Handmade Sunglasses by Oliver Goldsmith
to maintain the legacy of our heritage and continue to produce the finest eyewear in the world.
Whilst tradition is vitally important to us, we are also a 21st century brand and the developments in modern manufacturing and lens quality allow us to offer the best of both. Our frames demonstrate the perfect synergy of old manufacturing techniques and new, advanced materials. We largely work with artisans from family owned and operated factories. Their expertise and experience allow us to use many traditional techniques, methods that have been proven to provide the most hard-wearing and robust frames.
Show me something made by a machine that has the same personality and attention to detail as something handmade.
What we do here is special.
- OLIVER GOLDSMITH, 1967
Who makes the components for our frames is almost as important to us as how they are made and we only work with the best suppliers, whether that be in England, Italy, France or Japan. We believe in relationships, trust and social responsibility – and that continues through to the people who sell our products. The opticians and retail stores that stock Oliver Goldsmith, are some of the most genuine, creative and passionate people in the world.
The specific manufacturing requirements of our frames dictate the factories and craftsman and women we work with. Japan are pioneers in their work with metal, whilst Italy is still renowned for producing the best quality acetate on the market. All factories are different and have different ‘personalities’ when they make frames. Our job is to perfectly match the skill set and personality of the factory with the frame style and construction.
Making each style is a team effort, a collaboration of experience, ability and passion and we believe this partnership is something you can literally feel in the final product.
We don’t believe in fast fashion or ever-changing trends
The construction and design of our frames is about longevity, frames to take you through decades of wear and enjoyment.
Manufacturing an Oliver Goldsmith or Claire Goldsmith frame is a labour of love and passion. It is a very complex procedure, with the process from design to finished product taking up to 8 months to complete.
From our London office, initial hand-drawn ideas are conceptualised into reality through 3D printed prototypes. These raw examples allow the team to make adjustments on fit, size and shaping and the edited versions are returned to the factory for final pre-production sampling.
The next challenge is to choose colour, one of the most exciting, satisfying yet difficult processes - the possibilities are endless when it comes to colour combinations, laminations, or even how we integrate different materials such as metal and acetate. Our team must be conscious of so many factors; from technical aspects such as how thick a frame is cut (how opaque or bright the colour will shine) to human aspects, such as skin tone. Balancing the decisions between being experimental with colour and pushing boundaries to creating everyday classics is also integral to the success of a design.
Sun lenses must of course compliment each individual colour combination and the type of lens we use is also a consideration – glass, CR39 or Nylon. Once every tiny detail of construction is finalised, production can begin.
The construction of a frame requires us to work with multiple suppliers in unison - lenses from one specialist supplier, hinges from another, and our acetate is from Mazzucchelli, who are the largest and oldest factory in Italy. The integrity of the components we use, combined with the design is fundamental to the longevity and success of our products.
From initial design to finished product is a process of immense precision and accuracy and the synergy of machinery and handmade craftsmanship is beautiful. From the technical tooling of the CNC machine to the manipulation of the frontal curve and bridge bump, that is pressed into the raw fronts by hand. Any 3D shaping or sculpting that cannot be performed by a workstation is done by hand by talented and skilled artisans who have honed their skills over many years of repetition and commitment to their craft.
The temples (or arms) of the frame are then cut and compressed under a high amount of heat and pressure in preparation for the wire element insertion. This small but technical factor allows the temples to stay in shape and be adjusted to an individual’s face. The hinges are then inserted, once again, by hand.
We focus on shaping and sculpting the frames with acute attention to detail, particularly when it comes to polishing and finishing. Every frame will spend several days in tumbling barrels utilising four different polishing grades before finally being polished by hand. In some cases, the frames can have up to 30 different processes applied to them during this production process.
The assembly of the frame is also a technical procedure with continued hand polishing, logo application and the insertion of lenses and laser engraving. Only once have our frames been assessed by a highly skilled quality control assistant are they ready for boxing and shipping back to London - ready for you to purchase.
We are proud of the work and personal dedication that goes into each and every one of our frames. We have complete respect for our suppliers, believe in fair pay, transparency and the traceability of all our components.