In Part Two of our three-part blog celebrating women at Sheila Fleet in line with International Women's Day on the 8th of March, we're introducing you to some of the amazing women who make the jewellery! 💍

From creating the master pattern, to adding the final touches, keep reading to see what Erica, Olivia and Lynne get up to at Sheila Fleet Jewellery... ✨

Did you miss Part One? Read it here!

Erica Drever - Jewellery Enameller & Enamel Room Coordinator

A bit about your role: 

I work in the enamel room where we add the coloured ground glass to Sheila's silver and gold designs. We use swan feathers, shaped into quills, to apply the enamel to the pieces. We blend the colours from dark to light to create the perfect ombré, and we'll combine up to seven enamels to create these colourways. When we're happy with the design, we'll fire the pieces in a kiln at 840°C for up to three minutes, depending on the size of the piece.

What do you find most interesting about your job, what is your favourite stage of the enamelling process and what is your favourite enamel colour?

My favourite stage of the enamelling process is seeing the jewellery come out of the kiln. Because the jewellery is so hot at that point, the colours are completely different, and it's really satisfying to watch the jewellery cool down and the colours change into the final design. The most interesting part of my job is developing the enamel colours for new designs. It's lovely to see something new coming to life. My favourite enamel colour to wear has to be Peacock or Tempest. I love how the colours contrast from the deep blue through turquoise-green to the paler colours at the end. My favourite to enamel is probably Shallows, Pentland or Meadow, which are some of our most popular colourways. Not a day goes by where I'm not enamelling something in those colours!

Olivia Yorston – Designer & Master Pattern Maker

A bit about your role:

It's my job to draw and sketch ideas that I will then turn into pieces of jewellery. All Sheila Fleet jewellery starts with a concept, and that concept can come from many things: from butterflies in the garden, to Orkney's rich history and traditions. I sketch ideas, working directly with Sheila to decide on the final design. As I am also Master Pattern Maker it is my role to make designs come to life in metal. I make the masters out of silver, which are then used to make moulds for all the jewellery that comes after. It has to be perfect! Making jewellery is a mixture of creativity, technical engineering and sheer perseverance. You have to figure out a way to make your idea work for the master, and then all the other stages that come after.

How does it feel to be the person to make the masters for Sheila Fleet Jewellery and now to also be assisting Sheila with new designs?

I feel very honoured to be trusted with designing and making jewellery for such a wonderful company. It’s great to be able to use my creativity on a daily basis, and with the help of so many others, see my ideas come to life. Sheila has been an amazing support through all this. She is encouraging and has been responsible for helping me in developing my skills for this role and giving me this opportunity that I am so grateful for. Seeing someone wearing a piece I’ve created is a great feeling.

Lynne Garrioch - Hand Assembly & Quality Control

A bit about your role:

In Hand Assembly, we are the last stage in the journey of Sheila's completely hand-finished jewellery. We review every piece of finished jewellery to ensure each one finished to the highest standard. Once we're happy, we will complete the pieces by adding fittings such as chains, jump rings and earring hooks. We then box it up with an insert card explaining the inspiration of the design, and complete the order by adding a handwritten compliment slip for each customer!

How does it feel to be the person to add the final touches to jewellery that gets sent to and worn by people all over the world?

It's very rewarding! It's amazing being the person who completes the jewellery by adding the final fittings and findings and be a part of the process of the jewellery being hand-finished. It's really special and rewarding when a customer contacts us just to say how happy they are with the jewellery and overall experience.

Look our for Part Three of our 'Women at Sheila Fleet Jewellery' blog, coming soon!