Author Archives: Zoe Davidson Jewellery

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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7 style savvy secrets for pairing your necklace with your neckline

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We’ve all been there. You’re running late, you’re just about to dash out the door, but you need that perfect necklace to complete your look. What should be a seemingly easy task quickly descends into chaos as you try on a multitude of dazzling options, none of which seem to be a perfect partnership.

Thankfully, I’m here to make this common scenario a thing of the past, with my 7 style savvy secrets to perfectly pair your necklace with the correct neckline.

1. Style up your scoop neckline

A scoop neckline is one of the most flattering, carefully working to elongate the neck and draw the eye down. And because this neckline affords plenty of room, when it comes to adding a necklace, go long or short, statement or subtle. My guidance is usually to focus on the style of the top. If it boasts a print, choose an understated piece, or if it offers a plain backdrop, choose a bolder piece to take center stage.

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Small Swirl Pendant with Gemstone, available here

2. Add some sass to your sweetheart neckline

One of the most common necklines (especially in the world of weddings), the sweetheart neckline works particularly well for ladies with broader shoulders and a straight waist. The open neckline creates the illusion of curves around the neck, so that the eye focuses on the center of your figure. This neckline calls for a shorter, statement necklace, such as a large pendant, or, due to the openness of the neckline, a delicate drop won’t be missed.

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Barriers Gemstone Pendant, available here

3. Heighten high necklines

A high neckline, such as a polo neck will bring the eye out to your shoulders, helping narrow faced and small chested ladies appear more proportioned. The high neckline can be tricky to navigate. With so much going on at the top, sometimes it’s good to draw attention downwards, by choosing a pendant on a longer length chain.

4. Don’t overwhelm your button-ups

Again, this one is a little tricky, but we’ve got the perfect solution. Shirts and blouses offer the option to be open or closed so if you would prefer to wear jewellery, my advice is to open a few buttons and create a V-neckline. This palette now offers the perfect backdrop for your necklace. Choose a shorter length chain with subtle pendant or drop so as to not overwhelm your look.

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Small Wavelet Pendant, available here

 

 

5. Mirror your V-neckline

When it comes to the V-neckline, a higher option is perfect for smaller chested ladies, while a deeper V-neck will elongate, lengthen and slim the chest for those with a larger bust. When choosing your necklace, the ‘less is more’ motto comes into play. A smaller drop pendant which comes into a point, and perfectly matches the shape of your neckline has a visually pleasing effect. This subtle and sophisticated look packs a real fashionable punch, yet oozes true elegance.

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Wavelet Necklet, available here

6. Show off a square neckline

The collarbone and décolletage region is one of the most flattering, yet overlooked areas of the body and a square neckline really highlights this. This style quite literally creates the perfect backdrop for your necklace. Choose something which fills the space, such as a shorter, wider pendant, for maximum effect.

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Narrow Barriers Gemstone Pendant, available here

7. Create balance with a boatneck

The perfect option for pear shaped beauties, the boat neckline offers balance. It is marked by a horizontal line, which carefully follows the collarbone, helping to enhance narrow shoulders by widening them out. This neckline offers coverage so choose a long pendant to add length and depth. This also helps to break up the look by creating a focal point.

Now that you know your necklines, when it comes to adding your necklace, if it doesn’t feel right or make sense, it probably isn’t right. Selecting the perfect necklace for the job can not only make you look great, but feel it too. Happy accessorising.

Highlights from ZDJ’s Launch

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Visitors Catching Up at the Launch

Cannot believe it has been a whole month since the launch of Zoe Davidson Jewellery! And what a month it has been. Since the launch, I have been busy creating beautiful jewellery for my lovely new customers and thankful for all the wonderful supportive comments so far.

In this post I would like to highlight a few key moments at Zoe Davidson Jewellery‘s launch, held on the 1st of May 2016.

