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  • Handmade in time for Christmas

    Whisper it, but Christmas is now just a matter of weeks away.  And this is our busiest time of year.  Because we craft everything by hand, we’re often working away until the last minute to make sure your gifts are ready to be placed in stockings and under the tree in time for Christmas Day.

    When you buy a piece from us, you know it has been designed by Alison and then sculpted, shaped and shined by someone in our talented tiny team. Every stone is set by hand, and the metal is cut, forged, soldered and polished in our little workshop. Our jewellery isn’t mass produced and each piece is unique, with its own characteristics.

    They’re all made by people with a passion for what they’re doing. And even Vicky who gift wraps every order, loves making that package extra special.

    We always love to rise to the Christmas challenge but as we have such a wide range of designs and gemstone combinations, we can’t keep every shape, size and style in stock. That means we often make pieces to order, which takes a little extra time.

    So, if you’re planning a purchase for Christmas, please get your order in as soon as you can so that we can make sure that the perfect present is waiting for your special someone (or, indeed, for yourself!).

    Early orders also mean we can ensure that the wild wintry weather in this part of the world won’t impact on your plans if we need to post anything out.

    Why not avoid disappointment and get your Christmas shopping done nice and early, then relax before the holidays really get going.  And as a special thank you, there's 10% off everything on the website from 5th November until midnight GMT Wednesday 8th November!

    And, if you’re in Orkney on Thursday 16th November, Dounby has a special Bazaar night with all kinds of sales, events and activities – the perfect opportunity for more shopping, so pop past our workshop and showroom and say hello!

    Thank you!

    Alison & Team x

  • An Island Proposal

    Last year, Orkney was voted the most romantic destination by non-other than Mills and Boon.  As I see people in a permanent state of boiler suit and everyone hurrying around in anoraks, woolly hats and clothing zipped up to the neck, I sometimes wonder how they reached that decision. But then I look beyond that to the incredible, ever changing skies. The landscapes, history and secret places and I understand.  I hope to share with you some of the romance of Orkney through the blog and invite you to share any of your stories with me.

    Skara Brae

    Up here we’ve seen some huge storms and locals are used to finding ways to make sure they stick to the ground along with their roofs, sheds, trampolines, cars and cattle.

    In 1850 there was such a storm which combined with a very high tide.  This stripped the grass and sand away from a mound near the coast on the West Mainland to reveal the edge of several stone buildings. This was enough to arouse the curiosity of the local laird, who decided to excavate the site. What he discovered was part of a 5000 year old ‘housing estate, ‘fascinating stone houses joined together with tunnels.  After discovering four ancient houses, work was abandoned until 1925 when another storm (common theme here!) damaged some of the buildings previously excavated. It is now owned and maintained by Historic Scotland.

    Neolithic village at Skaill Bay World Heritage site, Skara Brae neolithic village, Orkney

    People come from all over the world to visit the fascinating discovery, and among them  in May 2015  was Kathie and her partner Dinkar.  Little did she know at the time, but Dinkar was going to use the trip as an opportunity to propose. It was Skaill, the bay which hosts Skara Brae, where he decided  what better place to pop than question than where men and women had lived and loved over 5000  years ago.

    Kathie and Dinu met up with a friend while celebrating their new engagement who recommended Alison Moore Designs as a possible choice for engagement ring.  After visiting our shop, they settled on a Storybook ring saying, ‘The heart was in Alison’s, and she was also just lovely, so we went back there and couldn’t be happier’.

    They both spent time looking through Alison's gemstone collection and settled on a peachy/red coloured rose cut diamond to sit within a gold Storybook ring.  Dinkar also asked Alison to engrave a special message on the inside of the ring.

    Kathie's custom made rose cut diamond gold engagement ring Kathie's custom made rose cut diamond gold engagement ring

    They will be marrying in a few weeks’ time and putting Alison Moore Designs wedding rings on their fingers to complete romantic story.  We wish them all the very best in their life together and look forward to seeing them when they visit Orkney again.

    Orkney engagement ring couple Dinkar and Kathie
  • Meet Alison

    I've been working with Alison now for almost 2 months and learned lots about her and the way that she works.  Here's a little insight into the person behind the workbench.

    Describe your style in 3 words?
    Simple, timeless and understated.

    What inspires you and your work?
    I have had a lifelong passion for gemstones, art and design. I studied geology at university and whilst I was studying, I became fascinated by minerals. This then turned in to an addiction and has now heavily influenced many of my designs.

    What’s your earliest memory of being creative?
    My earliest memory of being creative was winning prizes at school for art. One competition I remember was for designing an Easter card! The competition was sponsored by a local bank and if I remember correctly the prize was £10 and a new bank account (this is maybe why I have so many bank accounts today). I have always been a perfectionist when it came to art. I remember when I was younger trying so hard not to go outside of the lines in my colouring books!

    Give us a brief run through of your average day in the studio.
    I come in to the studio at 8 am. The first thing I do is put the kettle on and make myself a strong black coffee. I then usually check through my emails and tidy my work bench ready to start they day.  My assistant (Lillie) then comes in at 9 am and we go through what needs to be done that day, what I need to make and what needs to be sent out to customers and stockists. We try to be as prompt as possible with our customers orders and ensure everything is gift wrapped, packed and at the post office for lunch time, in time for the post to be flown off the island that day.  I try to spend at least one afternoon a week experimenting and working on new designs for future collections.

    Do you have a favourite piece?
    I like all of my pieces but, the storybook rings are my favourite, especially the mini storybook rings.  They were inspired by childhood memories. There is something magical about the storybook design, much like a children’s fairytale. The texture of the rings reminds me of leather bound books and the wavy edges like the worn pages. I really love how the texture of the bands off sets the sparkle of the gemstones.

    Storybook rings What Kristen Saw

    If you could collaborate with another designer/artist who would it be?
    I love the works of Angie Lewin.  She’s a fabulous artist that creates very stylized works of plants. She uses a lot of organic influences which is something I really like. I am actually currently working on a new jewellery collection along the organic lines which will hopefully be released next year.

    Print By Angie Lewin Print By Angie Lewin

    If you weren't a designer, what would you be doing?
    I used to work in the land remediation sector. I actually started designing as a self taught hobby giving my jewellery as gifts to family. Friends then spotted my pieces and I made a few bits for them and it expanded from there.

    Alison Workshop

    What’s on your studio playlist at the moment?
    Everything Radio 4, including the Archers. I love it! It Keeps me focused whilst in the workshop.

    Who would you love to own one of your pieces?
    I think it would be really  cool if J K Rowling owned one of my storybook rings! She is such a stylish lady who has a strong love of jewellery. I think It would be really fitting as she is such and iconic writer of storybooks and there is definitely something ethereal and whimsical about my storybook rings much like Harry Potter. J K Rowling is also known to be extremely passionate about jewellery and I know that she has helped design pieces in order to raise money for charity.

    J k rowling J K Rowling

    If you could move your studio anywhere, where would it be?
    I would definitely stay in Orkney and although we are not very far from the sea, I would like to be beside the sea with a beautiful view! Although having said that we would probably get very distracted and never get any work done.

    workshop view The perfect view over looking the sea in Orkney!

    Who are you design heroes?

    I love, love, love Scandinavian design, I love its simplicity from home interior, furniture and patterns to jewellery.  The work of Georg Jenson is a special favourite.

    Scandinavian A Scandinavian image from one of Alison favourite books


    Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    I dream of having a tiny shop attached to the workshop - something a bit quirky and not run of the mill.

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