Young designer’s Scottish seaweed jewellery unites nature and beauty with sustainability 

  • Graduate Showcase promotes talent from across Scotland 
  • Glasgow silversmith designs for the campfire or the dining table 
  • Call to support Scotland’s new generation of makers 

    A young Edinburgh designer has come up with the ultimate in sustainable and renewable jewellery – creating a collection made from Scottish seaweed. 

    Iona Turner (22), who is also a surf instructor, is one of 10 highly talented silversmiths and jewellers from across Scotland whose innovative work has been selected by the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust and Lyon & Turnbull for the online Elements 2021 Graduate Showcase exhibition. 

    Her pieces include necklaces, neckpieces, brooches and earrings fashioned from the “bladders” of storm-cast knotted-wrack seaweed, which dries in many shapes and colours depending on the time of year and where it comes from. 

    Iona explains: “I like to go foraging for seaweed as a food source to dry and eat. And I’m also very interested in the idea of using materials in my design work that are sustainable and renewable, so I decided to experiment a bit. 

    “The seaweed preserves really well, has a wonderful texture and is very strong when it’s dried. I found it works really well for jewellery, it’s beautiful and very distinctive. 

    “And in terms of sourcing the material – it takes no land to grow, I only used what’s washed up so nothing is killed and I collect it myself so there’s no long supply chain.” 

    Iona, who is a graduate of The Glasgow School of Art (GSA), has already had some of her seaweed jewellery shown in the Netherlands. 

    She works in a variety of materials including recycled brass, gold and silver and also crafts pieces from fallen branches collected in coastal woodland. 

    Glasgow-based Scott Smith (23), another of the graduates selected for the showcase, is now an Artist in Residence at GSA where he completed his jewellery and silversmithing degree and is building his own business. 

    Scott has a strong sense of his Scottish heritage and is influenced by the approaches, materials and ideas of the country’s traditional craft makers. 

    He especially enjoys working on larger silver pieces like quaichs, spoons and other table pieces. 

    Scott said: “I love the idea of pieces that people will actually engage with – have out on the table or use for celebratory meals rather than just locked away in a cabinet. I also like my pieces to work outside as well as inside – so to be used round a campfire as readily as in a dining room.” 

    Like the others in the exhibition, Scott believes that being selected for the showcase will help raise awareness of his work. 

    He said: “Being selected for this feels like a real acknowledgement of my work. Having the exposure that being part of the annual Elements Festival brings – among established makers and potential clients – is just great. It gets your name out there and puts you in front of a far wider audience.” 

    The quality of Scott’s work is already attracting attention – last year he won the Gold Award and The Gosset Champagne Award for a champagne flute design. This year he took silver and The Gosset Champagne Award for a bottle stopper design. He was invited to the 2021 Goldsmiths Fair to host a wine tasting and discuss the synergy between artisinial champagne making and contemporary craft and design. 

    The 2021 Graduate Showcase is part of the annual Elements Festival, Scotland’s biggest celebration of jewellery, gold and silver – and is online until the end of November. 

    Ebba Goring, Chief Executive of festival partners The Scottish Goldsmiths Trust, said: “This year’s Graduate Showcase really shows what an abundance of talent and innovation we have among Scotland’s emerging makers and designers. 

    “The pandemic has made it tougher than ever for them to make the transition from students to professional craft makers and we very much hope that this exhibition will help by shining a light on some of these exceptional makers. 

    “Their inspirations range from Ancient Greek deities to archaeology and oceanography and many are making work that responds to themes of sustainability, climate change and reducing consumption. We encourage people to take time to explore the showcase and show their support for these incredible new jewellers and silversmiths.” 

    The other graduates whose work can be seen in the showcase are: 
  • Scarlett Bunce – Edinburgh College of Art 
  • Amber Doughty – Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee 
  • Monica Findlay – GSA 
  • Lindsay Mahood – City of Glasgow College 
  • Alexis Mitchell-Taylor – GSA 
  • Iris Qu – Edinburgh College of Art 
  • Mingyu Shan – Edinburgh College of Art 
  • Sally Shepherd – GSA 

Elements is a partnership project with Lyon and Turnbull auctioneers. See

Iona Turner (22), who is also a surf instructor, is one of 10 highly talented silversmiths and jewellers from across Scotland whose innovative work has been selected by the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust and Lyon & Turnbull for the online Elements 2021 Graduate Showcase exhibition.

Silver Society Zoom Lectures


24 February 2021 – Stephen Goldsmith: the Life and Times of a Buffer Boy

Video link

Become a member of the Silver Society to see our large catalogue of specialist lectures.

