This ring was really just a test piece for a commission which mixed silver and gold. It enabled me to determine the sizes of the various elements and develop the manufacturing process. The real thing will have garnets instead of the domes and all the beads and beading are gold.
I’ve been asked twice in the last year to make a chalky paper tester. It’s a piece of fine silver wire that is rubbed on the perforation of a stamp and apparently indicates whether the paper is chalky or not. It must be something akin to silverpoint drawing. I decided to make one for my shop.
Some repairs I can do, some I can’t. Some bends, marks and dints, I can fix and some I can make look less obvious, but not a perfect restoration. This is an example of a bowl that I made much better, but not perfect.
I like to see at least pictures of the piece before I commit to doing anything and any repair I do is subject to my terms and conditions.
As a Christmas present, I was asked to make a pair of crosses for husband and wife each engraved with their names and date of their wedding. So far, so good.
There was a further requirement that the two crosses could be worn together. This was achieved by having silightly different chain rings, both offset to the rear. Gravity then causes the two to hang together. Simple idea, but requiring more precision than normal for me!
The crosses are both hallmarked on their rear face.
Since I was commissioned in 2009 to make 21 as prizes, I’ve made over 80 of my silver hazelnuts and sold 75 so far. They are incorporated into jewellery from cufflinks to key fobs, but most are pendants.
Of those 75, as far as I know
One went to France
One went to Germany
One went to Spain
Six are in Australia
Two went to Canada
One is in Japan
Three are in the USA
The remainder are in the UK – from the Shetland Islands south.
I like it when people tell me why they were bought. Often it is for or in memory of someone call ‘Hazel’, occasionally associations with Julian of Norwich or just personal memories.
The lastest crop of full hazelnuts will be ready during January 2021.
Please if you live outside the UK email me for a price – don’t use the shop system.
Of the 80 or so pieces of silver I’ve made this year this has to be my zenith for the year – the challenge of making covers for two horses hooves. A common Victorian activity – very often as inkwells.
Each top is engraved with the name of the horse. A really interesting challenge to match the irregular shape, but both the owner and I are very pleased with the result. Fully UK hallmarked at the London Assay Office. The shoes are iron.
This is a gift for my wife. The book on chains I used as the basis for the design calls it ‘jeweller’s delight’, because it looks good and is relatively easy to make. True – especially as the way I made it was simpler and more effective than the method in the book. Here’s the chain and a close up showing the plate whose sole function is somewhere to put the hallmarks.
Each link is about 25mm long. The links and the plate are fine silver, but the lobster catch is sterling. That’s why the links are brighter than the catch. However it is only hallmarked as sterling silver.
Dr John Snow is famous for several reasons, but one is his analysis of the incidence of outbreaks of cholera in London in 1954. He caused the removal of the handle of one particular pump in Soho, London that was dispensing contaminated water. There is much more about him on the internet e.g. wikipedia.
This is a representation of the pump as a sterling silver brooch. It’s about 7cm tall.
My client, an ex-medic, wanted a special gift that reflected his experience in epidemiology.
He said “John Snow pump received, looks just lovely, will be giving it to my wife later today. So very many thanks. A really wonderful and personal souvenir “
This request was for a substantial bookmark – longer and heavier than my norm. Also less maintenance required, so I used 1mm silver rather than 0.6 and argentium rather than sterling. Also the hallmark placing is different. Here it is as sent and then in use.
My client said “I think it looks very lovely, and it has a real heft in the hand which is nice.”
I was asked to make a silver yantra to my client’s design. It remind me of the Buddha. With this sort of wire bending, I can’t make two exactly the same. My client preferred the right hand side one. The main body is about 5cm high. The available one is in the process of being assayed, though it is below the minimum weight.
These Spanish real coins had been purchased as a set of cufflinks, where the cufflink part had been soldered directly on to the coins. I was asked to make 9ct gold settings instead with the design to be similar to an existing set with half-real coins. Good access to the back was required. I used commercial cufflink components in the design which holds the coins securely, but undamaged.
I made a twisted wire edged surround for a cameo. The cameo was far from flat, indeed the base had to be shaped like a certain potato based snack that comes in tins. Unfortuntately, I didn’t get the clearances quite right. I’ve mananged to repurpose the base by flattening it and forming a layer of turquoise chips.
