Part 1 of 3 Do you own a special piece of family jewellery? Perhaps a ring which has been handed down through the generations or a necklace worn by your Nan. In this three-part series, I’ve highlighted the connections captured in a special piece of family jewellery. My story begins with Rosie’s silver sailboat, which was a special commission I took on in June 2020.

It has to be said that I thoroughly enjoy being a maker and when I get the chance to work with wonderful people to make wishes come true, it’s the best feeling in the world. When Rosie first asked me if I could make a sterling silver sailboat, of course I said yes. It’s a piece that was bought for her by her Dad when she was around 11/12 years of age and it has subsequently got lost along the way.

Anyone who knows me know that it’s all about the detail for me, so I started by cutting out three different size versions of a tiny paper pattern and hanging it on a chain. Rosie had told me that she wanted to wear it with the leaf pendant she’d bought, so I wanted them both to sit well together. Like most flat silver pendants, the first task is to cut it out and then begin the task of finessing the shape using different silversmithing techniques. I’ve sawn, filed, drilled, hammered, filed some more, punched, soldered, quenched, pickled and polished this tiny silver sailboat. Now, I needed Rosie’s surname.

As anyone who takes on commissions will know, we’ve been on our own little journey in my studio. Using punches to stamp Rosie’s surname on the reverse was an adventure. As any jeweller will know, pressure from the front of a piece will often result in an indentation on the other side. As I’ve learnt over the years from my wonderful tutors @flux_n_flame the answer to most silversmithing questions is… yes, more filing!

What I’ve enjoyed most about making this piece is that the love and care that I put into making it, shines through and that’s what the word ‘handmade’ means to me. A whole lot of love and in my case, as a silversmith, a lot of sparkle too.

Click here to read part 2, and discover more about capturing family connections through jewellery

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