Reviving the Glasgow hallmark as an ode to British manufacturing.
In July 2013 a mark was struck on a piece of jewellery that resurrected the long lost Glasgow Assay Office mark, which disappeared from use half a century ago. And it was the work of Glaswegian Eric Smith, owner of the Eric N Smith store.
While not an official hallmark, its design is inspired by the original Glasgow hallmark (it features a tree, bird, bell and fish) and after a year of negotiations Eric won permission to use it to on jewellery made in his home city. This is something that he believes will bring huge benefits to his business, which he says is continuing to perform well.
“I had the chance to give something back to the industry that has looked after me,” says Eric. “British manufacturing is dying on its feet and there’s an influx of designs from overseas but we should be proud of what we do here. I see it as a real value-added facet of what we do and so do the people we make for. In fact, though we’ve been adding it since July, people who received designs off us before that have brought them back to be stamped. Since July the mark has been deployed on about 150 pieces.”
Though Eric is the heartbeat of this retrovation, he hasn’t been alone in making it happen, devoting a huge amount of praise to his wife Yvonne and Scott Walter at the Edinburgh Assay Office.
“Bringing the mark back to life appealed to me as a manufacturer, and as a Glaswegian.” Eric graduated from the Glasgow School of Art and it was with the help of one of his tutors that he won a prestigious Diamonds International award (a worldwide competition run by De Beers used to run to discover excellence in diamond design).
When not working, Eric can invariably be found outdoors walking his two dogs, clay pigeon shooting, in the garden or sailing. He usually sails around Scotland’s west coast but he has taken the relatively tiny vessel all the way down Bay of Biscay to Majorca and back up through France, but says Scotland is still best. “It must be the most beautiful place in the whole world.”
Eric N Smith was selected as a Bering Trailblazer in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read the digital edition of the book online, click here.