From 8 to 10 November 2019 there is a selling fair, exhibition and events all centred on gold, silver and jewellery at Lyon & Turnbull on Broughton Place. The event, organised by The Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh in partnership with fine art auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull, will feature more than 50 high quality designers and makers from across the UK.
This year the exhibition will highlight the need for ethical buying with traceability and transparency in that process. One of the rings on display is a garnet ring created by Sally Grant a designer and maker. Sally bought the garnet which was part of the first batch to come to the UK as part of the Moyo Gemstones project. This aims to make sure that the women in rural Tanzania who mine the gems with picks and shovels get a fair price for them.
The scheme has evidence that the stone came from a responsible source in the Umba Valley and a market which Moyo Gemstones run. As a buyer Sally and other jewellery makers can use purchasing power to oppose exploitation and environmental degradation.
The Moyo Gems project provides a solution because ethically-minded buyers are put in direct contact with miners and negotiate fair prices.
It builds on work by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and Pact, a nonprofit development organisation, to provide education for members of the Tanzania Women Miner’s Association (TAWOMA). This included information about safer mining practices as well as how to identify and assess the value of the stones they extract from the ground.
The Moyo Gems project began two years ago (Moyo means Blessed Heart) and works by bringing ethical buyers to a location in the Umba Valley in Tanzania and running market days, where miners can come in from rural areas and sell their gems.
Sally Grant is among the growing number of makers and designers who want to ensure that the materials gemstones and precious metals they use to create beautiful jewellery comes from ethical sources.
Huge strides have been made in ensuring that there is a ready supply of diamonds and gold that can be traced back to sources where people are decently rewarded, work in safe conditions and that respect the environment. Initiatives like Moyo Gems are now making this possible for coloured gemstones. So Sally, who works in Burntisland in Fife, was delighted to have the chance to but one of the garnets from the projects first shipment to the UK.
She says: “We can all make an impact through the things we buy – it’s social improvement through purchase power. What’s particularly special about this project is that it directly improves the lives of female miners and affects change in the supply chain.
“And it means that I’m able to provide a traceable chain back from the jewellery to the miners. This is something that customers value very much, they really want to know the story behind their jewellery and to be sure that what they wear is ethical as well as beautiful.”
Sally loves to produce work that is textured and also often chooses gemstones with imperfections that give them individuality and character. In addition to stones from overseas she uses ones from Scotland, including quartz from Cairngorm and agates from around Dundee.
At Elements she will be showing a range of work including rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces.
Visitors to Elements will also have the chance to get a first glimpse of new collections by Eileen Gatt. This will include puffin and sand eel pendants and sea life bracelets she is creating as part of her long-running relationship with the RSPB. Previously she has created pieces featuring creatures like bees.
These will raise funds for the charity’s work to protect one of Scotland’s best-loved birds, which is now on the European Red List and threatened with global extinction, and increase awareness of the threats to the environment it depends on to survive.
Eileen will also be showing pieces that explore climate change, including a bangle that positions a rough cut aquamarine beside a polar bear.
She said: “My work features a lot of birds and animals and these new collections are very much focused on the environment.
“I have used the aquamarine to comment on how the melting of the ice in our polar regions is having a disastrous impact on wildlife and the environment.
“I’m also delighted to be continuing my long-running support for the RSPB’s sustainability projects to protect vulnerable species and am very much looking forward to giving visitors to Elements a first chance to see the new puffins collection.”
The fragile state of our wildlife has always been a powerful inspiration for Eileen, who is from the Black Isle and has previously produced jewellery celebrating the bottle nosed dolphins of the Moray Firth.
Now in its fifth year Elements provides the best opportunity in Scotland to see some of the very best in contemporary jewellery and metal design from all over the UK. Four Silversmiths are coming up from Sheffield, including makers Brett Payne and Rebecca Joselyn. They were responsible for a revival of the city’s silversmithing tradition with Goldsmiths’ North earlier this summer.
Other exhibitors include An Alleweireldt, Hannah Bedford and Rhona McCallum
Mary Michel, Director of The Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh, said: “The Incorporation has been championing Scottish gold and silver since the 15th century and Elements is an inspiring and enjoyable way to provide a showcase for the very best makers and designers.
“The timing is perfect for anyone in search of beautiful Christmas gifts that will be really distinctive and that will be cherished for years and decades to come.”
Elements will feature jewellery and silverware from £45 to £15,000 ranging from affordable brooches and earrings to exquisite one-off pieces, handcrafted using precious metals and gemstones.
Ruth Davis, Jewellery Specialist at Lyon & Turnbull, said: “We are very excited to welcome Elements back to our sale room for a fifth year. Once again the standard of design and craftsmanship is second to none, and really does shine a light on the best Scotland, and the rest of the UK, has to offer in terms of not only established makers, but also those emerging from the colleges.”