About Our Tin
South Crofty Tin
The South Crofty Collection was launched in 1988 with just two designs - an ingot and a Celtic cross - and the project was an instant success. Over the years the range has grown to over 150 items, many designs inspired by Cornish tradition and landmarks alongside beautiful contemporary jewellery. Each item is made entirely by hand, from smelting, casting, fettling and polishing through to packaging and despatch, in our workshops at Newquay in Cornwall.
Sadly, South Crofty, the last operating tin mine in Cornwall, closed in 1998. To ensure that the production of our jewellery and gifts could continue, some of the last reserves mined were stockpiled especially for the Collection.
The partly processed ore, or concentrate, continues to besmelted in small batches to meet the ongoing needs of the Collection.
The Collection’s website - which has full online shopping facilities - attracts visitors from around the world, many searching for 10th Wedding Anniversary gifts as this occasion is traditionally celebrated with tin!
Each item is presented in a quality gift box and issued with a Certificate of Authentication explaining the origin of our tin and a brief history of Cornish tin mining.
We are delighted to offer you the opportunity to own a little bit of Cornish heritage and a special piece of Cornwall. But one day our tin supply will run out, and once this happens, who knows what the value of each item from the South Crofty Collection will be!
Smelted in Cornwall and Devon , circa 1883 - 1885.
The Liverpool-registered steam ship SS Cheerful , (built in 1874), was en-route from London to Liverpool, and loaded at Plymouth and Falmouth with a cargo of refined tin. This comprised bars, and ingots of 281b and 561b.
This was her last voyage, and whilst in the Celtic Sea in conditions of heavy fog, at 4am on 20.7.1885, she collided with HMS Hecla which rammed the Cheerful amidships broadside-on.
The quick-thinking captain of the iron-clad HMS Hecla maintained engines ahead and continued to make forward way, stalling somewhat the immediate sinking of the Cheerful.
Lives were thus saved (including her captain), though three crew and ten passengers were sadly lost.
Only the previous year the Cheerful had suffered a collision, that time with the SS Clyda, and was beached alongside Plymouth Breakwater on 8.9.1884.
The remains of the SS Cheerful now lie on the sea bottom in excess of thirty five fathoms depth. Iron-work of the engine and boilers, together with some twisted superstructure and the occasional port-hole and item of Ship's china, are all that are left. The rest of the wooden structure of the ship has carbonised and decayed, the whole site slowly being covered with sedimentation. Her location is off the Bann Shoal, some eighteen miles NNW of St.Ives .
The ingots laid strewn ahead of the boilers, some with comers just visible amongst the enveloping sediment, others resting flatly on the sand accumulating nearly 110 years of encrusting coral polyps, Rhodophyta and Serpula, forming a cemented veneer. Some of the tin metal had blistered, and within these 'geode'-type blisters have developed glassy crystals of abhurite (a tin oxy-chloride formerly known from an occurrence in the Red Sea).
'Hot marks' impressed on the ingots by the smelters dies indicate provenance for the ingots. ·
The smelting houses identified have been:
- Treloweth, St Erth, Cornwall, & Carvedras, Truro, Cornwall. (Both owned by L C Daubuz).
- Trethellan, Truro, Cornwall. (Ow11ed by Williams Harvey & Co.).
- Tamar Works, Bere Ferrers , Devon. (Tamar Tin Smelting Co.).
Salvage, in this normally continuously rough location, was finally effected in May 1994.
The legal procedure of informing the Receiver of Wrecks was initiated on the earlier discovery of the wreck, and the title of ownership passed into the hands of the commercial diving team who directed the work.
The salvage haul of ingots has been purchased by myself in an effort to preserve these important relics of Comish industrial archaeology.
B P Gamble. Plymouth, June 1995.