Bespoke punched and engraved silver ring

(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.

Silver acorn cufflinks

Silver acorn cufflinks
Silver acorn cufflinks

Another addition to my ‘seeds’ range of cufflinks.  Each acorn is about 18mm long,  Available from my shop.  I also have pendants of a similar size available in the shop.

Celebrating a special event

SIlver ingot 2019
SIlver ingot 2019

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.

Cufflinks with customer supplied subject

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.

Ferrule for a swagger stick

Silver swagger stick tip
Silver swagger stick tip

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.

Silver ammonite bracelets

These are the latest additions to my ammonite range – still the same ammonites – just different forms of jewellery.

Amber mounted as a silver pendant

Amber mounted as a silver pendant
Amber mounted as a silver pendant

I made this pendant a while ago, but forgot to load it into my shop – but it is now.

It’s a piece of quite thick amber in a teardrop shape. I made this surround as a freehand casting using the ‘cuttlefish casting’ method.   It is assayed on the rear.

Julian of Norwich and the Hazelnut

ss1104 Img_2366
Gold plated solid silver hazelnut

Recently I have sold hazelnuts to people following St Julian of Norwich, though others have told me a range of interesting reasons why they wanted to purchase one.

More about her here.

Silver hazelnuts are available from my shop.

Silver acorn pendants

These are two pendants cast from acorns.  They are only half thickness yet still heavy at about 45g each. They are hallmarked on the rear.  They are available from my on-line shop.  They would also work as a key fob.  Contact me if that interests you.

Silver/ red gold ring

Half round or ‘d’ section rings of silver and 9 carat red gold have been soldered together for this discrete, but different ring.

9ct red gold and silver ring
9ct red gold and silver ring

Apart from the soldering challenge, the exciting aspect of this piece for me is that, in over 40 years of sending work to be assayed, this is my first piece that is marked as ‘mixed metal’.  I’ve worked silver and gold before, but this is the first piece that qualified as mixed metal, because the two metals are discrete enough to have different hallmarks.  If the metals are not sufficiently clear, then the whole work is marked at the lower standard, which in this case would have been sterling silver.

Here is an expanded and rotated image of the marks.

Mixed metal hallmarks
Sterling and 9 carat gold mixed metal hallmarks

Because my work is assayed at London, it has the traditional silver and gold marks as well as the modern fineness mark applied as standard.  The marks were applied by laser.

Top ring

My sponsors mark, traditional sterling silver, fineness mark for sterling silver, London Assay Office and the 2019 date letter.

Middle ring

Traditional gold mark and modern 9 carat fineness mark.

Assay and marking does not distinguish the colour of the gold.

Ingot pendant 2019

This is an example of a 2019 marked ingot.

Sterling silver ingot pendant hallmarked 2019
Sterling silver ingot pendant hallmarked 2019

If you look carefully, you can see the distortion of the metal around the punch marks, particularly by my sponsor’s mark at the top.  Laser applied marks do not cause any distortion, but then they are nothing like as deep.  Please contact me if you would like something similar.  I am only making them to commission, though there are some of earlier years available in my shop.

New for U

The UK assay date letter this year, 2019, is ‘U’

2019 Assay date letter 'U'

I’ve added this picture to my list of date letters here.

 

This is an example of my featured hallmark bracelet witht the new letter

Sterling silver featured hallmark bracelet dated 2019
Sterling silver featured hallmark bracelet dated 2019

Available from my shop.

Pebble earrings

My client provided the stones for this pair of earrings.

Pebble shell fossil earringsThey are small – no more than a centimetre high.  The brief was a simple setting with secure ear wires.   The client and recipient are delighted with the result.  There’s something extra about a gift that where the giver has provided strong input to the design.

Oak leaf brooch

 

Gold plated impression of an oak leaf in copper
Gold plated impression of an oak leaf in copper

This brooch is about 6cm long and has a steel pin on the rear with a pin protector.  It ws something of an experiment in embossing patterns by rolling.  Tp get this result an oak leaf was rolled between two sheets of annealed copper.  The leaf was then sulphided to enhance the detail and then a very thin gold plate was applied.  I intend to let the copper border tarnish naturally – we shall see what it looks like in time.

