Review: Silversmithing for Jewellery Makers

by Jo Varney

Silversmithing for Jewellery Makers by Elizabeth Bone is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of silversmithing, suitable for the jeweller rather than the metal smith (sounds self explanatory, but it needs to be clarified). Other similar texts tend to adopt a generalised approach for those creating decorative objects rather than pieces to wear, but not this book – this has very specific subject matter and that is where this book is different.

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Silversmithing for Jewellery Makers by Elizabeth Bone

Silversmithing for Jewellery Makers is spread across 192 pages and is basically split into two sections with the first covering technique and the second concentrating on materials and tools…

Section One: Each technique (Basic, Surface and Specialist) is introduced and explained via an overview, which is then followed up with a step by step tutorial. All the usual topics i.e. soldering, shaping, casting etc. are covered, along with some slightly more unusual ones such as precious metal clay, married metals and reticulation which are particularly interesting. Each tutorial has a clear list of what you will need to complete it, as well as a ‘Hints and Tips’ section to offer extra guidance should you need it. I particularly like Elizabeth Bone’s writing style which is straight forward yet informative, making it extremely easy to follow and a pleasure to read which can’t always be said of reference books – for example:

Chasing is carried out on the front of a piece and repousse from the reverse side; the two techniques are often used in conjunction with each other, when they are jointly referred to as chasing.”

At the end of the tutorials we are treated to six maker profiles, which offer a welcome reprieve from the technical information and a boost of yet more inspiration should it be flagging! I should also mention at this point the quality of the photography which is lavish and consistent throughout. At no point are you left wondering ‘I wonder what that should look like’.

Section Two: this covers materials and tools, along with health and safety advice. This is essentially your quick reference guide and is dealt with succinctly within few pages. The bulk of the text is devoted to technique, and is after all what you are paying for.

I would suggest that Silversmithing for Jewellery Makers is suitable for the beginner/intermediate jeweller, or simply anyone looking to refresh their techniques or find new inspiration. At times you could be forgiven for thinking you are looking at a gallery guide rather than a technical guide, as Bone has ensured that her tutorials are interesting and current as well as being easy to follow and informative. In addition, although this book was only published in 2012, it feels very up to date.

The layout is fantastic, stylish and uncluttered and thoroughly modern throughout which I really like – you will find no seventies style lighting or garish colours here! In all I would say that this a beautifully presented book written by somebody who is not only an accomplished artist in her own right, but also a talented teacher and this really shines through.

Thoroughly recommended!

Do you want to add this useful comprehensive guide to silversmithing for jewellers to your own workshop? You can buy your own copy now from Cooksongold.

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