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Jon Dibben

We are an independent, family-run workshop, specialising in the handcrafting of Jon's original fine jewellery designs, and making to commission. Jon and his brother, Paul, work alongside a small team of goldsmiths and gemmologists who are committed to creating each design in very limited numbers, with painstaking attention to detail and faultless finishing. 

The company

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Though Jon Dibben, as a company, began at Smithbrook Kilns in 1990, the seeds for its foundation were sown far earlier, on a beach on the Greek island of Naxos.

At the culmination of his teenage travels around Europe, Jon lived there, in a hut, as a naturist, for two years. With such a minimal existence, it may be unsurprising that a natural talent for creative design found its outlet in the making of simple jewellery from shells and beads. The experience encouraged his value for the natural world around him, as well as an instinct to be as thoughtful and precise as the luxuries of time and patience allowed. This philosophy formed the basis of Jon's inspiration and career, which crystallised on his return to the UK, with refinement of his skills and materials, and increasing demand for his work.

Jon Dibben was one of the first twenty designers licenced to make jewellery using the world's first certified Fairtrade & Fairmined gold and platinum. Jon's debut FTFM design was recognised by the British Jewellers' Association as a landmark piece of the past 125 years within the industry, and was selected for their Anniversary Exhibition, representing 2011- the year Fairtrade & Fairmined gold was launched and the ring was designed and made.

Jon Dibben has been peer voted as an 'Inspiring Independent' by the trade's 'Retail Jeweller' magazine for two consecutive years, and by 'Professional Jeweller' magazine as a 'Trend Setter' in their 'Hot 100'.

Jon's designs are now exclusively available from Jon Dibben at Smithbrook Kilns, exhibitions or by appointment in central London.

 


Watch our video diary by local film maker and friend of Jon, Mark Hammett.

For news and details of current events/exhibitions and new designs please see our Blog.

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Philosophy

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One of the best things about designing and making jewellery is that we become involved in the most meaningful times in people's lives. Our customers trust us with these special, significant purchases, and our commitment is to give our utmost in return. The designing and making of our jewellery is as important to us as your future heirloom is to you.


The people

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Jon Dibben

From septicaemia in the desert to becoming a caveman for a history information film, Jon’s post-education travels around the Middle East and Europe were both enlightening and inspiring. In combination with the strength of his natural talent and enthusiasm, they ensured that his path into the world of jewellery design was as unconventional as it was inevitable.

A self-confessed obsessive perfectionist, Jon's main source of inspiration is nature's ideal blend of beauty and function. His acknowledged aptitude for proportion and harmony gives his jewellery a classic, sculptural and ultimately wearable quality, and enables him to turn his skill to other areas of design, including his shop interiors and a clear vision for his publicity.

He finds solace and stimulation in the practice of Shintaido- a Japanese movement system, and in the countryside around his home in West Sussex, where he spends time exploring with his wife and three children.

Paul Dibben

Paul is Jon’s brother and partner in the company. They shared much of their early travels, which stimulated his own interest in jewellery, as well as in Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. Back in the UK, his meandering route to his destined position included working as a chef, Victorian sash window restorer, furniture importer’s assistant and anaesthetist’s technician.

Coming from a close family, Paul gave Jon support and encouragement from the beginning of his venture and finally joined him on a full-time and permanent basis. He brings his cultural interests and multi-tasking skills to the day-to-day running of the workshop and shop, and has built on his fundamental role as a self-effacing and approachable anchor man.

Chris Newbery

Chris says his career move was the result of an early mid-life crisis at the age of 23. He had joined IBM with a business degree but, listening to the inner child who loved taking the back off things and making contraptions, retrained to follow a more creatively satisfying path.

After an HND and City & Guilds at Sir John Cass, and two years at a designer’s workshop in Chelsea, he came to Jon Dibben in 2001, and now puts his talent for discipline and precision into the meticulous crafting of Jon’s designs. He’s outgoing and articulate too, and enjoys contact with our customers, usually being the first to show them around the workshop and offer insights into how the jewellery is made.