The picture below is an enlargement of the embossing to show the fine detail of the leaf in the copper.

Detail of embosssed oak leaf
Detail of embosssed oak leaf

Each brooch will be unique as, although there may be a mirror image available, the leaf is destroyed during the process.

Expanding silver bracelet

Expanding silver bracelet
Expanding silver bracelet

A three strand, twisted and rolled bracelet that is closed, but adjustable.  It has heavier gauge wire than I normally use, at the client’s request, to make it a substantial piece of silver jewellery.

Silver shell pendants

Silver shell pendants
Silver shell pendants

These are small pendants 1.5-2 cm – solid silver and full hallmarked, though they are below the minimum requirements.  They were cast from a shell found by the client.

Silver cufflinks presenting Roman coins

This set of cufflinks were a special and thoughtful presents to three brothers.  The clients selected and sourced the coins.  They are from the reigns of Caracalla, Trajan, Philip, Alexander, Valerian and Gordian.

The support for the coins are domed so that both sides can be examined.  The mounts hold the coins securely but non destructively.

Mosaic tessera earrings – multi colour – multi style

Blue mosaic tessera earrings
Blue mosaic tessera earrings

These blue mosaic tessera based earrings have been very popular.  The story behind them is here. A year or so back, I bought a pack of other colours.  This is the sample sheet.

Mosaic colour choices
Mosaic colour choices

Now to add increased flexibility, I have made stud mounts for the tessera and why not other materials?  The rght hand side below has some paua shell I cut to size.

Wikipedia has just told me that paua is the New Zealand name, abalone the US name and ormer the UK name for the same genus.

I have some stock, but contact me with your choice.

Silver ammonite ring

SIlver ring with a solid half thickness ammonite
SIlver ring with a solid half thickness ammonite

This style of ring is made to measure and can be made with any of my available ammonites.  Or indeed other objects you may wish to have immortalised in silver.

Bolt key fob

The key fob of this key ring is cast from a bolt from a bicycle that has special memories for the recipient.

Silver bolt keyring
Silver bolt key ring

The fob is hallmarked on the head of the bolt.  This is an example of the commissioned work I undertake where there is a memory or other connection between the giver and the recipient  There is also the pleasure of giving (and for me making) a present that will last many, many years.

Gold six band ear cuff

9ct gold 6 band ear cuff
9ct gold 6 band ear cuff

The silver cuff I made earlier in the year was very well received and so I was asked to make a gold version.  Fortunately, and unusually for me, I kept detailled instructions, so the two cuffs are pretty much identical.

Earring replacement

 

Gold earring and replacement
Gold earring and replacement

The partner of the earring on the right disappeared and I was asked to make an earring to match it.  The owner was happy with a standard pin and butterfy fitting.  It isn’t perhaps obvious from the picture but the tube is square section and I could only buy round tube.  The solution is to pull the tube through a square drawplate several times to convert the profile.  The match was good.

Unusual hallmarking on a ring

Normally ring hallmarks are on the inside of a ring, requiring a special ‘swan-necked’ punch, but I was asked to produce one with the hallmarks on the outside.

SIlver ring with external hallmarks
SIlver ring with external hallmarks

Here the London Assay Office have applied ‘display’ marks that are deep and durable.  I’ve also been able to employ one of my slightly larger straight punches.

Hinge knuckle replacement on bracelet

Bracelet with replaced hinges/ knuckles
Bracelet with replaced hinges

One of the knuckles on the hinge of the clasp had torn through completely and the others were  showing serious wear.  It’s a really heavy bracelt and buts a lot of strain on the hinges.  They were originally thin-walled tube, but I’ve replaced them with proper thick-walled hinge tube.  The hinges should last for years and years now.

Cast silver ammonite jewellery

I’ve been casting solid silver ammonites for years  – brooches, pendants, earrings, charms, rings, paperweights  – and have a collection of fossils to cast from.  However, I  got myself into a complete muddle with descriptions of the various sizes, so I’ve developed a cunning plan.

All my fossil ammonites now have a number and I’ve added the number to the description.  Below you can see images of the fossils and their silver equivalents.  I’ve added approximate sizes and approximate weights of the silver pieces.

