Gifts with a Conscience

It’s been a busy week at Of Cabbages and Kings with lots of exciting new things arriving in store. But what has got us really excited are three brands that are all in some way either sustainable, being mindful of their consumption, or they are ethically or socially conscious, supporting exciting forward-thinking projects here and abroad. So let’s introduce these three brands and give you the opportunity to give gifts with a conscience this Christmas.

Dove Earrings and Dove Pendant by Pivot

Pivot

Pivot are a London based jewellery brand established in 2019 by Alice Moxely. The idea behind Pivot is to give homeless people an opportunity to ‘pivot’ their lives away from homelessness through making and enterprise.

Each piece is designed by Alice and made by a homeless person living in temporary housing. The jewellery is designed to be easily assembled and put together with minimal need for specialist tools. Each maker is paid the London Living Wage and is supported through coaching, financial support and guidance. This gives part-time, flexible and meaningful employment for those who find it difficult to access, and helps create swifter pathways out of temporary accommodation.

Each piece of jewellery comes in a box marked with the individual maker’s name.

“I was homeless and hopeless. I didn’t imagine myself that I would be making jewellery and selling it in shops. Being part of Pivot has helped me mentally and has given me self confidence in working with a team and being part of a social enterprise. I remember like it was yesterday, first time walking into jewellery session. I was shy, nervous and didn’t know what to expect but with each class I have seen myself improving. I have something to look forward to in 2020 and can rewrite my life again.”

Pivot Maker – makepivot.org
Sustainable Plain A5 and A6 Notebooks by Vent for Change

Vent for Change

Vent for Change is a sustainable stationery brand based in Bristol. Founded in 2014 by environmental entrepreneur Evan Lewis, it started with just an ageing run-down facility producing pencils from recycled CD cases.

“Pencils are the most iconic educational tool going back centuries and I wanted to do something with them, something inspirational.”

Evan Lewis Founder

Evan took on months of research with NGOs and charities with a plan to help children worldwide after devastating natural and man-made disasters, especially those whose access to education had been affected.

He realised that pencils alone would not solve the problem, but what was needed was money. Money to rebuild schools, money to pay teachers and money to provide essential materials. Now Evan raises money to support children’s education projects worldwide through the sale of his stationery products.

Not only does Vent for Change support charities, but the products they make are also ethical and sustainable. They use recycled leather and board for the covers, and the paper inside 100% sustainable FSC certified.

Small and Medium Light Wooden Vase by Priormade

Priormade

Priormade is the brainchild of Beck Prior, a Bristol based design and fabrication artist. Beck creates beautiful handmade wooden products using a range of sustainable, low impact and recycled materials.

‘I want to change common opinion and highlight that responsibly designed products can be more valuable, well made and striking than those made irresponsibly.’

Beck Prior founder of Priormade

Beck’s ethos is to produce contemporary designs without compromising on sustainability or quality. Her laminated designs are produced from layers of sustainable and responsibly sourced plywood that are laminated together with a water based adhesive. No waste is created during the making process and all offcuts are used or donated to a ‘reusable waste’ charity.

The vases are produced from reclaimed wood from dedicated wood recycling projects. This makes them all unique and each piece of wood has an interesting back story. The small vases were once part of Battersea Power Station roof!

For more sustainable gift ideas check out our Sustainable Gift Guide.

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OC&K Curates – Spring Time

Fresh green leaves and spring bulbs are starting to appear around us. The days are lengthening and blue skies shine above. Spring is such a lovely time of year and what with Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday 22 March there are plenty of reasons to bring a spring feel into your home, or give a gift with some springtime inspiration.

Spring is the time of year colour returns to our life. Slowly at first with gentle pastel tones, until the riot of hot summer takes over. It’s fresh and has a hint of warmth that banishes the memory of cold frosty mornings. Flowers begin to poke their heads out of the earth and there is an energy in nature. Freya Cumming’s work speaks of spring; her eye for gentle colour complimenting the season. This screen print titled Village Politics with its ‘best in bloom’ is finished with gold and silver leaf and is a great way of adding a bit of bright country style to any room.

