Scarlett Willow Designs

Jewellery is like a biography ~ a story that tells the many chapters of our life

So...This Happened!

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On the 22nd of June this year, I found myself on the train heading to Birmingham, clutching a bag containing a small collection of my jewellery. Hotel du Vin was my destination, to sit in front of a panel of judges from the Midlands Fashion Awards.

I was early (I have this thing about being late!) and so spent half an hour or so in the foyer of this lovely hotel before being called in to talk about my work. Having never done this kind of thing before, I had no idea what I was going to be asked and and around twenty minutes or so, I was heading back out onto the streets of Birmingham. Don’t ask me what was asked or what my reply was as I honestly couldn’t tell you!

On the train on the way home, I could only hope that what I had said impressed the judges enough…

And to my delight (and astonishment!) it was!

I am a finalist in the Accessory Designer of the Year category of the Midlands Fashion Awards 2019!

The final is being held at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Centre on the 11th of October where I will be exhibiting my work and watching the catwalk shows before the Awards Ceremony announces the winner in each category.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

https://www.kidderminstershuttle.co.uk/news/17764082.bewdley-jewellery-designer-reaches-awards-finals/

Ruby ~ July's Birthstone

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_The gleaming Ruby should adorn All those who in July are born, For thus they'll be exempt and free, From lovers doubts and anxiety_.jpg

July babies get the stunning Ruby as their birthstone. Rubies are actually a form of Sapphire and is the most valuable form of the mineral corundum. The most sought after colour is a pure vibrant red to slight purplish red ~ fine ruby glows in sunlight thanks to red fluorescence which intensifies the colour.

Most of the finest Ruby is found in a region of Myanmar (Burma) called Magok, the legendary valley of rubies. In fact, a ruby from this region, set in a ring by Cartier and known as the “Sunrise Ruby”, broke records in 2015 when it was sold in Geneva by Sotheby’s. This huge 25.59 carat ring was expected to sell for between $12-18 million but eventually sold for over $30 million! That’s a whopping $1,185,451 per carat!

Here’s a few lesser known facts about the fabulous Ruby:

  • In Sanskrit, rubies are known as Ratnaraj, meaning the king of gems

  • the first laser was created in 1960 using the red fluorescence light emitted by ruby

  • ruby is the gemstone for the 40th wedding anniversary

  • people living in India believed that rubies enabled their owners to live in harmony with their enemies

  • warriors in Myanmar possessed rubies to make them invincible in battle but it wasn’t enough to just wear the rubies…they had to insert them into their flesh and make them part of their bodies!

If you would prefer not to go to that extreme(!) and prefer to wear your rubies in a beautiful piece of bespoke, handcrafted jewellery, get in touch

£186 of Unworn Jewellery.......Each!!

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A recent study has shown that each woman in the UK owns, on average, £186 of unworn jewellery, equating to a whopping £6.2 billion!!

Even though 70% of the 2000 women surveyed said that they choose to wear the same pieces every day, 1 in 5 admitted that buying new jewellery was their favourite affordable luxury.

It got me thinking , what are these pieces of jewellery that we don’t wear? Are they family pieces that have been handed down? Pieces that we bought years ago and have simply fallen out of love with? Gifts that we never really liked? Items that are not “in fashion” anymore?

So what should you do with these hidden pieces?

One thing I love about working with precious metals and gemstones is the ability to take unworn, unloved pieces and turn them into something new. There have been a few occasions when clients have asked me to take existing jewellery and create something more to their taste, create a statement piece. This usually means removing gemstones and melting the precious metal, whether it’s gold or silver. Being able to give new life to old pieces is something I love to do so if you have forgotten pieces that you would like to turned into a piece of jewellery that you’ll want to wear regularly then get in touch

Before…….

Before…….

And after! Old Family gold sandwiched between silver to create two rings with a frosted finish

And after! Old Family gold sandwiched between silver to create two rings with a frosted finish


The Moh's Scale ~ What Is It?

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Mohs Scale.jpg

The Mohs Scale of Hardness is a relative scale of hardness based on ten minerals that are readily available that range from very soft to very hard. Diamond is the hardest known naturally occurring substance and this is what Austrian mineralologist Friedrich Mohs put at the top of the scale, developed in 1812. Substances are then measured against the scale by finding out the hardest material it can scratch and the softest material it can be scratched by.

