Tis The Season… To Support Your Local Makers

As we all know, 2020 has been a strange year. To add to it, we’re now facing a very different festive season too. After the events of 2020, it has never been more important to support your local makers and in turn, we can help you make this Christmas extra special.

Supporting local is so important – not only does it help them reinvest in their own business but the local community.

Gift shopping, I think, is a bit ‘marmite’. People either love it or hate it! Either way, I can help to make it easy for you. I have a range of stunning sets and individual pieces which will suit everyone and every occasion.

A gorgeous set with hints of gold from the Spring Tides Range is striking yet elegant to wear.
Jewellery set link: Large Gold Pebbles Pendant and Small Spring Tide Studs with Gold Pebbles

Jewellery sets make it easy for the recipient to be sure that they always have a matching look which is simple to choose and effortless to wear. My designs are bold, individual and give the ‘wow’ factor that the special people in your life deserve. Choose from the Spring Tides collection, offering sculptural and striking pendant and earring sets which are inspired by walks along the shore, or from the Barriers collection which features architectural, textured pieces inspired by the stacked placement of large blocks which make up the iconic Churchill Barriers.

Jewellery sets make a perfect gift for your loved one.
Left: Narrow Barriers Pendant with London Blue Topaz and Block Gemstone Earrings
Right: Large Ridge Pendant with Gemstones and Small Spring Tide Earrings with London Blue Topaz

For something extra special and completely unique, a gift from the Bespoke Collection really hits the mark. These are exclusive and customisable pieces made just for you. Truly distinctive jewellery crafted with your choice of stones.

A range of Bespoke Jewellery – some available to ship right away.

When you buy from me, or any local maker, you are not only purchasing exclusive handmade items, you are investing in that business and in turn, supporting and growing the local community. You are backing friends, neighbours and families. You might have seen the image which says, “every time you buy from a small business an actual person does a little happy dance”? I’d like to confirm that this is true! Buying from local companies enables growth, creates jobs and develops connections. Each item I sell allows me to reinvest in my own business and in other people too. In addition, when you buy from smaller companies, you also get a much more personal touch.

When you buy from small, you usually get a more personalised service and wee perks.

From help choosing your items to creating plush packaging, local makers can help you directly. When you reach the checkout on my website, you can select ‘Free Gift Wrapping’ if you’d like your items to arrive with style! I can even write a personalised note or card to make it extra special – saving you time! Being eco-friendly is really important to me; using card, tissue paper and recycled items helps to create stunning and unique wrapping. I always keep it classy by finishing with a beautiful ribbon. Wrapping can be tailored to any occasion; think confetti for birthdays and snowflakes made from old music books for Christmas. Let me know what you need and I will ensure your gift looks magnificent.

Eco-friendly gift wrapping to make your purchase extra special.

If you’d like some help with your gift buying this Christmas, I’m here to help you select something truly memorable which will be treasured for a lifetime. You can browse the website HERE or you can contact me HERE for further assistance. Please note that due to Covid-19, things are taking a bit longer than usual so it’s wise to plan well in advance if you can and get your order in quickly. And remember… sometimes the best gift can be to you, from you!

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How Beach Walks Inspire My Jewellery

Sitting at Warebeth overlooking the dramatic hills of Hoy.

The Spring Tides collection was inspired, like so many of my designs, by seaside walks along the rugged Orkney coastline. I like to take the time to notice small details such as fine patterns in stone and silvery shadows dancing over surfaces. These subtle elements often spark ideas for new designs. The vision behind the Spring Tides collection came from noting organic, sea carved formations along the Orkney shores and the discovery of small jewel-like pebbles nestled in crevices as if placed there deliberately by the tides.

Photos from left to right: Crevices with pebbles, sea pinks and yellow lichen.

I capture these snippets of inspiration as I go by taking a multitude of photos. I develop these photos further by stretching, widening and repeating them; looking for structures and arrangements to bring into my designs. I then define my ideas by creating lots of samples in metal and paper.

Sketching and developing ideas into pieces of jewellery.

I wanted to emulate these natural formations in a sculptural and striking range of jewellery. For the Spring Tides collection, I chose a pendant shape as the initial design and then made smaller and altered versions to create the other pieces such as earrings, rings and bangles. To achieve this, I create the pieces using my signature style of fold forming. This technique involves continuously heating, folding and cooling the metal resulting in a dramatic three-dimensional effect. Fold forming allows me to produce unique pieces which resemble the crevices found in the rocks on Orkney’s rugged coasts. Pebble detailing is added using colourful gemstones or with pops of gold. These delicate pebbles are carefully set in the fold formed crevices.

Fold forming in process.

