When antique dealer Jeff lent his daughter Deborah several antique diamonds to remake into a collection, a family business was born. Sarah Royce-Greensill spoke with the duo to find out what makes their dynamic so special.
Deborah Cadby never intended to go into business with her father, Jeff. Despite growing up in north London surrounded by vintage Cartier, Belperron and Fouquet, spending Saturdays at her parents’ Notting Hill market stall and after-school hours at their antiques shop in Piccadilly’s Princes Arcade, it never occurred to her to become an antique jewellery dealer. “I was always more into tools and craftsmanship – I was fascinated by how things were made,” she tells me over Zoom from her home in Bude, north Cornwall, where she relocated in 2016.
An artistic rather than classically academic student, Deborah completed a BTEC Diploma in Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design, where she excelled at 3D design. “I loved being in the workshop, and I always preferred working on a smaller scale.” This realisation led her to a three-year BA in Jewellery, Silversmithing and Allied Craft at London Guildhall University, where she and her classmates were encouraged to push the boundaries of contemporary design.
“We weren’t taught to set a stone in three years,” she recalls. “We worked a lot with plastic, glass, feathers and so on.” But those years spent flicking through her father’s jewellery auction catalogues had a lasting impact. “I felt drawn towards the more traditional ways of working. I wanted to set stones and create something more classical.”