Scroll down to go back in time
You are buying directly from the maker ! Everything you see on this website as well as the jewellery on display is designed and created entirely by myself . Its unique , made to last and beautifully finished . My one weak point is that my photos do not always show the piece at their best. With silver photos are always a problem because of the reflection and it requires expertise which would add to the costs . So I do my best. It all goes through my hands from start to finish. I do not have any partners, helpers, advisors , agents or employees. I do not delegate work to others. I do not use agencies that hype up what I create. Most people should realise that hype is included in the price of what you pay nowadays. I leave it to you to decide . I am also the sole administrator of this website and do all the technical bits that keep it going . It is not the same as having an etsy or shopify page where the site admin is already done for you. It takes time .
All items that are marked as in stock will be dispatched within 1 day of the order being placed. Signed for Postage within UK is £2.50 . Signed for International postage from the UK is £7.50 . There is no VAT at the moment as our annual turnover is well below the UK VAT threshold . I am just a sole trader , as described above, with low overheads . So why not take advantage of it, instead of paying top prices for handmade quality ! The postage costs are very reasonable too and they will be displayed only when you arrive at the online checkout . Paypal payment protection is in place for all items. if you have any questions about anything mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
WALKING A FINE LINE
I have to walk a fine line . This is a blog but it’s also a shop window so I need to be careful with the words I write so as not to offend my customers. I hope you understand this . I have led an interesting life and been involved in many things so I am a man of many memories and thoughts .. However I never thought I would make it this far in life and still be doing as much as I do. I have retired from my main work but some people dont like that I refuse to lay down and die. I am not sorry to disappoint them. This is what I do now .
I have been informed by the organisers that stand 121 is not available for me in July so I will be allocated another space. I will keep you updated as as soon as I know what is a happening
We shall be at stand 121 at Bruges Tzandfeest Belgium on Sunday July 7th 2019. We have participated here on and off since the early 1980’s so Brexit is an issue close to our hearts . You can’t miss the market, it begins by the Central Station and stretches for miles. You will find us if you look for the Euro Flag alongside the Union Jack. The jewellery pictured on silverpanic will be on sale at Tzand . I have begun to design and create a limited edition range of symbolic hallmarked and handmade silver jewellery that will commemerate UK Brexit sold in the heart of Europe . It will Include a presentation box and written description/certificate of the significance of the piece. The special edition jewellery will only be available for sale on the day at the Tzandfeest and they are one off . They will probably become collectors pieces as they will be unique and very attractive to wear . I have some great designs prepared and you will be able to see and touch the finished article for yourself at our covered stall . The Tzandfeest is a fantastic market so please come along and visit our stand and we can have a friendly chat, perhaps about Brexit or anything else that takes your fancy , you will not regret it ! It doesnt matter if you are pro or anti Brexit we are there to sell our jewellery although of course we do have our opinion. Bruges is incredible in itself. It’s a bit like Venice , cafes, ancient streets and canals and more. It will be a fantastic day out for you that you will not forget. introduce yourself by quoting “my blog “and you will get a 10% discount off the price, that’s if they havent sold out !
Looking forward to seeing you there
I am back refreshed after a break and the site was closed. I am planning an event which I will post here as soon as I can confirm all the details . Please keep checking this page for more information and try to keep 7th July free if you can 🙂
Here are some photos of two rings that I made . Not usual to see players in action wearing club colours on a finger !
I am doing a couple of repairs jobs today . I am making this ring one size smaller without having to take out the stone. You have to take care that the heat from the torch does not damage or crack the stone and use a special paste. It’s quite something that a paste can stop the heat . I have taken out a bit of the ring shank to make it a bit smaller.
This gold cameo brooch has a broken pin which is too thin to repair . I have taken out the cameo as it will crack if any heat is used. I am going to have to remove it entirely and make a completly new pin and hinge. Maybe tomorrow.
Repaired as new . Not an easy job as the wire had to be drawn down to .5 mm and the hinge .7mm so precision is required to get a perfect fit
Sometimes I get things wrong. I tried to design a ring with two leaves that I had previously made as the leaves were quite beautiful. I constructed the ring according to my design but it did not look very good and the leaves got in the way of my finger . So I made a decision to remove them. It took me a few hours work to fit the leaves and it took me an hour to remove the leaves but it was not all wasted time . Below is a picture of the finished ring. Its a beautiful ring around UK size N½ with a lemon quartz stone but unfortunately it did not turn out as I had planned. I was a bit too ambitious in my design. I try to make original designs but this one with leaves was not such a good idea. I will upload it the shop tomorrow with some better photos at a bargain price . . Jewellery now can be so frail and dainty that it lasts on the wearer only a few weeks and it has to go back to the seller for repair or refund . This Is a heavy sterling silver dress ring made to last several lifetimes. Go to page 2 of my shop where it is for sale at the reduced price of £45
20 /3/19 THE RING
The ring is not quite finished yet it should be done tomorrow. I need good light to be able to put in the stone. Meanwhile here is a picture of its parts just to show you its all handmade by me
I have had a few interuptions like water coming through my conservatory roof when its raining and boy it has been raining ! So I have had to do all the work by myself in replacing the polycarbonate sheets and fittings otherwise my two cats would have got wet as they sleep in there. Anyway you cant get a builder to get out of bed for less than £500 and my cats dont have that sort of money. But of of course you are not interested in excuses honestly I have been working on the ring and it may be ready by tomorrow. So please log in and take a butchers (.For those of you unfamilliar with old cockney jive its butchers hook – look ). Please do come back and peruse my site 🙂 . I must warn you that I am getting so many lookers from far off places on this site . I will not mention what countries. You may see cheaper versions of my own unique designs appearing for sale. My jewellery is handmade, hallmarked and assayed and guaranteed sterling silver You will not find better for the price. Please dont be fooled by cheap knock offs.
