At Shetland Jewellery we always strive to refresh and modernise the photographs of our products. Since our own jewellers serve as the face of our brand, we have been using them as models. What a blessing it is to have such photogenic jewellers!
At first, we only intended to use the St Ninian’s Isle treasure range and shoot it at the St Ninian’s Isle beach. But as we bounced ideas of each other this small idea began to grow arms and legs! We thought it would be a really cool picture to position the replicas of the St Ninian’s Isle treasure at the Shetland Museum next to the St Ninian’s Isle jewellery. Considering that both the Quendale Beast range and the Simmeral Dance are based in the South end of Shetland we also made the decision to incorporate them into the photoshoot as well as our new range the Bressay Light – LK243. We also thought it would be cool to take some pictures at the Quendale mill for the Quendale Beast range!
We immediately phoned the Quendale mill to inquire about permission to take some photographs there and Tracey at the Shetland Museum to inquire about taking photos with the replica St Ninian’s Isle treasure. Tracey and the staff at Quendale Mill were super helpful in helping us bring our ideas to life which is one of the best thing about Shetland as everyone is willing to help others!
So the planning for the shoot began. Out of the four ranges, we selected the pieces we wanted to photograph. We began with casting the pieces we intended to use for the photoshoot. You can read all about the casting process in our casting blog! Now that the pieces had begun to take shape, it was time for the final steps, which can be a bit tricky sometimes as the older ranges are very intricate so there was great care taken to make these pieces look beautiful and shiny.
The search for models was simple because at Shetland Jewellery we are keen to use our own jewellers, so they are the face of our brand. We were lucky enough that four of our jewellers agreed to be models for our photoshoot which is super exciting!
So the day of the photo shoot finally arrived, and Shetland was exhibiting our lovely summer weather with the sun shining. Our first location was the Quendale beach which is one of Shetlands most stunning beaches. Our models were all super relaxed which enabled us to get some stunning photos of them displaying the Quendale Beast range.
After Quendale beach we headed to the Quendale mill. The Quendale Mill is a must if your visiting the South end of Shetland! Quendale mill is a lovely location for photographs, and the staff there were so accommodating in letting us take photos inside of the mill.
The Quendale Mill dates back to the 16th Century but it wasn’t until 1770 that the Grierson family acquired it and became the Lairds. The Mill was commissioned to be built in 1867 by the Grierson family and grinding began at the Mill the following year. The Mill's primary purpose was to handle the grain for crofters from a very wide surrounding area. Most of the grinding was done in winter when there was plenty of water in the dam to drive the Mill’s machinery.
The Quendale Beast – Originally a large bronze “Harness” ornament found in Quendale, Shetland dating from the Viking occupation. The head was missing when found and this part was designed by Jack Rae to complement the original Nordic piece.
The next location was St Ninian’s Isle beach which is probably one of Shetlands most famous beaches! St Ninian’s Isle beach is a large tombolo (a natural sand causeway with sea on either side) on the West coast of Shetland, linking the South Mainland with the Isle. We were shooting the St Ninian’s Isle treasure range and the Simmeral Dance range here.
St Ninians Isle treasure – The treasure was discovered on 4 July 1958 by a schoolboy called Douglas Coutts, who was taking part in excavations off the medieval church that had once existed on the island. Coutts found the treasure in a wooden box, buried under a slab marked with a cross. It is generally assumed that the treasure was hidden beneath the floor of an earlier chapel.
Simmeral Dance – Simmeral Dance means the shimmering effect of light on a hot hazy day. The piece is made to resemble the shape of the beach which is a tombolo which is done with enamel to help accentuate the colours of the beach and the sea on a sunny day, with the beach appearing inside a heart shape opening.
The Shetland Museum served as our second last trip of the day where we took pictures of our jewellery beside the replicas. All of us were super eager to visit the Shetland Museum to see the St Ninian’s Isle treasure replicas. When explaining how the treasure would have been worn and the stories behind them, Tracey at the Shetland Museum was very welcoming and knowledgeable about the treasure and its stories.
Our final trip of the day was the knab in Lerwick to take photos of our newest range the Bressay Light – LK243. The inspiration for this piece was a photo taken at the Knab of the Bressay Light house and the Swan.
The Swan - was one of the finest boats among the Scottish fleet, built and launched in Shetland in 1900. Having survived two world wars and the threat of destruction, the Swan has been authentically restored to her former glory by The Swan Trust. The Swan Trust offers voyages around Shetland, and further afield including Orkney, the Western Isles, St Kilda, Mainland Scotland, Faroe, Iceland, Sweden, and Norway.
We are so thankful to Tracey at the Shetland Museum and the staff at the Quendale Mill, and our fantastic models. We are thrilled with the outcomes and would not have succeeded without all the efforts of the entire team.