Village Politics by Freya Cumming – £250

Polka dots still seem to be a firm fashion favourite and could be seen in the spring collections of some of the most well know fashion designers like Dries Van Noten’s collaboration with Christian Lacroix and Carolina Herrera. Your favourite spotty outfit needs a spotty accessory. These Form Circle Earrings from Tom Pigeon in Blush add a cool edition of colour to your outfit. A combination of Formica and brass they are perfect for any time of day or night.

Form Circle Earrings in Blush by Tom Pigeon – £30

You can’t have spring without fresh leaves appearing on the trees. This clock features a hanging willow branch pattern, evoking the dappled shade of sitting under a tree. Made from laser-cut, powder-coated steel, it features a quiet quartz mechanism and stamped aluminium hands. A minimal yet stylish way to celebrate nature.

Grass Green Willow Clock by Max Cairns – £100

Speaking of leaves, these leaf bookmarks by Another Studio just had to be included. They make the perfect little gift for a plant lover and feature the leaves of Maranta Leuconeuraia, Peperomia Argyreia, Caladium Bicolour and the Begonia Maculata. Celebrate the season of growth.

Leaf Bookmark Set – Steel by Another Studio – £9.50

It’s the time of year we start thinking about our gardens, (or any little space we may have set aside for growing things). If you are conscious of all the plastic used in the garden then this is the perfect way to go. Giving you the ability to produce recyclable and biodegradable newspaper pots for starting seedlings. These pots can be planted straight into the ground minimising damage to the roots of young plants. To read more about how they are made check out our ‘How to make Paper Pots using the Paper Pot Press’ Blog Post.

Paper Pot Press by Creamore Mill – £12.50

Spring colours are alive in this fun combination of Collage Studs from Wolf & Moon. This set of four mix and match earrings combine brass, painted wood, acrylic and mother of pearl. A versatile set in shades of green offset with some sparkle that will add spring vibes to any outfit.

Collage Studs by Wolf & Moon – £38

I had to end with this fun screen print by Tiff Howick of a yellow duck. Tiff Howick captures its fluffy feathery body with an expressive use of marks. Bold and bright in strong yellow colours, this is the perfect print to waddle into your home. A little duckling is an iconic image of spring and makes you think of new life.

Yellow Duck by Tiff Howick – £40

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OC&K Curates – Love

Love is in the air and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner we are using this edition of ‘OC&K Curates’ to bring you some of our most romantic gift ideas. Don’t forget to be prepared for February 14th, the perfect gift could be right here. Like a print reminding you of happy times, a book to inspire new adventures or a workshop to create new memories.

It was believed that the heart was the the centre of our strongest emotions, including love. The heart became the symbol of love and we see it everywhere the closer we get to Valentines Day. ♥️ That classic heart symbol is a bit overused don’t you think? Get back to the science of it with this Human Heart print by John Devolle. A characterful giclée with the feel of vintage text book illustrations.

Human Heart print by John Devolle – £60

 

Show someone they mean the world to you with one of Roderick Vere’s Planetary Collection rings. This collection takes its inspiration from our solar system. Like this Earth Ring which is crafted by hand in solid sterling silver and finished with a satin sheen. A beautiful and stunning, fully-hallmarked piece of jewellery.

Earth Ring by Roderick Vere – £95

Did you know that Roderick Vere also hosts silver ring making workshops here at Of Cabbages and Kings? A perfect romantic gift, and one that doesn’t only result in you ending the day with your own silver ring, but also the memory of the creating it.

Workshops at Of Cabbages and Kings 

 

Where did you go on your first date? If it was in East London there is a chance that Marc Gooderham may have painted or drawn it. With great attention to detail Marc has a talent for capturing the life of a place and his prints are an evocative reminder of London’s gems. We have a variety of his prints of some of East London’s most iconic establishments, like this one of Wiltons Music Hall. A place that also won Best Historic Wedding Venue 2019 at the UK Wedding Awards. Check out his others here.

The Music Maker by Marc Gooderham – £165

 

Nothing beats a cosy evening in with a loved one. Set the mood with a scented candle. The Oakwood + Tobacco Soy Wax Candle from Hobo + Co is warming blend of smoky oakwood and musky tobacco, a great scent for creating a relaxed atmosphere. Plus soy wax is a much healthier alternative to paraffin wax, it burns cleaner and holds the fragrance better.

