Omar Ramsden: 1873 – 1939
As well as being a master silversmith and designer, Omar Ramsden also had a unique insight into consumer needs, producing high quality items, often in thick gauge silver and he made many pieces to order, sometimes using the popular symbols of the day, for example: the Tudor Rose, thistle, fleur de lys. So, perhaps an early marketing man.
Surprisingly little is known of the life of this enigmatic person, partly because he married later in life and had no children. He was born on August 21st 1873 in Sheffield to silver engraver Benjamin Woolhouse Ramsden and his wife Norah née Ibbotson. He spent around seven years of his childhood in the USA , possibly due to the end of the gold rush in the States at that time, and after he returned in 1887 on the SS Britannic he was apprenticed to a Sheffield firm of silversmiths, not the family firm, where he learned his trade.
In 1890 he began evening classes at the Sheffield School of Art where he met Alwyn Carr his rival but close friend, whom he subsequently went into partnership with in 1904, which lasted formally until 1918 but was dissolved soon after. Both men had an excellent understanding of the Arts and Crafts movement thus they hand hammered most items and used semi-precious stones and enamel work in many pieces in addition to using the arts of the silversmith including chasing, repoussé work and casting. The two men died within a year of one another before the start of World War II.
Omar Ramsden “an entrepreneur who developed a house style”
Ramsden was an early brand marketeer in that he engraved many of his pieces with ‘Omar Ramsden me fecit’ – an innovation at the time. Ramsden and Carr also engraved their work with ‘Omar Ramsden and Alywyn Carr me fecerunt’ during the period of their partnership.