It’s quite a statement piece as the oval is about 55 by 40mm. There are two morals to this story – reuse before recycle and never throw anything away. I’ve had that jar of turquoise chips for over 40 years! A unique piece available from my shop.
This is for me! II’ve finally finished it. It’s been a project long in the gestation since I was asked if I had any Cowrie shell snuff boxes several years ago. So I thought I would have a go at a shell topped box. I had to slice the top of the shell and then fabricate the base from silver. It’s about 10cm long.
This one wouldn’t work for snuff or other powders as the flap isn’t a tight enough seal, but fine for other small knick-knacks. You can see that the London Assay Office has applied part marks on the flap for me.
This is a collar to fit a leather bound officer’s cane. The original had disappeared. The tube was fabricated from sheet as it wasn’t a standard tube size.
The collar arrived safely and fits like a glove! Thanks very much indeed for making it for me. It’s just what I wanted.
I make each collar to my client’s requirements and prices vary considerably depending on a number of factors including the diameter, length, whether it matches a standard tube size, size and positioning of hallmarks, any additional embelishments or engraving. Prices start around £60 for a basic cylinder with discrete hallmarks.
I’m not sure of the denomination of the coin, but it’s bigger than the denarius I recently mounted. Silver, about 20mm across and 2mm thick. It has a swivel so that both sides are easily viewed and a heavy trace chain consistent with the coin size. The mount is a fine silver band moulded non-destructively to the coin.
TI have mounted this beautifully manufactured silver dollar using a fine silver bezel burnished round to grip the coin securely. Only the milling round the outside is concealed. The setting holds the coin non-destructively and could be removed leaving the coin unscathed.
This coin mount for 1605 James the 6th Shilling – great to get the chance to hold something that old. The owner says that If you look at the coin you’ll see a fleur de lis around the edge, that’s the mint mark and means the coin was minted in the Tower of London in 1605, the very year Guy Fawkes tried to kill James the 6th.
The sterling silver mount holds the coin non-destructively and is hallmarked 2020.
The review posted on my Google page says ‘I received my item from John today and to say I’m happy with it would be an understatement. ‘
These were requested by a previous client for a friend who likes reading. My client provided a sketch, which I followed closely except that I replaced a chain by a twisted square wire to keep the book facing outward. There is still plenty of movement as there are two hinges. Another piece for my ‘unusual requests’ folder.
Royal Mail increased their prices on 23 March 2020. I haven’t increased my charges for some years as I have absorbed the costs. Alas, I can no longer do that and so from today have increased my p&p charges by just 25p for the two price bands.
Remember that is the price per posting to one UK address, so if you order more than one item you only pay one p&p charge.
This one’s mine, though I can and have made copies.
It consists of a sequence of silver, copper and brass links with a silver t-bar and loop clasp. Of course, yellow, red and white gold is another option, but may not have the claimed beneficial effect of copper.
This post is a little sad. My friend Richard Shock has passed away. he was a woodturner and one of his lines was paperweights with different centrepieces. He asked me to obtain some silver discs and have them hallmarked as centrepieces. This is about 11cm across and weighed with lead. We think the wood is ebony. He wished me to have an item of his work to remember him and this is the piece that was selected for me. Very appropriate.
These pendants are a special commission for three daughters
They are all the same size, about 35mm across, and build on earlier work in this style. The thistle is fabricated , but the rose and sweet pea are both cut in one piece from sheet – a challenge to my sawing skills. The textured background enhances the shiny surface of the flower. Each is hallmarked on the rear.
I was asked to make a silver near copy of a base metal pendant that had a special meaning for my client. I actually made two and the one on the left is the client’s and it has been slightly ‘aged’ on request. You can see it and the original here on Instagram. I quote
‘it’s arrived and frankly I am bowled over by how brilliant it looks. What an amazing job, it’s pretty much exactly how I imagined it. Thank you so much for the great work’
The right hand side one has a different fixing and is on sale in my shop. They are the same size – about 3cm by 3cm.
I’ve made many fused silver pendants before of a whole range of sizes, but this is my first attempt at fusing gold. I was unsure it would work with low carat silver but it’s come out fine and has been hgallmarked as 9ct gold. If you look carefully, you will see the two tones where the red and yellow gold pieces have blended together. This weighs 4g and is about 3cm tall. It’s available from my shop.
