The story of Magnus Erlendsson, Orkney's Saint Magnus, begins in 1098 on Orkney's Mainland. Wrought of the local sandstone glowing softly red in afternoon light since 1137, in downtown Kirkwall there stands a massive testament to God in the form of St. Magnus Cathedral. A baptismal font was commissioned to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the founding of the cathedral. A large piece of pure white Carrara Marble was donated and the children of Orkney make a pilgrimage from Egilsay to Kirkwall (the breadth of the parish) retracing the procession that the holy bones of St Magnus bones made when they were moved from Birsay to Kirkwall so long ago. Along the way the children selected a suitable stone from each parish on the island, which were then sent to Italy to be cut, polished and ultimately set into the magnificent baptismal font.
Most people are rightfully in awe of the cathedral itself. For some identifying the various Mason’s Marks scattered throughout the cathedral is the source of their pilgrimage. For me, it was certainly all that but the second I saw the commemorative baptismal font of St. Magnus’ I envisioned a ladies cuff bracelet. When I got my pictures back, I cut out the wide arc of the font and ‘slipped it on my wrist’ cementing in my mind that incorporating the design elements of banding and cabochon stones would not only be perfectly scaled but also breathtaking (others admitted to being less convinced at the time). Within weeks of seeing the font my quest began to find a lapidary in Scotland capable of adapting Scotland's semi-precious gemstones to replicate the design of the font. Serendipity struck in the form of Renato Forno. In that Hamilton & Inches had already suggested that they didn't have a lapidary and would be glad to use anyone I might find, the perfect design triumvirate was formed.
As you might imagine after months of specifications, drawings, determining finishes and selecting stones my anticipation was running high as I got off my plane and drove to Hamilton & Inches. (It wasn't the only final design I was to see that day.) It's hard to explain the crush of emotions one feels around being able to bring something so clearly identified with the Victorian Era forward and made relevant for our contemporary society. Renato painstakingly gathers the agates from across Scotland, he then cuts them and then laboriously hones and hand polishes each one. Working with Hamilton & Inches against my design concept, together we have developed an extraordinary piece of art jewellery worthy of being held in the permanent collection of any museum and the ability to tell an amazing story from the Orkneyinga Saga in the process. The finishing touch is application of tiny, fine hallmarks at the end of the band, like Mason’s Marks, by the Edinburgh Assay Office to ensure authenticity and quality. As you might imagine after months of specifications, drawings, determining finishes and selecting stones my anticipation was running high as I got off my plane from the States and drove to Hamilton & Inches. It's hard to explain the crush of emotions one feels bringing something with such a distinct historic pedigree and make it relevant for our contemporary society. The St. Magnus bracelet is powerful, it's sensuous, it is at once both timeless and modern, and it is almost heart wrenching to take it from your wrist. The combination of precious metals, semi-precious stones and bespoke Scottish hand craftsmanship make The St. Magnus Bracelet unlike anything else in the luxury goods market today.
The St. Magnus Bracelet is available by special order only. The customer will choose seven cabochon stones of Scottish Agates, Scottish marble (such as Iona) or Cairngorms (amethysts, smoky quartz) and accommodation can be made to use stones from the geographic region of Scotland of your ancestors or clan lands. Hand engraving for the inside of the bracelet is available, pricing upon request. Presentation box included. Thistle & Broom will refund the difference between VAT (including in the price) and the shipping, insurance and any customs duty which may be due once all paperwork has been settled with your country of delivery. Please allow up to six months for this cycle to be completed. Due to the bespoke nature associated with the creation of your St. Magnus Bracelet please allow six to eight weeks for couriered delivery. Photo is for representational purposes only as each bracelet will be a one-of-a-kind treasure based upon customer preferences.
The original intent of Earl Rognvald was that the cathedral belong to the people of Orkney, the building was given to the inhabitants of Kirkwall in 1486 by King James III of Scotland. Maintaining a building approaching 900 years old is expensive and exhaustive, thus 8% of the net profits from The St. Magnus Bracelet will endow the efforts of Society of the Friends of St Magnus Cathedral for the preservation of the cathedral.