10/3/2019 MAKING A YELLOW LEMON QUARTZ RING
Today I am starting a square lemon quartz ring UK size N½. It will be set in sterling silver . The materials that I will use to create the ring are pictured above . A yellow lemon quartz stone, some silver grain and silver sheet and wire . I made the sheet and the wire by myself that will be used in its fabrication. Therefore Its completely hand made by me from the little recylcled sterling silver pieces in my hand. It will be stamped and hallmarked by the London Assay Office and is guaranteed 925 sterling silver throughout when finished.
If you are thinking to buy the ring I can make it to your finger size if you would let me know by the 12th March 2019 of although I am intending making it to fit a ladies UK size N½ finger . Unfortunately I have only one square yellow stone available . So it’s a one off. So if you are interested in it let me know and i will make it to you finger size and show you a picture when its made. Of course there will be no obligation whatsoever to purchase it if you dont want it.
3/3/19 TINY TOURMALINE
In the next few weeks I will be adding some new designs with stones . I have neglected stones as I wanted to make some mens sports jewellery. I like what I have made although I have not had much feedback on the runners rings or pendants which I find surprising. They are unique and any one that tries to copy them will find it very difficult to get the sharpness of detail that I achieved with the designs . Yes its a sad fact that jewellery makers look and try to copy what you do. I dont copy but I do get ideas from others . The runners are my own idea and design as I am a fairly big sports fan but football is my real love. Take a look at my swimmers ring in the shop.
Pictured above is the first of my new range of stone jewllery . Its a tiny yellow tourmaline cabouchon 10 mmm high . Very pretty indeed and set in silver case decorated with a elegant pattern on the side . I will upload some more pictures showing the side views on Tuesday 5th march and also upload the pendant to the shop with a sale price. Unfortunately I only have one of these stones available so it’s a one off . Small is beautiful . Keep a look out for more that will be coming soon .
25/2/19 RUNNER RING OR PENDANT
I have had this design in my mind for a while . It can be worn either as a ring or pendant it is very comfortable to wear. Worn as a ring you can turn it around and the runner fits neatly inside the hand https://www.instagram.com/p/BuOXT30gRFg/
This is Whisky he looks sweet enough but I am currently involved in a bitter conflict with him over ownership of the chair that I sit on to access my computer. It is by far the most comfortable chair in the house with a high back that reclines and is a pleasure to relax late evening, and drift into a twighlight zone of sweet dreams . It was handmade by a local craftsman over twenty years ago but still looks like new and shows not a hint of wear. That is quality ! Whisky is no fool and knows it . In the evening hours I come to take my rightful place but now find him curled up sleeping . in the place that everybody in the house knows is mine! He has his place with a comfortable blanket to keep him warm on the cold winter nights . I brush it down daily but he has decided, as cats do , to make his move . It’s a battle . I can’t say I am winning because you are dealing with ruthless single minded determination beyond the realms of human comprehension. I close the door of the room but find he has already hidden himself in place that I havent thought of looking and once I have gone he is on the seat. I have been previously advised by my brother in law in two words to “shoot him” . He is a blunt Yorkshireman and is wont to give curt advice when asked. I know he doesnt mean it . Its Yorkshire humour 🙂 .
SAVE THE WHITECHAPEL BELL FOUNDRY UPDATE
I had the following reply from Tower Hamlets Council this morning
“Thank you for your recent letter/email commenting on the above proposed application. We
will consider your views before we make a decision. If the application is to be decided by
one of our Development Committees, we will let you know by letter*. We will inform you, by
letter*, of the final decision, but please note that this can take a few months with some
So they are taking notice . Let us hope against hope that the outcome is favourable .
I today sent the following email to Tower Hamlets Council
I understand the council is considering an application to change the use of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry to one of a Boutique hotel. As a life long East London resident I would like you to consider my objections to the change of use.
I am a silversmith jeweller/ designer that practices lost wax casting basically a similar process as used to manufacture the bells . It is an art and skill that is still widely used in manufacturing metal objects of all varieties All you have to do is watch a few editions of the TV program “How its Made” to see variations of how lost wax casting and open pour casting is still widely used in industry . The manufacture of bells may seem obscure and perhaps obsolete but there are still many churches with bells in use . The constant heavy contact of metal against metal causes wear and tear on brass and the replacement and repair of the bells is an ongoing issue so bells always will need replacing . I think there is no doubt that there is still a very a strong market for the manufacture of bells not only in the UK but also exporting them worldwide.
