Collars and  Cuffs

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Commissions

Christopher is always keen to consider commissions as he sees these as a way to develop his skills as a silversmith and a jeweller, as well as an excellent opportunity to come up with new and exciting designs. Pricing is primarily dependant on the raw material costs and the length of time it takes to do, but if it is an interesting project that makes a good story, Christopher tends to be very competitive.

Christopher has made a variety of items for varying purposes, a few examples of which are shown below:

Small Work and Jewellery

Necklaces, cufflinks, hair clips, personalised key fobs make up the bulk of commission work undertaken.

 cube hc 1.JPG (17328 bytes) heart nl 1.JPG (20265 bytes) fish cl 1.JPG (16922 bytes) small shell nl.JPG (28033 bytes)

tbone key fob.JPG (18563 bytes) fish kr 1.JPG (21996 bytes)  

Wedding and other large commissions

This is an increasingly popular area of Chris' work. Even though the orders may be large, each piece is still hand crafted, so please give him a bit of warning if you are considering something along these lines.

horse shoe pile 1.JPG (24074 bytes)

Large Work and Flatware

This encompasses bowls, cutlery, and general table ornamentation such as candlesticks, trays and wine coasters. This is Chris' favourite area of work and recently one of his pieces was displayed at Goldsmith's Hall in London (candlesticks, 2006 Craftsmanship and Design Awards)

Things to consider when thinking about commissioning Christopher to make a piece:

Finish

There are three basic types of finish: planished, mirror or satin.
Christopher tends to steer clear of satinised finishes, as they make the pieces look suspiciously like brushed stainless steel, but it does have a place as a tool for highlighting areas.
Planishing gives a lovely third dimension to a silver face, causing it to sparkle as each faces catches the light. It also has the advantage of not showing fingerprints or scratches. Unfortunately, it can sometimes cause an item to look busy or dated, so needs to be used carefully.
Mirror finishes are extremely elegant but often a bit fragile and need regular cleaning. Christopher often breaks up a mirror finish with hallmarks so that the eye is not drawn to any imperfections caused by wear and tear.

Hallmarking

Christopher tends to use hallmarks as decoration on his pieces, although he does not hallmark everything and they are not a compulsory part of an item. They usually add about 5 per set to the price of a commission, as well as a week in time as they are processed through the London Assay Office. For more detail, see the Hallmarks page.

Complexity

This affects pricing and time. The simplest designs are the ones which you could cut from a thick piece of card. Soldering, raising and casting all add to the complexity and detail of craftsmanship required to make the piece.
Engraving Chris uses a trustworthy engraver based in Hatton Gardens. He tends to charge by the letter and is terrible at giving quotes, but his work is excellent. The cost of engraving will be additional to the cost of the silver, and may add a week or two to the length of time it takes to make the commission.

Some notes on the design of cufflinks and key fobs

Shape

Cufflinks and key fobs tend to brush by things, press into things etc, so it is worth avoiding pointed elements in the design and fragile features on the surface. These will either bend, stab the user or scratch your desk.

Size

Christopher's basic shape for a cufflink is 2cm long and 1cm wide, but there is a lot of room for manoeuvre here. If they are too small then they will not hold in the cuff, too large and they look silly (a 2p coin is about as large as you can really go). If in doubt, come up with the design and submit it to Christopher. He can then scale it using his knowledge of what works.
Key fobs need to be sized so that they are easy to use. As above, if they are too large, then they will look a bit silly.
 

Contact:
christopher@collarsandcuffs.co.uk