Sunday, December 23, 2012


18K White Gold Ness Cuff Bracelet
Scotland’s Isle of Skye is the largest island within the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.

Dunvegan Castle, which sits atop huge rocks, amps up the idyllic locale with powerful imagery as well as the fanciful Eilean Donan Castle.  Scotland is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Maeve Gillies.

Scottish jewelry designers cover a wide range of aesthetics and from what I have discovered so far there is something for everyone.

There are the classic, pared down renderings of Shona Macaulay Fidgett’s gold jewelry; the experimental designs of Sarah Keay; and the easygoing yet whimsical style of Allison Reid.

For Gillies, clean yet distinctive forms inspired by Scottish mythology (i.e. Celtic goddesses) and landscapes inform her elegant jewelry brand, MaeVona, of platinum, 18-karat white, yellow and rose gold, and diamonds.

Two themes that dominate Gillies’ design aesthetic, courtesy of Celtic symbols, are grace and power.  In fact, the name MaeVona is the Celtic version of Gillies’ first name and according to Celtic mythology Maevona was a fearless warrior queen.  The Gaelic meaning of Gillies’ name means “the intoxicating one.”  Intoxicating is an apt word to describe the brand’s bridal and fashion jewelry collections.

Semblances of Scottish wildflowers like primrose, mallow, fern and bluebell populate the understated white gold engagement ring designs of MaeVona’s bridal jewelry; while the fashion jewelry line implements typifications of warrior goddesses Andraste and Sirona the goddess of healing in the form of gold pendants and gold.

18K Rose Gold Coll Wedding Band Set
Such detailed and expressive design ideas come as no surprise given Gillies' background.  She comes from a family of renowned “writers, musicians and politicians.”  At a young age she was exceptionally skilled at playing the Scottish harp (known as a clarsach).  Her performances garnered six National Mod awards.

Jewelry design became a passion at age 15 after studying with a seasoned goldsmith.  She acquired degrees in jewelry and goldsmithing from the Edinburgh College of Art and a Masters from London’s Royal College of Art

After three years calling the shots at European jewelry manufacturer Domino, Gillies settled down in Manhattan, New York where she met up with Wall Street veteran Kenneth Cowin to establish her own fine jewelry brand.

“I love tiny, intricate items and after working with a goldsmith I decided to make it my career.  I am very proud of Scotland and I give a lot of thought to make it a central part of my designs,” says the 37-year old. 

“Orkney is one of my favorite places in Scotland.  The wind plays music, the stormy seas dance and the air tastes like whiskey.  This is my Scotland: wild and fire; history and future; love and life; heart and soul.

18K White and Rose Gold
Rosa Pendant Necklaces with Diamonds
I am on this earth to create.  Every piece of MaeVona jewelry must feel exquisite.

The details are everything—curve, softness, weight—it must make you feel special and give confidence that this jewel will last a lifetime.”
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