Monday, April 12, 2010


Scotland's beautiful Auchen Castle Hotel serves a myriad of functions including a romantic setting for weddings, and an expansive location for business conferences. Scotland is also home to featured jewelry designer Shona Carnegie.

Along with the Great Highland Bagpipe, Scotland is perhaps best known for its colorful, tartan cloth kilts used to represent a particular clan.

During the 1500s, jewelry workshops became prevalent in the region, and like Ireland's Claddagh ring, the Luckenbooth Brooch became Scotland's distinguishing jewelry item.

Often fashioned from sterling silver, this understated, unembellished design consisted of a simple heart and crown shapes that symbolize love and protection.

So far, this clean, minimalist aesthetic is maintained in the jewelry of most all of the jewelry artists featured on this blog from Scotland.  While I find the lavish and luxurious designs eye-catching the clean forms of such Scottish designers as Ola Gorie, and Shona Macaulay Fidgett prove once again that simple elegance is just as stunning.

An accomplished metalsmith, like her contemporaries Gorie and Fidgett, Carnegie displays the artistry of subtlety,  Her creations are so streamlined they are almost transitory in their delicate arrangement seeming like an ethereal specter of sterling silver caught in a haze of powder-blue enamel.

In a similar fashion to China-based designer Dora Tam, Carnegie implements small accents of unusual etchings, oxidation, and enamel to add character to her designs.

These minutiae do not overwhelm the larger design; the slightly oxidized sterling silver of her contrasting 18-karat gold and sterling silver rings from her Diary Collection give these items a sense of history and longevity.

Her minimal use of gemstones draws the focus to the sculpted metal, and her rendering of simple forms like delicate daisy cups, open circles, and squares is classic perfection.

There is definitely an art to cultivating subtle form in jewelry creations.  Shaving off excess and streamlining may be a challenge to some jewelers I would imagine.  At the same time, however,  streamlining a design may come naturally to many.
Jewelry styles are not much unlike the people who wear it.

There is room in the world for the vivacious cheerleader and the reserved bookworm. It is not that one design style is more interesting or appealing than the other it is only that they are just different.
Photo 1 (top right): Silver, Enamel and Etched Oval Loop Necklace with 18-Karat Gold and Gold Plate
Photo 2 (bottom left): 18-Karat Gold and Sterling Silver Stack Ring with Text Enamel and Diamond
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