Cairngorm Quartz Engagement Ring - Commission Feature

9ct White Gold Cairngorm Quartz Engagement Ring

Last year, I was commissioned to make this gorgeous 9ct White Gold, Cairngorm Quartz Engagement Ring.  My client wanted an elegant ring with a Scottish/English theme, perhaps using some Scottish and English stones to represent where the couple are respectively from. I love commissions, especially engagement rings and stone set pieces as they take me out of my comfort zone and give me a chance to practice my stone setting skills. This ring was particularly interesting as I ended up learning a lot about gemstones and got to meet my suppliers in person, which was lovely.

 
 

After an initial discussion with my client, I made up some mood boards and sent a few sketches via email, to give an idea of how styles and colours would sit and began looking into the different types of stones available. It was important to use gemstones that we could trace back to Scotland in England.  We found Scottish Amethysts, Cairngorm Quartz, Elie Garnets as well as Tayside Agate but didn't have much luck with English stones. We thought about Hematite or Whitby Jet and found out that the Middle of England is apparently famous for Fluorite, but decided that these weren’t quite right for an engagement ring.

Map of Precious Scotland by Holyrood Partnership & Alistir Wood Tait.

In the end, the client decided on Cairngorm Quartz. Cairngorm is the traditional name given to  Scotland's national gem: quartz from the mountainous regions of Scotland.  Cairngorm Quartz has been well documented from the medieval period onwards and was considered to be a sacred stone. A quartz crystal was owned by many Highland clans, the gem was seen as talisman holding magical, healing properties.  We decided on the Cairngorm Quartz since it is found here in Scotland and available in a wonderful range of earthy “Scottish” tones which are all completely natural. I was also able to source Cairngorm Quartz locally rather than online, from suppliers who found the raw stone themselves, meaning there as full traceability from stone to supplier.

 
 

I managed to source a 6mm round Cairngorm Quartz from a supplier in Edinburgh- a beautiful Smokey Quartz with grey/brown hues, found by the suppliers themselves from Highland Perthshire.  Originally we wanted three round stones but struggled to find the right size, so to sit alongside large round quartz, I sourced two gorgeous, smaller oval quartz from a lovely supplier in Fife, who again had found the raw stone himself in the highlands of Scotlands. The smaller stones were a clearer quartz, with champagne hues which reflected the light beautifully. 



The finished ring

To complement the stones we went for a classy, elegant 9ct White Gold band and setting with a bit of a vintage feel. Something simple which would show off the Quartz. Since we didn’t manage to tie in the Scotland/England theme with the stones I tracked down a wonderful vintage ring box from a jewellery shop which was around in Leeds in the 1920s, a nod to where the couple now live together.

I love the way the stones reflect the light, the colours and the hues are forever changing. The white gold band has been left it’s natural colour rather than rhodium plated which I think looks lovely and ties in well with the earthy tones of the Quartz.

 
 

Not only was this an interesting commission in terms of learning about stones, it was also, probably one of the biggest secrets I have had to keep. The ring was made for one of my best friends, who said yes by the way, and I can’t wait to make the wedding rings this year!

 
Stockist Spotlight - Pretty Fly

 

Kirsten Manzi Jewellery is stocked in some lovely shops throughout Scotland and although you can purchase all of my pieces online, I know the experience of trying jewellery on is a special one so I thought I’d do a little blog series featuring my lovely stockists.

Over the next few months, I’ll introduce you to each of my stockists, let you know a little bit about them and of course, where to find them. If there are any shops or galleries that you would like to see my work in let me know. If you are a stockist who’d like to stock Kirsten Manzi Jewellery, get in touch. 

To kick this series off, I’m going to introduce you to...
 

 Pretty Fly

nicola-pretty-fly (1).jpg


Pretty Fly is owned and run by jeweller, Nicola Morrison and her husband, audio designer, Gregor Fletcher. Owning and running her own shop has always been Nicola’s dream, so when the opportunity came to buy a local chip shop in Broughty Ferry, both her and Gregor jumped at the chance and set to work turning a chippy into their dream shop! 

The couple describe Pretty Fly as halfway between a gallery and a shop. The front of the shop features a beautiful display, showcasing the work of over 50 designers and in the back of the shop, Nicola has her own workshop, where she makes all of her jewellery pieces. 

pretty fly broughty ferrry.jpg

Nicola and Gregor really support homegrown talent, around 70% of the work stocked in Pretty Fly is made by graduates of the local art school, Duncan of Jordanstone. Visitors to the area love seeing the work of local artists and often locals will recognise artist names too. Pretty Fly tries to have biographies for all of their designers to give customers an insight into the inspiration behind the work, Pretty Fly also have special “Your jewellery was designed by…” cards, which give customers a bit more of a connection to the artists and designers.

pretty fly broughty ferry.jpg

With an emphasis on bespoke and individual gifts including jewellery, textiles, ceramics, prints and cards as well as toys, Pretty Fly offers customers truly unique gift ideas that can’t be found on the high street. Pretty Fly can be found at 299 Brook St in Broughty Ferry, Dundee and is open Monday - Saturday from 10am-5pm.  

 
International Women's Day

 
 
 

International Women's Day

March 8th 2018

Gloria Steinem_Quote .png
 
 

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated globally and acknowledges the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. IWD is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality. This year's campaign theme is #PressforProgress which you can read more about and get involved in here. (Or use the widget on the right.)

Last year I introduced the Venus Pin, a handcrafted silver pin in the shape of the female venus symbol, to celebrate IWD and raise money for Women’s Aid. Women’s Aid works to empower women who have been affected by domestic abuse and aim to help women live an independent life, free from fear.Through sales of the pin I raised just  £100 for Women’s Aid. This support enables Women's Aid to get help to more women and children facing abuse, ensuring survivors get the support they need. You can find out more about Women’s Aid here.

Be Bold For Change Pin_2017 .jpg


After a few requests and a little Instagram poll I’ve decided to bring the pins back this March! The pins are available online and you have the option of a silver or oxidised finish. This year I will be donating 10% from each sale to Dundee International Women’s Centre. The pins are available for a limited time only, until the end of March.

Dundee International Women’s Centre (DIWC) began as a voluntary group of women who visited immigrant families, offering them helping integrating into the community, particularly by teaching English. The centre was set up as part of an Urban Aid Programme in 1969. Today DIWC works in partnership with many organisations to promote the personal development of woman and aims to engage, educate and empower the women they work with.

DIWC provides educational, recreational and social activities as well as employment training to women from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The centre has created over 6000 learning opportunities and have helped over 10,000 women build a better life by helping them achieve their personal goals and gain confidence, life skills, education and employability skills.

 Photo from:  www.diwc.co.uk/

Photo from: www.diwc.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

The money raised will help women and girls achieve their personal goals, reach their full potential and prosper in their community. To find out more about how DIWC helps women take a look at their case studies here.

 

 

 

 

 

The Venus pins will be £25 each you can get yours here. 10% from each sale will be donated to Dundee International Women’s Centre.