Ola Gorie – beauty and tradition in Orkney

I knew Ola Gorie’s jewellery before I knew Orkney. Ola is a really important figure to me and to countless others as she is one of the founders of the modern craft movement in Scotland. Without Ola Gorie the creative industries and Scotland’s place in the world would be very different. Ola was born in 1937 to parents who ran Kirkness & Gorie, a long-established grocers and wine merchants in the centre of Kirkwall. She attended Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen and became the first graduate of its jewellery department in 1960. When she returned to Orkney she became the first creator of jewellery designs in Orkney since Viking times according to the ever-reliable source, The Orkney Guide Book, by Charles Tait.

Here are a stunning pair of Ola Gorie cuff-links which I managed to find on eBay many years ago. I have many other pairs of cuff-links, far more pairs than I have opportunities to wear them, but always gravitate to wearing these. Who can blame me?

Ola Gorie - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

These have a tiny but very clear Edinburgh hallmark with a rampant lion, a castle and the letter ‘E’ which means that they are from 1979.

I’ve collected a few other cuff-links by Ola Gorie since but most come without their original boxes. If you happen to have 1970s and 1980s cuff-links boxes by Ola Gorie do let me know. Thanks!

And if you fancy one of the company’s newer pieces please visit their great online shop www.olagoriejewellery.com – especially as they have 20% off their entire collection in advance of Mothers’ Day. Happy shopping!

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