I helped to clear out the workshop of a silversmith who had passed away. In a tobacco tin, I found a dried out seahorse. I’ve no idea how old it was. I thought it would be fragile, but it has survived me making two delft clay casts from the body.
They have come out really well and are available for purchase from my shop.
You can see all the date letters for the last 40+ years here. I made one for me every year and the one on the left is this year’s one. All 42, so far, are slightly different. The one on the right below is for sale in my shop, but I can make them pretty much any size or weight.
These are the stands I no longer require. I’m looking for 50p for the smallest stands to £2 for the largest. £2 for the ring stands and £2 for the dog bone tags. £50 gets everything. Buyer collects.
(Silver ring not included with the ring stands!) Some of the black stands need a clean to remove blu-tak and the odd scratch. Many of the black stands have extra clips on the rear to fix the chains to help positioning.
This piece is really a test piece as it’s the first I’ve made. I’ve been thinking about making a padlock for some time, but, at this scale, making even a basic key mechanism is outside my skills. Then I saw a knitting stitch marker and that method of closure seemed to be the answer. This one is about 4cm tall, 2cm wide and 5mm thick. It weighs 12g.
To open the loop is pulled up, then squeezed in slightly so that it can be rotated through the slot. Simple and secure. Available from my shop and other sizes available to order.
This is a development of some work I did making leather dog collars for very valued dogs. This is a wrist sized version in 6mm black leather cord.
This is available from my shop, or, if this doesn’t fit, please consider it as a template for something else you might like. There is a message in this bracelet, but if you know binary and HHGTTG then the answer is ……….
It started life slightly differently with a more adjustable clasp
but in practice this proved difficult to get on and off.
This was a challenge of a commission – a long time in the gestation, but a satisfying result. The brief was for a locket with space for two photographs. My client and I went through a number of iterations in the design to finally decide on this teardrop shape with gold embellishments.
The upper surface is hammered and domed with 9ct gold balls to increase the visual and tactile effect. The inside has two chambers where a photograph can be stored. The photos are held in by a silver circlip.
The hallmarks are on the inside and show not only the traditional London hallmarks, but the crown and 375 marks to acknowledge the gold component.
From the left: my sponsor’s mark (JH), traditional sterling silver mark, silver fineness mark (925), the London Assay Office Mark (Leopard), the date letter (U for 2019), the traditional gold mark and the gold fineness mark (375 or 9 carat).
My client wanted a glider as a keyfob, but, as gliders are designed to be streamlined and aerodynamic, a glider shape would be easily bent and also uncomfortable in the pocket. We decided that a silhouette would be more practical. Also, it has a satin finish as a bright polished finish would soon be scratched.
I’m pleased with these. I was asked to make a pair of earrings in a similar style to the remaining one of a pair. That one had an opal doublet, but I couldn’t source anything the right size. I decided to experiment with powered plastic ‘enamel’ and made these which are a blue background with a sprinkling of green and orange powder to fake the iridescence of an opal.
(Almost) always up for a new challenge, I was asked to make a ring with a phrase stamped on the outside and engraving on the inside. The ring is 2mm thick, which is tricky to bend into shape . The sequencing to get the engraving, sizing, stamping, assay, fabrication and polishing inside and out required thought and scheduling, but it worked and my customer is delighted. Definitely not something to be done in a rush. Sam James Ltd did the engraving for me. I had to practice punching to get the lettering (nearly) in a straight line.
I’ve made this style of ingot before, but this was a gift for an 18th birthday this year and hence it has this year’s date letter ‘U’. This does require a little planning to get the timing right. Unless I have a suitable item in stock, date letters cannot be applied retrospectively – it would make them a bit meaningless really.
Here are a couple of sets of cufflinks I have made recently for customers who had a specific item they wanted mounted.
These are both variants of the mount I usually use for UK 3d pieces, though the carnelian ones are much bigger stones and hence have six claws each for extra security. The coins have standard backs and the carnelians the whale tail variant.
This doesn’t look that exciting. It’s a silver tip or ferrule to replace one lost from an officer’s swagger stick. This is 25mm long and 10mm internal diameter. I’ve done the same sort of thing in different forms and styles for walking and riding sticks.