Earlier this year, Mark Lord approached me to make a heavy duty silver collar for a special stick he was making for a friend. Here is my collar on the finished stick. I supplied the collar bright polished and Mark had the collar engraved. Mark’s website is lordscountrysticks.com if you are looking for a unique stick. If you just want a collar or ferrule, then contact me.
I think this counts as a bangle rather than a bracelet because it is effectively solid all the way around. At the top, you can just see then pin that located the two sides into one of two holes to give some adjustment. There is a slight twist on the two sides to give some tension to hold the pin in place. At the bottom, you can see the hallmarks either side of the hinge – six for symmetry so I had to get the common control mark added at small extra cost. The bangle is made from solid wire so it weighs about 50g – a nice solid piece of jewellery.
- selection of metal – sterling &/or fine
- soldering – hard , medium and easy all used
- twisting of wire
- rolling of wire
- use of the piercing saw
- work hardening
- stone selection – shapes and types
- stone setting/ burnishing
- milligrain wheels
- assay requirements
Plenty to talk about – maybe too much to remember. Repetition helps.
Not content with a cap for a warthog tusk, I’ve added a hippo tooth cap to my list of unusual jobs.
This was the tooth as supplied – much bigger and heavier than I expected.
To make the cap fit, I had to cut off the area where it broke off. My workshop smelt like a bad day at the dentist! However, the debris looked interesting. Here’s the tooth with its hallmarked silver cap.
I decided to make a pair of cufflinks with some of the debris.
The owner of the tusk and cufflinks is very happy with my work.
This is a first for me – I’ve never had work with the Common Control Mark applied. This means that the quality of the metal would be recognised by twenty countries.
Though to be honest, I have a couple of pieces where six hallmarks looks better than five.
This is one – the other is here.
More detail on the CCM here.
These two sterling silver wedding rings are chunky – both are 3mm thick and the lower is 10mm wide. The upper ring has a notch to allow it to sit with the engagement ring. Both have a phrase engraved on the inside and a (different) symbol on the outside. The engraving was by Sam James Engraving.
My second handcuff (the first one is here).
With this one, I had a free hand in the design. I didn’t like the idea of a locking device, so this design is secure, but can be operated by the wearer.
When closing the handcuff, the left hand side as we see it, clicks into one of two positions and then the shield comes down to prevent the lugs from springing open. This is the reverse side as the other side has the hallmarks and, particularly, is stamped with the recipient’s name.
I’m pleased with this design!
This is work in progress and is a one-off for me.
This post is in the hope that old websites never actually die and the information in them is available to the computers of the future. In which case, when this plaque is dug out of a cemetery sometime in the distant future, the archaeologist will read the inscription (not yet done) and search for information and find this post. The plaque is unusual in several ways. It is formed from the owner’s wedding ring and a very worn gold pendant. The wedding ring had bands of red, white and yellow gold and these have been retained in the plaque. The other option was just to melt everything down and roll the sheet, but that would lose the history.
Two examples of representations of Thor’s hammer. They are both about 50mm high and solid sterling silver – they weigh about 50g each. The design was driven by the client who wanted an ‘authentic’ look rather than refined, so you can see defects from the casting. The brief was also this style and not the shaft and head style hammer. The left hand one has a satin finish, as the client requested, whereas the right hand is shiny. The shiny one is available from my shop. I could remove more of the casting defects and satinise that if required. UK hallmarks are on the rear. I made clay models as the patterns for the castings, so I could repeat the left hand one too. These are about the limit of my modelling skills.
Suprisingly, this is probably one of the most expensive coins I have mounted. The original issue of the coin is very much a limited edition. Anyway, of the mount, the owner said
‘ Coin pendant received thank you . I am very pleased. It is more impressive than I expected . Your work is very much appreciated.’
The coin is held in a fine silver (99.9% pure) band that is burnished over the coin. Fine silver is so soft that the silver blends back into the bulk forming a tight, secure , but completely non-destructive support for the coin. Both sides are equally visible.
