St Brigid’s cross in sterling silver

St Brigid is one of the patron saints of Ireland.  I have just delivered a commission of a full sized (30 cm) St Brigid’s cross in sterling silver.

Sterling silver St Brigid's CrossThe cross is traditionally woven from reeds.  This one has been constructed by weaving in the same way, but using oval solid silver wire.  The cross  has loops for wall hanging on the rear horizontal arms.  It weighs about 450 grams – one imperial pound.

On arrival, my client said, ‘it is stunning!  Thank you for accepting this commission’.

Since then I have made a couple of smaller versions.  They have been sold, but I can make others to commission.

St Brigid's cross pendant
St Brigid’s cross pendant

 

 

Variation on silver hazelnuts

Following the commission from the PTES for 21 silver and gold plated hazelnuts, I’ve had steady sales of these hazelnuts – including one to a Hatton Garden jeweller.  I have recently been commissioned to produce another set of three, but from the client’s collection of natural hazelnuts that have a high sentimental value.

Silver hazelnutsI was delighted to get the following feedback.

“The necklaces arrived today!  I am so delighted with them- they look even better than the photographs.  I was surprised and delighted with the weight of the hazelnuts- you made such a fantastic job of them.  Thank you for your excellent communication throughout this process- I really felt you did your absolute best for me.  I can’t thank you enough- it’s a lovely reminder of our ……”

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

 

Medal clasps in sterling silver

I’ve recently been commissioned to make some clasps for minature medals in silver.  By agreement with my client, the implementation was not as complex as a provided silver plated brass example as you can see here.

Silver minature medal broochHere’s what it looks like in use.  My client is very pleased.

Silver minature medal brooch on medal

Slot cuff bracelet

This bracelet is a special order.  The customer liked the concept of an existing piece (in the shop), but wanted the texture to match a pendant also purchased.  This is the result.

Bark pattern sterling silver  slot cuff
Bark pattern sterling silver slot cuff

Iron, haematite and silver

This striking piece of jewellery resulted from a special request to have a pendant containing a haematite (hematite) of a certain minimum wieght and and a minimum quantity of silver and iron.

Iron, silver and hematite pendant
Iron, silver and hematite pendant

The result is a geometric design with two iron rings, one either side, to get the necessary weight with a white metal triangle and stone bezel.  Formally because of the mixed metals, it cannot be assayed and hence the formal description of the triangle is white metal, though it was constructed with standard sterling and fine silver stock.

More cats

A bespoke cat brooch – required to be like a treasured but lost brooch without a picture.  After several discussions and an intermediate visit, this is the result.

Silver cat brooch
Silver cat brooch

The owner is very happy.

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

Silver eucalyptus seed

Within thanks to Amanda, who I met at Art in the Barn, here is a delft clay cast of a eucalyptus seed which has a fascinating five fold symmetry. It’s about 20mm diameter and weighs 12g.

Eucalyptus seed cast in sterling silverI tried hard, but the picture doesn’t quite do the casting justice.  I shall be making some buttons using the seed for a featured button on a single button coat or cardigan.

Silver matchsticks

A special request for a silver matchstick to complement another artwork.  As you can see these are real size, but purely decorative.

Sterling silver matchsticks
Hallmarked sterling silver matchsticks

Not shown, but these are hallmarked.  What next?  Silver toothpicks?  They would be more useful!

 

Silver frog

Silver frog broochA special request – a silver frog with a gold eye.  Quite harmless – likes sitting on coats or scarves.  No frogs were harmed in the making of this brooch.

Three penny bit jewellery

The British brass threepenny piece is a very characteristic coin and one that brings back the era before decimalisation to many. I’ve made several sets of cufflinks with these coins – usually to reflect a date of birth.  Here is an example.

Brass 3d coins in a  silver cufflink mountThese have a bezel/ wrap over setting, but I do other styles.  I have pairs of coins for 1937,1938,1940 to 1945, 1952-55, 1957,1960-1964,1966 & 1967, but most dates between 1937 and 1967 are available (at a price).  There’s no reason not to use the coins in brooches or pendants too.

New Roman style brooch/scarf/toga pin

Roman style silver brooch/ toga pin/ scarf pinThis is a classic, at least Roman, design of clasp.  This has been inspired by a design that I saw in a case at the museum at Wroxeter.

It is available for sale in my shop and is from the first batch from the batch assayed in 2014 with my new 1.75 mm sponsor’s mark punch.

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

Treble clef earrings

A development from the brooch available from my shop.  The earrings are available with loop or stud fittings.

Silver treble clef earrings

Filigree jewellery

I’m developing a new skill – filigree work.  I thought it looked easy – but……

However, I think I’m getting the hang of it.  Here are a couple of examples that will be in the shop shortly.

Filigree teardrop silver earringsSilver filigree pendant

Chalky paper tester

Serious stamp collectors like to know whether the stamp is printed on chalky paper or not.  I’m told the only accepted way is to make a mark on the perforation with a piece of pure silver.  I was asked to make a tester and here it is ( with the help of my wood turner friend).

Chalky paper tester for stamp collectors
Chalky paper tester for stamp collectors

This particular handle is bubinga wood.

Commissions for Christmas 2013

Now Christmas has passed and the gifts have been given, here are some of the commissions I’ve made recently.

