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’.

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)

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.

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’

Teaching sessions in my workshop

Today, I ran a day course for two friends who wanted to learn the basics of working with silver.

In the morning I went through the stages of making a silver ring – we made one each.  In the afternoon, the two friends made motifs to go on a bracelet.  We made up the design over lunchtime and implemented it in the afternoon.

They experienced soldering, using the piercing saw, doming, and polishing and learnt about the metal, assay and various other tools and techniques.

Silver RIng and star motifs by students
RIng and star motifs

Trophy repair

I’m quite pleased with this repair.  There was a similar dint on the opposite side that came out well too.  It had been neglected and took a lot to bring the inside back to a shine.

My new website

jhsilver.co.uk updated

Today I’ve just launched my new website.

Hopefully everyone will find it easier to use and more up to date.  Please let me know if there are  any problems or errors.

The shop remains the same – that seems to work fine and ‘it ain’t broke, so why fix it?’,  but the new website should surround the shop seamlessly.

It is also a more secure site now, you should see the little padlock on the browser bar most of the time.  There are probably a few links I need to fix still.  I still have some content I want to move over or update.

I’ve trimmed down the examples of my work  to about 100, but there’s more in the shop and on the blog.  Also you can sneak into the old website areas for further examples.

Chain types

Nothing too exciting, but I’ve recently updated my page on chains to include a further page with some photos of common styles of chain and clasp.

For example

Belcher chain with carabiner clasp
Belcher chain with carabiner clasp

Please remember that if you like a pendant in my shop, I can change the style and length of its chain.  Just contact me first, rather than ordering from the shop.

 

1500 different designs

I have a photograph of pretty much everything that I have made.  Although I’ve been silversmithing since 1978, I decided in early 2006 to record my work on a database.  From that point, each new design or item, if individuals varied from the design, has been allocated a number ss001, ss002 etc, which is used on the corresponding photograph.  Each item also has a number.

With the cow horn rings previous to this post, I’ve reached ss1500 so that’s about 150 variants each year.  I’ve made 2800 items in that time.  Most pictures are on my website, in my shop or in the blog.

Mosaic tessera earrings

Years ago my wife and I visited Sam Gimignano in Italy.  I bought a box of bright blue tessera – the little tiles used as the basis of a mosaic.  I occasionally make some earrings using them that usually sell well.

Blue mosaic tessera earrings
Blue mosaic tessera earrings

It was only recently that a lady visited my stand during Artweeks and said “I make mosaics and those are tesserae, but that’s the back which is pressed into the cement.”

I’d never given it a moment’s thought – that side looked best so I put it outermost.  Of course, the other side being flat sits well in the setting.   Few people normally see this side.

Replacing a comb in a silver cover

Replacing the comb in a silver cover
Before and after

This silver backed comb has sentimental value to the owner and was clearly of no practical use.  The problem here is usually to find a suitable replacement.  The best fit was slightly too long and had to be filed and repolished and the teeth are shorter than the original., but it is now usable.  If anyone else is interested, then please locate a comb that you think is an acceptable replacement and I’ll fit it.

 

Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams – the author of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ was born on 11 March 1952.  He would be coming up to his 64th birthday had he not died in 2001.

I’ve always liked the Hitchhiker ‘trilogy’ and made a pair of these cufflinks for myself

Silver 42 cufflinks
Cufflinks to remember the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything

I’ve sold other pairs and there are two types of ’42’ available for sale in my shop.  I have also made variants including ’52’ and H2 (for hydrogen – the 2 was subscripted).

Silver horse pendant

Sterling silver galloping horse pendant
Sterling silver galloping horse pendant

The disc here is about 40mm in diameter with black, low temperature, enamel to highlight the galloping horse.

Ring sizing

I now have a new ring sizing machine that will be quicker and more accurate for stretching a wide range of rings and shrinking plain bands such as wedding rings.

Ring stretcher and shrinker
Ring stretcher and shrinker

As ever, I don’t promise anything until I’ve seen the ring, but this new tool should expand my repertoire further.

Shop sales before Christmas

If there is a price and a Buy Now button  then the item is available for sale. Unless you collect, deliveries will follow Royal Mail’s last posting dates of Monday 21 for items under £35 or Wednesday 23rd for other items. I need to have received the order by midday on those dates to allow for packing and transport to the Post Office.

Have a good Christmas.

John

Buying gifts

Silver gilt earrings
Silver gilt earrings

If you would like me to send a shop sale or a commission directly to the recipient, then I am happy to do that.  I will include a message from you and adjust my packing accordingly.  I will still send you an email with the despatch details.  Please put the message in the box on the shopping cart and use the recipients address during the payment process.

If whether you are based in the UK or abroad and the gift is going to a UK address, then just use the shopping cart system.  If the gift is to be sent abroad, please contact me by email first.

Earring conversions – studs/post to loop

An example of a customer who wanted earrings with studs converted to hook type fittings (findings).

Earring as stud
Earring as stud
Earring converted to loop fitting
Earring converted to loop fitting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    I can usually do the conversion the other way, depending whether the earring will take the heat of soldering the pin on.  Some can be glued.

