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Diary of a Silversmith

Silver Bangles

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]

Silversmith's Speaker Stands

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]

Broken Restaurant Decanter

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]

Out of Silver Egg cups!

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]

Silver Coaster - a new addition

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]

Diana's second visit to JA Campbell

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]

Summer Garden Produce

This may seem a strange title for a blog from a Silversmith workshop? By now if you have read my blogs before then you will not be suprised how my mind wanders from subject to subject and always finds a link with my work. It is at this time of year when the garden calls. It would be nice if it was a call just to sit and enjoy the summer weather - but we are in England! The weeds grow, the grass needs cutting, but if like me you enjoying growing your own produce then this is when things really start to happen. Picking the first tomatoes ripening in the greenhouse, runner bean plants at the to... [More]

Figurine Restoration

Several weeks ago a neighbour who is moving to Devon came across and asked if I knew where he could dispose of a pair of figurines. He had one in his hand. I recognised them as made from spelter and probably French from about 1890. They were a bit scruffy - for want of a better description. I suggested he tried the antique shop at the top of the road. He said he had not thought of that.  One of the figures was a woman with arm held aloft holding a hammer encircled with laurel leaves. That is it should have been but the arm was broken off. I offered to solder it back on for him in order t... [More]

How it all started

I caught the silver bug as a youngster. My Dad had served an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer working for the Bromley branch of the North Thames Gas Board. They were gas and coke producers and had to maintain their own machines and equipment. Dad rose up through the ranks to become shift superintendent at Becton Gas works. You would call him a general manager today. Dads interest in everything mechanical, chemical, historical, classical musical poetry infected me too (apart from the poetry) At a very young age I knew I was destined to make things for a living. I had taught myself to ca... [More]

Decanters!!!!

Christmas is here once again - well nearly - and yet again the most popular items in our range are Silver & Crystal Decanters.  We have a large selection to choose from and hopefully something to suit everyone's tastes. White wine, Red wine, Port, Spirits - all look so much better when served from an elegant decanter. Have a look on our website now as there is still time to order and have one delivered for Christmas. It can be for a present or simply for your own use to enhance your Christmas table. There is even one that holds two bottles of wine - the Magnum - if you are having ... [More]