Bespoke jewellery – our latest challenge!

Our most unusual bespoke jewellery challenge yet.

We love to make bespoke jewellery and regularly make engagement and wedding rings for excited brides and grooms. You may also have read about the bespoke necklace we made to house a piece of coal which had been carried by a bride on her wedding day and which, as mother of the groom, she now wanted to wear on his special day.

A Coal Necklace

We had the honour of making two more future family heirlooms for the same lady who wanted to give something special to her grand-daughters for their christening. This time we made two miniature shovels which can be worn on necklaces – and although a shovel isn’t a traditional christening gift, it was chosen for a very special reason.

The girls’ parents had met through a shared love of heritage railways and their grandmother – our enthusiastic client – had carried a piece of coal, given to her by her father, on her wedding day not just because it was considered lucky, but because her intended was also a heritage railway enthusiast and steam train driver.

The piece of equipment the charms are modelled on is a railway firing shovel (we’re reliably informed it’s a Lucas, for those in the know!) We made two identical ones from silver, and gold plated the handles, then oxidised to give the shovel an authentic dirty look. Both charms are actually scale models of the real thing (here’s our jeweller Karl’s first working sketch) and our client was as delighted with the result as we were with the challenge.

Picture of a spade

“As usual the team have excelled themselves in producing fabulous pieces of work, I know for sure how much effort Karl in particular put into getting them absolutely right…” wrote Andrea.


As usual the team have excelled themselves in producing fabulous pieces of work, I know for sure how much effort Karl in particular put into getting them absolutely right…

The IHD team are perfectionists indeed, and these little silver shovels will provide the girls with a permanent reminder of what brought their parents together!

Here are a few images of the shovel in various stages of production – we think you’ll agree the end result is perfect!

Silver wire and silver sheet with basic cuts

The silver wire and silver sheet that the shovel was cut from.

Top part soldered base of a shovel

The base of the shovel has now had the top part soldered to it to give the distinctive scooped shape.

Individual parts of the shovel

The individual parts of the shovel are now ready to be soldered together.

Image of re-made shovel uncoated

The handle and the base are now soldered together and the shovel is ready to be cleaned up.

Image of re-made shovel cleaned up

The shovel is now cleaned up ready to be oxidised and gold plated.

Image of re-made shovel finished

The finished shovel. The handle is gold plated and the base of the shovel is oxidised to give it that ‘dirty’ look.

If you have a bespoke jewellery challenge for us – whether it’s a new ring you’ve been thinking about, some family jewellery you want re-modelling or something a little more out-of-the-ordinary – make an appointment to come and see us at the studio and we can talk it through together.



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Iain Henderson Designs
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