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Samples of Zoe Davidson Jewellery’s Fold Form

Demonstrations
Every wondered how jewellery is made? This is exactly what I wanted to show my visitors on the launch day and enjoyed doing it! It is a great way to socialise and create a connection with your audience.

Before working in jewellery, I’d always want to watch a professional at work, no matter the craft. Almost proof that they are who they say they are. At the majority of exhibitions and fairs, you meet the makers behind their stands of emaculate work but think, how did it get from a sheet of metal to a piece of jewellery?

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Hoy Sound Collection on Display

I take great pleasure in showing individuals how small a jeweller’s saw blade is and how to measure their ring size. The most common question I had was:

 “In what form do you get the silver in?”

The surprise they got when I said “in sheet or wire”, like many jewellers. Demonstrating and explaining the fold form technique was my favourite part: using some fire, banging the metal and showing that something so rigid can be shaped with just a bit of heat. It’s always memorable if you can surprise someone.

Drinks and Nibbles
I believe if you want to make an impression at a launch party, keep visitors drinks topped up, give out delicious food and have a consistent theme throughout.

Hoy Sound, my first jewellery collection, is a fast flowing channel of water situated to the South of Stromness. Thus, I thought because my work is sea-related, why not provide fresh local seafood? It also helps that I work at my local fish shop part-time!

Orkney Fish, my local fish shop, were kind enough to sponsor me with providing delicious seafood for the launch. On the menu: smoked salmon pate, crab pate, flaked hot smoked salmon and some scrumptious veggie options. This is an opportunity to thank Orkney Fish and OFS Ltd greatly for the amazing support and providing a fresh taste of the sea to compliment oceanic jewellery launch. Thank you.

But this goes for anyone starting a business: don’t be scared to ask for help. You will be surprised at how generous companies are as they have been there themselves.

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Our Hoy Sound Collection shot by Art Mosomi Photography

Images and Film
In the gallery space beautiful images by Art Mosomi Photography had been printed and hung up for show. Images of some Hoy Sound pieces worn on the gorgeous Johan, the face of this collection. Photography sets a pleasant atmosphere and allows individuals to get a clearer understanding of what the work is about. I suggest you get images printed professionally and make sure they are actually good photographs. It shows you are serious in what you are doing. In Orkney, iDesign have been invaluable in creating some amazing work for me, from posters to signs to leaflets. Their customer service is friendly, prompt and more importantly, local.

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Zoe Davidson Jewellery [Our Story] Screen Shot

Finally, adding a bit of movement and sound in the gallery creates drama to the whole launch. On display, a film telling the story of Zoe Davidson Jewellery, made by Videographer, Gustavo Castro Elgueta and Orkney Musician, James Watson. Artistic to watch and easy on the ear, this film made a great back drop to the event. Having final items to sell is one thing, but giving them a personal story is another. The full video is on my website if interested: Zoe Davidson Jewellery [Our Story]

Finally some tips if you are planning a launch:
– Plan a good launch date ahead of time.
Make sure it is not clashing with any other events that may be on in your area.

Ask yourself: what would I want to see at a business launch? Because it is probably what other people are wanting to see too. For me, is seeing how the work is made and tools uses.

Ask for help. I could not have launched on my own without the help of friends and family. Make sure you have someone on hand to pass out drinks and nibbles as you need to be connecting with your customers.

– Lastly, relax and enjoy the event, as your business only starts once.

To finish this post, I would like to say a huge thanks to:
– Art Mosomi Photography for the launch photographs and many other services you have provided.
iDesign for sponsoring our launch and delivering excellent service.
Orkney Fish who provided us with some amazing local seafood.
The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, for supporting us consistently and lending their film projector.
The Royal Hotel, Stromness who kindly lent us their wine glasses as we would never have that many in the house!
– Finally, my friends and family. For being at the launch, for helping and being so positive. I cannot thank you enough.

To view my website and products please go to www.zoedavidsonjewellery.co.uk

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Cheers!

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