MAKING THE FINEST SPECTACLES WE CAN
the butterfly rivet
Laid in the ground by Lewis Cubitt in 1851, these wrought iron rivets held together vast granite blocks. Above the blocks sat enormous cranes and other Victorian machinery.
The same rivet holds together our handmade frames, creating an elegant join between the front and temples. Not only is this the traditional approach to spectacle making, but it means a hinge can be serviced and replaced. And, in common with the Cubitts’ original work will endure for years to come.
the finest materials
Each frame begins life as a piece of raw material, the highest quality we can find.
For our acetate frames, this is typically cellulose acetate delivered from Mazzucchelli in Caetiligione, Italy. Mazzucchelli was founded in 1849 specialising in animal horn, bone and shell but rapidly become innovators in acetate production. Made from recycled cotton fibre and dyed into thousands of colors, Mazzucchelli acetate is lightweight, comes in vibrant colours, and can worked by hand.
For our horn frames, we source sustainably farmed water buffalo horn from India (where the animal is sacred) or the highlands of Scotland.
For our metal frames, we start with high grade stainless steel, titanium or even 18kt rolled gold.
shaping the frames
From these magnificent materials, we cut the front piece and temples. For our bespoke spectacles this is done by hand, through a process unchanged for a century. For our ready-to-wear collections, we utilise the consistency of the latest CNC machinery with craft skills that have endured for decades. We round the tips of the temple, first with sandpaper and then the polishing wheel to give a more comfortable fit.
The join between the front and the temple is mitred. This extra step is time-consuming and requires precision, but means a frame can be adjusted, and any strain on the hinge is distributed across the material. We use the same high quality acetate for our nosepads (rather than lower quality transparent pads), which creates a more elegant silhouette.
Each frame goes through fifty processes across a six week period.
a glorious lustre
To polish our frames, we place them in wooden tumbling barrels with small beech chips, pumice and polishing paste. Standard frames spend 8-10 hours in a barrel. We leave ours for up to 36.
Longer barrelling means we can make fewer frames. But it ensures those that we do have a glorious lustre.
hinges always pinned
Most frames today are ‘heat sunk’, where the material is heated, and the hinge is inserted by force.
However, all of our acetate and horn frames are made using the traditional process of pin-drilling. This centuries old technique involves drilling two small holes into the front and temples. Pins are then fed through to create an elegant fixing (without a drop of glue in sight).
This requires more time and skill, but means a hinge can be easily replaced if, heaven forbid, you’ve accidentally damaged it.
Like Lewis Cubitt’s original 1851 butterfly rivet, our signature plaque forms a structural bond between temple and front (a far cry from the fake pins and plaques on most modern frames).
The only external details we allow on our frames are structural components.
Our custom metal hardware, including our signature butterfly rivet and bespoke wire core (the metal wire which gives the arms structure), are laid carefully by hand into each frame.
A Cubitts tag is laid onto the inside temple tip of each frame, before being set and polished. Our metal frames feature filigree detailing, as well as custom titanium, stainless steel and ceramic nosepads.
Explore Our frames
Each of our 24 frame styles are designed by us and crafted with care. Start with one of these four.