Mankind has been chasing small round objects around Scotland for over 900 years. This all consuming passion provided the rationale for Scottish Parliament to pass a statute in 1457 expressly forbidding the playing of golf. (Yeah, it was about as successful as The Temperance Movement.) I read somewhere that the greens at The Royal and Ancient are so big that it’s recommended that you take binoculars to find the pin, let alone your ball. That prompted me to consider how could Thistle & Broom improve the game of golf (not just at St. Andrew’s, but universally) with something as seemingly simple as a ball marker. It also occurred to me that golfers are a fairly superstitious lot, at least the ones I know. Having a piece of the earth from the country where this maddening game was invented and has challenged Royalty and the common man alike for nearly a millennium might be quite welcome. Then, the biggest challenge. How to prevent this nifty concept, once a product, from being knocked-off in the Far East? To make it truly special would require the use of precious metals, thus, the Assay Office in Edinburgh would need to become an integral partner. Equally so, we’d need someone who not only had considerable lapidary skills but was also an avid golfer (as I am not) to understand how to translate the design brief into a functional ball marker. In that person we already a relationship with Renato Forno. Renato has, for more than 20 years, been scouring Scotland’s landscape for bits of rock that to the uneducated eye are simply the detritus of the Earth’s formation and then creating beautiful things painstakingly by hand.
People have, for thousands of years, carried amulets (or talismans) of agate to ward off evil spirits and to calm the mind. The Assay Office in Edinburgh established the standards for which precious metals are still tested against back in the 15th century. Uniting these components with a passion for golf has resulted in an utterly unique collection of ball markers. Each Talisman is completely hand crafted of Scotland’s semiprecious stones and, to ensure the integrity of our efforts and provide for your tactile pleasure, the Assay Office in Edinburgh hallmarks the outside of each precious metal bezel of 18ct gold or 925 sterling silver. The Talismans are named for the penultimate Scottish golf courses* located within the geographic region where the stones are found. (Just to clarify, Renato does not go about digging up the grounds in the middle of the night nor are any property laws violated in the collection of the stones.) Thistle & Broom makes no provision or guarantee for the overall improvement of your game in using The Talisman.
The Talisman comes in a beautiful presentation box along with a small, kilt fringed tweed envelope (yes, both also hand made in Scotland). Because of the natural variations in the stones, and hand crafted nature of The Talisman, photos are for representational purposes only.
A note about the hallmarks. This will be a series of five on Thistle & Broom precious metal objects. The first, will always be the sponsors mark, a T&B for Thistle & Broom, next will identify either gold or silver. The standard for sterling silver is 925/1000 of pure silver - thus, the hallmark of 925 - and for 18ct gold the standard is 750/1000 pure gold - thus, the hallmark of 750. Next, either the Rampant Lion or the Crown - used in combination with silver or gold respectively. Next, Edinburgh Castle and finally the date stamp (always a letter). As your Talisman ages the hallmarks (on silver) will become more pronounced visually with small amounts of tarnish to set them off.
*At this point The Talisman are not affiliated with the courses so named.