A B O U T
I'm Alf and I'm the designer/maker behind 'The Soldersmith'. That's a photo of me in my workshop with Captain Kirk, who watches over all my creations (who wouldn't want the captain of a starship as their strategy manager?!)
I'm a Kent-based silversmith who is passionate about bringing authentic and unique, handmade sterling silver jewellery, to you. All the pieces you see on this website are designed and hand-created by me.
The jewellery is raw, unconventional, bold and most are one-of-a-kind.
All my designs are simple, robust, un-fussy and uber-wearable (with perhaps the exclusion of the outrageous 'Scaffold' rings!).
The entire collection carries the 'ALF' hallmark, as well as the London Assay Office hallmarks, so you can be assured of the best quality metal, as well as my dedicated workmanship. All the core elements I use are sterling silver, down to the smallest component. If I've used copper, glass, a semi-precious stone or anything else that isn't sterling silver, I'll let you know in the description of the product, so you never have to worry about any allergies, OK?
Please take a gander at my Etsy SHOP - you'll find a treasure trove of weird and wonderful items there, which I'm sure will pique your interest!
It's also worth checking out my Instagram page too, as I post all sorts of things there regularly, from photos of my workshop to designs I'm currently working on.
So...a bit more about the woman behind the brand...
I've been inspired my whole life by confident charismatic women, who wear bold statement jewellery like it's a second skin (think Prue Leith, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Iris Apfel). I was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by women like that - my mother and two of my great-aunts, in particular. As a teenager, I wanted to be like them, so I spent all my money (earned in a supermarket cafe) on bold, brash costume jewellery and swung through the 1980s like I was Madonna.
After watching the seminal 'Working Girl', I took Kathryn Parker's advice, that I "might want to rethink the jewellery". I realised that sometimes less is, in fact, more, so I toned it down a lot.
In my forties I decided that I really wanted to create jewellery that was big and bold, but had an air of sophistication, not supermarket, so I joined a short bead jewellery-making course in London. My friends and family quickly got fed up with the weird and not-so wonderful creations I came up with and quite frankly, I got a bit bored with beads - everyone seemed to be doing it and my skills were pretty run-of-the-mill. I knew I really wanted to experience something that involved working with bits of metal, coaxing it into shapes and forms through heat and hammering. I wanted to create bold bespoke jewellery that I would be excited to make, wear and share. So, in 2008, I signed up for a one day silversmithing course at my local adult education centre.
I haven't looked back.
12 years later and after many evening classes, endless design-sketching, thousands of hours 'at the bench', honing my techniques and letting my imagination run wild, I am extremely pleased and proud to introduce you to The Soldersmith.
I LOVE Silver. There's just something about the contrasting elements of malleability and strength in the metal that really appeals to me. I experiment a lot, getting ideas from everywhere, that I then try and translate into metal. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. However, after seemingly endless hours in my workshop (built by my amazing husband) working on something I've dreamed up...when it comes out of the barrel polisher and the light breathes sparkly life into it, there's no feeling like it!