January 2019 (Just got in in time) :-)

Catching Up

So, Christmas now well out of the way, as is New Year and we are off again. Firstly a big thank you all my wonderful customers who trusted me with their beloved and treasured pieces over this last year.

The uniqui thing about the way we do business is that, because we do not have a retail premises and all our work is done from our custom design studio at home, I get to visit our customers in their homes. This means they can discuss their query, whether it’s a repair or a commission in their own relaxed atmosphere with no pressure and, they can include their spouse, partner or any other family members in helping them make their decisions. It also means that I get to meet their family and all will tell you I am a dog lover! So as well as becoming ‘friends’ with my customers I’m also friends with their dogs AND cats! ūüôā .

Some of the jobs I have had the pleasure of working on this year have included:

  • Taking all the unwanted jewellery of the mother and making wedding band for the daughter.
  • Taking a beautiful 22ct yellow gold Welsh Dragon and mounting it on a 9ct yellow gold textured backing plate. The customer loved the dragon that her husband had made for her, but because of the shape and design, it meant that the dragon pendant would catch in her clothes. So this way by being set on a backing plate it meant that she could wear it with anything.
  • I have made another witches heart pendant. Some readers may recall the original 9ct gold Witches Heart I made for a customer a couple of years ago from her unworn jewellery and her mother’s engagement ring. ¬†This was similar only smaller, lighter and the stone was a very pretty pear shaped opal.¬†

Plus plenty of others which I will talk about later, and hopefully publish some photos of the pieces.

A Christmas MesSage

I thought I should say something on my blog before the year ends!! ¬†Ok…I know I am in the bottom five of consistent and professional bloggers but Time is my enemy. And I love him/her but they/he seems to always be working against me. ūüôā

It’s just over a week to Christmas 2018 and I pleased to say I am almost up to date on all the repairs that have been coming in of late.

Just a couple left now and they will be finished over the weekend and delivered on Monday.

I would like to take this opportuity to wish all a healthy and happy Christmas and a joyous New Year.


It’s Been A While

I suddenly realised that it has been over a year since I last blogged!  It never ceases to amaze me how fast the time flies by..

Whatever, I’m pleased to say that I am still busy, doing more and more repairs each month and also starting to get commissions. 

Recently had a commission from a lady who wanted her late mother’s engagement ring turned into something special. I made her a 9ct. Solid gold heart pendant and set the three stones from the ring into the heart.  I was a little apprehensive when I delivered it but the smile on her face and tears in her eyes said it all. We were both very happy with the result. 

I am presently Working on another commission. This one is for a gentleman who lost his wife just seven months ago, and wants her wedding ring along with his late mother’s wedding ring, not melted together, the two planted on top and around his wedding band. He wants to be able to always see the three rings. Watch this space. 

If you don’t have any problems, you don’t have any business!

This was a favourite saying of a dear departed friend who was the CEO of a very old established musical instrument company in England called John E Dallas & Son Ltd.

His name was Les Miller and he was a good friend to me even when he had personally fell on hard times. But the above was a favourite saying whenever anyone was stressed out with business problems. ¬†And how right he has proved to be. If you are running a successful business you are bound to come across problems both minor and major. But as Les used to say, you can’t walk away from them, you need to stay calm, sit down quietly on your own (at first) and carefully identify the specifics of the problem. Once you have all the relevant information to hand it’s then that you can consider what action to take.

Some favourite business problems are:

  • Cash Flow
  • Obtaining goods from suppliers
  • Customer service
  • Staffing
  • Finding more business
  • Having too much business and not enough capacity
  • etc. etc.

I know that we will all come face to face with a number of these problems at some time in our careers, and even now at my ‘Third Age’ with all the experience I have, I am still making silly mistakes which are causing me problems. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as far as I am concerned, plus in the past year I have made some very nice, experienced, concerned and intelligent friends via Social Media, who have flocked to my rescue with advice and guidance. They all know who they are and I hope they know that in return I am here for them. Good friends both physical and Virtual are hard to find. When you find them cherish them, we only come this way once!