Oakwood + Tobacco soy wax candle from Hobo + Co – £22

 

Maybe you’re looking for a gift that might spark a next adventure. Like some of the couples in this book: London Underground 1970-1980 by Mike Goldwater. Mike takes an intimate view of London’s iconic travel network. Documenting the loves, friendships and the day to day lives of the people that use it.

London Underground 1970-1980 by Mike Goldwater from Hoxton Mini Press – £16.95

 

Does a joint hobby connect you with your loved one? Coupling (A Good Book) – Edition A is from Tom Berry’s Daily Rites series. What’s more romantic than reading to each other? This bold yellow and blue pair sit embraced and entranced by their novels, a great reminder of a passion you share with someone close.

Coupling (A Good Book) – Edition A by Tom Berry – £75

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OC&K Curates – Gold Circles

On a grey January day with heavy clouds and the ever-present threat of rain in the air, we can start to long for sunnier times. In a series of blog posts titled ‘OC&K Curates’, Of Cabbages and Kings takes you on a themed tour of some of our favourite products. We have wandered the shelves and explored the print racks to put together this curated selection to chase away those dull days. The first of these posts looks at Gold Circles, pleasing circular shapes that remind us of a glint of gold and the warmth of the sun.

The straw colour of these Orla 11 Earrings takes the colour theme of gold, but with a softer more muted tone like hay bales in the evening sun. These classic link earrings are handmade by Wolf & Moon in their London studio. Made from painted wood they are lightweight enough to be worn all day. With the right amount of movement they are elegant and the colour is perfect to brighten up a dreary day or to complete a spring outfit.

Orla II Earrings in Straw by Wolf & Moon – £45.00

Taking inspiration from glamorous 80s beach parties, the gold circle in Sol Dawn by Tom Pigeon lends itself to an artistic interpretation of the rising sun. The shimmering gold foil print dramatically shines out from a pale background, like the sun emerging over the horizon on a misty morning. A minimal yet atmospheric addition to your home.

Sol Dawn by Tom Pigeon – £35

Two gold plated rings shine here and join together with cleverly design details in this Gold Rings Necklace by Brass & Bold. Hanging at either end of a chain they are secured as the chain passes through one of the hoops. A stylish piece perfect for day and evening wear. Each piece of Brass & Bold jewellery is handmade and designed by Elsa Gomez in London with an emphasis on exploring the simplicity and honesty of materials.

Gold Rings Necklace by Brass & Bold – £22

Ectopia is a print by the Brixton collective Underway Studio. Caitlin Parks and Melissa North both of Underway collaborated on this print which formed part of an art installation. Circles radiate around different animals and plants referencing the interconnection of all life.

The original project consisted of a multi-sensory installation exploring the appeal of Utopian thinking. It envisages a sustainable and better future for our planet and Society. The installation was featured in The London Design Festival 2016 and went on to showcase in the Porto and Belgium Design Biennale.

The illustration takes inspiration from a quote by Jason Hickel, ‘If we are to chart our way into a sustainable future, we will need to abandon our ontology of individualism and relearn this ontology of connection. We will need to rediscover the basic truth that our existence as individuals is bound up with the existence of others, and that our fate as a species is bound up with that of the fish, the forests, the bees, and the oceans.’

To read our interview with Underway Studio see the OC&K blog post.

Ectopia by Underway Studio – £60

These Form Circle Earrings in Yellow by Tom Pigeon mirror brass and coloured Formica. Inspired by mid-century modernist art and handcrafted using layers of yellow Formica and solid brass, this simple asymmetrical pair celebrate the circle. Tom Pigeon work closely with a family-run etching workshop on the West coast of Scotland to produce the bespoke metal pieces for their jewellery, which Tom Pigeon then polishes and assembles by hand in their studio.

Form Circle Earrings in Yellow by Tom Pigeon – £30

Circles are dominant in this Reykjavík 2 print by Jo Angell. The Reykjavík series are a collection of prints inspired by the artist’s trip to Iceland and in particular its harbours and the sea. This print reflects abstracted shapes reminiscent of life buoys or port holes on a ship, set against a warm palette of sand and gold. The original images were made using bold brush strokes and pen and ink drawings mixed with rough textures in contrasting dark and light colours.

