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Silver Salt & Pepper Mill Cruet Set & Stand

Quite unique in the silversmith's repertoire is this sterling silver cruet frame containing the JA Campbell 'Appetite' Salt & Pepper grinders. This frame will grace any table, traditional or contemporary. The elegant flowing lines are eye-catching and will attract conversation and comment from your friends and family. Handmade sterling silver sheet, wire, and castings, with each piece taking at least 4 hours to make, using the skills of a Master Silversmith which have been perfected over many years. The base surface of the stand is hard gold-plated and textured to minimize scratches and scuffs that may occur with use and to deter corrosion from salt particles.

Inside the stand is a pair of handmade hallmarked sterling silver salt and pepper grinders, part of the matching 'Appetite' collection which has been designed for modern living by Master Silversmith John Campbell. Both grinders have the world famous Peugeot mechanism and carry a lifetime guarantee. The pepper grinder has a black enamel spot on the top to distinguish it from its companion -the salt grinder- which has a white spot. In addition, the silver salt grinder is gold-plated inside to deter corrosion from the salt.

It must be 20 years or more now since I designed the 'Appetite' collection. The satisfaction I get from recieving customer comments about these mills and seeing them come together in my Brentwood workshop makes it all worth the time and effort. Each batch always causes comment in the workshop as the time comes for them to be finally polished and packed into presentation boxes.

What could be nicer than to grind fresh sea salt from Maldon and whole black peppercorns over your meal? Every chef will tell you how freshly-ground spices are the only thing to use! These luxury silver grinders or mills as they are sometimes known will add even further pleasure to the eating experience. When people ask me "Why buy silver"? I can always answer so easily, "I believe silver enhances any table, no matter how simple or how elaborate". This depends on the occasion or your own tastes. It can be a pleasure to look at and enjoy in solitude or when entertaining friends and family as silver has become a subtle status symbol in recent years.. For that extra special occasion when a table set with select pieces of silver can really have that 'wow' factor, your guests will ask Where did you get that from?" Whatever the occasion, silver is the ideal present. For a couple starting their own home, to a silver wedding present or even a golden wedding present as the mills can be fully gold-plated. Both mills are suitable for engraving with a message, date or crest to personalize the gift.

For those people who are interested in how we make this rather complicated but important section of our production, a detailed description follows. There are 11 components in each mill; 3 spun, 2 turned, 1 plastic injected, 1 sheet strip, 2 screws and 1 male and 1 female grinder mechanism.

The spun components: these are made employing the metal spinning process. This is an ancient method of forming round hollow objects and is still a viable method today for relatively small production runs. The machine used, a metal spinning lathe, is rather like a heavy-duty, wood-turning lathe. A solid male model/former (known as a 'chuck') is made on the lathe. This can be from a variety of materials; wood, brass or steel. Clamped to this chuck is a silver disc or blank and while it is rotating, the spinner coaxes/wraps the blank around the chuck using a polished steel burnisher fitted into a long wooden handle, with sweeping left to right strokes. As you can imagine the flat metal disc tries to buckle and fold as it comes off the flat to form a hollow shape and it is the skill of the spinner to prevent this from happening. Several 'anneals' (which is the term used for making metal red hot) may be necessary to soften the work-hardening material to prevent it from cracking.

The turned components: of the 2 turned components, the knob is drilled and tapped in the lathe and then parted off the bar. As a second operation, it has a recess turned in the top. This is to contain the enamel spot, black for pepper and white for salt. Two decorative lines are turned into the side at this stage. When the knob is finished, a small amount of enamel powder is added to the recess and the unit placed in a furnace until the enamel melts. It is allowed to cool and is 'pickled' to remove the oxide and flux residues. The second turned part is a small washer cut from the bar and soldered inside the cap to reinforce the area where the mill spindle is driven.

The plastic base: these are injected for us into our steel mould by an outside company and contain the mechanism, its holding strap and screws.

The mechanism: the best in the world, Peugeot from France.

When all these components have been spun, cut, fitted etc., they are then soldered together to form sub-assemblies.

The cruet frame itself is made from 13 components, 5 being round silver wire, the base plate cut from thick silver sheet, 3 lost wax castings which form the top wires collection point, the base bolt and nut and 4 ball feet attached to the underside. The frame wires are cut to their respective lengths then bent around jigs in several stages. They are then brought together and silver soldered to form 1 unit. The base bolt and top castings are then soldered in place. The carrying ring is made by coiling wire around a bar, like a spring and cutting into individual rings, then solder joined using enameling silver solder. This is then soldered on to the main frame assembly. The base plate is now cut from a thick silver sheet and pressed into a die to slightly raise the edges. A square hole is cut into the centre to accept the main wire frame.

At this stage in the making, the items are punched with the maker's mark, which are JAC in a triangle, the initials of John Campbell. They are then sent to the London Assay Office where each component is tested. Only if all the components prove to be higher than 92.5% pure silver are the remaining hallmarks punched into the surface. This process is carried out whilst being supported on a steel stake. The English hallmarking system is one of the oldest and trusted forms of consumer protection and dates back to the 1400s.

Upon return to the workshop, all the mill body components are polished and in the case of the salt, the inside gold-plated to deter corrosion.  The plastic base is pushed inside and the bottom edge lapped over, on the lathe, to fix it in place. The grinding parts are fitted in, base strap, screws and knobs fitted on, tested and carefully inspected. The base of the cruet is sandblasted and polished to give a soft satin finish and gold plated to deter corrosion. All are then packed into specially designed JA Campbell presentation boxes. 

In the unlikely event of damage, JA Campbell provide a full repair service. In the last couple of years, various styles of antique silver grinders have been sent to me, all containing Peugeot mechanisms. After a general clean up and a few new screws, they are working perfectly once more. You can be assured that all JA Campbell products are made up to a standard, not down to a price. Nothing leaves the Brentwood workshop until Master Silversmith John Campbell is completely satisfied. 

Engraving example image

You can be assured that all
JA Campbell products are made up to a standard and not down to a price.

Engraving

Engraving is a wonderful opportunity to personalize a gift. The addition of a minimum of initials, a name, a name and date, plus the occasion will cover most situations. More can be added, if required, such as a personal message.

Suggested position:

Underneath cruet stand base

Recommended maximum characters: 240

For more information regarding our engraving services, which include hand, glass, heraldic and logo engraving, please click here, or telephone Colin or John Campbell on 01277 217829 to discuss.

Compose your personal engraving message after adding this product to your basket.

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Our services

Gift

Gift wrapping

Each item purchased is packed into a luxury presentation box.

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Engrave

Engraving service

Engraving your silver or crystal adds that extra personal individuality to your sterling silver gift.

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Repairs

Repairs

Our skilled silversmiths can perform many repairs on worn or damaged silver items.

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Swap your old silverware

We offer a swap service where you send in your old silver items.

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