Damaged Silver Communion Chalice

An interesting job came in a couple of weeks ago (I like interesting jobs) It was a damaged silver communion chalice from a prison chapel. It was originally made in sterling silver by Vanpoulles Ltd in South London circa 1965 – 1970. Busy, involved in another job at the time, I had a brief look and quoted £150, thinking it would probably take a couple of hours to repair. The quote was approved and when I came to start the repair I realised it had some quite bad creases/folds in the trumpet shaped base. Once metal has been folded (like a sheet of paper) it is difficult to rectify. However, I like a challenge and I always stick to a quote.

The story behind the damage, which was rather extreme, was that it had been stamped on by an individual, flattening both the bowl and the base, it didn’t seem accidental. I had thought that maybe it had been shut in a heavy door or something similar, not just knocked or dropped.

Rising to the challenge, the work commenced. Using various stock tools to gradually open up the flattened parts, followed by making a wooden spinning chuck to fit inside the base and another inside the bowl, I re-spun these 2 components and the creases came out very nicely. Following a re-polish the chalice was like new again. Result – a very satisfied customer. It always gives me a good feeling when a job turns out well, even if the economics are not great. The overall job had taken 5 hours, rather than the 2 hours I originally guesstimated!

Silversmithing to me, is as much a hobby as it is a business.  At 68 years of age, I am as interested today, as when I started my apprenticeship at the age of 15, probably even more so.

It is worth noting that no matter how badly damaged you think a piece maybe, always ask the question of the Silversmith. But make sure you ask a reputable and competent one, as with all industries, cowboys exist! Some people call themselves silversmiths when they are actually the village plumber.

JA Campbell Silversmiths -reliable, reputable and competent.

Made up to a standard, not down to a price!

During a recent dining refurbishment at home, a pair of our silver candlesticks had been put away in a wall cupboard to protect them from dust and grit. The need arose to go in that cupboard for a glass at the weekend (as you do!) and one of the candlesticks was moved, falling approximately 1.5 metres onto the tiled ceramic floor!!!!!!!!!!!!! “Oh, no” I exclaimed fearing the worst.

Thankfully it was totally undamaged.

How many candlesticks made today would pass this “accidental” test. Silverware made as good as it can be, rather than how cheap it can be. At JA Campbell Silversmith’s we pride ourselves on the quality of everything we produce. Not only that, we provide a full repair service if something did actually happen to a piece of our silver. More often than not the damage is to the crystal components. However we can replace the silver on to a new crystal body.

Have a look at www.jacampbell.co.uk and I am sure you will appreciate the design features of all our products. Now you have a little bit of background to the quality as well.

John Campbell

Master Silversmith