Silver Decanter Coaster - Hester Bateman Style
A handmade hallmarked sterling silver decanter coaster with a turned mahogany base and a silver button in the centre for engraving. It also has a band of bright-cut hand-engraving around the side in the style of the world famous lady silversmith Hester Bateman. A solid bead wire is soldered to the top edge for decoration and strength. It has green baize fabric underneath.
This sterling silver coaster is handmade in our Brentwood workshop, and is tested for purity by hallmarking at the London Assay office. The mahogany base is from a recognized source and is turned on the lathe in our Brentwood workshop before being stained and polished.
Generally speaking, a silver coaster is used for containing decanters, bottles or glasses, enabling protection for your highly polished table from any liquid stains or scratches.
The silver button in the centre is particularly suitable for engraving, to mark the occasion and personalize the gift. An engraving will always be a talking point in future years.
JA Campbell designs fall into 2 main categories, reproduction and contemporary. The reproduction collection consists of a variety of designs from different periods of history and is part of the JA Campbell 'Classic' range whereas the 'Appetite' collection is a matching contemporary range.
For a more detailed description of the method of manufacture, see below.
This particular coaster is made in one size only and consists of six components. The body, decorative bead top wire, centre engraving button, button fixing wire, mahogany base and green baize table protector.
The main body: this is made the 'spinning' method from a silver washer. This is an ancient process of making round, hollow objects from sheet metal, in this case silver. This process is not unique to the silversmith and is used in other industries. Saucepans and lighting reflectors are often made this way even today.
Using a spinning lathe, a preformed shape or 'chuck', as it is known, is screwed to the mandrill of the lathe and a sheet metal blank or disc is clamped to it. While it is rotating and using a spinning tool, the silver is 'spun' (forced/wrapped) over the chuck until it fits snuggly. The tool used for this, the 'spinning' tool, is a highly polished steel burnisher fitted into a long wooden handle which the silversmith tucks under his arm and uses his body weight and leverage to move and shape the metal.
Next, a measured length of decorative bead wire (made and supplied by Cookson Precious Metal) is turned up into a ring and an invisible solder joint is made to make it into a complete ring. The sides of the coaster are now pre polished and the bead wire ring stretched until it fits the top edge and pressed into place. Then the bead wire is soldered onto the coaster body using a lower temperature solder than was used to join the ring ends. The assembly is now 'pickled' in dilute sulphuric acid to remove flux residues and oxides.
The silver engraving centre button: this is a small silver disc which is first domed in a press and then has a small casting (to hold it into the mahogany base) soldered to the back.
At this stage, the article is punched with the maker's mark, JAC in a triangle, which are the full initials of John Campbell. It is then taken to the London Assay Office to be scraped and tested. Once a positive result has been received from the laboratory confirming that the article has been made with metal at least 92.5% pure silver, the remaining hallmarks are punched into the surface. This independent hallmarking process began in the 1400s and is one of the world's oldest and most trusted forms of consumer protection.
On return from the hallmarking process, the item is checked for any distortion and dents from the punches and 'planished' out. At this stage, the coaster takes a trip to the polishing shop. Just the outside surface is prepared to receive the hand-engraving process. This is a highly skilled and artistic process. First it is drawn by hand onto the surface and then cut using tiny steel chisels known as gravers. These have polished backs which will impart a polished cut onto the silver surface. This is done for us by Mike Keene or his wife Freda, probably the best hand-engravers in England today and masters at this style of engraving. On return from the engravers, the coasters are finally polished inside and out using four grades of polishing compound, ultrasonically cleaned and dried.
The mahogany base: these we make ourselves in-house from sawn mahogany planks which we store here for several months to ensure they are completely dry and then plane down to ½" thickness. They are then cut into discs, drilled and fitted onto the lathe and turned to fit. Then it has decorative lines turned into the surface. A slot is turned into the back to hold the baize in place. The base is polished using 3 grades of compound until smooth and shiny. They then have their mahogany bases lapped in. Lastly the polished silver button is pressed into its centre recess and the baize pushed into its slot. Last but not least, the coasters are now ready to be fitted into their presentation boxes which are specially designed in the Campbell brand colours of white and mauve.
In the unlikely event of damage, JA Campbell provide a full repair service. You can be assured that all our 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.