My real fossil ammonites
My real fossil ammonites
My fossil amminoites as cast in sterling silver
My fossil ammonites as cast in sterling silver

Hopefully this will make it easier when you order from my shop as I will be relisting all the brooches, cufflinks, pendants and rings with their ‘size number’.

Uffington White Horse realistic brooch

My pendants of the White Horse near Uffington, Oxfordshire are described earlier in this blog.  I haven’t previously made a brooch – perhaps an obvious omission.  Anyway I’ve done one now.

 

Silver Uffington White Horse brooch broach
Uffington White Horse brooch

The owner is very pleased with it.

Uffington White Horse brooch broach with owner
Uffington White Horse brooch with owner

Silver handcuff

Solid silver decorative handcuff
Solid silver decorative handcuff

The cuff closes over the wrist and the pin on the right secures it closed.  The carabiner clasp then secures the pin.  The chains are open link to allow charms to be added. My client said

‘Just to let you know the item arrived today as planned and also to say a big Thank You for taking the job on and creating a truely fantastic piece.  Really pleased with how you converted my ideas into this.’

Silver ear cuff

A new departure for me – I’m made plenty of earrings, including replacing lost ones, but a cuff is a first for me.  This cuff fits between the outer ear and the inner lobe.

Silver 6 band ear cuff
Silver 6 band ear cuff

Wide heavy man’s silver bracelet

Wide, thick, man's silver bracelet
Wide, thick, man’s silver bracelet

The client wanted something plain, but a little heavier and thicker than my normal bracelets.  Bright shiny on the outside and satin inside – fully hallmarked. Not one of my more demanding jobs, but something not readily obtainable.

Silver medicine tube/ holder

Silver container to hold a medicine aerosol pendnat
Silver container to hold a medicine aerosol

Unfortunately, my client has to carry an aerosol spray in case of medical emergency.  Between us we came up with a design for a holder on a chain.  The tube is about 30mm in diameter and weighs over 100g.

It was in use within minutes of it arriving!

The main hallmarks are on the base with part marks on the friction fit lid.

Fused silver mount for blue druzy

A client had a beautiful window blue druzy that was not at its best in its previous setting.  I created one of my unique fused silver surrounds for the druzy. It now looks spectacular.

Fused silver pendant iwth blue window druzy
Fused silver pendant iwth blue window druzy

My client was delighted and couldn’t wait to try it on.

One happy client
One happy client!

Apostle spoon repair

 

Apostle spoon before repair
Apostle spoon before repair

This apostle spoon was found in a local garden with the aid of a metal detector.  I was asked to repair it.

Apostle spoon after repair
Apostle spoon after repair

The process of cleaning up after hard soldering up the bowl and stem removed all the tarnish.  After a good clean, this is the result.

( I only do repair work on a ‘best endeavours’ basis – see my terms and conditions)

Fine silver bowl – silver wedding present

FIne silver bowl for silver wedding present
FIne silver bowl

This bowl is 120cm across and is made from fine silver.  It was commissioned as a silver wedding present and it has an inscription engraved on the opposite side to the hallmarks.

The hallmarks themselves are interesting in that in addition to the 999 mark, the piece has also been given the Britannia mark.  Britannia fineness is 958 parts silver per 1000, so it clearly exceeds that.

Hallmarks from fine silver bowl
Hallmarks from fine silver bowl

Triangular engineers silver ruler

A triangular  six inch engineers ruler.  An interesting exercise and more of a challenge than I anticipated.  The front face has the recipient’s name, but I’ve removed that for this post.  I designed all the engraving, but it was machine engraved locally.

As with other pictures, it’s difficult to get the lighting right!  If I do something like this again, I will make the sides slightly concave.

Radley College Clock Tower Cufflinks and pendant

Evry few years, I’ve been asked to make a pair of cufflinks inspired by the Radley College Clock Tower.  These have been leaving presents for members of staff whose room overlooked the Clock Tower.

The 2009  and 2015 versions were etched, but this time I wanted to try something different and more three dimensional.  I’ve also made a pendant in the 2018 style.  It’s about 5cm high.

Radley Clock Tower silver pendant
Radley Clock Tower silver pendant

Radley College Croomes Tower silver pendant

As a leaving present for a member of staff, I was asked to make a pendant based on Croomes Tower.