To read more about Jo Angell see our interview with her on the OC&K blog post.

Reykjavík 2 by Jo Angell – £90

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Inspired by Architecture

We have seen recently a lot of design trends taking inspiration from architecture. Two styles that have proven popular are art deco and brutalism. Both rely on strong bold lines and confident use of graphic shapes, along with a creative approach to materials. The shapes and details that go into characterising these artistic movements are drawn upon by designers and makers, infusing their pieces, be it prints, jewellery or stationery with a unique twist or contemporary edge on a familiar style.

ART DECO

Art deco is a style of visual arts that originated in the 1920’s and developed into a major art movement across Europe and America. Influencing architecture, furniture, jewellery, fashion and cars, its aim was to be modern, with an anti-traditional elegance. Often simple and very graphic, with bold streamlined shapes, it is strong, powerful and celebrates modern materials.

Metro by artist Chris Homer is an abstract composition of screen printed gold, grey and black in a striking halftone and geometric pattern. The strong graphic style of Chris Homer’s work has a very modern feel, but still with an air of art deco elegance.

Brass and Bold are a London based brand founded by designer Elsa Gomez. Her designs are made from raw brass and painted brass, and explore the simplicity and honesty of materials. Taking inspiration from the clean lines and contrasting colour of the art deco movement, she produces stylish and contemporary jewellery perfect for your next cocktail party!

 

The 1920’s style of art deco is characterised by bold lines, shapes, and angles. You too can recreate that look, with this handy Art Deco Design Stencil. The art deco inspired typeface and shapes are perfect for all craft projects, such as card making, scrap-booking or just illustrating your favourite notebooks. A great gift for tweens to adults.

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City guides are aimed at the ‘urban explorer’. This two-sided folding Art Deco London Map features over seventy leading examples of art deco architecture in London – from Eltham Palace to the Hoover Building. Art deco landmarks such as Broadcasting House, 55 Broadway, and Senate House are included along with Charles Holden’s finest Underground Stations and more. The reverse side of the map features an introduction to art deco by Henrietta Billings, photos by Simon Phipps and details about each building.

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Achieve a modern look with echos of a geometric art deco style. These brass Pineapple Pots and steel Convert Vases are ideal for adding a metallic touch to an interior. Made from a thin sheet of metal which is carefully folded and converted into shape by hand at Another Studio in London, the Pineapple Pots are perfect for holding a small succulent or cacti.

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BRUTALISM

The mid-century architectural style of brutalism divides opinion. Descending from modern architecture it is characterised by monolithic block-like shapes, often celebrating the rawness of material, especially concrete. It is heavy, stark and solid.

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There are many examples of brutalist architecture in London and one notable building is The Hayward Gallery on the Southbank. Sitting along the banks of the River Thames it forms part of the Southbank Centre. The Hayward has become a brutalist landmark and artist Will Clarke has captured it beautifully in his detailed illustration. It is screen printed in two colours, a combination of black lines with luscious gold ink elements.

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Tom Pigeon is a creative studio founded by Pete and Kirsty Thomas in 2014. Designing simple and well-considered products across accessories, prints, and stationery.

Among these is the Béton range of jewellery – a unique unisex collection from Tom Pigeon Studio. Popularised by Le Corbusier, the term béton originates from the French ‘béton brut’ or ‘raw concrete’ and this hand-crafted solid silver jewellery is influenced by the strong lines, hidden angles, and sharp shadows of brutalist concrete architecture. Its matt finish also gives a nod to the rough texture of raw concrete.

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Produced to scale (5000 times smaller than the real buildings!) this bookmark set from Another Studio celebrates four fantastic London brutalist buildings: Trellick Tower, Barbican Tower, Space House, and National Theatre. A great gift for every architecture lover and perfect for a Secret Santa or quick stocking filler.

Fans of the movement will certainly love this Brutalist Calendar 2020. A limited edition monthly celebration of some of the most awe-inspiring and influential examples of brutalist architecture from around the world, it will provide connoisseurs of concrete with twelve months of brutalist bliss!⁠⠀

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For those brutalist adventurers who are keen to explore these pick-me-up maps are ideal. Also featured in the range are Washington, Paris, Sydney, and London.

