Grant Macdonald: Meet the Man Who Gambled His Firm on a £50,000 sword

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Grant Macdonald: Meet the Man Who Gambled His Firm on a £50,000 sword



As reported by Mike Peake of British broadcasting network BBC, Grant Macdonald states his shoes “hardly touched the carpet” when he walked out of the Middle Eastern royal palace. Grant “just secured a giant order that would transform his business.” The memory gives him goosebumps even after 40 years. The 71-year-old tells Peake that it was the “greatest feeling of achievement.”

Grant was a silversmith who first established his business in the 1960s. The U.K. was in economic turmoil in the late 1970s, prompting Grant to seek overseas commissions. From 1979, he started to get small orders “from a country in the Gulf.” He declined to disclose the name of the country for confidentiality reasons. In one of his regular visits to the unnamed Gulf country years later, Grant was asked if he wanted to see the finest gift the royal family would give out to visiting dignitaries. The gift? It was a ceremonial sword.


British businessman Grant Macdonald / Photo by: Grant Macdonald via BBC


Grant praised the sword out of politeness, although he was not particularly impressed with the workmanship. Hence, he suggested to “make something even better.” Grant returned to his hotel room and designed another model on paper. He was commissioned to produce one example. Unfortunately, the cost of the materials would spell doom to his own business. Grant decided to gamble and purchased all the gold, diamonds, and rubies he needed. He and his team worked on the sword.

Grant explains, “The workshop had put every ounce of skill into making that sample sword perfect, our reward was a massive order that set the company off in a different trajectory." Presently, Grant Macdonald London, his multimillion-pound annual turnover company, largely generates profits from the Middle East. For more than three decades, he has flown to the region “almost every month.”


Swords / Photo by: Grant Macdonald via BBC


Interestingly, Grant’s business has a royal warrant from the Prince of Wales, who bought commissions from his firm in the past. Grant Macdonald London currently employs 18 employees, creating anything under the sun from £200-silver cufflinks ($245) to £250,000-large bespoke commissions ($307,000). Large items may take months to complete. The company utilizes technology such as 3D design and printing, but Grant emphasizes the central role of the human workforce. Director U.K. charity Peter Taylor remarks Grant as a well-known and respected individual throughout the industry, growing a successful business locally and overseas.

Grant will pass the torch to George, his son. Grant is not ready to retire yet, as he still works three days a week in the office and workshop in Blackfriars, London. He plans to teach the next generation in his workshop at home. Grant adds, “Teaching my grandchildren how to make a silver spoon is definitely on my list of things to do.”


Grant and his son George Macdonald / Photo by: Grant Macdonald via BBC




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