Friday, December 17, 2010


The stretch of islands along Scotland’s west coast, known as the Outer Herbides, is a location filled with stunning natural scenery and fauna that include golden eagles, and basking sharks. Scotland is also home to featured jewelry designer Hannah Louise Lamb.

Like most every country, Scotland’s jewelry history is characterized by the discovery of gold.

Sutherlandshire and Argyllshire were among a number of locations where the precious metal was first mined, and its subsequent use in such finery as crowns, goblets, and armor became prevalent.

Jewelry making, however, was perhaps the country’s most expressive use of metalsmithing wherein chasing along with metal and gemstone engraving were highly revered skills.

Today, contemporary designers utilize Scotland’s Trade Fair as a launching pad to present their unpretentious wares to local retailers.

Surprisingly, according to independent jewelry agent Gareth Cholerton, the economic downturn has proved to help increase the sale of jewelry in the country as patrons are not looking to shell out money for new wardrobes but are instead choosing to seek out jewelry designs to spruce up what they have.

Lamb’s classic yet distinctive designer jewelry could easily be a great accent to the patron who loves something a bit rustic and capricious. A graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, and Scotland’s Glasgow School of Art, Lamb’s laid-back, unglamorous aesthetic is pure in its clear-cut outlines, and understated accents of felt, silk, and an array of semi-precious gemstones.

However, within the subtleties is an unmistakable quirkiness that is tempered by the jewelry’s overall quaint essence. The visual is homey and heartwarming that for me evokes classic children’s storybooks.

Her sterling silver necklaces and sterling silver earrings highlight cutout silhouettes of birds, trees, flowers, dogs, rabbits, and cats with the open design backed by a colorful piece of felt.

For her Interiors Collection Lamb’s cutout earring designs, called “mismatch,” feature an inventive, unexpected twist as she takes the cutout portion to cultivate one earring, and uses the larger, open design as the second earring

“I use intricate hand piercing techniques to build my designs. I am inspired by decorative motifs and colors from wallpaper, as well as simple iconic imagery from inside the home like the containers of household cleaners, to create unique, wearable pieces.”

I really like the deceptive simplicity of the pieces; the way elegant links of gemstones like black onyx, amethyst, chalcedony, rock crystal, and pearl strands are paired with cutout metal pendants. It is a gentle play of color and texture.

I also love the molten, double-texture of her 18-karat gold Coast Rings inspired by the Scottish coastline that beautifully interprets the grainy earth meeting the smooth gloss of ocean waters.

Her stripped down GSA Collection delves a bit into avant-garde pieces with items comprised of driftwood, twigs, and heavily oxidized copper and titanium.

Like fellow Scottish designers June Allison, Susan Kerr, and Julie Hannay Lamb takes a classic design approach and crosses it with enough careful idiosyncrasies that it is neither conventional nor clichéd.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Gold Coast Ring with Diamonds
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver Intricate Pattern Mismatch Earrings

Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Flower Charm Necklace
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