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TITLE
John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (17 of 39)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_SILVERSMITH_17
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
PERIOD
1970s
CREATOR
John Fraser
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2239
KEYWORDS
jewellery
jewelry
craftsman
craftsmen
metalwork
silversmiths
audio

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John Fraser, an Inverness silversmith, served his apprenticeship in the 1930s with Medlock and Craik, watchmakers and jewellers at 6 Bridge Street, Inverness. The firm later had premises in Exchange Place, and Queensgate.

In this audio extract from the 1970s, Mr Fraser recalls the techniques for making a wedding ring. He also reflects on the advantages of the hand-made process. The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of John Fraser's silver hallmark

'Well, say, for instance, you were making a wedding ring, which you could make from half round wire, quite wide, well you would anneal it so that you could bend it round with the half round pliers - soft nose pliers - and you could bend it round by hand and join it up for soldering. And then you could put it back onto the - a ring stick, you know, after you got it turned up and you could beat it into a proper round shape but at the same time, if you were beating it with a hammer, you could put the strength back into it.

So that, in other words, you were re-hardening it and you'd have to do that, you know, to give it that lasting quality otherwise, if you were gripping a steering wheel of a car, you know - which they probably hadn't got in those days - but gripping anything, you know, a walking stick, anything like that, the ring would bend, you know? And these are the things I think it taught you, far more so than if you were able to just put your hand on the wall and take it off the wall as a ready-made object. You didn't really know an awful lot about it and it's only by mistakes that you learnt what you had to do and what you hadn't to do. Whereas when you drew it by yourself from the very beginning from a big billet, right down to something about a sixteenth or a millimetre thick, you had a much closer acceptance of what you could do with all that stages and what you could do with the actual wire itself'

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John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (17 of 39)

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

1970s

jewellery; jewelry; craftsman; craftsmen; metalwork; silversmiths; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: John Fraser, Silversmith

John Fraser, an Inverness silversmith, served his apprenticeship in the 1930s with Medlock and Craik, watchmakers and jewellers at 6 Bridge Street, Inverness. The firm later had premises in Exchange Place, and Queensgate. <br /> <br /> In this audio extract from the 1970s, Mr Fraser recalls the techniques for making a wedding ring. He also reflects on the advantages of the hand-made process. The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of John Fraser's silver hallmark<br /> <br /> 'Well, say, for instance, you were making a wedding ring, which you could make from half round wire, quite wide, well you would anneal it so that you could bend it round with the half round pliers - soft nose pliers - and you could bend it round by hand and join it up for soldering. And then you could put it back onto the - a ring stick, you know, after you got it turned up and you could beat it into a proper round shape but at the same time, if you were beating it with a hammer, you could put the strength back into it. <br /> <br /> So that, in other words, you were re-hardening it and you'd have to do that, you know, to give it that lasting quality otherwise, if you were gripping a steering wheel of a car, you know - which they probably hadn't got in those days - but gripping anything, you know, a walking stick, anything like that, the ring would bend, you know? And these are the things I think it taught you, far more so than if you were able to just put your hand on the wall and take it off the wall as a ready-made object. You didn't really know an awful lot about it and it's only by mistakes that you learnt what you had to do and what you hadn't to do. Whereas when you drew it by yourself from the very beginning from a big billet, right down to something about a sixteenth or a millimetre thick, you had a much closer acceptance of what you could do with all that stages and what you could do with the actual wire itself'