCarty

KM – What is McCabe & McCarty?

We are Goldsmiths who were formed in1973 by my late partner who
unfortunately died in 91. He was..

KM- The McCabe side?

He’s the McCabe side umm..he was an enameller and I was a Goldsmith and
we got together and just the two of us set up this company.

KM – What is it you are trying to make…..?????

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Objects of art as what we perceive to be or what the customer would like and
maybe that could be a small 18 Carat Box or they could be a helicopter, 18
carat gold helicopter. It’s a range that we can make anything for anybody in
Gold or Silver.

When you manufacture something your self and it is umm..I am a Goldsmith
myself and make it at the bench umm. It…that job becomes part of you and
you obviously put a fair part of it in and it actually becomes a bit of a bond
between you and the job.

So there is a relationship between you and the object?

Absolutely I mean you love what you do. Its almost like an artist when he
paints a picture. I mean you’ve got a job, you’re there at the beginning when
its just a drawing, you’re involved with the design of it and the you’ve got to
make it.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

KM – Are you an artist or a craftsmen


KM: Why are you doing this?

When I was at school, I wasn’t there academically but I was ???? gift for my
hands. My father was actually sort of worked as in Carters but he was a
policeman prior to that like he did all the book work and was also there for a
little bit of security..

KM: This was in London?

This was in London many years ago – This was in 1955. So he said to me you
have a natural talent with your hands and he said and I can get you into it
because it’s a little bit of a closed shop.

Jewellery Theatre Elements

When I first joined the company which was in 1959, they were all owned by
Cartiers. Jack Cartier, his cousins had the other ones and he had London and
he was the last one to sell.

KM – Did you actually meet Jack Cartier?

Yes I did. He used to give me my bonus every Christmas.

KM – Really. Was he French or English?

Oh he is French.

KM – And what was he like?

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

Oh he’s lovely. Great guy. I mean I always thought he was a little bit nervous
and shy us. It was like Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.

KM – Who trained you at the bench then?

No…you were trained to a guy. ..the mans name was Arthur Willis and he had
been there for 12 years and he trained me.

KM – Now when you say Goldsmith, what do you really mean?

If you want it defined better ??? you would call ourselves a smallworker which
is only in the trade – Anyone would know what that means.

KM – Well what does..

Well he would make small objects its as simple as that. That’s what you did. I
mean you were trained. When we, when I first started at Cartiers and after a
while, we used to make, were the first ones to make all the curved ?, the ?
watches all the watch cases we made and ahh we would do all the Gold work
for anything. And obviously we would make boxes and cigarette boxes,
anything…powder boxes, perfume containers, note pads you name it..

KM: Did you also do the wire work for Jewellery as well?

Yes absolutely.

KM – So when you say Goldsmith you mean anything to do with metal?

Anything to do with metal – Yep..

KM- So how long were you there for?

I was there for (starts working it out aloud).59 and left in 1973 so I was there
for 14 years.

KM – So fourteen years at Cartier. What was it about the French Jewellery?
Obviously you were making French objects and French Jewellery. Compared
to what say Elizabethan or Victorian or English?


Obviously I think they had a style of there own and of course ??? piece and it
was the designers that did say to you ..look more than we did. We just
interpreted what they drew, we interpreted into the reality rather than a….

KM- Who was do…who was actually the designer back then because Cartier

They had about 5 when I was there, all different people and I..

KM – And these were French designers?

No they were all English then.

KM – Really?


KM- What made you then decide to leave Cartier?

Well we made a job together..umm..Pete and my partner and he and I made it
and we put this in this exhibition and it won an award and Matthews
who was involved in a bank in sort of the Midlands.and he sponsored or
sponsored people that he thought were…who could do something and found
us and said he would buy so many pieces and ahh…so before I left we made
one piece together and we sort of gave it to him and he paid us on the dot and
that gave us the inspiration…

KM- So that was the starting point.

When we first formed and we actually made some eggs and things like that, it
was a hole that no one new. There was this Objet market, there was a

KM – Yeah but Objets have always been in some respects, it’s a very grey
area of market. I know that in Pforzheim or wherever it is, that’s where there’s a
very big Objet maker…


Yeah but …..?????based around styling, ours is based around gold. They
would make things in stone and then add the gold to it where we would
probably add the stone to gold.

We work for ???house ???

KM- So you still do that now?

Well yes, yes we do. So we actually…so they would be, they would be the
person that met that…the???or whoever, and then they would come to me to

KM – In the English market or the American market or the European for that
matter, they’re not as big into Objay as..

No there not …No there not

KM- Why

I think it’s the European , America, they… they probably like to wear a piece,
they like to have it on their body . In other words, a ring, a bracelet, a
necklace. For a man it’s a watch . The thing is to wear a piece. Where as
Objets sits on the Mantelpiece or on the desk or something like that and umm
and I think in the Middle East they of course also like jewellery as well but they
also like beautiful ornaments that they like to look at.

KM- Where do you go from here because you’ve obviously been in this for a
while. Do you have family?

Yeah my son and my daughter..

KM – So they’re going to ??

Hopefully yeah

KM- Do your children actually know how to work the bench?

My son does, he’s been trained, this is why I said we’ll have a little party,
lets have a party because he’s done his 5 years. So there you go

KM- So he’s finished his apprenticeship

He’s finished his apprenticeship

KM- Is he any good

Yeah he’s alright – He’ll never be as good as his dad. No only kidding –
Hopefully he will be better.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: McCabe-McCarty,London,