Like many of Sheila's designs, Nature was the source of inspiration for her new Bumblebee collection...

Last summer, Sheila became a member of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust after spending many happy days in the garden with her grandchildren, watching the bees and trying to spot the rare Great Yellow bumblebee. Sheila and the children spent time learning about bumblebees and what they could do to help make the garden bee-friendly. This sparked an idea in Sheila and she began to sketch a few designs for a new collection.

Inspired by summer days in Sheila’s garden, when flowers are in bloom and bumblebees are a familiar sound.

Working with Olivia, her Master Pattern Maker, Sheila's sketches began to take form as jewellery masters. These are also the first items Olivia has created as Trainee Master Pattern Maker. Sheila has been training her since she started the job last year, passing on the vast knowledge she has gained over her career.

Olivia creating one of the Bumbleebee masters

During development Sheila worked closely with her enamellers to decide on the colours used in the design, opting for the familiar black and yellow stripe seen mainly in the common bumblebee species.

Bumblebee pendant enamelled by Emma

Sheila's Bumblebee collection is now available so please take a look!

Great Yellow bumblebee

Orkney is one of only a few places where the Great Yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus) can still be found, making it one of Britain's rarest species of bumblebee. It is found in only five areas in the UK: Orkney, Caithness, North-West Sutherland, and the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Only 50 years ago this species could be found across the UK as far south as Cornwall.

Great Yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus) ©Pieter Haringsma

The Great Yellow bumblebee is in danger and requires immediate protection, and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is working on a project dedicated solely to saving this particular species.

A specially enamelled Bumblebee set has been gifted to the Trust to go towards fundraising efforts. Sheila adapted the enamel of this set to more accurately represent the markings of the Great Yellow bumblebee, with its distinctive yellow tail.

Great Yellow Bumblebee enamel

If you would also like a piece from the collection using this enamel, please get in touch as we can offer this to all customers.

What You Can Do

The Great Yellow bumblebee is one of the rarest species of bumblebee and has seen a large decline in population. Along with planting the wildflower seed mix, free with your bumblebee purchase, here are a few things you can do to create a more bee-friendly garden.

  • When cutting your grass, leave a small section to grow wild. This can allow ground-nesting bumblebees space to nest.
  • Plant at least two kinds of bee-friendly flower for spring and summer.
  • Avoid using any pesticides in your garden.

Visit the Bumblebee Conservation Trust for more information on what you can do to help and encourage bees in your garden.