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Introducing myBearHands

It’s always exciting news when we get new products and when we met Sally Haysom from myBearHands, we knew her jewellery would fit right in. With a strong ethical stance and great eye for design myBearHands will become a firm favourite.

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For seven years Sally has been making jewellery in her Bristol studio. With a background in illustration and a passion for playing around with new materials and techniques, she aims to make jewellery that is contemporary and wearable with an element of fun.

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Soldering elements for the Geometric Shapes range 

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The finished Geometric Shapes Necklace

We are very pleased to be stocking myBearHands not only because it’s so gorgeous, but because of their strong ethical values. It’s something that we are very conscious of here at Of Cabbages and Kings. What’s better is they have a maker’s eco-pledge!

“As a maker, I want my jewellery to be beautifully designed and well made.  But I don’t want this to be at the expense of the earth or people who live in it.  Jewellery is a luxury item, and there is really no justification for damaging natural environments or exploiting workers in it’s creation.” Sally – myBearHands

As myBearHands develops Sally has implemented, and hopes to develop further, the ecological footprint of the company.  By trialing things like Bio-Resin: a resin made from sunflower seed, and soya bean proteins. This is a more ecological resin, though not 100% plant based yet, research is going in to improve this field and every step towards Bio-Resin helps.

She is also beginning to replace the silver with recycled silver. To avoid the environmental impact of mining for new silver, recycled or eco-silver is reclaimed from the jewellery and electrical industry, and melted down to be reused. It is exactly the same quality as regular silver, but better for the environment.

Even the boxes used to package myBearHands jewellery are made from recycled and sustainable board.

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Take a look at myBearHands on our website. We are currently stocking jewellery form two of their ranges. The Shapes range, a brass and resin series, with bold colour and striking design and the Line Dot range, a brass and silver collection of elegant and minimal pieces.

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Milk Tooth Statement Earrings at OC&K

It is no secret that we are pretty much all earring lovers here at Of Cabbages & Kings. Simple studs are great and everything, but to be honest we have a hard time turning down big, bold, statement earrings! We’ve just unpacked our first delivery of a new brand specialising in just that, and they do not disappoint.

Milk Tooth LDN is a fashion house dedicated to exceptional earrings and specialising in standout vintage pieces. Their first original range, The Pluralist Collection certainly creates impact.

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Inspired by striking cultural moments the designs combine a passion for gold and power dressing with contemporary patterns and bold shapes evocative of post-modern architecture. The result is a brilliantly fresh range of earrings that are both wearable, and of course, statement.

The brand’s philosophy is simple – embrace your style, wear things you love, feel amazing. Their belief is that bold fashion choices celebrate strong women and champion confidence. And with a statement earring, you have a hugely versatile and wearable option for creating a signature style.

The Pluralist Collection is a limited edition new range of gold-plated jewellery that offers distinction alongside great value. We have started our range with 4 styles, we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

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A Taste Of Morocco

That summer holiday may already be a distant memory, but some hazy recollection of glorious, sun-soaked interiors could be lingering. We’ve just received the latest collection of jewellery from Chalk House, all inspired by Moroccan tiles. These pieces sit perfectly between hot summer nights in Marrakech and the rich jewel tones and gold sparkle of the holidays.
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The tile work that is associated with the regions around Morocco, North Africa and Spain is an art form called Zellige. The mosaics are traditional created from coloured tile blanks that are cut into exact shapes and then assembled into complex tessellated designs. The highly geometric style originated out of Islamic faith, where the depiction of living things was forbidden.
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Chalk House’s Moroccan collection is inspired by a journey to Marrakech where they fell in love with the geometric patterns and bold colour combinations of the tiles. They have extracted and abstracted the patterns to create a range of necklaces and earrings at various sizes from small everyday earrings and pendants to large statement necklaces.
CHALK Tile sketch
Chalk House

From Malaika and Hazel: “We met while studying architecture. While at university, we started to make jewellery for ourselves applying materials and techniques used to make architectural models. We found that the pieces were very popular and the business took off from there. It helps that we have very similar tastes and we enjoy working as a team, constantly designing and bouncing ideas off each other.”us 4

All the Chalk House collections are inspired by architectural design and pattern. They like to play with scale and patterns to make ideas work on a relatively small jewellery platform, which is very different to the scale of a building.
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Know Your Silver?