This bracelet has alternate bands of bright polished silver and a hammered pattern that looks vaguely like a bark effect.. It’s a design I’ve used before and can be seen on my shop bracelets page, though it is only made on request. My client saw that picture and said it was great, but could it be wider. The answer is ‘yes – of course. How wide would you like it?’
These were made to complement my cast seahorse pendant.
They are my third version of seahorse earrings. All sold.
This silver belt buckle was cast in a cuttlefish bone. The rippled texture that you see is inherent in the bone itself and therefore unique. The texture is made prominent after the basic shape is formed in the bone, but before the metal is cast. The rectangle was cast in one piece and so required a large bone. Cuttlefish bone is a good insulant allowing the silver to stay molten long enough to penetrate the relative long narrow channels by gravity.
The pearl in this ring was found whilst sea foraging in Normandy many years ago. Although it is rough and irregular, it has sentimental value. My brief was that the ring would be worn daily and so needed to protect the pearl. I suggested an anticlastic ring, which appealed to the owner as she is a mathematician and instantly knew what I meant. (It has both convex and concave curves – most rings only have one or two convex curves.)
The left hand image shows the finished ring and the right hand image before lowering the collar and setting the pearl. The pearl is well protected from casual imapcts.
‘Just to let you know that I absolutely adore the ring you made. I wear it every single day, and my family was blown away by how beautiful it is, and ‘true’ to the type of pearl it is.’
My client wanted a mimimalist band – very plain. Wide and weighty – suitable for a tall lady.
This is a piece of a bomb casing from a bomb dropped during the Vietnam war that was subsequently safely destroyed. Some edges were as sharp as a knife.
These are the cufflinks I made by cutting it in two and removing the sharp edges.
Minimalist to keep the weight down and focus on the content not the cufflink, yet safe and secure. Something to talk about at a dinner party?
My client said -“one happy customer”
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.
Should you feel the need then this is the link.
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.
Some good news. Although Royal Mail have increased their charges from the start of 2021, I shall keep the same rates for UK customers for now.
Please though, if you are not in the UK, email me for the postage charge – don’t ‘Buy Now’
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.
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.”
Always happy to accomodate variations if I can.
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.
This sterling silver paten is destined for St Aldates Church in Oxford. A paten is used for communion bread.
“What an exquisite piece of silverware. It’s absolutely beautiful. “ St Aldates
It is 16 cm in diameter and has been hand made by sinking the silver into a wooden former.
The domed disk sits on a thin silver base ring – wide for stability. You can see the hallmarking on the image above.
I made a copper version first to check the size and design suited the donor. It’s an object of beauty in its own right and now resides in our house.
I have made other silver for ecclesiastical use. A morse for St Helens Church in Abingdon, a pectoral cross and ring for the Bishop of Hertfordshire and a pectoral cross for Abbot Thomas of Mucknell Abbey.
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.
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.
It seems to be my year for mounting coins!
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.
As of 1 July 2020, I shall be working as a sole trader. The company used previously – JJA Radley Ltd – has ceased trading and is being closed down.
All work in progress and associated deposits are transferred to my new trading status.
This is 2mm thick copper and longer than I would normally make especially for a big lad. Unfortunately I couldn’t get it engraved in time, but that should be possible now.
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. ‘
On the left you can see it as received and on the right with a new pin catch and the chain reattached. Fortuately the beautiful filigree work on the front face remained intact.
This style of bracelet has a design flaw. When the bracelet is flexed to get it on and off it work hardens and fails at the thinnest point which is the wing joint.
I managed to rejoin the wing and added a brace section underneath for added strength. It doesn’t affect the looks or wearability, but should make the bracelet last a good few years now.
It’s not the first I’ve had to fix!
A special request for a ring with a groove around it. With time the groove should tarnish whereas the main surface will stay silvery. This will be the desired effect.