Knowing where gemstones lie on this scale helps jewellers decide which to choose for a particular design. For example, Amber lies at 2.5 on the scale and so will need a setting that protects it. Rings take a bit more “punishment” compared to a necklace or earrings and so any gemstones set in rings need to withstand daily wear.

Mohs Scale Example.jpg

On The Bench!

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It’s been a long time since I wrote about what I’m working on so here we are!

One of my newer designs are the “Reed” rings. These rings feature beautiful faceted gemstones surrounded by individually handcrafted “reeds”, inspired by the banks of the river.

“Reed” rings featuring smokey quartz, aquamarine and citrine.

“Reed” rings featuring smokey quartz, aquamarine and citrine.

I’m adding a couple of different gemstones to this collection ~ pretty Amethysts…….

Such a delicate colour….

Such a delicate colour….

And, of course, lovely Labradorite with such fabulous flashes of blue…..I can’t resist a Labradorite, I may have to keep one of these for myself!

Once complete, these will be heading off to the Assay Office for hallmarking then off to my lovely photographer for some stunning images.

I’ll be adding to this collection this year, what gemstones would you like to see?

2019.....Resolutions, Goals and Dreams

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At the beginning of every new year, the media always shouts about “Resolutions!”…..”New Year, New You!”……etc etc. Statistics show that nearly 80% fail by the second week of February! Too much pressure and perhaps too big a goal?

I prefer to set smaller goals throughout the year but my main one this year is to consume less and be more mindful of what I do consume and where it comes from. When I say “consume”, I don’t mean food…I mean in physical, material items. In particular, plastics……we’ve heard a lot over the last year or two about single use plastics and the damage they do to the environment.

I want to follow that through to my business as well. One of my suppliers is now using paper bags instead of plastic for many of their products which is fantastic. I’m going to be looking at my own packaging practices and see if there is anything further I can do.

Jewellers are very good at recycling and reusing materials, after all, gold and silver are not cheap! Scrap can be melted down either at a Refiners, where they pay for your scrap material and turn it back into sheet and wire, or many jewellers will melt the precious metal themselves to create something new.

I also don’t want to buy for the sake of buying….I’m as guilty as the next jeweller when it comes to tools but have I already got a tool that can do the job or one that can be adapted? Can I borrow the tool from a jeweller friend or buy it second-hand?

I also want to be mindful of where my materials come from, have they been mined in an ecological and ethical way? Different things but both equally as important.

So, let’s see where this takes me this year. I’m looking forward to 2019 and all the adventures it holds!




Goodbye 2018!

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Goodbye 2018!.jpg

I can’t believe we’re here….the last day of 2018!

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me over the past year. I’ve travelled to different parts of the country and met some wonderful people. I’ve seen some familiar faces and met plenty of new ones too.

I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings and I hope to see you all there!

Crazy Pre-Christmas Sale!

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Pre-Christmas Sale!.jpg

I think I might have Tinsel Fever!

Starting this Saturday until Wednesday, each day I will be sending a special code to everyone on my mailing list to receive a discount on either one particular piece or over an entire collection. I'm not talking 5-10% here......I'm talking up to 50% AND free UK P&P! You'll have to be quick, some pieces are limited in number

On Thursday morning, I will send one final code that will give you a discount on ANY piece in the shop! This code will only last for two hours and I will then be wrapping like a crazy elf to post everything out on Thursday afternoon so that you'll receive your jewellery in time for Christmas! (Only in the UK)

“But I’m not on your mailing list!” I hear you wail! Did you see the pop-up when you came to my website? Pop in your details and voila…you’ve just joined the mailing list!

Can’t wait to see what you choose……will it be a special gift for a loved one or are you going to treat yourself!

T's and C's.jpg

Jars of Seaglass

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At the end of September, I was exhibiting at the Autumn Show in Malvern. I love this show, as a visitor and an exhibitor….especially the giant vegetable competition!

This year, I had a lot of people commenting on the “Morvoren Dagrow” collection that features seaglass. Each person I spoke to also had a love of these little jewels from the sea and loved to collect them on their trips to the coast. One woman had collected pieces from around the world! I asked each of them the same question…..