Here at OCK we are very interested in sustainable, ethical and environmentally friendly practices. We share a space with a yarn shop focusing on the same things in textiles. It is one of the reasons we work with so many local and independent artists. We know that these businesses are ethical because we work directly with them, supporting local jobs and economies.

One of our newest editions to the OCK family is Wild Fawn, a London based jeweller working with ethical silver. But what on earth is ethical silver?! Having chatted with Emma and done some research of our own, we are happy to report back.

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These circle studs are part of the newest pieces that we’ve received from Wild Fawn.

Mining in general is an incredibly harmful and toxic industry. The process of extracting resources from the earth for human use goes back centuries and has a history of environmental destruction, bad labour practices and general dodgy dealings. As we found in our research, information is very difficult to come by, so it is hard to know even now what the true status of the industry is, or even where exactly a lot of the silver comes from. We have come away with more questions than answers, but we believe that raising these questions is what makes us all better consumers.

We did manage to find out a few interesting things though. Most silver (approx. 75%) is used in the production of computer electronics and other industrial items, which has made public pressure difficult. This is in contrast to gold where only 20% goes to non-jewellery uses. This means that it has responded well to campaigns for better regulation and industry change. Did you know that 70% of new silver production is a result of mining other minerals like copper, zinc and gold? The other 30% comes from dedicated silver mines. This is a tricky idea ethically. Some say this byproduct silver is more ethical as it came out of the ground anyway and may as well be used, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was mined in the first place.

One of the best things about silver is its longevity. Since it doesn’t degrade it can be re-used. Silver is easily melted down and turned into something else. Recycled silver therefore is very environmentally friendly if the initial mining process is taken out of the equation. The demand for recycled or ethical silver from the jewellery industry is un-surprisingly high. As Emma put it when she was telling us how she buys the silver that she uses in her jewellery, why wouldn’t you? It is more expensive to buy wholesale, but you can always melt and recycle your own.

Wild Fawn’s recycled silver jewellery includes a line of earrings and necklaces are simple and classic designs, which makes them perfect to wear everyday. Not to mention that the recycled silver makes you feel good about it too! We particularly love the more unusual design of these hammered studs that snake up the ear. Another aspect of silver that we have been learning about from Roderick of Rodology is hallmarking. This is a process where pieces of silver are given a certain set of official marks to prove their authenticity and purity. Any silver items that weigh more than 7.78g (a fifty pence piece weighs 8 grams) must legally be hallmarked by an Assay office. The oldest such office is The Goldsmith’s Company, which has been providing the service since 1327!

We have pieces in again from Daniel Darby, including this Silver Anvil Pendant. The hallmarks on this piece are on the bottom of the anvil.

Silver Anvil Pendant

Last on the list is sterling silver? We use the term the all the time in our product descriptions as a mark of quality, but what does it signify? Sterling silver is in fact an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by mass of silver and 7.5% by mass of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925.

So there we are! Thanks so much to Emma of Wild Fawn and Rod of Rodology for talking to us about recycled silver and hallmarking and bringing it to our attention. We are sure to keep an eye out for more information to share with you.

 

Metals by Lovely Pigeon

From an old net loft on the East coast of Scotland, Kirsty Thomas tries to avoid the distraction of the beautiful view as she beavers away in the Pigeon Studio. The Lovely Pigeon is a maker of prints, stationery, jewellery and things that to Kirsty resonate people and places. On this occasion I would like to show you the metal collection: Earrings, necklaces and notebooks with clean lines and shiny geometric shapes.

First we have the ‘brassy’ Brass range. Gold and bold and primary coloured these pieces make a statement! The handcrafted jewellery is made of geometric panels of brass and bright yellow and coral Formica.

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And then we have the stylish, more subtle Copper theme. Brushed copper panels are layered with mint, soft grey and navy to create a fresh contemporary look.

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Kirsty has also created a set of A6 notebooks with geometric copper foil designs:navyset_150 group_2_150_1