Hannah Blackwood

Hannah is the newest, and by far the youngest, addition to our team. Having attended the same school as Jon (George Abbot, Guildford), and having spent various periods of work experience with us, she has finally settled here. She is now fresh from the University of Creative Arts, Rochester, graduating with a first class BA honours degree in Silversmithing, Goldsmithing and Jewellery. A fitting level of perfectionism is obvious in all her work; with her impressive draftsmanship and creative ideas showing inspiration derived from fantasy, insects and a fascination with clocks. She has an explorative mind, expressed in a liking for travelling and meeting new people.

Our jewellery

All of Jon's designs are hand made at our workshop alongside our shop. His signature style of classic designs with a contemporary twist, crafted with an obsessive eye for perfection, produces timeless pieces, made to last beyond a lifetime, as modern day heirlooms.

Designing and making

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Coming soon - an insight into Jon's design process and the hand making of our jewellery.

In the meantime, please contact us if you have any questions, or visit us to be inspired.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Raw materials

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Jon’s designs are predominantly made in platinum or 18ct gold. We are licensed to work with Fairtrade and Fairmined gold, as well as Fairtrade and Fairmined Ecological gold and platinum. We can also advise on recycling your own gold or platinum.

Platinum

Platinum is rare, pure, naturally white and inherently hard wearing, which means the carefully polished finish lasts longer, although it takes more time at the workbench to get that perfect finish.

Jon’s rings have a generous weight, which makes the ring last longer, helps keep the integrity of the form when being resized, and means the ring can be refinished many times without weakening it.  Because of this weight, and because platinum is even denser than gold, Jon’s platinum designs have a satisfying feel in the hand.

Gold

18 carat gold is 75% pure gold, alloyed with 25% other metals, which enables the gold to be workable, and also means different colours of gold can be produced.  Our most popular colour is white gold, which is actually a slightly grey-white colour.  Our 18 carat white gold has a high palladium content, making it naturally whiter than cheaper alloys.

Rhodium Plating

The majority of jewellers plate their white gold with a very thin layer of rhodium to make it appear the same colour as platinum, but Jon’s white gold pieces are un-plated.  Our decision not to rhodium plate is partly to allow us to use the colour of white gold as a choice in our palette, and also for the practical reason that the plating wears off in a relatively short time. We can, however, rhodium plate any white gold design, if you would like it to match existing plated pieces.

Ethical Gold & Platinum

We’re also very pleased to be able to offer Fairtrade and Fairmined gold and Fairtrade and Fairmined Ecological gold and platinum, alongside gold from recycled sources. 

We have already made pieces in ethically and ecologically mined platinum from Oro Verde; the same mining co-operative that our Fairtrade and Fairmined Ecological gold comes from. As of December 2012, the world's first batch of officially certified Fairtrade and Fairmined platinum entered the UK from Oro Verde. Read more about this exciting development on our Blog.

Gold and platinum certified to Fairtrade and Fairmined standards provides small scale miners and their communities in developing countries the opportunity for better living and working conditions. Certified Fairtrade and Fairmined Ecological gold and platinum is mined under stringent ecological restoration practices, and without the use of chemicals. You can find out more in our Ethics and Fairtrade section below.

Please Contact Us if you would like to commission a piece in these precious ethical metals.

Recycled Gold

Another ethical alternative is to use recycled old gold, which reduces the human and environmental costs of conventional, newly mined gold.

The recycled gold we use comes from a refinery which sources old industrial and post-consumer gold, including jewellery and giftware. It is refined back to pure gold, before being alloyed to 18 carat standard. Our refiner is independently audited and certified through the whole process, guaranteeing that the gold is 100% recycled.

After being refined, recycled gold is just as pure as newly mined gold, so there’s no difference in quality or appearance.

Recycling Your Own Old Gold & Platinum

Many people have old or inherited jewellery at home that is meaningful but not a style they would wear.

Recycling pieces like this into a new design is a great way to turn them into something to enjoy, while retaining the sentiment attached to their history.  It can also be a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to newly mined gold.

Some old pieces aren’t suitable for melting in the workshop, but we can still use the value of the gold or platinum content for refining to offset the cost of a brand new piece.

We’re always happy to answer any questions you might have about the options available, either in person at the workshop, or by phone or e-mail. See our Contact Us page.

