Vases

One of the most versatile items in the JA Campbell range.

A vase is an ideal present for so many occasions, a birthday, a wedding, an anniversary or as a presentation piece. (Especially if engraved with a suitable message to remind the recipient of the sentiments expressed by family, friends or colleagues).

So many of the items we now sell are requested to be engraved.

A vase can be used in EVERY room in the house or at the office.

It can be used EVERYDAY of the year with either fresh, silk or dried arrangements to suit each season. Or even just look in your garden for inspiration.

On the JA Campbell website we change the pictures of both the silver and the silver & crystal vases to reflect the changing seasons.

Look out for Autumn ones any day now!

20 Medium Autumn med res

We offer two styles of vase, three with crystal bodies and a detachable silver base and three made entirely of sterling silver.

The choice is yours. Browse our website and order online or give us a call at anytime. We like to talk!!!

Improvised Egg Cup

If you think that the egg cup in the picture below is a bit unusual, you are correct.

Egg cup

It is not actually an egg cup (although it works very well as one). It is in fact a Silver Claret Jug component.

It is bad isn’t it when a silversmith has not got a proper egg cup and has to make do! It is a bit like the shoemaker’s children – usually poorly shod.

The good news is I am busy actually making a batch of Silver Claret Jugs – the real thing in which to serve your favourite wine.

 

 

Al fresco is coming

An essential piece of the al fresco summer table is the stylish sterling silver and crystal salad bowl. The sterling silver salad servers seen in action during one of my recent evening meals complement the bowl perfectly. Still in the dining room at the moment- but I have high hopes for some warm summer weather to come soon!!

Salad bowl

You may wish to add other important items such as the sterling silver oil and vinegar set and the sterling silver salt and pepper mills not forgetting a sterling silver and crystal decanter for your chilled Chablis.

Enjoy the summer soon to come!

Silver “Fireball” Dinghy

An enthusiastic fireball racing sailor asked if we could clean up his model silver dinghy. He lived nearby and so I asked him to bring it in for an appraisal.

When it arrived it was quite black through many years of tarnish. Not only did it need cleaning (which would involve dismantling it) it also needed protecting from any future tarnish.

Boat 2

One of the best ways of protecting such an intricate piece of silver from tarnishing is to electro-plate the article with Rhodium. The problem with this is that the rigging (running and standing) was fine wire which would be difficult to handle once Rhodium plated. So I chose white gold as the best material for the rigging.

We agreed a price and then I set to work dismantling the dinghy into its main components. It was then sent away for Rhodium plating. Upon return it was re-assembled and re-rigged using the white gold wire.

Boat done1Boat done 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Result: a nice clean shiny dinghy fully protected from future tarnish.

Another satisfied customer!

 

Two wounded pieces of Silver

2018 got off to the usual start with some repairs. It is usually claret jugs or decanters before Christmas with people wanting to get their Christmas lunch table ready and everything else comes after. This year was no exception, although the claret jugs were a bit thin on the ground.

The two pieces so far are a worthless Britannia metal bottle frame and a 1930’s five light Corinthian candelabra.

First the Britannia Metal frame:

This is going to cost more to repair than it is worth in economic terms. The owner knows this but still wants it repaired. It is in quite a bad way and is going to take all our skills to repair. The bowls are suffering from metal fatigue which is obvious with the numerous cracks. These cracks will need to be soldered using a very low temperature solder. We will have to make this solder by alloying a high percentage of tin to some lead and rolling it into usable rods. The addition of tin will lower its melting point. Once the piece is all back together again and the cracks repaired the bowls can be gently rounded up.

3 bowl frame

Co-incidentally this item is from a local stately home where I had the pleasure to do some amateur archeological work as a teenager many years ago. The organizer Ken Marshall was undertaking a survey on Essex moated houses some of which had not survived. I and a team of youngsters from the Essex field club were the helpers.

Second the Silver Candelabra:

This is owned by a local freemason’s lodge which has several of them apparently. Being a rather poorly made palladium style piece made in the 1930’s in Sheffield it is not made for the regular use it has received and consequently is in rather poor condition. It has been made down to a budget from stampings and poorly assembled. It mainly needs a new finial making for the centre section. This would have been reasonably straight forward until it fell out of the car which delivered it. It now also has a broken arm as well.

Candleabra

Fortunately the workshop is not too busy at present so a slow and careful start can be made. This is by far the best philosophy with jobs of this nature which can often go from bad to worse if any attempt is made to rush the process.

Good customer service is king – or so I believe!