There are very few bell foundries anywhere , even in Europe its a rarity ! Tower Hamlets should take great pride that such an historic business and trade which requires a high level of artisan skills ,still exists in the borough . I believe that there is huge unexplored potential for this foundry to develop into a historic cornerstone feature of the borough, if it is properly marketed . To simply replace it with a boutique hotel with a passing reference to its former existence would be a mistake of catastrophic proportions for the council to make . If visitors come to London the foundry would be a place they would want to visit specially for those who are interested in arts and crafts, history and churches. Another site can surely be found for a hotel that wants to trade off the iconic image of the Bell Foundry . I hope The council will not allow the foundry to disappear and just become a gimmick for slick businessman . I hope Tower Hamlets will have the vision and courage to save the foundry and develop it as a historic project . I will add that with Brexit around the corner the council has a duty to expand the greatly shrinking scope and range of manufacturing and exporting of goods in the borough . It also has the duty to provide the opportunity of meaningful long term jobs and learning crafts and skills to the residents of Tower Hamlets . Now is the time to look with vision and courage .
Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and you will not regret it .!
A RANDOM EVENT IN THEATRELAND ON A SPECIAL DAY
It was my wife’s birthday on Wednesday . She wanted to see a special performance of Notre Dame de Paris at the London Coliseum in St Martins Lane . I bought tickets for us both. It’s a French company and the show was in French . French is Nicky’s mother tongue it was ok for her but she was concerned that I would not be able to follow it all and enjoy it. I have read Victor Hugo’s book , the show was loosely based on the story .
Briefly it was a tale of 18c Paris , passion and poverty .
I only noticed the subtitles above the stage about 30 minutes into the performance. When I quietly leaned over and told her that I just noticed the translation screen , she turned her head to give me a look of utter derision . I was using opera glasses, so my view was restricted but according to her I am blissfully unaware of anything that happens 🙂
We are not great theatre goers or even lovers of opera but this was only available to see in London for a week. It was something special. I certainly was able to follow every moment even with my schoolboy French and also the belated help of the subtitles . The dancing, singing and acrobatics were truly sensational. As the company are on tour , you may have a chance to see this show wherever you are. I would recommend it as a “must see “ to anyone.
Afterwards we had to meet our 3 children for a meal, so we went to pub for a drink as a stopgap between having to meet them at a restaurant. We found a nice pub in St Martins Lane . It was also a special occasion as we were to meet the girlfriends of our two sons for the first time. To tell you the truth we were a bit shocked at the pub’s prices , £10 for a G& T and one half of lager. But a birthday is a birthday!
We sat down at an empty table to enjoy our drink .No surprises there were empty tables at those prices! After a few minutes a man and woman came in . The woman went to the bar and the man looked around for a table . He saw us and came over and asked us if we minded if they sat down . I could see the man was a gifted talker . Very at ease , which makes you feel the same way when you speak to strangers for the first time. His lady companion came over with their drinks and sat down. He talked to us about this and that . They were both friendly and charming. I asked him if he was from London , he said he was. Apparently he was an artist as was his companion and they were both on the way to her studio for her to paint his portrait. Then my wife said to him where about? He said Tooting . My wife gasped . It’s her home patch where her family still live , although we now live in East London and have done so for many years. So knowing Tooting quite well I said “ Do you know a little shop near the station that does doors” . We went there to get a door for Nicky’s mother last year. He immediately replied “ Ah yes Andrew , I do some work for him sometimes”.
My Wife and I got to know Andrew quite well last year, in the course of him doing the door job for my late mother in law . Andrew himself is a gifted conversationist , well versed in the arts, he is in his seventies , as is his wife who still works as a gilder. She does the most extraordinary work and travels all over the world restoring works of art. Andrew showed me some photos of the beautiful work that his wife did for an Italian film producer in Venice .The face on the hand carved table was posed for by a real 17th century native American Indian. It took Andrew’s wife months if not years of working in Venice to complete it. Once or twice we had to phone him and we found him there . I was particularly interested in the table as some years ago I took a course in frame gilding myself at the Working Mens College in Camden . I found it very absorbing but a bit too messy for me to take up, having to boil the smelly pots of rabbit glue and Jesso . The stranger at the table, that we had just met , knew all about Andrew’s wife and told us about her work before I had the chance to tell him.
Now I ask you what are the chances of this random meeting happening on our one special day out ? The population of London is around 10 million so it must be 10 million to one on any day but on the one special day? I think you can treble the odds. So It was really a special day that we will not forget ! Above is a picture of the table base with the face of the real life 17thc native American Indian. I beleive he was a tribal chief and that Andrew said the table base originally belonged to Visconti . When he died it was bought from his estate by a Venetian art lover and he left it until it had badly deteriorated before deciding to have it regilded. I think it is an incredible hand carving and the face carved on it makes it a truly historic and unique work of art.
Yesterday I went to a an introduction tutorial at the Goldsmiths Center in Clerkenwell regarding the printing of Jewellery . Shown here is a rather poor example of what can be printed in plastic. Unfortunately the ring was rather fragile and got damaged in transit on the way home but you can see the idea of what can be done in producing very intricate designs that would take ages by hand wax modelling . The tutor was brilliant and he had a wealth of experience and knowledge for a young man. I am very impressed with this technology. You may think it is easy to grasp and can just print out what you like on the machine . Unfortunately that is not the case . It is just as complex as hand made jewellery. That is all I will say for the moment but I will come back to this subject later . There are a lot of issues to discuss .
