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.

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.

Loving Silver

Whilst I personally love silver I can see why others do not. Silver has been a large part of my life since I was a teenager ( I am now 73).

It is my hobby and my job. I enjoy making it, using it, reading about it and learning about it. I love most of the design periods, especially Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts and Art Deco.

The problem with new silver, just out of the polishing shop, is that it looks too precious, too shiny. So good you do not want to touch it, let alone use it.

I took in some scrap recently and amongst it was a 70’s style man’s silver articulated bracelet. I took a fancy to it. It looked too nice to melt down so I put it on my wrist. It had light surface scratches and a little tarnish. I thought it looked good on my wrist which was tanned from cycling. I sought some opinions “shall I re-polish it back up to new?” “No” was the answer, it looks better as it is.

bracelet

The moral of this story is that silver looks better when it has acquired its natural patina. When you see examples of silver and gold in museums it always looks great. One thing they all share is that they never look pristine.

Use and enjoy your silver.

 

A Different 21st Birthday Present

21st February 2016

A woman phoned yesterday saying that she was on the JA Campbell website and wanted to know the difference between our 2 Claret Jugs – the Chalice JC/137/F and the Grape and Vine JC/137/G

I explained that they were basically the same but with a different handle and different price points. She went on to say that it was her son’s 21st birthday present and asked about the delivery time of the chalice which was the one she preferred and also how to order on the website or over the phone. I said the latter method was the quickest and easiest.

At this stage of the conversation I said that I thought her choice of a Claret Jug was rather nice but unusual as a 21st. She agreed but said that her husband had been given one on his 21st and had enjoyed using it over the years and wanted the same for his son.

I went on  to tell her some of the details of this Claret Jug such as the option to replace the crystal body should anything untoward happen. The addition of a set of cleaning balls with each decanter and so on. Just a few extra touches that JA Campbell provide as a service to customers.

 

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.

Do not argue with your Dentist!

It has been an unusual week. A large corporate order for bespoke claret jugs has been disrupted by at least three events. A visit to my dentist, a repair/re-plating a large batch of salvers from a super yacht and a couple of old battered trophy cups.

Firstly the dentist, Stephan asked “did I make silver cufflinks?” No I replied. “Why not” says he? Well I have done in the past, I said, but only for friends and family. “What is it you require?” I questioned. “Two pairs of identical cufflinks – one set engraved with the initial “S “and one set engraved with the initial “A”.  When do you need them for I asked? “For the 27th just before I go to Dallas” replied Stephan. This gave me just one week to make them, have them hallmarked and hand engraved.

Well I guess you know the outcome? I delivered them yesterday on the 26th

Second distraction – 2 battered trophies, one quite a nice silver one a bearing the hallmark of jewellers Fattorini once quite an important jeweller in the North of England. This needed a good chemical clean, dents removed and a plinth supplied followed by a good polish. Not finished yet but looking good so far.

The second trophy cup and cover was silver plated and rather cheaply made and looked like it had been left out in a leaky barn for years. It was quite corroded. Now de- dented it is with the plater having a new coat of silver applied.

Third disruption – the salvers from the yacht, these are now also at the plater’s having a new coat of silver applied. Colin has made a super job of pre polishing them taking out all the scratches and dents – the Purser is sure to be delighted when they are returned in time for the summer season.

All this disruption while trying to get on with the important claret jug order, making sure the components and the materials are delivered on time and on quality. But I am certain the customer would not be best pleased if they had no trophies to give out on the days the tournament was being held so back to the grindstone for me.

Life is never dull!

Silver Tumbler Cups

It is really strange how things seem to go in cycles. I never can judge how certain items will sell. Even looking back at sales history data the patterns do not seem to be there.

The only one that is consistent is that things seem to come in groups. Take the current rush on silver tumbler cups!

Just after Christmas 2 sets sold, last week 2 medium sized ones, this week followed up by yet another sale, more questions and a viewing visit later in the week – all interested in tumbler cups. No connection between any of them.

However “ours is not to reason why” and I am just pleased that they are being appreciated.

It is an unusual item that comes in three sizes. The history is that since the reign of Charles 11, circa 1660, they have been very popular drinking cups. They have often been used as travelling sets, in canteens and before that on board ship, as they will rock but will not fall over. The reason for this is that they are thicker at the base.

Being gold plated inside this opens up the present buying opportunities to cover Silver and Golden weddings!

Really they are ideal for a present on any occasion and are highly suitable for engraving with names, dates, messages to mark the occasion and bring back happy memories for the recipient.

Have a look and see if you can think of an occasion coming up where you could give one or a set to someone you know. All sizes in stock as of today.

John Campbell

Master Silversmith 

Silver & Crystal Decanters

At this time of year one of the most popular items in our range are Silver & Crystal decanters.

At the main meal on Christmas day what could be better to really set off your table than by serving wine in one of our elegant decanters. There are a selection of shapes to choose from and even a double size one that holds two bottles of wine – the Magnum decanter– if you have a large number to serve. It saves time refilling the decanter.

Red wine, even white wine, definitely the after dinner port or sherry and all the spirits!!

All our decanters are in stock and there is still time to have one delivered in time for Christmas – as a present or for your own table.

JA Campbell Silversmiths – 24 hours a day – 7 days a week- we can take your order

Check out the selection now!!