Personally, I have always tried to give the best customer services possible in the belief that it will bring customers back and/or pass the message on. Having said this I cannot always guarantee that my associates have always applied the same philosophy

Working in a business can sometimes be a problem. One is too close to the situation “can’t see the wood for the trees” is the saying. So I looked to my outside experiences for guidance.

One problem was with a Miele fridge freezer which developed a fault after 5 years. The guarantee was well out of date. Miele delivered a brand new replacement with no argument, hassle or unpleasantness.

Second problem. I noticed that the seat post on my Condor Heritage cycle was coming loose. I have had this for some 6 years. I like to try and fix things myself but decided to call into Condors shop in London to see if I could learn a little about the anatomy of this part in order to make a successful repair.

As soon as Greg (the manager) saw it he said that the bonding had failed and to repair it would probably be unsuccessful. He said it should not have happened. He disappeared and then walked back into the shop with the modern equivalent  and started unwrapping it. When he reached for some tools I realized he was going to fit the new one there and then. Money had not been mentioned. I asked Greg if he was going to fit it and he said yes. On completion some 20 minutes later I asked how much did I owe Condor? He said, with a smile, there was no charge as the part had failed.

It was so nice to be on the receiving end of excellent customer service. Not only that, the new seat post felt so much more comfortable!

Condor cycles in Grays Inn Road London is probably the best bike shop in the UK today. Their range of bikes/sizes, accessories and advice is second to none.

Condor’s London shop may not be convenient to get to for many people but it is certainly worth the effort to get the best service, quality, reliability, advice and also good humour.

Condor have a successful racing team headed up by Manager John Herety, Senior member Russell Downing and Gold medalist Ed Clancy. The team, JLT Condor, are great to watch whatever the races like the Tour of Britain and Tour de Yorkshire.

Silver Alsatian Pendant

We have just completed an unusual job this week, which was actually a piece of jewellery. Not what JA Campbell are known for. The request was from a farmer friend of my son who wanted a little present. It was to be a silver pendant in the form of an Alsatian dog. I knew how to go about it, it was just a case of finding an image and getting it approved by the customer. The image was provided by Monica from R & M Engraving.

The next stage was to select a piece of silver sheet and polish one side and send it to the hand engraver couple, Mike and Freda Keen. Mike engraved the image onto the sheet and Freda (an extremely versatile Dutch lady, she even does sculpture) pierced the Alsatian profile along the line which Mike had engraved. On the collar of the dog was to be the name Lola. All I had to do when the newly pierced dog profile came back was to re-polish it, solder a ring onto the back, fit a silver chain, re-polish finally and place it in the presentation box.

The customer was delighted!

dog-tag

A serious consideration – to engrave – yes or no?

If the item is a present for say a wedding, a retirement, a christening, a birthday, even as a thank you then a short message is a must. Not a great long rambling story, just a few words and probably a date.

If you own a super yacht, hotel, restaurant or just an exceptional home you might like your family crest, logo or ship’s name engraved on said piece/s

If the piece is for your own personal use and enjoyment then the choice is yours – probably do not engrave.

Our engravers Stewart Morris for the silver and Richard and Monica for the crystal are all experts in their fields. They can advise and will bring to attention any spellings which they suspect are incorrect and advise on size, placement and layout of the engraving required. Both firms can re-draw (if necessary) from existing artwork into digital format.

Several items from JA Campbell are used as trophies and have been customised by engraving. Indeed we supplied Grand National trophies several years ago. The Zetland Gold Cup was made by JA Campbell.

Improvised Silver Egg Cup

Some of us who have an early start to the day usually sit down to an office breakfast. Often there is not much in the way of cooking facilities and so it tends to be an egg of some description – poached, fried, scrambled or boiled.

On a boiled egg morning it is sometimes quicker (rather than looking for a silver egg cup) to find something in the workshop that will do the job. This morning it was the lower component of a Claret Jug top body. It does the job nicely and looks quite good!

What do you think?

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Mahogany Hogget – Customer service!

Today – an unusual job! A regular Australian customer asked if the wooden base on one of our hogget decanters could be made from Mahogany. This one is usually made in Maple wood and is easy to “turn” and is light and modern in colour.

I tried to dissuade him by saying that mahogany is unavailable in the thickness that this base required and that the block would have to be made by laminating several thickness of mahogany together and hence an extra cost. He was not put off and ordered and paid for it there and then.

I glued several layers of mahogany together a few days ago and today did the turning and polishing. I have to admit it does look quite good. Not my taste – but I am not the customer and also I do not have a monopoly on good taste!!!

Hogget Mahog

The moral of this story is all about giving the best customer service possible.