Another very cold day in London. Even with the heater at full blast my fingers are just too numb to work . It’s a bit frustrating but far better to do some reading up . I have just received my copy of this newly published book Polishing and Finishing for Jewellers and Goldsmiths by Stephen Goldsmith and I have opened it . I read the safety warning on page 8, never to wear latex gloves whilst polishing . Ufortunately it came a bit too late for me , I did once, a few years ago and the ovelapping loose bits at the end my fingers got caught up in the spindle. I know I am attached to my tools but this was going a bit too far. It happened in a flash . I could say it nearly polished me off, with the buffing wheel whirring at full speed. I was trapped and drawn into a tight embrace with the polisher body . It could have been quite embarrassing had my wife walked in . The smell of burning rubber and my cries of anguish could have also been mistaken for some kind of compromising erotic adventure between a worker and his tools. Fortunately my one free hand was able to eventually reach between my body trapped up against the machine and the switch and turn it off and thats how it ended . Luckily no serious injury, except one shredded latex glove. Let this be a warning to those who think wearing a glove will protect their hand whilst polishing . Indeed it is very dangerous.
A BETRAYAL OF PRINCIPLE ?
Today I just tried to get rid of some of the flashing (the excess residue from the cast) that was on the Storks. It was tricky as the storks are tiny, just 5mm, and the gaps are too small for my files to get in the space. I think i did as best as I could . Please read my description in the shop . Just a bit of fun, really but how true it is that animals and wildlife enter into our world even as symbols and we show such small gratitude and awareness of them being there and allowing them to share this world with us.
As for the betrayal of principle mentioned in the header . Next week at the Goldsmiths Center in Central London I have booked a place at an introductory course for 3D printing. As you know this website is dedicated to hand made jewellery . I have explained my commitment to it and it will continue but I would like to explore the possibilities of enhancing the design and creativity of the jewellery that I make. I have said that we should not regard machines as our enemy. 3d printing in itself is complex and takes time to master as does any skill . I am interested in the possibility of combining both skills to see what can be achieved.
I shall be making some more rings and pendants with stones in the next few weeks to see their effect and would very much appreciate your comments . One recalls the moment Bob Dylan went electric . I hope I don’t get the same reception 🙂 .
14/1/2019 BACK TO WORK
It’s not easy after a long break 🙂 .
I know many makers say “We only make handmade jewellery” and they are telling you the truth. However there are differing opinions as to what constitutes “Handmade”. The “purists” say that if any machine is involved in the creation of the piece, apart from hand tools, then it is not handmade. Fortunately the “purists” are quite rare nowadays because otherwise the jewellery would take too long to make and if you make it to sell , a business would not be comercially viable. If you look at the picture of my workshop you will see I do use machinery of all sorts. The fact is, that handmade jewellery is usually made of pre constructed parts such as sheet and wire that are directly purchased from a specialist supplier . Other bits and pieces such as tube are also purchased and the jewellery is made up and soldered together by the jeweller.
When I say handmade, I mean that I make up the building blocks such as rolling the sheet, and hand drawing the wire and tube by myself . I do not buy it from the supplier Everything is made from the grain you see in my hand in the above picture. Its easy enough to go and buy it already made up from the suppliers . I try to make everything from as near the basic state as possible . Its just my own preference. some people may say it’s extreme and a waste of time. For me its question of enjoyment in seeing the metal in a liquid state and then drawing or rolling it into as near a perfect piece of wire or sheet as you can get. Of course it is an extra skill and craftwork that goes into making the piece and it does take that bit longer to make. Also being a lone worker I have had to learn and adapt techniques for one pair of hands that usually take two pairs One advantage is, by making it yourself you can save the time it takes to either go out to the shop to buy it or wait for it to arrive in the post.
I am just saying there are degrees of “handmade”. I am certainly not claiming my jewellery is any better than someone who buys the parts ready made. In fact, sometimes you do see minute flaws in handmade silver sheet resulting from tiny bubbles under the surface which come to the fore when the item is finally polished and sanded, that can be noticed in the finished article under the magnifier. Whereas machine or production line made sheet and wire, is usually flawless and uniform throughout. This can be a bugbear in the photography of the jewellery. The finished and polished article looks good to the eye but when magnified by the camera lens sometimes the surface appears with a small pit or two. It is the makers decision either to leave it as it is or continue working on it with the understanding that as another surface is removed by polishing or filing another pit may suddenly appear
If you are a lover of handmade jewellery then it will be the flaws and originality of the piece as well a the hand work as I described that makes you want to wear it ,as opposed to wearing a machine made item.
Machines are not the enemy of man ,then again they are not our arbiters of taste . Conformity is the value of the machine . Non conformity is the value of the human .
6/1/2019 SOME INFORMATION
I do this work all by myself in my workshop, design, silversmithing etc . I also build this site in WordPress on my own . Both the handcraft work and IT work takes time and requires some skill and learning . At the moment, I am a one man band
5/1/2019 JOG CONTINUES
Now is a quiiet time so I have been out running for 3 days continiously. As I mentioned previously I had a very bad back problem which left me unable to walk let alone run . I was told by my doctor to give up jogging which I did for nearly two years. Fool that I am I wanted to give it another try . When you stop vigorous excercise for a long period its almost impossible to get back to the level of fitness you once were. Specially if you are (a bit ) over 50 . There is no doubt about that. . I have been a runner ,footballer, cricketer, weightlifter, boxer, gym goer at different stages of my life so unless I am completely unable to do anything I will continue with what I can physically do. I think I need to keep to a timetable of jogging every other day just to see if the sciatica symptoms are kept at bay . I also need to keep to a very slow pace for a while and see if I can eventually build up a bit of speed. I will keep to weights and rowing machine for the days that I do not jog.
