The Work of a Master Goldsmith - James Miller

Hello Orchidians,
My daughter gave me the wonderful book by James Miller, titled “The Work
of a Master Goldsmith” for my birthday in August. It’s been on my wish
list and I was delighted to receive it! May I say, the photos of the
amazing goldsmith’s art have captivated me. It was tempting to engulf the
pages quickly, but I set myself a more leisurely pace and have now finished
the book.

It is a treasure trove with such a variety of art works. Inspiration on
every page. I expect to peruse the contents many times. My sincere
compliments and thanks to James Miller for creating this book. I will
enjoy it for years!

Judy in Kansas, where the seasonal temps are more like spring than upcoming
winter…however, that is supposed to change with an arctic cold front


Hello Judy,
I am glad you like my book, here in the UK the goldsmithing trade has changed dramatically. We have lost many of the far eastern wealthy customers who commissioned many of the unique gold and silver pieces that I made in the past. In London the major gold and silver outlets do not stock many unique items for sale. I am now retired but am glad to have been working during the time that there were customers for my type of work.

James Miller FIPG


I bought my copy some years ago and turn to it whenever I need to lift my spirits…


Hello again James Miller,
May I ask a question about construction? I have a carved frosted rock crystal flower similar to those you used in some of your designs. Your photos show pistils and stamens coming up in the center of the flowers. How were they secured?

I am thinking of creating a choker featuring the flower I have, with leaves and vines reaching to the side. As a wearable necklace, everything needs to be tightly attached. I am hoping you can share your experience working with the carved flowers, regarding the best way to achieve this.

Thanks in advance. Warmest regards,
Judy in Kansas, where all the birds are flocking to the heated water bowls. 17degrees F means natural streams are frozen.

Hello Judy,
When making flowers with rock crystal petals, I use the same method that I use when making flowers with enamelled petal sections. I thread the end of the flower stem, then solder on the star shaped sepal section and then the petal section whether it’s made of stone or enamelled gold fits on the threaded stem wire and I make the flower stamens so that they are soldered onto a nut that fits the threaded stem wire and secures the flower bloom in place.
This sketch explians my flower making method;

This shows some flower stems without the blooms attached;

This is a spray of carved stone blooms on gold stem wires;

I hope this all makes sense Judy

Best regards


I have had his book for several years and so love it. I often take it into
my classes to inspire my students.
I still get chills when I look at the single Lilly flower.

Dear Jim,
So nice to see your work always,details,flow and the elements breathed in
to the object to make it ALIVE.
Always awed and inspired by your works.

Dear Jo,
I am glad that you like my book. I did enjoy making the flowers in rock crystal vases, I actually decided to keep the last one I made for myself although my daughter tells me that she wants it.

I take it that this is the Lily you referred to;

This is the flower I kept for my self, shown alongside my piercing patterns for the piece;



Thanks so much James. Love the exquisite yet simple method. I was trying to envision some arrangement of tabs to lock the petals to the metal stem - rather like back-setting a stone in a bezel. Your explanation is genius.

You ARE the man!
Judy in Kansas, where the recent sub-freezing weather has finally done in the chard…I think. One should never give up on chard ; it is tough!

Beautiful pieces, James. Of course your daughter wants the lovely chrysanthemum arrangement. Btw, would you like to adopt another daughter?? :wink:

In admiration,
Judy in Kansas

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This was a piece I made using that method of using the flower stamens as nuts to hold the rock crystal blooms to the gold flower stems, the small rock crystal bloom’s central stamens were just threaded tubes with a 4 claw setting soldered on the top and then set with sapphire beads.The larger rock crystal blooms were also s thread tube with stamen wire and settings soldered to it’s sides the enamelled central piece was a separate piece with a central hole held in place on the threaded stem by the diamond set stamen nuts.


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The contracts that have come your way over the yrs along with the ones that Jim Grahl has had, show what can be done
given the patronage that comes around on a periodic time frame.
Looking at this in a historical context, it seems that there are times when patronage for the arts and the applied arts seem to reach a zenith, then fall away as time and circumstances change .
I also had the opportunity to benefit from the last high? when
Andrew Grima of opened his new avant garde premises in Germyn st. Mayfair.
We had some interesting joint projects.
Interestingly it was always a team effort, with him, Edward Tuson his manager, and Geoffrey Turk on the making side in their workshops.
I came into this team with my specialist enamelling skills developed to reproduce the translucent enamels used by Faberge. These were made by Schauer Et Cie in Vienna where I spent some time with them on research.
Currently im just about to do some enamelling after 40 odd yrs on fine silver with these clear colours…
I just wish , with hindsight I went ahead with a purchase of some double’ material using fine gold and silver.
Hindsight the perfect science. Could use it right now!


Mr. Miller,

I find your work to be breathtaking. Thank you for sharing the photos.

That Lily is my favourite too of all the work shown in your book. No wonder your daughter has her eye on it

The Lily was a commission from a private customer. It was the Chrysanthemum that my daughter wanted, so I didn’t sell it and my daughter now owns it.