Local Heroes: Jewellery in Scotland

We take a look at Scotland’s flourishing independent jewellery design scene with a focus on five new makers based in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Fife

Feature by Stacey Hunter | 08 Nov 2019

Regular readers will be familiar with Cecilia Stamp’s modern and ambitious jewellery. Her latest collection stays true to her graphic roots where considered simplicity and soft minimalism combine to make irresistible accessories.

Stamp continues to delight with her Corb Earrings, inspired by the Purism movement of 1918-24. Made using lightweight copper painted with eye-catching enamel, they combine simplified forms with block colour. Stamp’s designs are characterised by her nuanced ability with colour where vivid lapis blue or gold-infused beiges sit happily with discreetly riveted oxidised silver discs.

Brutalist architecture and the industrial colours and shapes of harbours and ports inspire the work of Edinburgh designer Beth Lamont. While studying jewellery and metalwork at Dundee’s DJCAD, a taster ceramics class led her to fall for the opportunities in scale and colour that she couldn’t find in metal. Using a parian porcelain slip casting process Lamont creates shapes from hand carved forms. Her confident pieces are a favourite with fellow designers and are stocked in high quality design shops such as Dovecot, V&A Dundee, Welcome Home and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

“I like to give people options, so I tend to make pieces in a variety of colours and always add an adjustable knot to allow the wearer to decide where they would like the necklace to sit, depending on their outfit that day.”

Roslyn Leitch is known for her highly original maximalist combinations of precious metal and patterned linoleum – a sustainable antibacterial material made from natural raw ingredients such as solidified linseed oil, pine resin, cork dust, wood flour and minerals. It has manufacturing roots close to her home in Markinch, Fife.

“Members of my family have worked in the local factories and offices which have supplied linoleum around the world for over 140 years. I fondly grew up with it as a floor covering in my home and I love what is known locally as the ‘queer like smell’ which often fills the air around the factories.”

A fellow graduate of DJCAD, her latest collection Sparks and Clouds features brooches with magnetic fastenings borne out of the frustration of inadvertent holes in her own T-shirts and sweatshirts.

Jane Harrison is a Glasgow-based design studio creating contemporary pieces in precious metal, enamel and gemstones. Her distinctive style allows fine jewellery to take on the unexpected irregular, rugged forms found in nature alongside smooth, refined outlines. She finds inspiration in “sentimental moments and memories.” These moments are abstracted and become narrative jewellery or in her own words “trinkets that the wearer can tell their own story with.”

Gemma Plimley first trained as a textile designer at the Glasgow School of Art and after eight years working in homeware started an evening class at the City of Glasgow College. Soon after, her passion for jewellery became her main focus. Plimley launched Darte Jewellery in 2016 specialising in contemporary, everyday pieces which take style notes from the linear patterns and symmetry of Art Deco. Her work is designed and crafted by hand using traditional silversmithing techniques.

Fellow GSA graduate Jen Stewart originally studied Product Design before taking classes in jewellery at City of Glasgow College. She launched NMARRA with a debut collection of statement brass earrings in 2017 using small scale industrial processes to cut the exacting lines, combined with traditional jewellery techniques to finish each pair. This hybrid way of working allows Stewart to create new shapes in jewellery that take inspiration from ancient ruins, folk art and typography, producing bold, wearable pieces that resonate with the women she sees around her.

“I combine lightweight but sturdy brass, which is around 90% recycled, with gold plated stud posts and hooks, making it possible to have big bold statement earrings in warm golden tones, without weighing you down.”