Topázio, silver, factory, design

More than a century of history

Meticulously they shape the silver. In every touch, every movement, every detail, resides a lot of love and dedication on the part of each worker. We went inside, hoping to get to know the Topázio factory up close, based in northern Portugal, in Gondomar, and, up close, we witnessed the handcrafted production of unique and exclusive pieces. With more than 140 years of history, Portugal’s oldest company specialised in this particular craft, this is the home of veritable treasures. The smell of metal is difficult to shake off. The craftsmen, hunched over their tables, shape works of art. And we watched intently...

Having come a long way, Topázio has been evolving and innovating its creations over the many years and in such a way that, today, the brand is recognised around the globe. Of course, this entire process and success were only made possible with the support of the craftsmen who have been part of this team for many years. But things haven’t always been easy. Despite it all, they have never given up, making the company the success it is today. They are proud of the journey they have made, and of their works, that have marked the history of the brand forever. "We can state that we are proud to maintain an ever positive and ambitious stance in wanting to do more and better,” says José Augusto Seca, CEO of Topázio for 25 years. It was with this attitude and courage that they have been able to overcome the adversities that have hit them over the years.
Over the course of more than a century they have strived to honour the legacy left by Manuel José Ferreira Marques. And thus Topázio’s history continues to be added to. When we study the brand, we can find more traditional products and others that are more contemporary. Just as in the world of fashion, in the world of silver, things come and go, and change, and in this sense, it is believed that "the pieces are timeless, as they follow the design trends of the times,” as José Augusto explains.

The international market currently represents 40% of Topázio’s turnover. 

Malleable and of a singular sheen, silver is a precious metal that, regardless of whether it is an item of jewellery, a decorative piece, or tableware, confers status to the person or place it adorns. "The feeling you get when you buy Topázio items isn’t that of buying a simple piece, but rather that of buying a piece of art,” José states proudly.
And, in fact, at Topázio a great variety of pieces are produced, with very different dimensions and complexities. A piece can take between a mere five minutes, for the simplest, and up to hundreds of hours, or even months, for the most complex. On average the company, which has 110 employees, produces 30,000 pieces a year, thanks also to the skilled hands of the 74 members of the production team.

Topázio has a catalogue of more than 70,000 pieces, split into: Art de la Table, Deco Artlight, Collector, Corporate, Jewellery, Kids and Celebration. 

And the production process goes through several phases: Production of Tools - dies and cutting tools used to stamp and cut the details; Cutting and initial shaping - usually started by cutting the raw material, silver or brass; Welding - most parts are composed of several components, (usually stamped and embossed); Shearing/engraving - some pieces are sheared or engraved by hand; Burnishing - the pieces are burnished with cloth or sisal brushes and polished with cotton brushes; Silver plating - the brass pieces, after being cleaned, are submerged in galvanic baths; Finishing - in more embossed pieces a black patina is applied so that its motifs are emphasised; Assembly - there are still parts that are assembled afterwards, such as crystals, glass and wood; Polish - the last operation, where the final shine is conferred to the piece. After these processes, they just need to be ordered or bought!
Maria Cruz
T. Maria Cruz
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