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.

 

 

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.

What to make next?

I am sure I have probably written about this before – forgive me if I have but it seems to happen every year. There comes a stage where I am up to date with the current order schedule and I have time to make some items for stock. The question always is what to make this time?

I do wish I had a crystal ball and could predict what customers are going to buy. I have tried many ways before to look at sales trends from previous years, to look at what seems to be popular out in the shops, what are other websites putting forward as special offers or even can I look at the weather forecast!!!!

Well here goes again. Nothing has seemed to work 100% in the past but I seem to be doing reasonably well and will go for the ever popular Salt & Pepper Mills from the JA Campbell “Appetite” range. These silver mills are part of the matching collection that I designed about 25 years ago now.How time flies.

It is a contemporary range  and sits well against the more traditional items in the “Classic” range.

They are quite time consuming to make which is why I tend to always ensure that I have some in stock as they would be difficult items to make in a rush. However complicated things are to produce, as long as I have the time, I enjoy creating beautiful silver tableware.

That is one of the reasons I became a Silversmith and I still enjoy my work today.

Who could ask for anything more?

As the title says “who could ask for anything more?”

Claret or any red wine? served from a Silver & Crystal Claret Jug

It just has to be SILVER from JA Campbell. Made in England – both the crystal and the silver.

Still time to order for Christmas delivery.

Confessions of a Silversmith

I have made literally thousands of items of silverware during my career as a Silversmith from the humble Napkin ring to the impressive Epergne. Thousands is quite a lot bearing in mind that I am a “handmade” Silversmith as opposed to a “machine made” one.

The “machine made” Silversmith would specialize in one category of production, he would probably be a Stamper, a Solderer, a Filer or a Piercer.  The “machine made” Silversmith would be responsible for making tens of thousands of components.

As a “handmade” Silversmith I have tended to make every item from start to finish (with the exception of polishing which I have not done much of).

One of the items in my current contemporary range is our Silver & Crystal Sugar Sifter. Not one of our best sellers, we have only produced several hundreds of these since the range was first launched. Now the confession!!!!

Apart from the early tests when the product first went into production I have never until this morning used this product for real!!!!!!!

A new box of cornflakes, a jug of fresh milk, a freshly squeezed orange from the skin and a stainless steel spoon poised ready to dispense the sugar. “No” I think out loud “let’s use the sugar dredger” It is ready to use filled with fresh caster sugar. What a joy! Evenly distributed with just a light shake, hardly any effort.

Why has it taken me 20 years to get around to using it? It must be the cobbler’s son senario.

Taste de Vin Galore!

It is my guess that this order for wine tasters was for a wine society, vineyard, wine wholesaler or something, otherwise who would need 20 taste de vin?

However it is better to wonder why than do or die (an old fashioned saying!)

Coincidentally my usual supplier Cookson Gold was out of stock of 1.2 mm sterling silver sheet so I was forced to use my second preferance, Argentium, an Italian producer with an office in Birmingham, England. No complaints, on time, on quality and even telephoned to ask if I wanted the plastic covering removed prior to circle cutting. This was a nice touch as it is tiresome to have to remove this from the circles prior to spinning. It seemed that the pressure from the circle cutter blades sticks the plastic on even better.

The beauty of big batches is that one always finds shortcuts in the making process that one does not find in small batches for example. The serpent handle casting needs to have all the surface contaminants and oxides removed from the soldering area. They also need to be fitted carefully to the spinning component. For small batches this is normally done with a “sage” file and it quite slow, tedious and slightly imperfect. With a large batch however it was worth setting up a small (4″) drum sander to do the same task as the file. This was both quick, perfect and made the soldering of the handle to the spun body a doddle.

The London Assay Office under the guidance of Terry Dak did a superb job of the hallmarking despite the fact that the bodies were sent in pre soldering ie without the handles attached and were therefore “hard” having not yet been annealed/softened in the soldering process. This makes the punching process more difficult.

NB Hard silver is much more impact resistant than soft annealed silver.

The job is now delivered on time and on quality. Another satisfied customer?

Silver Vase resurrection

Some years ago we had a range of Art Deco style Sterling Silver vases in our collection. When we introduced the contemporary appetite collection I discontinued these along with many other reproduction items.

I had a rethink recently and realised we had a lack of all silver vases in the current offering and so decided to ressurect this range as soon as I had a couple of hours spare. This was Thursday 13 March 2014. I decided that the middle size in the range, the 6 inch, would be the prototype for photography. How nice it looked!

I took it along to our local florist – The little flower shop- (near Brentwood station) and asked her advice on the best floral arrangement for displaying them. She recommended two roses. The plan is to collect these on the morning the photography is booked so they will be at their freshest.

These vases are quite simple and relatively quick to make being made of just three silver components. The centre part is  an arc shape cut from a silver sheet and bent around a tapered mandril to form a cone. Sort iron wire is wound around the taper to pull the straight cut edges tightly together.

Flux is then addd to the joint and the cone is heated up to red hot and allowed to cool. After cooling the wires are removed, the taper reheated to red and silver solder applied to the joint. After a further cooling the taper is pickled in hot dilute sulphuric acid, rinsed and dried. The solder seam is then inspected and filed smooth.

Next comes the spinning process. The cone (still not perfectly round) is pushed onto a tapered spindal on the lathe and planished until perfectly round. The top and bottom edges are both trimed true and to height.

The top and bottom spinnings are the next to be spun, there are about four operations in each of these units. They are then soldered on to the top and bottom of the cone. Silversmithing now complete.

Next off to the London Assay Office where all three components are tested and the hallmark applied providing the tests prove positive.

The vase is then returned to the workshop where it is polished using three grades of compound until perfect and bright.

Lastly it is ultrasonically cleaned and packed into its presentation box ready for dispatch.

Please enjoy browsing through my website and in particular at this new addition which will be exclusive to the JA Campbell site and not available anywhere else.

John Campbell

Master Silversmith

Silver Gifts for Ladies

Shopping for gifts for women is not a simple task especially for me. If you are you looking for an unusual gift for a lady, why not give her  something that will last a lifetime and can be personalised with a message and a date to make it a truly memorable present.

Here at JA Campbell we have a huge selection of sterling silverware that you could give to that special lady in your life wether that be your mum, wife, girlfriend, sister or female business associate.

All girls love cocktails, so why not have a look at our sterling silver cocktail sticks (set of 6) they are a fantastic gift for a lady who loves those cocktail hours after a hard day in the office.

However, if you think that the ladies in your life would prefer flowers, but would like to get them something else to go with them then why not have a look at our sterling silver vase. This would look great anywhere in the house; this hand blown English crystal and silver clear vase with a handmade hallmarked sterling silver base could just be what you are looking for.

Silver gifts for ladies never fail to receive a ‘wow’ when presented. Nothing is simpler than to look through this website and find the perfect silver present for any lady – the list is endless at JA Campbell .