Croomes Tower silver pendant
Croomes Tower silver pendant

My interpretation is about 5cm tall, the real thing – below – must be about 10 metres.  Scaling down that much required some compromises on the level of detail.  I had the assay marks placed over the door in lieu of an inscription.

Croomes Tower - Radley College, Oxfordshire
Croomes Tower – Radley College, Oxfordshire

 

Silver scout woggles

These woggles were commissioned for the groom and supporters at a recent wedding.  Each woggle is hallmarked at the rear,

Silver scout woggles
Silver scout woggles

New work on my shop

I’ve just added a range of new items onto my shop website.  Many of them are featured earlier in this blog.  I have made links from the blog posts to the shop.

The new entries include

  • the Uffington White Horse range
  • lantern earrings and pendnat
  • Yantras
  • button pendants and cufflinks

These are all described in posts below.

2018 sterling silver ingot and bracelet

These were a special order as a gift.   Though the ingot looks much the same as my other ingots, it is  slightly larger and thicker so that it is twice the weight of my normal ingots.

More Yantra designs

Following the development of the yantra pendant posted earlier, I have now made some more full sized pendants in both silver and copper.

No one yantra is quite the same! The silver pendant is hallmarked, but the earrings are not.  Please contact me if you would like to buy from this range.  they are available now and will be on my website later in the year.

Copper silver rings

Copper silver rings
Copper silver rings

I make these rings to order.  These are two copper strand and one silver, but other permutations are possible from all silver to all copper.  One customer said

‘Rings fit perfectly, probably all psychological ,arthritic discomfort has melted away.’

Please note copper rings are not mentioned in  the official NHS Nice guidelines for osteoarthritis management.  I make no claims whatsoever.

 

 

A new silver dog collar

This latest collar improves on the previous solid version by having a hinge to make it easier to fit.  Also, of the three ‘ sizing ‘ slots, only the outer was to be used, which simplified the design.  The collar has a perimeter of 38 cm and weighs over 200g.

The padlock  is a Tiffany one – I haven’t attempted one yet.  The engraving was done by Sam James Ltd.

‘I LOVE it. Beautiful!! Thank you John!’

Orion nebula silver ring

Not one of my best photos and the ring wasn’t finished at this point, but this is ring is a present for someone for whom the Orion Nebula is special.

Orion nebula silver ring
Orion nebula silver ring

Teaching casting methods – cuttlefish and delft clay

I’ve just completed  two 1:1 sessions showing how I cast using delft clay and cuttlefish.  This was spread over two sessions doing delft clay first, though with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better to do cuttlefish first.  Prepaing a cuttlefish mould is easier which gives more time to introduce the actual melting and pouring part.

We followed the same format as the basic class  – I do a stage, the student does their stage and so on.

My delft clay castings are on the left and the student’s on the right.  The bee is a little bigger than the ammonites.

This is a cuttlefish cast once finished and the amber stone mounted.

Abstract silver cuttlefish cast surround for amber stone
Abstract silver cuttlefish cast surround for amber stone

‘I had the pleasure of 2 casting lessons with John, delft clay and cuttlefish. I had the best learning experience. Prior to lesson John advised me on equipment etc so I could set up at home.

Hands on, informative and very inspiring. In 4 hours Johns vast knowledge and experience had taught me enough to go home and recreate, which I have been,non stop!
Thank you’

Silver panther keyring

SIlver panther keyring keyfob
SIlver panther keyring

Not much else to say – a commission.  Thick silver sheet for durability. The panther is about 5cm toe to tail.

Chinese ideogram ingots

A set of three ingots with ideograms engraved – health, happiness and success.

Health, happiness and success silver ingots
Happiness, health and success silver ingots

They were required for a special birthday early in 2018.  To avoid stress, the engraving was done in 2017 (not by me!) and the assay done in 2018 so that the date letter was correct.  However a normal stamped hallmark could damage the ideograms so they were laser hallmarked.

2018 date letters on each ingo
2018 date letters on each ingot

They have extra depth to ensure longevity.

Thank you so much for the beautifully finished necklaces I commissioned from you.  You took time to understand what I was asking for and suggested how this could be created.  The necklaces are wonderful.  I am really finding it hard to find a description that does them justice.  Thank you.