Inspired by Tradition
Orkney and Scotland's rich cultural heritage has inspired Sheila for many years. Successive peoples introduced their own cultures from our ancestors in the Stone Age, through the metalworkers of the Iron Age, to the mysterious Celts and proud Vikings, to pious medieval abbeys and modern day icons and ceremonies. Sheila has interpreted historic design and legend in precious metal and handset stones.
This collection is derived from a small lead disc found on the Brough of Birsay in Orkney. The Brough, a small tidal island, supported a thriving metalworking industry from the 7th to the late 8th century. A rich array of brooches, rings and dress pins were found; jewellery for the prosperous Pictish community on the Orkney Mainland.
The Book of Kells is a beautiful illuminated Gospel Book of the late 8th Century. The pattern of intertwining cords and interlace is derived from Eastern and Celtic Art, and passed into the repertoire of British and Irish Art from the 6th to 9th Century.
This collection of jewellery was designed by Sheila for Roy Leask, Lerwick’s Guizer Jarl in 2008. Each year the Jarl chooses to portray a Viking character from the sagas, preferably with some kind of link to his own family or family homestead. Up Helly Aa is one of the largest fire festivals in the world, with almost one thousand ‘guizers’ taking part in a torchlight procession through the centre of Lerwick.
These superb sandstone symbol designs can be seen on the east wall of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney. The Cathedral was founded in 1137 by Earl Rognvald Kolsson and built of yellow and red sandstone. Many contemporary artists reflect on this majestic building for inspiration. Sheila has translated these symbols into her own design ideas.
A Celtic ring shape is a symbol of continuity as is the continuous interlacing in Celtic knot work. These rings are often used as wedding bands but can also be worn as a fashion accessory. All styles of these matching ladies and men’s rings are available in almost any size and can be made in silver, 9ct, 18ct, palladium or platinum.
Based on the Triquetra, or Trinity Knot, found in Celtic art and symbolic of the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, ever three, indivisible.
This design is popularly known as the Lover's knot, two intertwined lines knit together to make one whole pattern. Its history stretches back many centuries to the art of the Celts. Sheila has restyled these knots into designs for matching suites of jewellery. The interlocking knot still has significant meaning for two people wishing to pledge their devotion.
The ancient Ogham script reads 'A Blessing on the Soul'.
This collection is based around an 8th century brooch found in a Norse grave at Pierowall on the island of Westray in Orkney.
The Paisley design originated from motifs representing the date palm leaf in Babylon over 2000 years ago. As well as providing the fundamental necessities of food and shelter, this ‘Tree of Life’ was also a symbol of growth and fertility. The design is named after the Scottish town where luxurious cashmere shawls were produced in the Victorian era to imitate examples brought home from India, hence the name ‘Paisley Pattern’ was born.
This design is derived from a stone carving found at Ness in Tankerness, Orkney.
The Reef Knot takes its name and design from one of the best known and popular knots, commonly popular with generations of sailors. With a single tug of the hand, the knot is released, allowing the sail to fill once again. The simple symmetry and grace of the knot is transformed into this elegant collection.
The Runic Iris design was inspired by the stone age tomb, Maeshowe, built around 3,000 BC. In the 12th century Vikings broke into the tomb and carved runes on the chamber walls.
Inspired by Scotland's national flag which is steeped in history. It is thought to be the oldest national flag in Europe.
Inspired by the carved decoration on a potshard found at the Stone Age village of Skara Brae, Orkney
Skyran was inspired by the first known text discovered in Orkney. The Ogham writing that reads ‘a blessing on the soul’ was found on a whorl stone at Buckquoy, Birsay, approximately 500 AD. These signature pieces capture the rich blue-grey of the night sky, where Skyran translates as to glitter or shine brightly.
Inspired by the giant megaliths of the Standing Stones of Stenness. This collection compliments our Stone Circles collection inspired by the great Ring of Brodgar. Orkney's two ancient centres of power and ritual are a thousand years older than Stonehenge and lie close to each other in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This collection hails the ancient mysteries of Orkney’s great ceremonial Ring of Brodgar.
Following a visit to Sweetheart Abbey in the rich countryside of Dumfries and Galloway, Sheila was moved to create this collection. The Abbey was founded in 1273 by Lady Devorgilla of Galloway in memory of her late husband John Balliol. The monks were so moved by her enduring love that they named it Sweetheart Abbey in her memory after she died in 1289.
The Scottish Thistle is derived from the famous Scottish flower that blooms in a beautiful purple colour in the Highlands of Scotland. The thistle is a world-renowned Scottish symbol.