Ethics and Fairtrade

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Coming soon - details of Jon Dibben's commitment to ethics and Fairtrade, which has led to us being one of only fifty workshops, worldwide, licensed to make jewellery from certified Fairtrade & Fairmined gold and platinum.

In the meantime, here is some basic information:

All of our gemstones are natural, and are individually and personally selected by Jon. Our diamonds are conflict free and, where practical, are independently certified. We have long and trusted relationships with our stone suppliers, and are increasingly asking them for traceable, ethically sourced stones. There are already certain stones we can offer that are traceable back to the country, or even mine, of origin and with a full ethical background. We hope soon to be able to offer the same for all others. 

In addition, we are one of only two designers in the south of England to be licensed to make and sell designs using Fairtrade & Fairmined gold and platinum. This means we can help to improve working conditions and trading standards for small-scale artisans – a little like ourselves – around the world

You can read about the ethical metals we use on our raw materials section above and see some of our designs made from Fairtrade & Fairmined gold and Oro Verde platinum on our Fair Trade page.

For more information about Fairtrade & Fairmined gold and platinum visit the website of the Fairtrade Foundation

Let us help

We hope that our website has whetted your appetite to visit us, to see more of Jon's designs, discuss questions you may have or simply to enjoy a leisurely browse. If you are unable to visit, then just call or email us. We look forward to helping you!

 

Visiting us

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Opening Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10am-5pm

No appointment is necessary but if you want to see one of us in particular, or are limited for time, it can be helpful to let us know when you are coming. Please contact us if you want to visit outside our normal hours, or to discuss a London appointment, and we will do our best to help. 

Jon's designs constantly evolve, with unique pieces being made throughout the year. We encourage anyone interested in our work to come and see it for themselves, in order to fully appreciate the design and craftsmanship involved. We would be happy to give you our time and more information about any pieces you would like to view. We look forward to welcoming you.

Smithbrook Kilns is a converted brick kilns in the Surrey Hills- an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty- located just seven miles south of Guildford, on the A281 Horsham Road. It has free parking and is on a direct bus route from Guildford, where there is also a main line train station. 

There are two jewellery shops at Smithbrook Kilns. Jon Dibben is located in the heart of the Kilns, near the restuarant. On leaving the car park, walk down the right hand side of the main building, past Firing Earth ceramic studio. Turn left immediately after Aspects Kitchens and Jon Dibben is on your right, under a covered walk-way.

Please view this map to find Smithbrook Kilns or contact us if you need more detailed directions. 

How to buy

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We have made the decision not to sell online, however if you can't visit us, we will happily email details and images to help you make a choice, take payment, and then send your purchase to you. We can arrange delivery by courier or insured post, with all pieces presented in a hand made, fair trade leather box. If it's a present, we can also gift wrap it for you.

At present Jon's designs are available exclusively from our shop at Smithbrook Kilns and exhibitions such as Goldsmiths's Fair. We believe there is no substitute for being able to see and try on a piece - in fact we encourage it! 

But, if you are unable to visit uswe will do what we can to assist in finding the piece that is right for you. We have a variety of work at our shop, and can advise on what is available or what can be made to order if you wish to personalise a design or commission a bespoke piece.

We also keep records of past purchases, so we can advise on any future ones if you are looking for something to match or compliment - or hoping to avoid a repeat!

We accept bank transfers and all major credit or debit cards.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Insuring your piece

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If your new Jon Dibben piece has a value in excess of your insurance 'single item limit', we can supply a complimentary certificate showing the replacement value. This document shows proof of ownership, as well as the replacement value of the design for insurance purposes. We can provide udated documents based on current metal and stone prices from £35.

We keep detailed records of each piece we make so we can advise, free of charge, on whether updates are necessary. We strongly recommend contacting us annually to avoid being undervalued and experiencing an unsuccessful claim if the jewellery is accidentally damaged, lost or stolen. Read Jon's blog post on 'Being Properly Insured' for an interesting article on how to avoid the pifalls of Insurance.

Please contact us if you'd like an estimate to update any of your certificates.

We are sorry, but we only offer this service for jewellery purchased from us.