Sunday, August 5, 2012

Heather Gems - Hand Crafted Natural Scottish Heather Jewelry

By on Sunday, August 05, 2012 10 Comments

Years ago, I was fortunate enough to vacation in Scotland.  But I never paid any heed to the heather (Calluna vulgaris) growing in the countryside.  This low growing shrub is so common in Scotland, it is sometimes called "The Carpet of the Highlands" for the way it covers the landscape.


The beautiful mauve flowers are a delight but the Scots also have had many practical uses for the plant for centuries.  It is used as thatching and building material, as brooms, for fuel, as rope or woven into mats and in tea.  But one gorgeous way that is so unique is as jewelry!

Celtic Knot Brooch with Heathergem
Heather Gems makes the beautiful pieces by first harvesting the heather stems. These are cut, cleaned, dyed and then compressed into blocks. Shapes are then cut out using a computer guided system. The pieces are sanded and lacquered.  Just exquisite!


You can  see how they make it by either dropping by their Visitor Center in Pitlochry (north-west of Dundee), Scotland or you can  check out this video and see how natural heather jewelry is made from start to finish.



Hat tip to Anna of A Beader's Blog for sharing this remarkable find.

Reference
Scottish Heather

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10 comments:

  1. What a beautiful "gem". I was fascinated by the whole process of creating it. The finished jewelry is gorgeous too. Thanks for this article - I just learned something new!!

    Zoraida

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  2. Those are stunning - I want to plant some now. (Oh, and also buy all that machinery to make my own gems...ha!)

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  3. Pearl, I'm happy you were able to use that bit of information. I would love to take a trip to the British Isles and if I ever do, you can bet on it that I'll certainly visit Heather Gems and come home with several of their amazing pieces of heather gem jewelry. :) Of course I could wait and hope that Michelle will start up her own company of gems made from heather. :D

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  4. I love any craft that uses something that would otherwise be discarded. So beautiful, too!

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  5. I wonder if one could try making some with home made presses and glue. Cutting and polishing with perhaps a tiny saw and a dremel?

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  6. Those are awesome. I love heather and that is truly a unique use of it.

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  7. Amazing! I have not heard of this before. I learned something new from the Beading Gem.

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  8. Fascinating stuff, and beautiful too!

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  9. I love the all the designs! Wow! 2 thumbs up!

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