Multi ring pendant
Multi ring pendant
This design is based on a customer's ideas as a gift for a sempstress
This design is based on a customer’s ideas as a gift for a sempstress
Hand polished jet earrings to match the pendant piece below
Hand polished jet earrings to match the pendant piece below
a special request for a pendant piece to fit on an exisitng neckband.  The side shown has the natural texture and the reverse i s flat and polished, so the piece can be worn either way
A special request for a pendant piece to fit on an existing neckband. The side shown has the natural texture and the reverse is flat and polished, so the piece can be worn either way
A shallow solid silver bonbon dish.  This one has been hand engraved with a special date
A shallow solid silver bonbon dish. This one has been hand engraved with a special date
One of two crosses of different sizes to match that owned by the giver
One of two crosses of different sizes to match that owned by the giver
A variation on my existing stock - hopefully the copper will help fend off rheumatism
A variation on my existing stock – hopefully the copper will help fend off rheumatism
A copy of two made some years ago as a special request for Christmas.  It is hallmarked sterling silver, gold plated and with a 9 ct chain
A copy of two made some years ago as a special request for Christmas. It is hallmarked sterling silver, gold plated and with a 9 ct chain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Daffodil pin

A recent commission was this daffodil brooch

Sterling silver daffodil pin brooch
Sterling silver daffodil pin brooch

For scale – across the petals is about 20mm and the pin is about 50 mm.  The pin is stainless steel for strength, but the flower and pin protector are sterling.  It is not assayed as it only weighs about 3 grams.

The next development will making more and gold plating the trumpet.

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 Dish

A shallow silver dish about 100 mm (four inches) in diameter and weighing about 65 grams.  There is plenty of space for engraving.

100  mm shallow sterling silver dish
100 mm shallow sterling silver dish

Shark’s tooth jewellery

I’ve a pair of shark’s tooth cufflinks back in stock.  (Dfferent teeth – probably not the same shark so each cufflink is silver copy of a fossilised shark’s tooth – I think the apostrophe is in the right place)

Silver shark's tooth cufflinksThe new pendant is a small single tooth, which I would anticipate being worn high on the neck.Small silver shark's tooth pendant

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

 

New candlesticks

A pair of simple candlesticks.  The sapele bases were made by my friend Richard Shock.  The base is 90 mm in diameter so these are quite petite.

Silver and sapele candlesticks
Silver and sapele candlesticks

Old friends are back in the shop

I now have a belt buckle back in the shop

Silver belt buckle
Silver belt buckle for large belts

Also Roman coin cufflinks

Roman coin cufflinks
Roma coin cufflinks – 3rd century AD

And a new line – cufflinks with silver 3d – threepenny  – bits

Silver threepenny cufflinks
Silver threepenny cufflinks

 

 

A silver nappy pin

An idea stemming from a chance comment.  This is a silver version of what may be known as a blanket or kilt or nappy safety pin.

Silver nappy pin
Silver nappy pin

This one has a silver heart attached which may be engraved with the recipient’s name.  It is about 6 cm long and is available from my shop.

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.

Napkin rings – a new variation on a theme

ss923 Img_1023 webWhen N & P got married, I was asked to make a gift for them which were a pair of napkin rings which interlocked.  So far so good – I’ve done that before.  When child C came along, I was commissioned to make a further napkin ring. The easy choice is to add it on to the side, but isn’t it better to put the child between the parents?

The bees are back!

I’ve made some more of my large bee brooches.Bee 2 1078

I’ve made three – one has been sold and one will go in each of my Artweek shows and then later in May onto the website.  These are an improved design and manufacturing process, but  they are still all slightly different.  The size is just over 6 cm across the wings.

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!

 

Diamond Jubilee marked spoons

These spoons are back from the Assay Office where they have been carefully marked in the bowl.  They need finishing – final checks and a full polish, then they will be made available shortly in my website shop.

Use of cookies on my website

I don’t generate any cookies as part of my code.  This blog software creates cookies if you leave a comment.  The shopping cart uses cookies as part of its operation and I also use Google Analytics to improve the website by understanding how it is viewed.  These are all very common and harmless uses of cookies.

Talking about silver

I’ve developed a 45-60 minute talk about silver suitable for local groups.  I cover sources, uses, price, hallmarking, how to make silverware and how to care for it.

I’ve given the talk in Radley a couple of times and it seems to go down well.

I shall be giving the talk to the Stonesfield WI tonight and to the Wantage Probus club in October.

Keum Boo enhancement

Keum Boo Gold on sterling silver pendant
This is my test piece where I depleted the sterling silver to allow the gold foil to fuse

Keum (or Kum) Boo is a process for affixing fine gold foil onto fine silver for decoration. See on my main website for more detail at this page.  Up until now , I have fused the gold onto fine silver, but i’ve just tried successfully to put foil on sterling silver by depletion silvering.  To pretreat the sterling sheet, I did the heat / acid/ heat / acid  cycle seven times, but the end result is good. I am pleased with the result and will do more.

New ring style

New for me anyway – simple clean style suitable for fingers, thumbs and toes.  Watch for pictures on my main site soon.

Diamond jubilee hallmark

I’ve just had back from the London Assay Office, two ingots with the Diamond Jubilee mark and hallmarked for next year i.e. ‘n’ not ‘m’.  These are trade samples and cannot be sold this year.  I’ll load a picture soon.

I would do it now but my Seagate Goflex home network hard drive is not working properly on any of our machines and I’m waiting for the third attempt at a solution from Seagate’s customer support.  Not buying another one from them!

Welcome to my blog

My blog is really a convenient way of showing my latest work.  This includes commissions where appropriate and speculative work.  I try to give links where the piece is available in my shop.

Occasionally there’s some news too.