Winner of the Giveaway

We have a winner- Thank you to everyone who commented on my celebratory giveaway post, back in June and huge thanks to those of you who shared the post – I was amazed how many people visited the WordPress / Twitter / Instagram and Facebook pages. As it happens the winner placed her comment on Facebook…

Also thanks to LovelySue and #MrG for conducting the draw this afternoon at the allotment, whilst I wire wrapped gemstones for Sunday (did I mention the fair yet 😂)
I got them to draw 1 winner and 2 emergency back ups, in case the first doesn’t contact me to claim her prize, but I think it might be a little cruel to share those names at the moment.
So…..drum roll…..
Tina Valentine – has been asked to contact me to claim her prize.
If you are very disappointed, I’ll have all the other items (currently listed on Etsy) plus lots more new stuff on Sunday at Forde House Summer Fayre, Newton Abbot between 10am – 4pm and after that I’ll be uploading all the new items to my Etsy shop.
summer fayre 3
Posted in Giveaway, silver, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

***** Draw Closed ****

                   ***** DRAW CLOSED ****
I’ve had a total of 69 entries for my Celebratory Giveaway, via Facebook / Twitter / Instagram or WordPress.
I’ve written all your names down, and I’ll get LovelySue to pick a winner, with a couple of back ups (in case of a no-show) when I next see her at #HamlinLaneAllotments
In the meantime – thank you all very much for your fun comments – I’ve enjoyed this….now I’m off to complete the items I’ll be taking to my fair!
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A milestone – my jewellery has been Hallmarked!

Here in the UK, it’s the law that any item sold as silver, with a weight of over 7.78grams* has to be formally hallmarked by an Assay office. (legislation) **

I registered my sponsor mark DGD_Hallmark_71272in 2014, and I’ve stamped many of my pieces with this myself, but that’s only good for gifts and things that are less than the assay weight.

Much as I like to work within a boundary constraint – be it the brief from a customer, the limitations of my skill or tools or indeed the requirement to send items for hallmarking, the time had come for me to boldly go where I’d not been before. (if you want to see how I went about this, I wrote this for someone who asked for details. It’s very dull )  In part because I’m facing my fear again and attempting another fair. This time it’s a REAL fair – I’ve hired a stall, and invested in an iZettle (that’s a Point Of Sale device to enable contactless and chip and pin payments) and made a whole load of display options.

I want to treat this as a bit of a chance to try some new and larger designs and also as a bit of advertising. So, I invested all my profits in some more bullion, and made the stuff I’d like to buy myself. Let’s hope that other people feel the same way 🙂

I’m pricing it at a little less than on Etsy, to reflect the lack of commission and packing etc and I’ll be offering some special deals to anyone who’s a repeat customer or multi-buys.

I’ll let you know how it turns out!

*7.78 grams is less than the weight of three UK pennies, less than the weight of a prosecco cork, and about the weight of 16.5 long matches. 🙂

Many people ignore this piece of legislation, but like many laws it’s there for our protection. Do consider this when you are shopping, online or at fairs – if it’s heavy and not hallmarked, you are buying the item on trust alone.

**When the Assay office receives a bundle of metal to mark, they test it for it’s ‘fineness’ – ie the percentage and quality of the metal type – in my situation that is for them to check that my pieces are a minimum quality of 92.5% silver. If an item doesn’t pass, they have the power to seize it.

London has the bonus of including the traditional lion mark for sterling and a date letter for the year of manufacture and offers a laser option – all are at no extra charge.

These additional marks, plus the fact that I’m more likely to visit London than Birmingham, Sheffield or Edinburgh are what made me choose London Assay office over the others.

Here’s my hallmark on a real bit of silver, and a little video of (a selection of!) the bangles I’ve made for the fair



Posted in Brave, processes, silver, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Hallmarking – this idiot managed it.

So, I’ve sent off and received back my first batch of hallmarking.  Here’s what I have learned.

Most importantly it’s that it’s made me ridiculously happy, and it was far less of a palaver and expense than I expected. Secondly, even though I thought I’d understood the costs, I hadn’t quite.

I have my hallmark registered with the London Assay office and their charges are displayed in a way I found rather complex. Eventually I broke it down to the basic charge per packet and decided I’d send just the one packet* filling it with as many pieces as I could.

I need to post my stuff, and pay them to return it by post. This incurs a handling charge, in addition to the cost from Royal Mail for the postage.

Each packet containing 3 items or more has a basic charge

Each item (article) within the packet costs pound, in addition to the basic packet cost – cufflinks and earrings have to be marked on both pieces so that needs to be considered if you are including them

Each packet can have as many articles as you like*, and as each subsequent article only adds a pound to the overall cost – meaning the more you send, the more you save (bringing the cost per unit down) up to a point, I guess.