Please take a look at my shop where you will see some of the incredible silver runner pendants which I designed and made by myself. They are totally unique you will not find them anywhere else and they are for sale only in my silverpanic store. The quanity available are as stated. Each piece takes me time to make.
Also please do scroll down and read the rest of my blog, it’s varied and I hope, interesting.
HAPPY NEW YEAR ! 1/1/2019
My workshop new years eve 2018. Right now cold, forlorn & needs a tidy but I am still proud to show it in all its carefree , bustling beauty.
The year is almost at it’s end. Now its a quiet time for me . It’s very cold in my workshop and you have to balance the cost of burning gas and electric and buying materials against sales. For me it isn’t worth it so I take a break . However I don’t stop completly and its a chance to make my blog a bit more interesting and varied. It gives me an opportunity to widen my scope and talk about other issues that interest me as well as introducing some exiting new designs . Its a quiet period in my workshop but not in the workshop of my mind. This maybe a unique blog, one of its kind . I said in my introduction on twitter ” Makes by hand and designs with thought” I hope to live up to this concept which dates back to the original idea of the 19 century Arts and Crafts movement championed by William Morris . T
Its not a political statement but an expansion of an idea that has not yet achieved full friution. We, by that I mean all of us as human beings, are reaching the crossroads in which we have to choose a path to follow. Should that path result in our own extinction and replacement by the machine? Or should we take the path where the machine remains our servant . I know the road that I want to take . Do you?
JAPAN’S WITHDRAWAL FROM THE IWC
You may have seen on my about page that I once worked for a Japanese company and also worked alongside Japanese colleagues whom I got to know and respect. I found them kind and decent employers and got along with my co workers very well.
I would just like to state that I think it is a mistake to have withdrawn from this agreement that does protect whales to some extent . I hope that they will reconsider and rejoin the IWC. Please make your feelings known to the Japanese people by contacting the Japanese embassy. Whale populations are being depleted .
I shall be making some anti- whaling pieces to remind people how lucky we are to have these wonderful creatures with us on this Earth.
Dont eat whale meat there is enough meat already available.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO THOSE WHO CELEBRATE IT . TO THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE A GOOD TIME OVER THE HOLIDAY.
Birthdays , Jogging & Pendants
It’s my birthday! It happens to us all coming into the world. I did this once an long time ago I am not saying when because I think it reveals that bit too much for your own good after you get to certain age . I usually celebrate my birthday with a jog but today I was very apprehensive if I should, because I have had a problem with my back and I have had to stop it . I used to jog daily, so I thought I would give it a try to see if it was still possible . I went very slowly and completed the usual run that I used to do. I feel ok all round, so it has given me the impetus to try and start again. In the hope of avoiding the recurrance of my back problem I aim to run perhaps two or three times a week. No more. I will see how it goes and let you know.
Dr Roger Banister was the first human being to officially break the record for running a mile in four minutes. It certainly acheived a lot of publicity at the time . The old black and white Pathe newsreels, the two runners , exhausted, closely crossing the finishing line. It was scene that was shown time and time again in all the media.
I made the silver pendants a few months ago and then researched for a name for it.Yes It could well be a commemeration of this historic four minute mile event. On the other hand it could be yourself in a race in some other place or time. Its entirely up to you.
However it is beautiful regardless of how it is viewed.
Here are the runner pendants that are available
Here I am pounding the streets again ! I never thought I could do it. MInd you I do feel a bit of stress around the old ticker but I am hoping it will clear up with a bit more running
Don’t take a book by its cover
During my absence from this blog and also my workshop I picked up an old book from my bookshelf. I believe it is no longer in print. The title is “Jewellery Manufacture and Repair “ by Charles Jarvis. It was one of the best-selling jewellery tuition books ever published and when I was at college our tutor recommended as an essential purchase for all the students in the class. The reason becomes apparent when you open the first pages of the book as it goes into great detail for the student jeweller. In those days there was no YouTube to go to for reference so a book like this was of particular importance as was clear that Mr Jarvis had put all the experience of his years of working as a top manufacturer/ jeweller in the West End of London into writing it.
However my reason for mentioning the book in this blog is not just because of the book but the small biography that is written inside the cover. Charles Jarvis started out from school as an apprentice in the jewellery trade but like myself, his life had taken him on a long and winding road. It states he left the trade to become a policeman and then on the outbreak of war became an RAF pilot. After the war he returned to the jewellery trade as a bench jeweller and worked his way up to be a managing director of a jewellery business. He then became a writer by writing this book. Every one of these trades requires a high degree of dedication and professionalism and I think it is quite exptional for one person to fit all this in one lifetime.
Like a jewel a person can also be multi-facetted.
