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Posted July 13, 2014
Reviewed by: Jeffrey Herman, Founder & Executive Director
Society of American Silversmiths
What happens when two highly respected English silversmiths join to write a book on silversmithing? You end up with a beautiful reference that should reside in the library of not only every student silversmith, but every decorative arts curator, appraiser, and antique dealer. It’s interesting and sometimes disturbing when speaking with silver specialists who know how to buy and sell, but know virtually nothing about the craft they represent. Silversmithing, A Contemporary Guide to Making, will give those individuals the basic knowledge to speak intelligently with their clients as to how silver objects are made. In addition, professional silversmiths will find themselves grazing through the book for design ideas and utilizing newer techniques previously unconsidered.
Silversmithing’s first chapter: History, Hallmarking, and Assay, starts out by showing you numerous silver examples from 1709 to 1938, describing techniques that were used to create the pieces; and an overview of United Kingdom hallmarking and assaying describing how silversmiths must prepare their works for stamping. Following is Materials, Tools and Equipment used in a common silversmith’s workshop. Health and Safety, which no silversmith should overlook, is touched upon. Next, Manufacturing Techniques, Methods, and Processes discusses and illustrates traditional techniques such as raising, forging, soldering, and spinning. Polishing and Finishing shows the tedious process of putting that final luster you’re most accustomed to seeing on silver. Surface Decoration and Decorative Treatments covers basic engraving, enameling, chasing and repoussé, and etching. Technology in a Traditional Craft brings you through the creative process of designing, casting, and finishing. Technology in a Traditional Craft introduces the reader to current technologies available to the modern day smith such as CAD/CAM, rapid prototyping, and TIG and laser welding. Designers in Industry highlight Clive Burr, Grant Macdonald, and Richard Fox, all of whom have taken full advantage of the talent and technology available to them. Designer-Makers and The Next Generation chapters show the beautiful work of 17 designers and touches upon the techniques of their pictured objects. A short glossary brings you to the end of the book.
Though a 218-page book can only introduce you to the world of the silversmith, this one will most certainly give you an appreciation for one of the world’s least understood art forms.