The pebble gemstones used in the Spring Tides collection are inspired by the colours found at the shore. London Blue Topaz and White Topaz reflect the beautiful blue hued beach stones and the dynamic colours of the sea. Ruby and Tourmaline echo the vibrant sea pinks which bloom in nooks and crannies while Madeira Citrine invokes the vivid orange yellow lichen which lines the rockfaces.

From the elegant Gold Spring Tides Ring, available in white, yellow or rose gold, to the stunning Oxidised Spring Tides Necklet with Gold Pebbles, each handmade item in the Spring Tides Collection offers the wearer a bold and interesting statement piece. Whether you are looking for a unique wedding ring or a standout piece for everyday wear, the Spring Tides Collection brings a wave of individual jewellery for every occasion.

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ORKNEY MIDWIFE RECOGNISED WITH KEY WORKER CAMPAIGN JEWELLERY GIFT

A special key worker gifting campaign launched last month by Orkney jewellery designer, Zoe Davidson, attracted over 200 nominations, with an islands midwife chosen to receive a silver ring in recognition of her vital role in the community.

Stromnessbased Zoe created the campaign in a bid to recognise the efforts of all those continuing to work during the coronavirus pandemic, and to do something positive in the face of a crisis that’s adversely impacted on her own business.

She launched the campaign on her Facebook page, promising to gift an item of jewellery to a key worker randomly selected from public nominations received.

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“This has been an extremely difficult time as a small business owner,” said 28-year-old Zoe. I normally do a lot of trade and retail shows on the mainland and, because my work is very tactile and often bespoke, I rely a great deal on face-to-face sales. This would also be the start of Orkney’s busy tourist season, which brings in a lot of business locally, and that’s all gone for now.

“I’ve therefore had to rethink my strategy and focus more on my online resources, but I was keen not to make it all about selling,” she explained. “I wanted to do a bit more, to try and bring people together during these strange times and help counter the negative effects that lockdown has on mental health.”

Zoe’s campaign urged her Facebook followers to nominate key workers they knew were going the extra mile for their communities, whether NHS staff, supermarket workers, delivery drivers or posties.

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Showing just a few of the key worker stories on Zoe Davidson’s Facebook campaign.

“The response was overwhelming, with an amazing 200-plus nominations,” said Zoe. “I cried, I laughed and I felt connected again and I hope everyone who took part did too. I also hoped those nominated by their friends and colleagues during these uncertain times got a bit of a lift from it.”

After the campaign had ended, it was Orkney midwife Pam Halliday’s name that was pulled out of the hat. She was nominated by her co-worker, Claire Ross.

Shortly after finding out Pam’s phone number I gave her a call,” said Zoe. “From her reaction I don’t think she had any idea she had been nominated! She was very taken aback, probably thinking it was a hoax phone call.

After a wee bit of chatting I asked more about her story and the work she did at The Balfour. I think a lot of us are oblivious to what goes on behind the scenes in hospitals or any work environment for that matter, especially now. I wanted to shine a light on Pam’s story, and highlight someone who is quietly going about their work, no matter how hard the times.

Pam, who received her ring in the post, said: “I was honoured and to say a bit shocked to be nominated as a keyworker for this campaign, but it was a lovely surprise.  In these uncertain times it is nice to have something which can lift our spirits and I am very grateful to Zoe Davidson Jewellery.

 

 

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Zoe Davidson (left) virtually handing over Pam Halliday’s gift

The ring (left) gifted to Pam from the Spring Tides Range and photo by Pam (right) wearing her new ring.

I work as a midwife in The Balfour and whilst the NHS has seen a lot of changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, our work continues as babies still make an appearance!  In April we had 17 babies born.

We’ve had to make some changes to our daily practice in line with COVID-19 procedures, which has meant changes to visiting and attendance at the maternity unit, but we’re all still very much here for our mums and babies.  I work alongside a fantastic team who’ve all risen to the challenge to support one another and to continue providing the care we always have for our mums, babies, their partners and families.

Zoe said she would have liked to have given all of those nominated a gift, but hoped Pam would wear her ring on behalf of fellow key workers.

Pam represents all of you and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart,” said Zoe. “You all do an incredible job. It’s nice to see folk are genuinely thinking of others in our isles community during these troubled times and great to hear that more babies are being born. Our future looks good!

Zoe is planning further campaigns on her Facebook page Zoe Davidson Jewelleryin the coming weeks.

“As a business, I feel the focus for me right now is on making connections, creating jewellery that connects people during this difficult time and running campaigns that make people smile for their future.

Press Release by Dave Flanagan.

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Today On the Bench: Sculptural Swirl Ring Process

Today on the bench I’d like to share with you something I don’t normally share. The process of how I make a lot of my jewellery.