My apologies to those of you who follow my blog. I have been unable to update it for the last few days due to a family bereavement. I hope to be back here as soon as I can. Thank you for your patience
It is getting very cold. Even with the heater on in my workshop today my fingers were numb so I wasn’t going to spend a long time fumbling with freezing hands. Nevertheless I have something new in the pipeline. Its a surprise! and I promise it will be at a very low price. So come back tomorrow and you will see. If its not up here tomorrow it will be because “snow has cancelled play”.
Sterling Silver Horses Brooch
My apologies to anyone who has been waiting for the update on this brooch. My wife is away caring for her very sick mother and I have had to deal with some things at home that take up a lot of time. It is a sad time for our family I hope you understand. However we still have to continue with the things we usually do even if its just to keep us occupied. So here are the details.
The brooch is 925 sterling silver including the pin and clasp. I have not yet had it hallmarked by Goldsmiths Hall although I will take it down there to be assayed and hallmarked with my own makers mark next week. It weighs 10.75 gms. Its length is 28mm from nose to ear and height from nose to neck is 25mm.
It is a beautiful brooch with clearly defined details and has a dappled textured back that you do not usually see nowadays. It will make a fantastic gift to the horse lovers or anyone who can appreciate the hand craft that has gone into making it. I only have made one of these but I can make them to order with a delivery period of 21 days. So if you would like one for Christmas 2018 you must order by the 25th November. Go to my shop to purchase this handmade item at the bargain price of £80. As with all our animal purchases this will include a donation of £2.00 which we will make to the World Wildlife Fund.
Sterling Silver Horsehoe & Thistle
I made this from an old unmarked mould I had stored away as I was curious as to what it actually was. It turned out to be a horseshoe with thistle which is undoubtably a symbol that is supposed to bestow good luck on the wearer. But my curiosity was not satisfied with just knowing what it was. I know a horse shoe is a symbol for good luck but on further research I discovered that it was more than likely a thistle, that is meant to be depicted on the inner part of the shoe.
The horseshoe has an ancient Irish legend attached to it which recounts a blacksmith fooling the devil to wear a scalding hot horseshoe on his cloven hoof that he had just brought out of the furnace. The devil was in such agony that he promised never to go near one again.
As for the thistle, I assumed it was Scottish and further research possibly proved me right. Legend has it that in the 13th century the army of king Haaakon of Norway landed at Largs in Scotland at night in a surprise attack upon the Scots. Strict silence in the dark was of the essence for the success for the invading force but one of their number did unfortunately tread up a prickly thistle and screamed out in pain. The Scots were immediately alerted and were able to repel them. So from then on the humble thistle has been extolled as a symbol of good fortune by the Scots.
I can’t promise that this will bring you good luck but there is certainly a good story behind the symbol.
If anyone knows any more or has a diiferent version, I would very much like to know so please add your comments below.
I have one ready available for sale at £10 plus postage. I can also make them to order, for delivery within 21 days.
Our latest addition : Flying Silver Goose Brooch
Christmas is coming. A time for turkeys and geese. Would you not prefer to see this beautiful creature portrayed in its full glory as a piece of solid silver jewellery that can last forever and be kept as a family heirloom rather than a dish served as your Christmas dinner? Take a look in my shop for a beautiful Christmas present at only £45. There is the added bonus that for all animal purchases we will donate £2.00 for every one sold to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).
925 Sterling silver mother and baby deer pendant
This has to be my smallest creation, yet it is amongst my favorites. It measures 1.5 cm W x 1.5 cm H and weighs just 1.75 gms. The reason why, is simply the symbolism. The doe is depicted with what is her whole world, her fawn. It’s a simple message of unspoken love, care, trust and pride.
Language has separated us from animals and perhaps inhibits our instincts and feelings. We tend to regard language as a gift and no doubt it is, but every gift carries a price. The price of the separation is that we will never know the intensity of the bond that exists between the mother and the baby deer or come to that any animal. For example, could you imagine for a moment, yourself as a kitten huddled in a litter amongst your brothers and sisters, being licked clean by your mothers tongue. The animal has no words to express its love, nothing comes between its gestures and its pride. Words are not present as a barrier to its feelings. The message of the mother deer and its offspring is simply that.
Yesterday the WWF issued a statement that due to the explosion of humanity and lack of space, wildlife is disappearing at a rate never previously seen in the history of life on this Earth. A tragedy is unfolding before our eyes.
925 Sterling Silver Henrietta Hedgehog
I live in London and I believe Londoners value their wildlife. We do have quite a few beautiful creatures in our back gardens and parks despite some of them having a struggle against the odds to survive. One of these beautiful creatures, the hedgehog is becoming very scarce. About ten years ago, I put out my rubbish for the next mornings weekly bin collection. Taking the black plastic bag to collection point at the front of my house, I noticed some movement in the bag. Mystified I put the bag down on the floor and looked again. The bag was definitely moving, with bumps appearing and disappearing on one side and then the other. I could hear a grunting noise comingfrom inside. What could it be? I took a scissors and cut the tie of the bag open and I jumped back as a pointed snout popped out of the opening I had made. I opened the bag and there was a fully grown hedgehog. I looked at it closely to see that it was not injured and found a pair of gardening gloves and lifted it out and returned it to the garden. What a lovely creature with a finely chiseled face! To handle its spines, even with thick gloves and see it so close up was quite special.
