On the Isle of Harris to meet Donald John and Maureen Mackay of Luskentyre Harris Tweed serendipity plays a hand, yet again. Upon checking in at my hotel in Tarbert, the front desk clerk graciously invites me to join their céilidh that night, it would be my first. Upon entering the céilidh I am delighted to see Maureen Mackay again, there with the Gaelic choir she belongs to, already it feels warm and inviting. It's somewhat difficult to say 'I don't know how to' when so many encouraging voices are compelling you forth onto the dance floor. It's not that I can't dance, but doing Strip the Willow with folks who cut their teeth on it (read, smoothly grasp each arm and turn ever faster down the rows) was a fool's errand on my part. My missteps brought forth hysterical laughter - suffice to say it was a far cry from the carefully choreographed numbers of Brigadoon which inspired my Highland Flinging around the living room as a child.
Which brings me to Malcolm Appleby's work bench.
The dizzying array of precious metals, pearls, gemstones and tools of the trade had the same effect on my psyche as being amidst the dancers on Harris. And so, in seeing Malcolm's spectacular cascading necklace wrought of two different golds and precious and semi-precious gemstones I asked about the possibility of earrings. Malcolm graciously set me loose to choose, and after I left he brought order out of the chaos - not unlike the Scottish dancers do from a swirl of arms, feet and bodies when the céilidh begins.
The net result, a pair shown here for representational purposes only, fantastically combines softly tumbled aquamarines, baroque pearls, Peruvian opals and hallmarked white and yellow gold in wires, disks and beads. Why this colour combination? Water and foam caps - from Iona to Unst and surrounding Scotland's Mainland, over 6,000 lochs and countless rivers, burns, pools, streams across every surface of the country, water is everywhere in Scotland.
Approximately 9cm in overall length, every stone and pearl will differ, each made to order so variations will occur automatically but if you'd prefer grey pearls and kunzites that's possible too (enquire about pricing).
Your purchase benefits the educational programmes of Fèisean nan Gàidheal.