*Note that each packet can only contain one type of hallmarking. This means that if you want something struck, and something else laser marked – they have to go into two different packets. The same rule applies for the fineness – If I was sending fine silver, sterling silver and gold, I’d need 3 different packets, with each containing just the one metal type. Again, if I wanted the marks struck / lasered I’d need to split again. This could swiftly increase the unit rate.

You can do what I did, and include mixed metal pieces, asking that they mark them at the lowest level of fineness. Given most people don’t know (or really care) about the difference between 925 and 999 silver, I assembled my mixed silver pieces, and asked them to hallmark at the lower fineness of 925.

You can also include incomplete pieces (I have the awesome Joanne Tinley and my bootcamp from last year to thank for this bit of information) as long as you explain what’s going to happen with each piece, and include all and any metal you’ll be using in their completion. For example, I sent all my bangles without their gemstone droppers, but included a ziplock bag with 50 jumprings and 150 headpins plus some wire I’ll be using in a different incomplete item for them to test**

I sent off 27 pieces, and opted to insure them for the post (both ways) at £1000. They and my box came in at just over the 500g, but well within the next Royal Mail bracket of 1kg.

I used a standard small packet cardboard box, and packed my items as follows – textured and drilled bangle blanks taped to piece of card, with the ziplock containing my ‘extras’ taped to it, along with my bag containing my mixed fineness pieces. I rolled some loose link bracelets in tissue paper, and placed my bangles into further ziplock bags; one bag for each type of article. I then stuffed all this into a used jiffy bag and packed that into the centre of the box, with my printed docket on the top and bubble wrap either side.

**When the Assay office receives a bundle of metal to mark, they test it for it’s ‘fineness’ – ie the percentage and quality of the metal type – in my situation that is for them to check that my pieces are a minimum quality of 92.5% silver. If an item doesn’t pass, they have the power to seize it.

Cost £68.88, plus £9.60 postage to the Assay office, makes £78.48 total for Hallmarking 27 items.

Packet plus items = £18+£27 = £45 + £12.40 (postage at £9.15 – They must get a bulk discount from Royal Mail! and a £3.25 handling charge for them to repack my box)

Posted in geek, processes, silver, Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments

A special gift from the past

I’ve mentioned Nan’s Button Box before. This month I got to use it’s contents for something extra special.

My branch of the family live quite a distance from the rest – when my parents married they decided in they youthful enthusiasm that they would like to have their children well out of meddle-range of their parents (their words, not mine!), so they left north London for Devon at the end of the 1960’s. There were quite a few things they didn’t factor into this grand scheme – a lack of amenities, the sudden spike in petrol cost and affordability of phone calls and the emotional distance this would inevitably create between their new family and the rest, but there you are.

So I didn’t spend much time with either set of grandparents, or indeed any of my relatives which is probably why I always feel that friends come first.  I did get to spend three weeks with my maternal grandparents whilst on work experience (at the London Record Office whilst studying Bookbinding and Paper Conservation – every element of that 3 weeks was awesome) and during that time was able to listen to Nan’s stories. That was also when she promised me her sewing box. Now I don’t sew – I really am very bad at following patterns, but this box had all her memories and history in it, including the buttons she cut off her son’s baby clothes as he out grew them. He was born, pre NHS with a hole in his heart and wasn’t expected to survive, so she kept the tiny mother of pearl buttons from all his baby clothes. She had made these clothes herself, reusing fabric and buttons from other garments – this was immediately after the war and it was still a struggle to find such things. After my mum and the NHS came along, heart surgery – although still in it’s infancy had progressed sufficiently for him to be one of the first to benefit and the hole was fixed.

He went on to be a brilliant lego-building uncle, successful architect, husband and father, but died far too early, leaving my aunt with three very young daughters to raise on her own. She did this well and last weekend their middle daughter had her wedding.

I wanted to make all three of my cousins something special, and was trying to think of something that would give them that connection with their father and their grandmother, neither of whom could be at any of their significant events. I decided to make them matching bracelets, with an extra pair of earrings for the bride.

I have a standard style of bracelet* I make when I want to give the look of a bangle, but incorporate some wire wrapping, gemstones and flexibility of size, so I made three of these and added a rainbow of fancy sapphires, a charm made from one of Nan’s own buttons and ‘sewed’ one of the least damaged of the baby buttons to each. I then packed them up and passed them to my mum to take to the wedding to pass on to them.

I didn’t get an awful lot of notice to make these, and didn’t spend any time photographing them (as you can see – I’ve just put one on to try and take a couple of snaps!) but I’m hopeful that they will enjoy that small connection and the wearability of the pieces.

*I have found this to be a popular style of bracelet, so I’ll write a show and tell when I next make one.

That’s it for today – I’m off to continue spray-painting the things I’ve scavenged for my stall’s display on the 5th  – when I do my first proper fair….eeek!

summer fayre 3

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments