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Back in late October or early November, I was approached by Hallmark Jewellery of Titchfield, Hampshire about whether I would be interested in making a base for a very special candelabra they were designing and making for Channel 4 TV show ‘The World’s Most Extraordinary Christmas Dinners’. Of course, I jumped at the chance.
Initially, I was sent the design for the candelabra and asked to design a suitable base for it. It should be elegant and smart, but not detract at all from the piece itself. The base design I returned is on the left. It consists of a simple sweeping Ogee shape with a hole through the centre.
Mark, the owner of Hallmark Jewellery wanted the piece to sit on an ebony base, but after a call out on social media and no luck from three exotic wood suppliers, no ebony at the size needed could be found. Laminated pieces of ebony would not look as good, so we ended up with American Black Walnut. A video of the making of the piece will be added to this article after the TV programme has aired.
On the right is the turned base with the silver bottom of the candelabra laid into it. This base would eventually have a snowflake design cut out of it. The bottom of the piece was to be slightly recessed to allow for a baise bottom to be stuck in place.
The bottom of the piece (left) was changed on the morning I was turning it to feature a second recess. A second silver disk and silver rod was to be added here, with the rod rising through the base and into the candelabra itself to stabilise it.
Whilst the turning itself was quite simple (as you’ll see in the video when I can post it), the measurements were critical to ensure a snug fit for the inlay, and also the overall diameter of the piece to be in proportion the structure on top.
As American Black Walnut is naturally more brown than black, Mark and I opted to dye it black as we wanted to keep the fairly tight texture of the grain in the wood visible so painting it was out of the question. For this, I used a Black water based wood dye from the Intrinsic Colour Collection. It was then sealed with my cellulose sealer before a couple of coats of Hampshire Sheen Black Embellishing Wax were applied. This is a great wax for this type of project as it is very black with a pearlescent hint thrown in.
The piece was formally unveiled at black tie event on 23rd November at the Hallmark Jewellery Shop and here is the finish candelabra on its base in all it’s glory.
Mark commented to me on the unveiling evening that the base was precisely what they wanted. It’s bold enough to hold piece steadily, but subtle enough to go virtually unnoticed.
It features 6 silver arms on a silver column with 6 gold candle holders. The top of the piece has two rubies and a 1 carat diamond hanging from below the centre candle.
Between the arms, are six hangers on which are six silver snowflakes, each with six rubies and a 1 carat diamond. These can be removed and put onto a Christmas tree.
There are also six silver Christmas cracker filigrees with snowflake designs cut out of them. Each one of these also has rubies and one carat diamonds.
After the crackers are pulled, the filigrees can be placed over the candles for a spectacular effect of the flames shining through the snowflakes and precious stones. See the gallery below for a picture of this stunning effect.
I can scarcely imagine the amount of work and craftsmanship that went into making the silverwork on this piece. It is simply stunning. Elegant and opulent at the same time.
Mark has put a huge amount of thought into it, and the guys and girls in the workshop worked day and night to get it ready for the filming of the TV programme.
The final piece was valued at £150,000!
My part in it was very small in comparison, but it is an important part none-the-less. The fact that the base is barely noticed when you look at the candelabra is as it should be – presenting the piece quietly but confidently.
If you are in the UK, you can find out more about the piece by watching ‘The World’s Most Extraordinary Christmas Dinners’ on Channel 4 on 18th December at 9pm, or find it on their catch up service online by clicking here (for a limited period). The scheduling may change. Keep an eye on my Facebook page for a post when I know the final date for broadcast.
Take a look at the exquisite work of Hallmark Jewellery here in Hampshire at www.hallmark-jewellers.com.
For information about the finishes used, visit www.hampshiresheen.com.
Here’s the video of the making of the base.
Click on the images in the gallery below to see larger versions and captions.