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.
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.
Half round or ‘d’ section rings of silver and 9 carat red gold have been soldered together for this discrete, but different 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.
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.
My sponsors mark, traditional sterling silver, fineness mark for sterling silver, London Assay Office and the 2019 date letter.
Traditional gold mark and modern 9 carat fineness mark.
Assay and marking does not distinguish the colour of the gold.
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.
My client provided the stones for this pair of earrings.
They 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.
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.
Each brooch will be unique as, although there may be a mirror image available, the leaf is destroyed during the process.
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.
The key fob of this key ring is cast from a bolt from a bicycle that has special memories for the recipient.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
As a leaving present for a member of staff, I was asked to make a pendant based on Croomes Tower.
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.
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.
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.