Agates, Jaspers and Bloodstone
Agate is a form of microcrystalline quartz that is found in various parts of Scotland - From Montrose and Fife in the east to Dunure on the west coast. It is characterised by colourful banding in wavy lines or moss-like formations, and sliced thin and polished to show off these inclusions. Scottish material in particular is notable for its occurence in the popular Victorian Pebble Jewellery.
Scottish Pebble Jewellery is quite special. Although its origins can be traced further back in time, to the rich heritage of distinctive jewellery forms such as Celtic annular and pennanular brooches, it rose to prominence in the age of Sir Walter Scott and the visit to Scotland in 1822 of George IV (in full Highland dress). The romantic movement and a love of Scottish landscape brought Queen Victoria to Scotland in 1842 and 1844, culminating in her buying Balmoral Castle on Deeside in 1848. Prince Albert even collected simple pebbles, which he made into jewellery for Victoria as enthusiasm for all things Scottish spread to the nation.
Local agate, jasper, bloodstone, cairngorms and even humble granites were mounted in silver and sometimes in gold in traditional Scottish forms. Celtic motifs, the order of the Garter, ring brooches, luckenbooths as well as many beautiful abstract geometric forms were crafted in their thousands by workshops from Inverness to Glasgow. Surprisingly, the majority of these artists and artisans have remained anonymous, pieces rarely marked, named or hallmarked, and little is known about their history.
Today, Victorian Scottish Pebble Jewellery is rare and much sought after for its endless variety of design and an impeccable standard of craftsmanship. It is both collectable and easy to wear. No two pieces are ever identical and they wear well with the autumnal colours of the Scottish landscape.