Les Miller at the American Trade Centre in London c1976

Where Can I get it Fixed – 2

Continuing with my post about taking repairs in from the local Jeweller/Fancy goods shop, it hasn’t all been plain sailing, but we would be fools if we thought it would be! Having said that it wasn’t a catastrophe. I was asked to quote for replacing the brooch pin on the back of a Nurses Fob watch. I made up the Repairs Envelope with all the details required on and put it ready to start work on. Later on that week I started to go through the repairs and I saw the watch, I checked it out under the glass and before I knew where I was I had removed the old Brooch Pin and replaced it with a new one I had in stock. Priced it and wrote it up.

On returning to the shop the next day with the watch I was met by a somewhat confused shop owner who said  that she was supposed to get back to the customer with a price before the go-ahead! To cut a long story short, the shop owner tried to contact the customer for over two weeks, when she finally did and told her the price, the customer said not to go ahead! The shop owner called me in a panic and told me what the customer had said. I told her not worry and for her, to tell the customer I had misunderstood and the job was done, and that I would ‘take it on the chin’! When the customer eventually came to the shop to collect the watch the shop owner explained what had happened and showed her the repaired watch. I’m very please not to say relieved that the customer was over- joyed with the job of replacing the pin and giving the bracelet strap a special clean (Nurses Fob Watches are notorious for carrying and transferring germs and bacteria from patient to patient and hence should be cleaned regularly) I used a special gel made for the job.

So all in all everyone was happy and the Nurse paid up and said she would return.



Where Can I get it Fixed?

I live in S E Wales in the UK in what used to be called a village, but as with all things it has changed over the years.  Two very large supermarkets have opened which in turn meant that we had a number of the older small shops had to close.  Which was a shame.

One of the shops that closed was a Jewellery store ¬†but it did leave a fancy goods/touristy gift type store which was also the local Photographic studio. When the jewellery store closed this store started to expand and to sell more and more bits of jewellery. And the do very nicely, they are nice people with the old world small shop customer service. ¬†On the off chance I popped in there recently and told them that I was into Jewellery Making and they immediately asked me if I could do repairs. Of course I said yes. We came to an arrangement to try and see how things worked out and, so far I’m pleased to say that they have sent me a few pieces to be repaired and they have been happy with the work and I have been happy with the prices.

So I thought I would list  some photos of the repairs done to date.

This was a white gold diamond solitaire engagement ring. Apparently the couple broke up, the man asked for the ring back, the girl took off the ring and bit down on it and offered it to the guy. He took one look and left. So now a year later she asked if could be repaired.


Ring on the left a UK 20 pence piece on the right.


The reshaped and cleaned and polished ring, as good as new.

Slaving At My Bench

I have been working hard recently to build up my collection of hand made jewellery pieces. At the moment I seem to spend about 60% of my time at the design stage and only 40% at the bench. I am trying to improve this but likewise I do not wish to dilute the originality content of the design process. Thus far -to the best of my knowledge – I have not copied anyone, and that is how I intend to carry on. The feed back that I am getting from my customers is that they are happy with my work and it gives them added pleasure knowing that what they are wearing is either a ‘one of a kind’ item exclusive or, one of a Limited Edition number of pieces.

If anyone would like me quote them for some special individual and personal pieces for themselves or as a special gift to a loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can email me at Info@markantonyjewellery.com¬†and I will contact you by return. You can come up with your own specific design or, if you wish, I will be happy to design something especially for you, and this means of course, that there will be no other like it available anywhere, it will be totally bespoke just for you. ¬†Moreover, we can use all original precious metals supplied by ourselves or alternatively, if you currently own pieces that you no longer wear we would be pleased to look at them and see if it is possible to re-work the piece into a completely new design.

We have a shop on Etsy where a number of our pieces may be purchased or alternative contact us at the above email address for alternative methods of purchase.

This is a solid silver ring, made from a 1905 silver spoon. It features a Harp and has all the original Hallmarks

This is a similar solid silver ring to the one mentioned above and made at the same time from a silver spoon over 100 years ago in Birmingham England










This is a solid silver handmade pendant, called a Love Key.



Hi all once again I find myself apologising for late blogging. However, I’m actually here now and for the first time I’m writing it on my iPhone, never done this before do we will see where it takes us.

As far as Change goes, I was thinking of changing my blog into a website, and I was wondering what your views on that would be? Do you have one ‘outlet’ or do you have both? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments, the reason I was considering it, is because I do not have a Sales site for my jewellery other than ¬†Etsy.

I suppose there is a possibility of selling my goods from the Blog, but I’m not sufficiently converse with WP to be able to do that, but probably worth investigating.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.