It has been two weeks now in isolation and I cannot help but feel a little out of touch. Stromness streets echo and folk walk into the shadow. To feel that sense of connection I have been having a go at live video and Q&A’s – perhaps more on my Instagram page (you can follow here > Zoe Davidson Jewellery Instagram). But this time I share with you something a little more intimate. Just me transforming sheet metal into something wearable and beautiful. I am always fascinated how things are made – did you ever watch that show ‘How It’sMade’ on the Discovery Channel?

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Overlooking the wild seas of Hoy Sound | Photo credit: Neil Ford.

“There is a channel of turbulent tidal water just to the South of Stromness, my home town. Using the ‘fold form’ technique, I create sculptural pieces reflecting the curling waves and swirling tide eddies of the sea. Every Sunday we enjoy a nice cuppa here, whilst gazing upon the dramatic landscape.”

The wave-created piece in the video is called the Sculptural Swirl Ring with a London Blue Topaz gemstone from the Hoy Sound Collection. It is a personal statement ring and has to be individually crafted by hand. It is my first video so there are hiccups here and there but definitely something I want to work on. Hope you enjoy it.

The Sculptural Swirl Ring with London Blue Topaz is available to purchase on my website here.

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You’re Already Making A Difference… And More

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Wow it’s October already! This year is going so fast! Lots of lifeboat pendants to make, tie bars and all. And more pieces in preparation for next months local Papdale Christmas Shopping Night extravaganza, as well as Glasgow’s Country Living Christmas Fair. Even some one off pieces for some lovely customers. Busy. Where did summer go!

pave setting stonesLast week was an unusual one. First off, whisked off to Glasgow to take part in an Intermediate Stone Setting Class taught by the fantastic Scott McIntyre, part of the Vanilla Ink team. From smooth flush settings on day one to pave settings, day two. These settings are definitely something that takes practice – but have to say – pretty proud of what I achieved. Something which will be very useful for bespoke items such as engagement and wedding rings. If you’ve not heard of Vanilla Ink, I’d highly recommend having a wee look! They have some great jewellery classes throughout the year.

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Then back in Orkney, two ladies came into the studio to receive a big donation from Zoe Davidson Jewellery. Bella and Mai from the Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild collecting their 10% from the Saltaire lifeboat range. This was only launched 3 months ago and has already raised over £300! Thank you RNLI for this chance to give something back for all the effort you voluntarily give to saving lives at sea round here. And thanks to you for all supporting this charitable cause. I am humbled by your generosity and the RNLI’s selfless energy. saltaire-thank-you-donation-zoe-davidson

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Favourite Places in Orkney

Stromness, where I live and work now! A wavy necklace of stone gables and piers and slips along the edge of our sheltered harbour. Yet the Hoy Sound tides roost and rage just off the harbour month and the North Atlantic winds can howl over Brinkie’s steep slopes, above us. A quiet haven in the storm. A beautiful place to live. A well knit community living close to each other and sharing our problems, music and joys.

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Beautiful Warebeth overlooking the Hoy hills

Warebeth, a rocky beach to the South of Stromness. A place to relax and clear the mind. Stack rocks into a tower as high as you can. Balance on boulders but watch you don’t fall. Walk right round the shore and try spot a seal or two. Tractors working their fields as birds pick up the worms. Such a sight and different every day.

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Walking down to Rackwick Bay

Rackwick, somewhere completely different from Orkney! A huge green valley on the edge of huge hills and the Firth. Almost abandoned, now lived in by a few hardy souls and folk from Stromness on holidays.

A dramatic land cut off from the rest.

Almost.

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The iconic Old Man of Hoy

The Graemsay ferry sails from Stromness to Whaness on Hoy over the swirls of the tide. Then a cycle – walk – mini bus a few peat bog miles round our big hill, past ancient fallen stone circles and a house carved from a huge stone block! To a warm and sunny valley set around a huge sand and red bouldered beach. Camp at the Burnmonth hostel, free! Fish in our ‘river’ for a monster troot and swim in the sea – if calm! Tramp to the famous Old Man of Hoy, the dramatic Kame or even more lonely Rackwick Little and the jewel of Hoy, Mellsettar House. A surprising Arts and Crafts masterpiece set at the end of Longhope, even has a peedie forest! And mind on to take Avon skin so soft for the blood-thirsty midges!

 

Orkney is full of surprises. Come visit. And please come by my workshop in Stromness!

Further reading: Orkney.com is a fantastic online resource for everything ORKNEY! Provides great information regarding what to do in Orkney, upcoming events, local arts & crafts and more.

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New Saltaire Collection in Conjunction with RNLI

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Photoshoot on the Stromness RNLI lifeboat

Wow! Not only the launch of the new RNLI “Saltaire” collection for Stromness’s 150th Anniversary later this month, but a photo shoot on the huge blue and orange lifeboat and crew! Good start to this month!

