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Alison Moore Designs

  • Life in Orkney: A January Roundup

    There’s never a dull moment in Orkney, and January is no exception.  It kicks off with a game that dates back decades called The Ba’.  This is traditionally played on Christmas day and New Year’s day unless they fall on a Sunday then it is postponed to the next day. Prior to the Ba's being played all the windows of the local streets are blocked to protect them from breaking.  When the cathedral clock strikes one,  two teams of men Uppies and Doonies, fight over a large weighted cork ball called a Ba’ in the street.  the object is to the get the Ba’ up the street to touch a wall or down the street and land in the harbour (called the basin) There are no rules and the game can go on for hours as the pack gets pushed this way and that.  It’s a game taken really seriously and for many people is the highlight of the Orkney calendar. Hundreds of people turn out to watch and cheer many players are from a long line of Uppies or Doonies in the family. Playing is not for the faint-hearted, people have broken ribs and dislocated limbs and bumps and bruises are pretty standard; but it’s a great way to blow away the new year cobwebs, but wrap up well!

    We’ve had some severe storms this winter in Orkney.  Strong winds over Christmas which lasted for days, followed by a second round earlier in the month.  Things have settled down now and we are currently being treated to amazing skies sunsets and frosty mornings. This fills me with inspiration for creating more beautiful jewellery and my head is whirring with new ideas.  I can’t wait to get started and show you my new creations.

    img_4325 A frosty morning in Orkney provides inspiration.

    Last week I had an end of line sale and the response was overwhelming causing the site to crash.  It’s the nearest I’ve come to breaking the internet and I can only apologise to those of you who were disappointed and not getting the piece you wanted. Those of you who got the piece you wanted should be sparkling very soon. 

  • Facts about Garnet for your January Birthstone

    Happy New Year! as life returns to normal following all the festivities and parties, the nights can still be long and dark here in Orkney.  Harsh weather still prevails and we still need things to lift our spirits.

    For hundreds of years people have been giving gifts of birthstones and January birthdays can celebrate with their stone of the month which is garnet.  Garnet is also used traditionally to celebrate the second or sixth year of marriage. 

    autumn-800 Autumn Nebula Ring

    Associated with friendship, faithfulness, truth and purity the name garnet is derived from the Greek word ‘granatum’ meaning pomegranate seed.  This is reflected in the most commonly know garnet reddish-brown colour as well its composition, but it is available in every colour except blue.

    wendy-ring Rhodolite Garnet Wendy Ring

    The colour is determined mainly by the gem’s absorption of certain wavelengths of of light.  This is called the body colour. The hue gives the first impression of the garnet’s colour with tone and saturation adding the other components. Tone relates to the intensity of light or dark in the gem and and saturation determines how dull or vivid your garnet may be.

    fairground_1 Garnet, Peridot and Lapis Lazuli Silver Stacking Rings

    According to folklore garnets were exchanged as gifts between friends to demonstrate their affection for each other and to ensure that they met again. Garnets are also believed by some to regulate heart and blood flow, aid depression and can also be worn to relieve inflammation of the skin.

    For the more scientific seeking among you, the garnet group of stones contain seven major stone types: almandine, andradite, demantoid, grossularite, pyrope, spessartite and uvarovite. These are graded by the four c’s  colour, cut, clarity and carat (weight) Garnets are formed under high pressure and temperature (which rules out wintery Orkney as an original source!).

    nebula Nebula Garnet Pendant

    We have a large selection of handmade jewellery pieces with a selection of colours in the garnet  gem range. Why not have a look at my Nebula necklaces or newest range Alice rings? Unlock your loved one’s heart with a Skaill  jewel key pendant or build up and explosion of colours with our hugely popular stacking rings. 

    skaill_solid_silver_garnet_key_pendant Skaill Solid Silver Garnet Pendant

    Whatever your style I’m sure we have something special for you to enjoy.  Feel free to contact me if I’m able to help in any way or to personalise your special gift with engraving.

    Thumbelina birthstone ring
  • Tanzanite December Birthstone. Guaranteed to beat the winter blues

    If you were born in December then all your birthdays and Christmases have come at once, as your birthstone is the stunning and much admired tanzanite.

    Tanzanite Solid Gold Stud Earrings

    It’s as unique and precious as you are, as it can only be found in one place in the world, making it an extra special gift to open up on Christmas morning or to unwrap on your December birthday.

    Tanzanite is blue in colour but has a distinct hint of purple or violet making it a remarkable and unusual choice, bound to get your little rock noticed.

    Tanzanite Thumbelina Birthstone Ring

    On a more spiritual level, the tanzanite is connected with profound meditation and is believed to illuminate, and unite the heart and mind. It is believed to be a soothing and calming stone especially enhancing communication, and is believed to aid emotional healing.

    Tanzanite Alice Storybook Ring

    Whatever your reasons for choosing tanzanite, we have something for you.

    For your extra special gift why not try a Thumbelina birthstone ring or one of our stunning Alice Storybook rings.  And if you’re planning a Christmas proposal then we have this incredible tanzanite solitaire ring.  How could she say anything but yes?

    Tanzanite Gold Solitaire Ring



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