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Celebrating International Womens Day with Sheffield's Female Silversmiths

Published: 16th February 2022

This International Women’s Day, join three designer-silversmiths – Holly Clifford, Helena Russell and Abigail Asher – for a lunchtime talk all about their Precious Little Gems 2020 submissions, currently on display at the Millennium Gallery.

Despite the delays and challenges that the pandemic has presented, it’s truly wonderful to finally hear from the makers themselves. Helena, Holly and Abigail will speak about their Precious Little Gems commissions, sponsored by Sheffield Assay Office, nearly 2 years after their pieces were created.

Helena Russell said; ‘This commission gave me the freedom to expand my practice by experimenting with new designs. I wanted to make a piece which was a development from my own style but to evolve it into something new, to challenge myself, so from this I designed the Multifarious Candlestick Holder’.

Holly said ‘I am so grateful to the YAS Starter Studio programme for building such a strong connection over the years with the Sheffield Assay Office. The Precious Little Gems commission is such a career boosting opportunity at this early stage in our practices, and alongside this, the free hallmarking we receive throughout the two years really helps to solidify our position in the silversmithing community. I personally have felt that the whole process has helped me to find new angles for my work to explore, which I possibly wouldn't have ever explored otherwise - certainly not to this level. From pitching my design to the panel to the new techniques required to make the final piece, the have found the process challenging, but hugely rewarding!’

We look forward to hearing more about Holly's wonderfully executed silver cruet set, incorporating her painted resin and wood.

And finally Abigail Asher, Gonzo Studio Ltd produced a set of four exquisite napkin rings, Rings for England. (Photo credit - Mark Howe)

The three ladies have now completed their time on the Starter Studio Programme at Yorkshire Artspace and we look forward to gathering with them, the Programme Manager, Rachael Dodd and Curator, Emma Paragreen on the 8th March to hear more about their work and the exquisite commissions they created for Precious Little Gems 2020.

Lunchtime Talk: Precious Little Gems
Tuesday 8th March 2022 - 1:00 – 1:45pm
Millennium Gallery

Spaces are free but booking is recommended.

The Eventbrite registration is here:

The Sheffield Assay Office was established in 1773, under an Act of Parliament and today the company assays and hallmarks the precious metals - silver, gold, platinum and palladium. Sheffield Assay Office is one of only four UK assay offices who all work to uphold the Hallmarking Act of 1973 and continue to ensure consumer protection for customers purchasing precious metals.

To find out more about the whole range of services offered by Sheffield Assay Office, such as our hallmarking and analytical services, please email us at or complete the contact form on our website at,

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