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Zoe Davidson joins up with Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild. Photo credit: RNLI/David Bowdler

So how did this RNLI project come about you ask?

The Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild approached me for jewellery that was unique and individual to Stromness, Saltaire’s town of launch. A special collection to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the first lifeboat in Orkney.

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The Saltaire lifeboat being launched in Stromness. Photo taken from RNLI blog.

Where does the name “Saltaire” come from?

“Saltaire” is named after a man called Sit Titus Salt who was from the village of Saltaire, West Yorkshire. He donated this lifeboat and was a leading figure at the start of the Bradford lifeboat branch. Saltaire was a ten-oared lifeboat, which relied on the power of strong men alone. It is safe to say, we have come a long way from this.

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The Saltaire Tie Bar, which will be available on Zoe’s website after the launch on the 23rd of June, 2017. Photo credit: Suzanne Lee Photography

About the new Saltaire Collection

Zoe’s new collection “Saltaire” is designed in collaboration with the Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild. For each piece sold, 10% will go to the RNLI Trust, used to purchase life saving equipment and help train volunteer crews. Saltaire is the name of Orkney’s first lifeboat, launched in Stromness 150 years ago. Inspired by the RNLI lifeboats and it’s volunteers, the pieces reflect the unpredictable swirling tides and seas here.

Some of the works feature gemstones such as London Blue Topaz and the brilliant Fire Opal, a symbol of courage, representing the colours of our current lifeboat. For Orkney folk, the sea is part of everyday life and has been for centuries, whether it be for work, transport of leisure. So it’s a great comfort the lifeboats are there in need. Not only can you buy a unique piece of jewellery, you can help raise funds towards the life-saving RNLI.

Further reading:

Sign Up to Zoe Davidson Jewellery’s Newsletter and be the first to buy from the Saltaire Range!

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Our First Year in Business! Let Us Reflect…

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Wow what a year! So many changes in 365 days.

Hoy Sound Collection of swirls announced our birth in May 2016, then the cubic squares of the Barriers Collection in September.

Meeting lots of friendly Orkney folk at the annual County Show in August. Going down to my first ever Trade Fair in Glasgow this year in January!

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Zoe showing her works at Scotland’s Trade Fair at the beginning of the year.

And of course, Gok Wan!

Gok Wan’s Fashion Brunch Club invited me to show my collections on his eight glamourous models at the Perth Race Course in May to celebrate Ladie’s Day. I trained down to the plush event, all glitz and glamour, in a huge 600 seater marquee. And the sun shined too. See all the highlights of the event on my Instagram and Facebook page.

What have I learned in a year?

Work hard, every day counts, don’t be afraid of change and you never know what is round the corner – so be prepared and stay positive! And thank you for following my work as it grows and changes, who knows where we will be next year.

If you are interested in keeping informed…

…please sign up to my Zoe Davidson Jewellery Newsletter! You will receive special discounts, tips and trends on jewellery, as well as the latest news on my business. Please click “Sign Me Up!” to opt-into my newsletter.

Sign Me Up!

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Why Celebrate the Life of St Magnus?

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Magnus’s Plaque in the St Magnus Cathedral

Magnus was murdered on the orders of his cousin 900 years ago, on the lovely island of Egilsay. Power corrupts.

Magnus was a peaceful lad but his cousin Haakon Paulson, who shared the earldom, was a traditional viking who resolved problems by the sword.

The two cousins agreed to meet on Egilsay to settle their differences. On terms of truce, only 1 ship would be used for each earl. However, Haakon maliciously brought 8 ships full of armed men. Magnus was trapped and killed.

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St Magnus Cathedral standing tall with its warm red sand stone

Magnus’s body was buried at Birsay and after the St Magnus Cathedral was built by his nephew, Earl Rognvald, he was carried there and his bones placed in a column of the nave. What a beautiful memorial in red for Magnus, and peace. Let’s celebrate peace a bit more, be a bit more positive about folk and feel the sun shine a bit more everyday. Springtime. Life after dark.

 

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Find out what’s going on and how to get involved during the Magnus 900

This year Orkney folk will be commemorating Magnus’s death, making a path following the route his body was carried hundreds of years ago. A good walk keeps our body active and healthy, let’s walk a bit more and appreciate what we have. Life is good.

 

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How to Clean Your Jewellery. A LIVE Facebook Tutorial

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I frequently get asked

           “Zoe how do I clean my jewellery?”

So I thought I’d share with you a little something special.

Please join me on Thursday the 13th of April at 3pm (BST) LIVE on my Facebook Page and I’ll show you how I clean my jewellery using a few simple tools you can use at home.  You can even ask me questions during the video!

Hope to hear from you then!

Zoe.

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