22. August 2017 17:31
I was invited to visit a silver mine museum in France by a couple of German/Canadian friends a few weeks ago - how could I - a silversmith even think of refusing!
The abandoned mine, of which there are many in the Vosges Mountain area of France, has been turned into a museum. This one is quite near to Strasburg.
The excursion is split into different sections, above and below ground. It starts with a film about how a silver mine was bought and then all the different workers gathered together.
The next part is to take a group of people into the old mine workings, through a series of tunnels -... [More]
19. July 2017 17:44
As a Silversmith I am, and always have been, careful not to waste any silver or gold which I handle on a daily basis. In common with others in the industry, we cut, file, saw, grind, turn and polish precious metals. All these processes could lose some of the precious metals never to be seen again.
In our case the clean cutting we collect to use at a later date for our silver castings. The less clean (which could have some oil or dirt present) is collected and returned to our supplier for melt and assay. The fine silver element of this is then credited to our metal account with our supplier.
17. July 2017 17:32
A few weeks ago I had an unusual request from a repeat customer.
Did we have in stock something suitable for a belated Christening present? But it had to have the date letter 2015.
I had a rummage through the safe and found three items and offered him a choice.
One of the items was a Directors Whisky Decanter.
We both agreed that this was a rather unusual Christening present but probably more useful (in later life of course!) than a baby rattle for example which is only useful during the early life of a child. On the other hand it could be passed from generation to generation???
However a... [More]
31. March 2017 19:59
I needed to order a considerable amount of standard (sterling) 925 silver sheet recently. After I placed my order the supplier informed me that they had insufficient in stock to fulfill my request. An alternative was to take some of it in Britannia silver (958). It is many years since I have used Britannia but to use it on this occasion would solve the problem.
I knew it was softer so it should be easier to spin – in theory.
Well this was the case. It was nice to spin, it seemed to be a more “slippery” metal than standard (925 copper alloy) which can feel a bit “gritt... [More]
21. March 2017 19:19
A lady phoned a couple of weeks ago and said that she had found us on the internet. She had been going round the local shops in the Brentwood area trying to find someone who could make 2 silver bangles for her two daughter’s birthdays. Colin, who took the call, suggested that she bring in her example of what she wanted. She arrived. Not having been party to these telephone conversations I had to explain that I was a silversmith and what she needed was a jeweler. She said “what is the difference?” I tried to explain that that there can be big differences between jewelers and s... [More]
29. December 2016 17:05
My training and life as a Silversmith have also given me the basic skills and confidence to tackle other projects. For example, when we bought a new sound system and television. It came supplied with contemporary light wood speakers. Co-incidentally the same colour as our Ercol furniture.
Unfortunately we could not find suitable wooden stands for these speakers that would also match our furniture. I though it would be quite an enjoyable experience to make a pair. First I did a scale drawing, then sourced some maple wood (which is nice to turn) from our stocks and cut out the necessary blanks,... [More]
24. November 2016 18:36
The silver decanter collar in the picture below has been in daily use at a well known Notting Hill restaurant for over 7 years. It is one of several in use there and they do occasionally get broken.
At JA Campbell we keep adequate stock of all decanter bodies in our range and can fit a new body onto an existing silver collar or Claret Jug. This is providing the silver is not damaged substantially. Minor damage to the silver can be rectified prior to fitting to the new crystal body.It will look like a new decanter again.
Most of the decanters in our range are highly suitable... [More]
2. October 2016 13:34
In the morning at work we usually sit down for breakfast before we start the days work. It normally consists of half a grapefruit or a freshly squeezed orange followed by an egg of some sort with fresh bread from the local bakers and some homemade jam.
As we have limited cooking facilities the eggs are fried, scrambled, poached or boiled. We like to have a bit of variety.
On a boiled egg morning it is often quicker to find something from the workshop rather than search for a proper finished Silver Egg Cup.
Today it is a decanter top with a test engraving on it. Works well! Looks quite... [More]
13. July 2016 20:07
When I had the Chalice Claret Jug re-shot a couple of years ago (both in the silver and in the gold version) I inserted a small coaster into the picture just as a prop, to get a bit of lifestyle. It had not occurred to me to that this shot may actually create a sale for the coaster. We have now had several requests for this particular coaster.
Unfortunately we did not make one of a suitable size! we have previously sold the middle size coaster from the "appetite" range which was not quite ideal, being a little too big and rather on the expensive side.
Last week when a Clare... [More]
10. January 2016 16:09
Bronze figurines of Diana, Greek Goddess of Love.
Just before Christmas 2015 my antique friend brought in another bronze figurine of Diana by a well known French sculptor. This one had lost her bow, as had the first one.
For those who are not familiar with the piece, Diana is standing on one leg on a rock, shooting a bow up into the sky. The bow actually has no strings and is made in two parts which screw onto threads either side of her left hand.
The bow although stylised is basically tapered from thick in the centre and thin at the ends. It is also slightly triangular in section.
The fir... [More]