The Grant Macdonald London Keyring Collection

Keyrings are a relatively modern invention brought about by the brilliantly simple engineering of the split-ring, a tightly compressed single piece of thick wire or metal that can be used to connect keys together. It was invented in the 19th century by Samuel Harrison (the Provost of Canada East when Canada was a British province) and it’s what is referred to as shape-memory in metallurgy.



The fob part of the keyring, which is usually decorative and may come in all shapes and sizes, is slightly mysterious in origin. Fob is believed to originate from old low German dialects - fuppe - meaning pocket, still common in Northern Germany today. This Saxon derived word became fob in English. It’s also derived from the modern German word foppen which means ‘sneak pocket’ and referred to small pockets, usually on a waistcoat or front of the trousers, deep and narrow which made them hard to pickpocket. This is where fob watches come from, quite literally, watches that you put in a little pocket to avoid getting stolen.



We have combined these classic and highly functional designs into a beautifully hand finished keyring and fob. The rings are made from sterling silver, attached to perfect fob-sized sterling silver openworked spheres. The spheres are textured and polished to create depth and shine,  and finished in silver, 18ct yellow gold or rose gold plating. The finished result is a keyring that will last a lifetime. It’s weighty enough that you will never lose your keys, but small enough to be tactile and grippy - without drawing too much attention to your precious keys, or a passing pickpocket on the streets of Victorian London.

It’s amazing really. The key has been around since the 6th Century BC or thereabouts, so you’d expect the keyring to be of a similar age. No. It’s only about 170 years old compared to the 2500 year old key itself. This does make you wonder what people with keys did for the first 2500 years or so.

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