Silversmith Ruth Page

Fairmined Goblet Reflects Drive for Scotland to Champion Ethical Silver
Scottish Goldsmith’s Trust award winner’s work to feature in Hamilton & Inches’ exhibition of the finest hand-crafted silver
A goblet inspired by the weights on railway signals and handcrafted from ethically sourced silver will be among the beautiful pieces in an exhibition celebrating Scottish jewellery and silversmithing.
The highly contemporary minimalist design is by trainee silversmith Ruth Page who was commissioned to create the piece as part of her prize when she was awarded the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust (SGT) Outstanding Student Award in 2019.
It’s the first time that the award-winning design has been made from Fairmined silver – reflecting SGT’s ambition to see Scotland become a world-leader in the use of ethically-sourced materials and sustainable practices.
COVID-19 meant the Edinburgh College of Art graduate, who now works at Hamilton & Inches on George Street, was only able to make the goblet this year.
Ruth has a fascination with the small details of Scotland’s railway infrastructure and architecture that mostly go unnoticed. The exterior of the goblet echoes the weights used on signals. 
Rectangular cut outs near the base give a glimpse of a cone with a tiny gold sphere which is based on the anti-trespass panels. The inside is plated with black rhodium, giving a rich, dark lustre to the wine inside.
Ruth said: “I found out about the award the same day I learned I’d graduated with a first – it was the best day of my life.
“The use of Fairmined silver was also important to me – it’s an issue that needs to be talked about.
“And now to have the piece selected for an exhibition that includes some superb pieces of gold and silversmithing going back to the 1880s is absolutely amazing.”
The annual Outstanding Student Award invites entrants from Scottish art schools to come up with a truly exceptional design and the finished item is given a place in the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh’s permanent collection.
Ebba Goring, Scottish Goldsmiths Trust Chief Executive, said: “This is a wonderful piece of work by Ruth. It embodies exactly the kind of beauty and quality that we are trying to nurture among young Scottish silversmiths.
“The goblet is also notable because it is the first time the Outstanding Student Award design has been made from Fairmined silver. 
“By commissioning this goblet in Fairmined silver we know exactly where this material came from, in this case the Macdesa mine in Peru. We also know that the mine meets the Fairmined standard relating to social, economic and environmental standards.
“The SGT is committed to supporting and promoting the adoption of responsible and sustainable practices in jewellery and silversmithing. 
“For it to be chosen to be exhibited alongside so many rare and unusual pieces created over more than 155 years underlines how exceptional it is.”
The Celebrating our Craft exhibition is being staged by Hamilton & Inches and will feature some 70 pieces created by its craftspeople throughout its 155-year history and takes place within their Edinburgh showroom from 26 August to 5 September. Among the star exhibits will be a selection of sporting trophies, awards and more.
There will also be the fabulous bowl and candlesticks, by Nicola Williams, from the SGT Millennium Collection, which was created to celebrate the return of a parliament to Scotland and is on permanent loan to the First Minister for use at Bute House.
While many people are familiar with the Hamilton & Inches Edinburgh showroom, Celebrating our Craft will shine a light on the skills of the generations of hand engravers, jewellers, polishers, silversmiths and watchmakers based upstairs in their workshops.
Victoria Houghton, CEO of Hamilton & Inches, added: “The future of craft is incredibly important to us, which is why we are so proud to work with key establishments within Scotland and beyond to offer opportunities to young makers. 
“Ruth’s exceptional goblet is the result of the skills and support from the established craftspeople of Hamilton & Inches. Passing on expertise from one generation to the next helps secure the longevity and preservation of craft in Scotland. In turn, we look forward to Ruth sharing her knowledge and expertise for years to come.”
Ruth initially planned to become a jewellery maker, but the award and the chance to work with some of the finest silversmiths in Scotland, has shifted her focus to larger pieces and the chance to take them from initial design to completion.
She said: “Originally, I didn’t want to be a silversmith, I was more drawn towards jewellery. But I’ve completely changed my mind. I enjoy working on larger scale objects and I’d love to be a silversmith for the rest of my life. 
“And I so love working with silver. You can do so much with it because it’s so soft.”
Another part of the Outstanding Student Award was the opportunity for mentorship. This was provided by Hamilton & Inches master polisher Colin Golder (who has been with the company for 30 years) and silversmith David James Ramsay. 
David’s own career began with an apprenticeship in 2007 that was sponsored by The Incorporation of Goldsmiths of Edinburgh (which set up the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust charity in 2000).

Sumptuous Summits: the meetings of Henry VIII and Francis I

Sumptuous Summits: the meetings of Henry VIII and Francis I

The Silver Society is delighted to share the video of our first Zoom Lecture with everyone.
Dr Timothy Schroder gave this fascinating, live lecture twice in June, due to popular demand. The lecture celebrates the 500th anniversary of the start of the famous meeting of Henry VIII and Francis I at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. Please click on this link to view.

To buy a copy of Timothy Schroder’s book, ‘A Marvel to Behold’: Gold and Silver at the Court of Henry VIII please click on this link: