• Graduate Showcase promotes talent from across Scotland
  • Glasgow silversmith designs for the campfire or the dining table
  • Call to support Scotland’s new generation of makers

A young Edinburgh designer has come up with the ultimate in sustainable and renewable jewellery – creating a collection made from Scottish seaweed.

Iona Turner (22), who is also a surf instructor, is one of 10 highly talented silversmiths and jewellers from across Scotland whose innovative work has been selected by the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust and Lyon & Turnbull for the online Elements 2021 Graduate Showcase exhibition.

Her pieces include necklaces, neckpieces, brooches and earrings fashioned from the “bladders” of storm-cast knotted-wrack seaweed, which dries in many shapes and colours depending on the time of year and where it comes from.

Iona explains: “I like to go foraging for seaweed as a food source to dry and eat. And I’m also very interested in the idea of using materials in my design work that are sustainable and renewable, so I decided to experiment a bit.

“The seaweed preserves really well, has a wonderful texture and is very strong when it’s dried. I found it works really well for jewellery, it’s beautiful and very distinctive.

“And in terms of sourcing the material – it takes no land to grow, I only used what’s washed up so nothing is killed and I collect it myself so there’s no long supply chain.”

Iona, who is a graduate of The Glasgow School of Art (GSA), has already had some of her seaweed jewellery shown in the Netherlands.

She works in a variety of materials including recycled brass, gold and silver and also crafts pieces from fallen branches collected in coastal woodland.

Glasgow-based Scott Smith (23), another of the graduates selected for the showcase, is now an Artist in Residence at GSA where he completed his jewellery and silversmithing degree and is building his own business.

Scott has a strong sense of his Scottish heritage and is influenced by the approaches, materials and ideas of the country’s traditional craft makers.

He especially enjoys working on larger silver pieces like quaichs, spoons and other table pieces.

Scott said: “I love the idea of pieces that people will actually engage with – have out on the table or use for celebratory meals rather than just locked away in a cabinet. I also like my pieces to work outside as well as inside – so to be used round a campfire as readily as in a dining room.”

Like the others in the exhibition, Scott believes that being selected for the showcase will help raise awareness of his work.

He said: “Being selected for this feels like a real acknowledgement of my work. Having the exposure that being part of the annual Elements Festival brings – among established makers and potential clients – is just great. It gets your name out there and puts you in front of a far wider audience.”

The quality of Scott’s work is already attracting attention – last year he won the Gold Award and The Gosset Champagne Award for a champagne flute design. This year he took silver and The Gosset Champagne Award for a bottle stopper design. He was invited to the 2021 Goldsmiths Fair to host a wine tasting and discuss the synergy between artisinial champagne making and contemporary craft and design.

The 2021 Graduate Showcase is part of the annual Elements Festival, Scotland’s biggest celebration of jewellery, gold and silver – and is online until the end of November.

Ebba Goring, Chief Executive of festival partners The Scottish Goldsmiths Trust, said: “This year’s Graduate Showcase really shows what an abundance of talent and innovation we have among Scotland’s emerging makers and designers.

“The pandemic has made it tougher than ever for them to make the transition from students to professional craft makers and we very much hope that this exhibition will help by shining a light on some of these exceptional makers.

“Their inspirations range from Ancient Greek deities to archaeology and oceanography and many are making work that responds to themes of sustainability, climate change and reducing consumption. We encourage people to take time to explore the showcase and show their support for these incredible new jewellers and silversmiths.”

The other graduates whose work can be seen in the showcase are:

  • Scarlett Bunce – Edinburgh College of Art
  • Amber Doughty – Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee
  • Monica Findlay – GSA
  • Lindsay Mahood – City of Glasgow College
  • Alexis Mitchell-Taylor – GSA
  • Iris Qu – Edinburgh College of Art
  • Mingyu Shan – Edinburgh College of Art
  • Sally Shepherd – GSA

Elements is a partnership project with Lyon and Turnbull auctioneers. See https://elementsfestival.co.uk

– Ends –

Notes for editors

For more about Iona see https://ionaturnermaker.cargo.site

For more about Scott see https://www.scottsmith.design

For more about Elements

  • Twitter: @scotgoldsmiths  
  • Instagram: @scottishgoldsmithstrust @lyonandturnbull
  • Facebook: @scottishgoldsmithstrust @lyonandturnbull
  • Hashtag: #elementsedinburgh #scottishgoldsmithstrust #lyonandturnbull
  • Website: www.elementsfestival.co.uk

About the Elements 2021 partners

  • The Scottish Goldsmiths Trust (SGT) was founded by The Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh in 2000.
  • The SGT has a dynamic programme of opportunities, exhibitions and educational resources.  
  • The SGT curates the Millennium Silver Collection, Silver of the Stars and the historical archives of The Incorporation.
  • It aims to promote and support the education, art and craft of Scotland’s gold and silversmithing heritage and trade. 
  • In recent years, their work has expanded with the creation of the Ethical Making Programme to support the adoption of responsible and sustainable practices in Jewellery and Silversmithing.
  • Established in Edinburgh in 1826, Lyon & Turnbull are Scotland’s oldest firm of auctioneers. In recent years Lyon & Turnbull has become one of the fastest growing independent auction houses in the UK. They have achieved this through innovative marketing, flexibility and dedication to personal service delivered by a team of specialists.  It has offices and representatives throughout the U.K. in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow. 
  • Together with Samuel T. Freeman & Co, Philadelphia’s leading appraisers and auctioneers, they make a powerful transatlantic force in today’s auction world. Both Freeman’s and Lyon & Turnbull are now becoming identified on an international stage, setting world record prices for Scottish paintings and Asian works of art, along with outstanding results in other areas, such as jewellery, silver, furniture, ceramics, books and decorative arts. See http://www.lyonandturnbull.com

For information about SGT contact Ebba Goring Chief Executive on 0131 322 3868 or 07881 623 826 or ebba@scottishgoldsmithstrust.org. For media information contact Matthew Shelley at SFPR on 07786704299 or Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org.




The Scottish Goldsmiths Trust, Clockwise Offices, FAO The Scottish Goldsmiths TrustCommercial Quay, 84 Commercial St, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6LX. The trust is a Registered Scottish Charity no. SC028384