“What do you do with the pieces you’ve collected?”

Each and every person gave me exactly the same answer……

“I put it in a box or jar”

My reply was as follows……

Do you have a favourite piece? A piece that means a little more than all the others? You could always send it to me and I can create a beautiful piece of jewellery for you! “

I love creating bespoke pieces of jewellery for people, especially when they feature something from a place they’ve visited. And it doesn’t have to just be a piece of seaglass. Broken pottery, whether smoothed by the ocean waves or from Granny’s favourite teacup…a pebble that caught your eye….these can be turned into a piece of unique jewellery with meaning, my favourite kind of thing to make!

So if you’re someone who has a jar of seaglass or a piece of pottery that you would love to turn into a piece of jewellery for yourself or someone special, something unique, something with meaning, then please get in touch! Head over to the contact page and drop me a line

Morvoren Dagrow Necklace 4 (1).jpg

Sapphire ~ September's Birthstone (and mine!)

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Sapphire _ September.jpg

What colour do you think of when I say “Sapphire”?  Blue? You wouldn’t be wrong…..but there are so many more!  

Rubies, for example, are a red sapphire.  The mineral Corundum makes a sapphire a sapphire but trace elements of different minerals give them their colour.  Blue is created by by having trace elements of titanium, chromium gives us the pinks and reds (rubies) depending on the amount, iron will produce yellow sapphires…..having more than one trace element will give us beautiful greens and purples too!

My personal favourite is the stunning Padparadscha sapphire, it’s a pale pinkish orange colour and it’s name is derived from the Sanskrit word for lotus flower.  They are also the rarest so can be very expensive.

Padparadscha Sapphire

Padparadscha Sapphire

Sapphires have traditionally symbolised sincerity, truth, faithfulness and nobility, and was also said to have healing powers.  In Medieval Europe, sapphires were thought to cure plague boils and diseases of the eye!

Deep blue sapphires have long been associated with royalty which is perhaps where the colour “royal blue” comes from.  Kings throughout history believed that the gemstone would protect them from their enemies.

 

Although Sapphires are found in many countries including Australia, USA and Thailand, historically Kashmir, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are important sources of this gemstone.  In 1881, Sapphires were discovered in Kashmir when a landslide in the Himalayas revealed a large pocket of cornflower blue crystals. As these gemstones started appearing further south, the Maharaja of Kashmir took control.  In the next six years, thousands of blue sapphires were found and it’s this that gives Kashmir it’s reputation for beautiful, covetable gemstones.

Jungle covered hills in the Magok region of Myanmar produce a rich, intense blue sapphire that is still known as “Burmese” sapphire.  It’s often found next to Ruby deposits but in lower quantities than it’s red neighbour.

Now, this is the one that most people would be familiar with when talking about Sapphires.  Sri Lanka has been a source of beautiful blue sapphires for more than 2000 years and display amazing saturation and brilliance.  It is also one of the few places where Padparadscha sapphire can be found.

Sapphires are rated 9 on the Moh’s scale of hardness, diamond being the only natural substance that can scratch it.  This makes it perfect for wearing in jewellery as it’s so durable.

So, with all these colours available, which would you choose?

Memorial Jewellery

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While I was in Saltaire at the beginning of May for a show, one of my newer designs prompted a comment from a lady that got me thinking.

This particular piece isn't even in the shop yet (I know, I know, I'll get it done!) but here's a picture that I've just snapped....

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These are my "Vine" lockets, the top slides up the chain allowing you to pop a little note or love letter into it.  So what was the comment that got my thinking, I hear you ask......this lovely lady asked me if it was possible to place a loved ones ashes into it and have it soldered shut and I replied "Of course!"

Memorial jewellery isn't a new thing.  The Victorians would wear lockets containing photos and locks of hair.   More recently, memorial jewellery has moved on again to feature cremation ashes, whether of our human loved ones or our furry family members, sometimes in lockets and sometimes set in resin. I've set some of the ashes of my own Burmese cat into resin and turned them into a wearable piece of jewellery.

So, I'm thinking of offering this service, placing ashes into "Vine" lockets or creating pieces in my own style that would incorporate your loved ones ashes.   What are your thoughts on this?  Is this something you would like?