A complex design for me for a bride who wanted something different with an air of history. The gold and garnets suggests the Saxon era. In the lower picture you may just see the full marks for sterling silver and the part marks for 9ct gold. The groom reused his father’s wedding ring and I sized that for him too. This was the ring I mocked up in silver and is in this post.
The stone is a beautiful London blue, 8 by 6mm topaz lozenge. I had hoped to buy a setting for the stone, but ended up making my own. Not my best skill, but eventually I made this setting from gallery strip. A good result that lets plenty of light to the stone. You can just see the Jubilee mark to the left of the main hallmark block.
This is an example of an engraved bracelet, but with the engraving on the inside leaving a bright shiny band on the outside. The hallmarks are on the outside though. I chose to have the London Assay Office’s staggered arrangement with three marks at each end – the sixth mark being the Platinum Jubilee mark. Allsport Trophies did the engraving for me on the flat strip.
This bracelet incorporates an earring dropper as a memento of someone no longer with us. It also has an unusual arrangement of the hallmarks. They are position to ‘counterbalance’ the token and are six because they include the Platinum Jubilee mark. The arrangement is possible because the band is quite wide.
You can just see the hallmarks in the right hand image. It’s had a test drive and works well , though noticeably heavier than a normal crochet hook. This one is just about 4.5mm. I could make other sizes.
Unsolicited, the recipient of the gift emailed me to say
“I just wanted to let you know that I love it. It is heavier than a regular crochet hook but it’s a reassuring weight and has a lovely glide when you use it. “
Access to the Platinum Jubillee mark started in November 2021 and I have one 2021 ingot so marked. Here are three examples I have made for 2022.
The sloping triangle is a new design, whereas the other two correspond to those listed in my shop. I could also make the diamond version listed on the same page, though it would be much larger to gain the space for the extra mark. Please note that all 2022 ingots, with or without the optional additional mark, are only available to order. Please contact me for prices and delivery times.
This casting was done using the delft clay technique. My first attempt using a casting frame I have just made. Some very minor imperfections but nothing to detract from the piece.
I wouldn’t use it to remove a bottle cap, the cap would mark and may possibly bend the silver. Silver is just not as strong as iron. The silver version is about 25% heavier too due to the difference in specific gravity. Available from my shop here. I can’t change the lettering, but I could remove it to create a space for engraving.
What you see is a domed disc of copper with the Scorpio constellation picked out with holes. The diameters very roughly correspond to the brightness of the stars. It was made using some copper scrap from an old water tank, which had some corrosion hence the tiny black dots. They wouldn’t be there in a silver version. It’s just under 45mm in diameter.
Another option would be to have silver or gold beads instead of the holes. Having the stars in yellow gold, except Antares in red gold, would give a nod to astronomy, though the colours may not be discernible at that size.
I’ve never been a great one for seasonal jewellery, but on a whim with some time to fill, I made these. About 20 by 15mm and very light, they catch the light nicely. Available from my shop. Other sizes can be made – also Christmas trees……
Having capped a hippo tooth and a warthog tusk, I’ve downsized to a crocodile tooth here. This one is only about 75mm long, but not something youwould want embedded in your leg! I’ve seen more wildlife teeth close up in this last year than ever in my life.
This is just waiting for a thong.
From November 2021 until the end of 2022, an additional mark is available to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee – 70 years on the throne.
Here is an ingot with the 2021 marks and a close up of the additional mark. For some reason the date letter is not available in 2021 with the Platinum Jubilee mark, but the arrangement shown below identifies the assay date to November or December 2021. That’s the most precise dating in my collection started in 1979. More detail.
What to do with the earring you haven’t lost?
Sometimes I can make a near copy, but in this case the mosaic pattern was not reproducible. In the past I have converted the earring to a pendant, but, for this, I was asked to make a ring of it instead.
In 2015, I made an amethyst ring and pectoral cross for the Bishop of Hartford.
Unfortunately, with all the handwashing and slippy hand sanitser we all are having to use these days, the ring slipped off and couldn’t be found.
Fortunately, I had all the details and rapidly made an ‘identical’ replacement.
This opal has special memories and the owner polished it from rough. The brief was to show the opal off to its best. The back side has no special interest, but the sides and top show the opalescence. Hence the minimalist use of claws. The reflections from the silver enhance stone.
(The opal wasn’t completely set tight at this point, but was before delivery.)
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”
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 has garnets instead of the domes and all the beads and beading are gold. You can see it here.
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.