 

Gifts for christenings and new births

I make several designs suitable as gifts to mark the birth of a new child or as a christening or similar ceremony for the young child.  Please give me notice so that I can get the item hallmarked in the right year – retrospective date hallmarking is not possible!

Trapezoidal napkin ringRound sterling silver napkin ring

Here are a couple of examples of napkin rings made for my children.

 

You can see more napkin rings on my website .

Alternatives are christening spoons.  More variations here.

Silver spoon engravable

or maybe a nappy/ kilt pin?

Sterling silver nappy or kilt pin

Silver paperweights

My wood turner friend, Richard Shock, has a line of paperweights with inlaid centre.

Silver disc paperweight
Silver disc paperweight

This is one from his range with a silver disc centre.  I provided the discs and also the silver matchstick that is use to displace the disc by pushing from the rear.  The disc can then be cleaned without the cleaner damagiing the wood.

silver matches
silver matches

You can buy this paperweight from Richard’s website

If you lose the matchstick – come to me!

 

Cleaning silver

My website has a page on cleaning silver.  Recently I’ve started to use anti-tarnish cleaning cloths such as these.

Anti-tarnish polishing cloth
Anti-tarnish polishing cloth

They are handy for a quick clean and very good for flatter surfaces.  In fact I’ve decided to give one free with every commission sale or you can buy them from my shop, though to avoid postage costs they are better bought as part of an order.

9ct white gold wedding ring

Not only did I take my daughter up the aisle for her wedding last week, but I made their wedding rings.

I wonder how many brides and grooms have their Dad’s mark in their wedding rings?

9 ct white gold wedding ring
My daughter’s 9 ct white gold wedding ring

The profile had to match with her engagement ring both in material and  shape.  No – I didn’t do the engagement ring – stone setting isn’t one of my best skills.

Here’s a picture of the rings after the ceremony.

9ct White gold wedding rings
9ct white gold wedding rings in use

 

Gold plating

Thanks to Nerissa Parker and Sam Buckley, I’ve developed the process of gold plating.  I also do Keum Boo which is fusing a thin gold layer onto fine silver, so Keum Boo is thicker and more robust than plating, but less flexible.

Here are a couple of examples.  The first is a pair of fused style earrings, before and after.

Silver fused earrings - original
Silver fused earrings – original
Silver fused earrings with gold highlights
Silver fused earrings with gold highlights

 

 

 

 

 

These are my standard ammonite pendant.  One is plated on one side, but with the ribs further polished so expose the silver again to enhance the contrast.

Solid silver ammonite pendant
Solid silver ammonite pendant
Solid silver ammonite pendant with gold plated highlights
Solid silver ammonite pendant with gold plated highlights

Time for (a) ‘P’

The UK Assay Offices are using the date letter ‘P’ for 2014.  I’ve just had my first batch of work for the year assayed.  Here is ‘P’ (much enlarged).

 2014 date letter

I wish!

Here is a working model steam engine made by my brother.  It’s about 8 inches long.  His skills are impressive and totally different to mine.

Frank's model steam engine
Frank’s model steam engine

It has yet to be painted, but somehow that will hide the workmanship.

1000 different designs

I’ve been silversmithing for years and I’ve a photograph of practically everything I’ve made.  I’ve just passed a milestone – kilometer stone would be better. Since I started tracking my work on a database, each photo of a design or variant has a unique number.  I’ve just passed number 1000! – it has taken  me 30+ years though.

Here’s number 1

Silver ornament based on a fossil fish withe etched shoal
Ornament based on a fossil fish with etched shoal

And here’s number 1000

Multi ring silver pendant
Multi ring silver pendant

The next target is the number of discrete items made – rapidly approaching 2000.

Silver wishbones

I’ve made wishbones as an ornament/ good luck gift for some time.  These have been either cast from a real wishbone or fabricated from wire

I’ve now made a tiny version as a necklet – just 25 mm long.

SIlver wishbone pendant
SIlver wishbone pendant

 

Cheaper postage rate for low cost items

I’ve mastered a feature of my shopping cart to allow items under £29 to be sent by recorded delivery rather than special delivery – reducing the postage costs from £6.50 to £3.  The shopping cart sorts this out.

Replacement earrings

The recipient of a pair of earrings made by me lost one.  Fortunately, she kept the presentation wallet with my website address on it and got in touch.

She sent me the existing one and using that as a model was able to make her a replacement – so she’s happy again.  One advantage of buying from me!

I have converted a single earrings to necklets before now.  This is often a good solution if the earrings had sentimental value.

My new flyer

Some of you will have seen my sets of postcards with the red backgrounds, each showing a different selection of my work.  You can see the cards if you put ‘John Huddleston Silver’ into Google and then click on ‘Photos’.

However, I’ve just designed and had printed a flyer with some of my newer work. Here are two low-res images and a link to a pdf version.  Don’t forget it is letter folded in hardcopy.

Flyer Mar13 all jpgs webFlyer Mar13 all jpgs 2 web

Flyer Mar13 all jpgs

If you want a paper copy just let me know!