It’s safe to say that we have a very specific list of criteria to fulfil when it comes to choosing our suppliers. We look for local and British suppliers who honour traditional methods of production, value quality, and who work with the environment in mind. Ultimately, our suppliers need to share our passion for authentic craftmanship and our commitment to improving the environmental effects of our activities.
When it comes to brass hardware, we are proud to source this from Abbey England, known internationally for their high-quality, British-made metalwork. They supply us with sand casted brass buckles that give the finest finishing touches to our handcrafted leather belts. Join us as we delve behind-the-scenes of the Abbey Foundry and explore the story of our brass hardware, from Walsall to your waist.
Hardware with a history
Established 35 years ago, Abbey England supports a plethora of manufacturing, commercial and leisure businesses both in the UK and abroad, supplying the finest British-made materials and tools. Their foundry, located in Walsall, is home to a number of highly skilled craftsmen who take great pride in producing metalwork items of the highest standard. From belt buckles to locks, saddlery accessories to industrial hinges, the comprehensive range of products they offer has secured Abbey England as a huge force in the metalwork industry.
The Abbey Foundry is steeped in history – over 180 years of it in fact. Equestrian lorinery production at the foundry dates back to 1832, with a full pattern book stretching back all those years. It is these patterns that form the basic shapes for all fashion buckles used today, including those found on Colville’s belts.
Generations of foundry craftsmen have cultivated the production process, uniting this unique historical pattern record with all of the modern metal finishes that are required today. The foundry specialises in small castings of brass, nickel silver, aluminium bronze and pewter.
Metalwork fit for royalty
We believe that our Colville Leather items, designed and crafted with passion and expertise, deserve the highest standard of hardware – and this is certainly something we can be sure of with Abbey England metalwork. In 1995, Abbey were awarded a Royal Warrant for their quality goods manufactured in the foundry. Over 20 years on from this prestigious honour, they are still striving tirelessly to produce high-quality goods befitting of this accolade.
Traditional sand casting
The traditional method of green sand casting is used at the Abbey Foundry. This is a metal casting process characterised by using wet sand that contains water and organic bonding compounds. Green sand is not green in colour, but green because it is still not set when the metal is poured in the mould. This type of sand casting is comparatively simple to other casting processes and can achieve a high production rate. What’s more, the mould material is reclaimable, with 90-95% of the sand being recycled.
One of the reasons we chose Abbey England as a hardware suppler is the little bit of history that comes with every buckle – each one offers an authentic nod towards manufacturing processes of the past. The use of traditional sand casting methods resonates with Colville Leather’s wish to remain faithful to the talented and hardworking craftsman who came before us. And of course, the authentically-made brass buckles we source from the foundry complement our traditionally-crafted hand dyed leather belts perfectly.
Minimising the eco footprint
Much like we at Colville Leather are passionate about minimising the environmental impact of our work, Abbey England has also pledged to continually improve the environmental effect of its activities. They have demonstrated their commitment to comprehensive environmental management through a number of initiatives, from educating staff to carry out their activities in a more environmentally responsible manner, to incorporating environmental issues into their formal decision-making processes. Their palpable dedication to reducing their carbon footprint is weaved throughout their actions as a company, all the way from the sand casting processes in the foundry, to policies on company travel.
Working with suppliers who are genuinely invested in promoting environmental protection is really important to us at Colville Leather - it’s something that lies at the core of our business. The fact that we can draw lots of similarities with Abbey England and their sustainable ethos was another important reason why we chose them as a hardware supplier. Just take the similar views we share on waste minimisation, for instance. They actively promote recycling and do their best to find other uses for by-products. At Colville Leather, waste is also limited. Wherever possible we use any leftover leather to make belt keepers and leather keychains. We’re proud to have a partnership with an organisation who shares our values, and believe this makes our products that little bit more special.
Also, we can be confident that we’re helping to reduce our carbon footprint having chosen a supplier based in England.
A transparent supply chain
At Colville Leather, we’re passionate about sharing the stories of our suppliers - after all, maintaining transparency around our supply chain is something that will always be important to us. We hope you’ve found it interesting to discover where our brass hardware begins its life before making its way onto our belts.If you’re curious about where we source our leather, why not check out our blog post on Horween Leather, or J & FJ Baker, some of our leather suppliers.