Baby gifts – with a difference!

As part of my work I am constantly looking at what is on offer in various silver departments. I very soon came to the conclusion that there was a distinct gap in the market when it came to baby gifts. There was a reasonable selection of traditional style items similar to those in my existing range. However for someone wanting that ‘something special’, nothing seemed to fit the bill. So I set about designing a new and exciting range.

In my mind I wanted something that would stand out from the crowd, so I looked carefully at the design of each piece and also the colour and design of the packaging. as you will see it is definitely different! I took a long time considering the name for the collection and eventually settled on ‘Over the Moon’, a phrase that is often used to describe delight at certain event. What is more exciting than the birth of a new life? An occasion for celebration and for marking the event with something that will last a lifetime and then be passed on for future generations.

That is the aim for every item I make – to be used and enjoyed every day. I want everyone who buys one of my products not just to be pleased with it – but to be delighted with their purchase.

Please take a few minutes to look at www.jacampbell.co.uk or on www.overthemoonbabygifts.co.uk and I hope you will be delighted with the concise collection of baby gifts, decorated with an amusing moon and star motif. I hope you will agree with me that this is something your family will want to enjoy for generations to come. 

John Campbell

Designer and Master Silversmith

Silver Hallmarks

I knew I wanted to be a silversmith when I was about 12 years old. I started experimenting at home by melting tin soldiers! My father encouraged my interest and I became an apprentice and studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. I was fascinated by the practical side of silversmithing and design, and also the history of silver. This information about hallmarking (one of the earliest and best example of consumer protection) was one of the things that sticks in my mind and I hope you enjoy reading it.

John Campbell Designer and Master Silversmith

The English Sterling Silver Hallmark was first mentioned in 1300 when the Leopard’s Head or ‘King’s Mark’ was specified as evidence that the worked silver was up to sterling (coinage) standard and in 1363 the Makers Mark was introduced where each Master Silver and Goldsmith had their own mark. John uses a small triangular mark with JAC stamped in the middle a mark which John first registered with the London Assay office as a college student in 1958.

The policing by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths (the guardian of hallmarking) was taken a stage further in 1478 when the marking of all wears by date letter was introduced, the basis of this standard is still used to this day.

Every single component of J A Campbell’s silver has been tested at the London Assay Office. Their Leopards head stamp and Lion rampant denote the assurance of Authenticity. The ‘925’ mark shows the purity of the silver – 925 parts of silver per 1000. No zero tolerance is allowed in English hallmarking so to avoid accidental failure John uses 928 parts per 1000.

Each year the letter stamp changes, so your heirs will be able to tell with pride, when the item was made and by whom. 2008 is denoted by the letter ‘J’. Many books are available on the subject most popular being Bradburys.

Why buy silver?

I always like to know something about the company when I buy a product. I think it all adds to making that item mean more to me and appreciate the skills of the people that made it. This is especially true when the item is made by hand and by an  English company and if it is a family firm then even more so.

Below is snapshot of my company and why I feel it is important to continue traditional skills. I hope you agree with me. Please let me know

John Campbell

A unique factor about J.A. Campbell Silversmiths is that we are one of the few companies in England using traditional sterling silversmith methods.

The City of London has for hundreds of years been one of the world’s great silverware making centers. Sterling silver is unique among the decorative arts as the raw material is both inherently valuable and infinitely reusable. Silver tableware continues to project a reassuring ambience of understated elegance and overtime the mellowing of the silver creates a soft rich patina that adds depth and character to each piece.

For hundreds of years silverware has been a social benchmark, from the grand households to the newly affluent and prosperous business community. Silverware is also the ideal luxury gift for births, weddings and anniversaries. One of the recent arguments against buying articles made of silver is the polishing/cleaning one. This is no longer the case with the introduction of Brilliante a new tarnish resistant alloy. This reduces cleaning/polishing frequency by 500% depending on the local environment.

J.A Campbell carries on the traditions of this noble craft of luxury silverware making at our workshops in Brentwood.  Here a dedicated team of silversmiths hand spin, cast, solder and burnish sterling silverware under the watchful eye of Master Silversmith, owner and founder of the business, John Campbell.

We have over 122 years of silverware experience, and this experience is illustrated in each unique piece we create, handmade and polished to an exacting finish. Only the best quality heavy-gauge silver is used.

As an example of this craftmanship and painstaking attention to detail, the handle of the best selling crystal & silver ‘Chalice’ claret wine jug goes through 21 individual hand worked operations over many hours. Many more hours are needed to complete the final distinctive design before it is ready to be shipped.

Over the past century many manufacturing skills have been lost never to be replaced, but it is reassuring that the art of the silversmith is alive and well at J.A. Campbell. We hope you will enjoy viewing our crystal & luxury silverware collections as much we have in creating them.

View our collections at jacampbell

A Silver Milestone

27 August 2008 – another milestone in the JA Campbell history.

The  Georgian reproduction Sterling Silver candelabra which the company has made for about 30 years is now available in Tarnish Resistant ‘ Brilliante’ Sterling Silver.

This particular piece is quite ornate in design, as representive of that period in history, and as such could take a little time to clean if made from traditional Sterling Silver. However one of the main reasons for making more products in ‘Brilliante’ is the greatly reduced cleaning frequency that identifies this material as a breakthrough in the history of silver.

The design and manufacture of many more items in ‘Brilliante’ is now underway at JA Campbell workshops.

Keep updated on progress at www.jacampbell.co.uk

‘Brilliante’ lends itself to ornate designs and also the elegant simplicity of the ‘Appetite’ range. Whatever your tastes, modern or classic, we have a range to suit you. Both collections,  plus individual specialised pieces, can be seen on our website and our sales team are happy to discuss a particular occasion or event where silver will be the perfect gift.

I hope you will enjoy using your silver as much as I do using mine. I am excited about this new development and will keep you updated on future projects. 

John Campbell

Designer and Master Silversmith