Rocking Scotland - Brooch - Kiltpin - Cufflinks

traditional plaid brooches

Unique design and making of three very unusual pieces of Jewellery, silver brooch with a tartan theme, a kiltpin that includes a family motto and a set of cufflinks with rock music symbols. The perfect unique presents for special family members. All of these pieces were interpreted, designed and created from the client’s specifications and initial ideas to create family heirloom jewellery.




Brief 1 - Silver Tartan Brooch

Sue met with me to discuss making a silver brooch with a tartan theme which she wanted to wear for the “Touch of Tartan Ball.” She felt that she didn’t want a traditional look but something modern that she could also wear on other occasions such as a scarf or coat feature. I initially researched her family tartan and discovered that one of the clan tartans was a very attractive black and white which gave me an idea of using contrasting matt and polished areas to suggest the different tones.

While doing this research I also discovered that her clan motto was “Neither by chance nor by fate” which I though looked great, sounded great and was short enough to fit onto a brooch. I then started looking at traditional plaid brooches which were originally used to hold the whole kilt together. Big, circular and slightly brutish was my first impression so I started drawing more elegant oval versions with an offset oval central space. The oval shape had now turned into a convex shape with a chamfer tapering rim which had the motto engraved into the surface.

The whole idea came together by photographing the black and white tartan and feeding that into some CAD software which meant the black areas were rebated by 0.5mm and became heavily textured while the white areas remained polished on the wax model produced. The piece was cast in silver and the rebated areas matt finished and the highlighted areas polished to create the tartan effect.


Brief no.2 - Kiltpin with Family Motto

To make her son a kiltpin that was traditional but different from the run of the mill kiltpins available. I thought it would be really nice to use the family motto again as this personalised the gift. I had always really liked the traditional Scots broadsword shape and started by creating a wax model of this which was cast in silver.

I then decided that the perfect way to use the motto was to make it look like it was a banner wrapping around the sword in 2 bold sweeps which I carved in wax as 2 separate pieces and once cast soldered them all together to form the kiltpin, I then oxidised the engraved motto to make it more readable.



Brief no.3

“I want special cufflinks for John’s birthday”. “He loves his guitar and rock music…….any ideas?”

Being an old rock music fan myself I immediately knew what John would like. Rock band symbols immediately recognisable to those from a certain era.

So I made 4 circular chamfered edge shapes with a circular central rebate in highly polished silver then cut out the 4 symbols from a thin sheet of palladium and soldered them into the centre then oxidise the central area and all the silver went black leaving the steely grey palladium sitting on a black background (very Rock and Roll).

The clever bit about this design though is actually on the back as I made fittings which allowed all 4 symbols to be worn in any combination possible.


Project Testimonials

"I asked Sandy to create a brooch to wear when dress code was "Touch of Tartan" e.g. Burns Suppers. I had an idea for a silver brooch with a tartan design. I had no idea that this was not an easy task! Using a new technique Sandy created a fabulous and timeless piece, researching an appropriate motto along the way.  The brooch is wearable at any time, it even looks great pinned on a handbag. It's not just a brooch, it's an heirloom."

Kilt Pin
"This kilt pin was commissioned for my son's 21st Birthday. I wanted it to include the family motto. Sandy produced a number of designs but this one stood out from the crowd. We discussed which parts of the pin would be polished and which matt. My son was amazed and delighted with the pin."

Rock Band Cufflinks
"These cufflinks are truly unique! My first idea was to adapt the design from my wonderful 'tartan brooch'. I could tell that Sandy was not entirely happy with that concept. When I suggested the rock band symbols or so-called "runes" theme I knew we were on to a winner. I was delighted with the concept of interchangeable pieces,   as  my husband can choose which emblem to wear uppermost. The workmanship and intricate detail are amazing."


Sue R - Aberdeen

Project Images


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