Hegdehogs were a then perhaps not a common sight in our garden but you did occaisonally see them scurrying about and it was a pleasure to see one. A lot of the time, sadly, you would see them lying in the road as victims of speeding cars. Now I have not seen one in my garden for years and neither have I seen any as road traffic cassualties. What has happened to them and why have they disappeared. Surely they have not all been killed by cars? Tell me in the comments below if you know anything about that.
I miss the hedgehogs and hope one day they will return to my part of London.
I have made the perfect tiny silver hedgehog to wear as a pendant or a pair of earrings as a reminder to Londoners as to what they are missing.
925 sterling twin shank silver ring size N with amazing amethyst stone
This ring has an amazing history. I had worked for days in its making and in the final stage of polishing, it dropped from my fingers. I tried to catch it with my other hand and felt it clip the tip of my little finger and heard a small tinkle as it bounced. I thought it was an easy job to find and looked on my hands and knees around the spot I thought it had fell. It was not that small an object, I have dropped tiny things and found them. A few hours of searching proved otherwise. The mystery deepened. I brought in my two sons, with eyes much sharper than mine to help in the search. Despite their much valued help, we could not find it having looked in every corner for hours. It causes some anguish if you spend days working on something then at the last moment it disappears. Every day for a month on, entering my workshop I tidied up in different places, in the hope of coming accross it.
After six weeks had passed it was almost forgotten. Yes, you must forget about such mishaps otherwise it can be very disheartening! This morning something made me put my hand inside an old jacket pocket that I keep hanging on a hook for when it gets cold. I felt something inside my hand and smiled. I immediately knew what it was without looking further. I had looked there before and patted both pockets carefully, as I know the first rule of lost objects : It can bounce anywhere. But to end up inside a closed pocket that has no space for it to go in? It did not seem possible. Before you say, ” The old fool must have put it there himself “. Well you have to take my word that I didn’t . It can be described as an amazing amethyst in its true sense. The paranormal has no place in my workshop amongst the down to earth tool environment that is part of me although I will always wonder how it got there. Look in my shop to purchase this ring at £40 there is only one UK Size N available.
Please note. This ring was made before our policy update in line with our sustainiblity policy published on October 1st 2018 to the weight in silver of the item so we are only able to include the stone in the given weight of 4.06 gms.
C. R. Ashbee 4th Memorial Lecture 2018 by the Gentle Author
Humble as it may seem in the scheme of things, the “Gentle Author” has created a daily blog of the history and everyday life of London’s East End with the utmost devotion and singleness of purpose. Being myself an East Londoner born and bred and thoroughly steeped in its history, “Spitalfields Life” is a tiny spec in the internet’s vast expanse that for me gives it all a meaning.
Last night I attended the fourth CR Ashbee Memorial Lecture given by the Gentle Author.
Here is a link that tells you about CR Ashbee’s very interesting life. Among other things he was a founding member of the Arts and Crafts movement inspired by William Morris.
As someone whose jewellery and silversmithing is derived from a passion rather than “earning a living”, I found the lecture given by The Gentle Author an inspiration and a revelation.
CR Ashbee’s life at this point was devoted to practical help for the working classes of Whitechapel whose living conditions at the time were abysmal. I know a bit about this myself as I have personal memories of visiting my grandmother’s tiny house where my father grew up In Raven Row behind the site of the old London Hospital. Despite the terrible poverty prevalent in the area at that time, the East End of London is so rich in history. I can remember my father taking me to the very spot where the “Siege of Sydney Street” took place and showing me some bullet holes in the wall that were still there fifty years on. Perhaps they were from the gun fired by Peter the Painter!
The inspiration I derived from the lecture cannot resurrect the same aims as the original founders of the Arts and Crafts movement because life has moved on, conditions have changed and so has the area. However looking at the incredible Art Nouveau designs of CR Ashbee and seeing his work on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum made me realise just how gifted and unselfish this man was in using his talents to help others.
Nowadays we have a choice. We have jewellery made by hand and we have jewellery made by machine and computer. If we choose machine made perfection as many will, then you ignore the history of the hand and the personal. If you choose handmade then perhaps you ignore the history of the machine. It comes down to an individual’s choice. I for one hope you choose the handmade and personal, because that is what I am about.
Following George the cat must come a beautiful dog and few come more beautiful than a Cocker Spaniel. Here we have a Sterling Silver brooch with pin, back and front.
Due to expected very bad weather in Bruges on Sunday 23rd September we will not be attending the Tzsand market. I will keep you posted as to when and where we will next be .
Making a last minute decision to cancel our trip to Bruges was a very hard decision to make. We had the cross channel ferry booked along with the hotel. Taking a look at the weather forecast for Sunday, the combination of high winds and persistent downpour decided it for us. We would have set up shop around 5am but the winds would have possibly caused us serious problems. We were situated on a grass verge in the park, which would have become very muddy with the rain. Once you are set up the rules are that you must be there for the day and you can’t bring in your vehicle to pack up and leave so it would have been a very long, wet and muddy day for us. Fortunately we did not lose out a great deal financially from cancelling as we were able to rearrange our ferry tickets for another date and the hotel accepted our cancellation without any problem.
All in all I think we made a wise decision with the information we had to go on.
