Summer at Heathergems
Spring and Summer are always busy times here at Heathergems.
Heather becomes woody in the spring, which means it no longer provides nutritional value to animals, and can stop new plants from growing. This is when we hand harvest heather stems, ready to be dried, dyed and prepared.
Spring is all about building up stocks of heather stems to create our unique and sustainable jewellery.
Once we have harvested heather stems, which encourage new growth - providing nutrition for animals and a beautiful backdrop for us - we can sit back and enjoy the view. Heather blooms twice, in early and late Summer. Clearing the stems away helps this bloom reach its full magnificence.
Of course, we can’t sit back and relax for long. It is time to turn the heather stems into beautiful handmade jewellery.
This is an intensive process. After drying, the heather stems are cut to length by hand. The bark is then removed, and the stems are divided into bundles. Each bundle should have a mix of different thicknesses.
The heather stems are dyed, using a variety of colours that reflect the beautiful landscape in the Scottish Highlands.
The bundles are compressed using 60 tonnes of pressure. They are then heated in an oven, which helps the compressed block set. After a day in the oven, any rough edges are trimmed off.
The block is then sliced, and individual shapes cut out. Five coats of lacquer are added by hand, before the finished Heathergems are mounted into jewellery.
Summer also means an influx of tourists to beautiful Pitlochry, where Heathergems are based.
The shop and visitor centre are busier than ever. Summer really is a hectic time at Heathergems!
If you are planning to visit Pitlochry, why not browse the range of gifts available from Heathergems.
And if you are planning a trip to Pitlochry, we’re ready to welcome you to the Heathergems visitor centre.