A Touch of the Black Dog

Many of my readers will recall that I have used this phrase before on a number of occasions. It comes from another fellow Sagittarius ¬†Sir Winston Churchill and, it was his term that he used when he was having a particularly bad day with depression. ¬†Now I have always tried to be an open book, what you see is what you get, which on a number of occasions in the past haven’t been too helpful. Especially when I was working in a highly political corporation like CBS. I learnt a lot from my American colleagues, not least how to get ahead while others lost theirs! ¬†And that can be quite stressful when one has always led their life like an open book. I just found it a nicer way to live, you didn’t have to tell lies, and then remember the lies that you had told and who you told them to, I just wasn’t that clever. I would always take the easy way out and call a spade a spade, those who understood the way I was, accepted that and we got on fine. (That didn’t mean that I was cruel in any way, if I thought a particular ¬†instance of honesty would hurt the person, then obviously I would leave it). Those who didn’t like it could go and please themselves, an open-book I was, but never afraid of confrontation! ¬†It certainly didn’t hinder my career and I was promoted to all the positions that I aimed for and always gave the best I could. If I liked what someone was doing I told them so, likewise if I didn’t like what they were doing I also told them. That usually didn’t go down that well with my fellow managers, but what the heck‚Ķ.if it was the truth what were they gonna do about it?

However, there were and still are days when The old Black Dog comes by. Usually for no apparent reason. One just finds one’s self much quieter and not so ready with the witticism. Thinking negative thoughts instead of being the positive person one has always tried to be. Having said that, I’m old enough now to know how to get out of that state of mind (most of there time that is!) ¬†Subsequently by the end of my day I have managed to turn myself around and anyway, yesterday was a great day, a productive day.

My Day at The Bench

I had to take my wife for an appointment with her Consultant yesterday at a Hospital 30 miles away. I was all ready and had made all the necessary arrangements, but as it happened she was too ill to travel and at 8.30am she asked me to phone and rearrange the appointment, which I duly did. ¬†She then went to sleep for the rest of the day, but considering she was trying to cope with chronic pain still at 5.30am I wasn’t surprised. This meant that I now had a free day and as long as I didn’t leave the house (why would I want to?) I could do whatever I wanted to do. Hence, my day at the bench. ¬†And boy did I know it by the time I clocked off.


My day consisted of trying out the old ‘Wet Tissue Paper in the ingot mould’ trick, suggested by Jewellery Maker Teacher supreme Andrew Berry¬†. I particularly wanted try this because I had ready only a small amount of Silver scrap to melt down, plus I had the idea that I wanted to make a piece of square wire no more than 100mm long x 1.5mm square. ¬†To cut a long story short, it worked to perfection and after a slow natural cooling of period I proceeded to produce the wire in my Durston rolling mill. ¬†I say slow natural cooling opposed to quenching because in the past I have had some problems with the wire/ingot cracking, and I have found that if I let the metal molecules reassemble themselves naturally, I don’t see so many cracks and fissures.

However, the reason I wanted the wire was because I wanted to make a square-wire heart. I didn’t find it particularly easy but it was very rewarding even though the ‘semi’ finished product wasn’t perfect.Silver_Heart03

But I was relatively happy with the outcome. My next task is to affix a small tube-setting with a stone/gem yet to be chosen and if I can get it up to standard, put it on my Etsy account for sale!

Another area of jewellery making that I have come to find ¬†both challenging and rewarding is Spoon Rings. Very popular in America but I don’t think the interest is as popular in the UK. At least, I haven’t seen as many Silversmiths selling them as I have in the States. One of the problems I find is that it is difficult to find good quality sterling silver flatware in Wales, and I think that a number of my friends in the trade have confirmed this. ¬†One Jeweller who I have mentioned before here, and who is quite the expert at making quality Jewellery from silver spoons is Ginger Meek-Allen¬†¬†however, Ginger produces more lockets than rings, and you should visit her site for an example of some of the beauties she has produced. Moreover, because of Ginger’s influence I spotted this book on Amazon just this week and it is a little treasure trove of information on Spoons!

Ok chaps and chappesses, that’s me for another day. Please be kind enough to like (that’s if you did like of course) and click on the follow button at the top which will activate an email to your inbox on the publication of every new ¬†blog post (that’s if you would like to read more ramblings of course) ūüôā

Love & Peace x

Custom design and jewellery repair

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