Today is Wednesday 12th September . On Sunday 23rd September we shall be at the Bruges Tzand festival market where we sometimes have a stand to sell our Jewellery. For those of you that love antiques and visiting beautiful places why not take the weekend to visit medieval Bruges. For those of you that have not been there it’s a bit like Venice with it canals and old bridges. The Tzand market itself is spectacular and stretches for miles and of course if you do come please do take the trouble to find us at stand 121 in King Alberts Park near the train station. You can say that you saw a discount offer of 10% on our site and of course we would love a chat because we are not just there to sell but also to enjoy the day !
Meet Gorgeous George, my sterling silver cat brooch/pin. This vainglorious chap leaves you in no doubt as to who is in charge. He measures 32 mm long from ear to paw and is 10mm wide not including his tail. As soon as you put George on you will know what it feels like to command and to obtain just what you want out of life. In the history of cats there have been many Georges. I have one that inhabits my own house. His name is not George but Whisky. His name is not important, he is related to George. My other cat knows this and allows him to take his food when he pushes him aside. You can wear him as a pendant fitted with a bale or brooch fitted with a pin and clasp. Its up to you. Just state how you want to wear him when you order.
Customised ring for football lovers
Being a lifelong supporter of a football team that wears old gold and black, I wont say the name because nobody likes us. Just a little joke ! but when we sing “Is this a fire drill” as the opposing teams supporters slink away toward the exit five minutes from time, in a bad mood, they most certainly do not see the funny side of it. I had to add this to my creations. This one is not for sale, it’s mine to wear on special occasions. I put it here as a sample. It is in style of the 1950’s kit but then most clubs had a golden era in the 1950’s even if they never won anything. A lot of football supporters were not around when this kit, of long baggy shorts was worn. In fact many football kit styles have come and gone but I think this is classic. Its shirt may seems a little bright but that is because of the reflection. It really is a shade darker bringing it as near to the old gold that I could get.
If you should want to buy one please take a look at the football ring I have for sale in my shop : Ring product description. If you like it, just send me the colours you want and I will try to get as near their colours as I can and add the enamel to the ring. The colour is baked in a kiln, permanent and hard wearing. I made this one over two years ago and the colours are still as good as new. It is solid 925 hallmarked silver. The style can be of your choice. Round like this pictured above, oval or square. The player will remain the same but the price won’t. A permanent squad member in your club since 1954, worn on your finger. It makes more sense than the wedding ring on your left hand. Don’t ever tell your partner in life that I said this, unless you are sure that they have a good sense of humour !
The additional price for club colours will be an extra £10 making the price £40 for one sterling siver ring. I can make them in most sizes. It weighs aprox 7.50 gms. It’s a heavy ring built to last. Just email me with the UK ring size, shape and the team you support. And I will get back to you.
I made the rubber mould as shown in the picture for this lion. It’s a specialised skill in itself to make a mould. In the jewellery trade there are craftsmen that just concentrate on just mould making. Once you have the mould you can reproduce the model as and when you want. The craftsman depends on using a scalpel blade to cut the mould exactly in half. Sounds easy but the rubber is very tough and it must be cut in a special way so it fits together perfectly without moving. Using the scalpel to cut through the rubber can be dangerous work. One slip and the knife is in your finger, it happens to the most experienced, and the ultra sharp blade can leave a nasty wound. Cutting through the rubber must be a bit like surgeons work, carefully slicing in different directions to get to the model inside so as to remove it. The key is concentration and not letting your mind wander. It’s not just the danger of the knife slipping but also achieving a straight cut through the middle, all the way round. It takes time.
This was the first one I made a few years ago and I just now reproduced this beautiful wax lion from it. I shall design and make a pendant with this lion and post the finished item here soon, along with the story of the piece. I love lions so it will be a good story.
The Dog and Goose
It could have been a great name for a pub but the only dog and goose is in the photo . Here are two wax models that I have just made ready to be made into… you know, I don’t quite know yet. It may be a pendant or a brooch. I will have to think about it. If you have any ideas please let me know.
Silver Panic at the Bruges Tzandfest August 5th 2018
The Tzandfest takes place in Bruges 3 times a year. We travelled all the way from London to take part. Its is a huge market with an international atmosphere with sellers and visitors from all over Europe. This year it was very hot, so for us it was a long day in the blistering heat. Our jewellery put on display was hot, literally, and almost impossible to pick up, so we have to apologise to our customers who tried on our handmade rings. Visiting the beautiful city of Bruges is one of the pleasures of life but it’s quite an adventure for us taking part in the festival. Fortunately we have taken part in previous markets some years ago, so we knew more or less what to expect […] read more
Presentation of Silver Panic among other things I’d like you to know
So you are wondering where’s the silver panic ? Allow me to explain. Trying to find a suitable name for anything is not such an easy task as it may seem . Having had three children I can recall going through long lists of names and even borrowing library books before they came into the world, so as to research their deeper meaning. It’s not quite the same with websites. With children you can use a name that already exists but with websites you can use only once, perhaps with a small variation and they need to have relevance. The good ones were all taken years ago and you are pushed further into the realm of the nominally absurd or perhaps applying a pointless stream of number, like 678 after the name. I don’t like that. It would be something akin to naming my son Tom 678. So the grey matter is forced into working sideways to try and find something original and unused. Fusion could be the answer. I am Paul my wife is Nicole. I work with silver […] read more