To celebrate Burns Night (25th January) this month’s brooch is made of Scottish hard stones and gold.  Scottish hardstone jewellery, also known as pebble jewellery, is extremely distinctive, the earthy coloured agates, granite and quartz are instantly recognisable.  The heyday for this type of jewellery was from the early 1800s to the First World War, peaking mid-19th century when there was a revival of all things Scottish in the wake of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s purchase of Balmoral in 1852.  Scotland became a fashionable destination for tourists aided by Thomas Cook running package tours from 1846.  Queen Victoria regularly gave ‘pebble jewellery’ as gifts.  She gave a bracelet to Jane Loftus, Lady of the Bedchamber to mark the engagement of Princess Louise (Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter 18 March 1848 – 3 December 1939) to Lord Lorne in October 1870.



Jane Loftus, Marchioness of Ely, was Mistress of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria from 1851 to 1889.



Portrait by Charles Lucien Louis Muller 1856

Today there is a thriving Scottish craft jewellery scene, mainly using silver.  I have featured Gilly Langton, Hazel Thorn, Andrew Lamb and Beth Legg as previous Brooches of the Month.  Hopefully, this year there will be a Goldsmiths Fair and I will find another Scottish brooch to add to my collection.

A Burns supper celebrates the life and poetry of the Scottish poet Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796).  The first supper was held at Burns Cottage in 1801 on the fifth anniversary of his death. Burns suppers typically include haggis, neeps (turnips) and Scotch whisky and the recitation of Burns’s poetry. Burns is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, perhaps one of his most famous poems is Auld Lang Syne (1788) sung worldwide on New Year’s Eve.