Commission: Antique Silver Coin Bracelet

posted in: Commissions 0

Every now and again I get asked to make something really traditional. It’s almost always a lot of fun, if a bit of a puzzle sometimes! This customer contacted me regarding her selection of silver threepence pieces, which she wanted made into a bracelet. It needed to be in the traditional, scaled,style, linked together using over 200 tiny silver jump rings.

I’ve never worked with antique silver before but these coins are sterling (they’re all dated between 1911 and 1919) they behaved just as any other sterling would. They soldered easily and neatly using standard silver solders.

I added two rings to each coin before stringing them together into the finished pattern. I then soldered closed each ring along the chain (for added security when it’s worn). Finally I made a little bridge of chain to connect the catch to the bracelet.

The finished piece moves beautifully through your hands, fully articulated by all of the little links. It’s a great little tactile piece of wearable history.

Commission: Palladium and Ruby Engagement Ring

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Ruby Palladium Engagement Ring

This palladium engagement ring is designed to sit as a pair with the diamond one that I made last year, for a couple of ladies who are getting married this summer. I was a joy to make the ‘other half’ of their engagement rings so that they have a set with such similar characters.

This ring needed to be very practical and include a favourite gem of the bride to be: rubies. With that in mind it seemed that using small, flush set stones would be best as she’ll be able to leave it on all day at work without worry.

Palladium and Ruby Engagement Ring Sketches

The original ring had a twisted, raised ‘edge’ which ran all the way around it, highlighted by a bright polish against the matt finish on the body of the ring. I’ve accentuated this twist at the front of the new ring, widening it to give me space to add a little thread of rubies that sit within the curve and ‘flow’ around the ring.

We’ve kept the same, durable matt finish on this ring which really shows off the polished edge of the wave and the sparkle of the subtle sparkle of the stones:Ruby Palladium Engagement Ring by Becca Williams Jewellery Designer

 

New Stockist: John Lewis Birmingham

posted in: Events 0

This week sees the opening of the new John Lewis store in central Birmingham, right above the remodeled New Street Station and Grand Central shopping centre.

It’s not normally the kind of thing that I’d blog about (despite the architectural interest of the building) but John Lewis have done something pretty special with this store. Working in conjunction with local business groups they’ve set aside space in the Jewellery Department for a Jewellery Quarter concession of sorts, featuring the work of six Jewellery Quarter makers.

I was selected to take part earlier in the year and have had to keep pretty quiet about it until now but, with the store finished and opening tomorrow here are a few images from last night’s preview:

They’ll be selling my Flotsam and Estuary ranges, from now until after Christmas.

The Standard Works – Jewellery Quarter

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Built in 1879 the old Standard Works building dominates a large stretch of Vittoria Street, on the far edge of the Quarter, and has long been one of my favourite buildings in the area. Disappointingly derelict for the best part of two decades it has thus far avoided all attempts to turn it into residential property, or to resurrect it for industrial use – until it was finally sold, just a few weeks ago, to the Ruskin Mill Trust, a further education organisation for young people with learning and emotional difficulties.

With plans to build specialist teaching rooms, a theatrical space and even it’s own artisan bakery the team behind the conversion of the space are ambitious – with an eye to fit the project into the community and recall some of the buildings’ past with the inclusion of jewellery education workshops in the scheme.

So, last weekend, the people behind the project allowed a bunch of curious locals with cameras into the building to get a sense of what the project is about and have a tour of this remarkable building.

 

Here’s what I saw:

Workshop Renovations – pt1

posted in: Workshop 0

It’s been clear for a while now that I’ve needed a bigger workshop, I’ve got to a point where I need to invest in larger machinery, where I’d like to be able to stretch out, make bigger work and be able to have more space to plan designs as well as ‘just’ making things. I’ve got ideas of teach a little too and for that I will definitely require more space.

So, after a few dreary January afternoons combing the ‘to let’ adverts in and around the Jewellery Quarter I finally found somewhere that just felt right the instant that I walked through the door.

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Typically, it was last on a long list of properties to see, it was cold, dreary and may even have been raining outside. But, inside, there was light, and space and okay, it’s in the attic of a rickety old building but hey, I’ve always thought that it’s the haphazard structures that give the Jewellery Quarter a lot of its charm. 

And now, after quite a lot of official procedures (and filling in reams of forms) I have the keys and am starting to strip things back, ready to paint and to build:

 

Centrepiece 20th Nov – 23rd Dec 2013

posted in: Jewellery 0

Centrepiece 2013 opens at Symphony Hall this Thursday with 28 local designer makers  selling their work in the run up to Christmas.

Centrepiece Logo

The show will be open from 10am – 10pm everyday and is always staffed by the designers themselves, here’s a selection of what will be available (to help you out with your Christmas gift buying … )

Key Hill’s new gates …

My workshop windows look out over Key Hill cemetery and it’s a hidden part of the Jewellery Quarter that I’m really rather fond of.

When  I moved into the area many years ago the sandstone gates were in seriously bad repair but, over the past few years a lot of restoration (mainly funded by the fine efforts of FKWC) has gone on throughout the Quarters two Victorian cemeteries. A week or so ago the scaffolding came down from the Key Hill gate posts on Key Hill Drive after what looks like a final round of restoration.

And they’re pretty darn stunning once again:

Serendipity #3: Getting close to finished …

I ventured into the Jewellery Quarter on a Sunday today for the first time in aaages to get these pieces all ready to go off to Assay on Monday. There’s a couple of new pendant designs (and some more studs):

Plus, I got the pieces of that big new necklace sanded:

Satined:

and almost ready to string together:

Two scarred fingers, walking the Quarter

posted in: Exploring 2

The Jewellery Quarter has two historic Pavement Trails, put in as kind of DIY walking tours around the time of the millennium. I see parts of them pretty much everyday but this is one of my favourite markers:

It’s a homage to the humble benchpeg, an incredibly simple thing that takes a lot of punishment. The faithful benchpeg soldiers on until (in my case) you’ve drilled so many holes in it that it disintegrates. I rarely give mine much credit but I’d hate to try making anything without its support.

If you fancy heading out to soak up a little history then you can download a PDF of the pavement Trail right here:

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