This week, one of the pieces I'm working on is a sterling silver set of family crest cufflinks ordered through my shop. They are just about ready to go off to this Irish bride-to-be based in the US. As we are well into wedding season, the demand for unusual Irish gifts is high. Glad to report I've been extremely busy in the workshop creating handmade unique Irish gifts for grooms, groomsmen and father's of the bride all over the world. I absolutely love weddings and the thoughtful touches make the day all the more special. It's a true privilege to get to play even a small role in the couples special day.
I had just wrapped this lovely couples wedding rings when the email came through from the bride-to-be for these family shield cufflinks for her other half and his two groomsmen. I began by researching their family coat of arms. There are often slight variations in style for Irish family names. The differences depend on the county or province in Ireland the family hailed from. I then use the crest associated with that region and refine the design for a more contemporary and appealing design. In this case, the family shield was quite straight forward. I was able to locate correct artwork without too much trouble. The original crest was beautiful and worked really well when inscribed on the shields I mounted and soldered onto the silver links.
Here I am cutting out the shields from my sheet of silver. I have made a brass stencil of the shield. Using my scriber I get a very sharp clean line on which to cut.
Once they are cut I begin tidying the edges, taking away any sharp or rough points with a file for a smooth finish. They are now ready to be sent to Dublin Castle for hallmarking.
I stamp my makers mark on the back. For each piece I make in my workshop, the Irish Assay office in Dublin Castle will independently test the silver for quality and stamp as a seal of approval. This are added other tiny stamps beside my makers mark. Once they come back from their trip to Dublin, I will give the cufflinks one final polish before soldering the pieces together.
Here's a close up of my makers mark punch and the stamp it leaves on the silver. You can see exactly what I mean when I refer to a maker's mark on the back of the family shield. This is my registered unique punch which is made up of the initials of the maker and identifies each piece of silver and gold jewelry or silverware that leaves my silversmith workshop.
I had just been making these for family, friends and by custom order but was overwhelmed with how popular they were so I have now added these to my online store. If you'd like to order here is a link Family Crest Cufflinks As ever, if you have any questions, leave a comment below and I'dd get back to you shortly :)