When I was planning my trip to Scotland, I was under the impression that I’d stumble across countless antique stores — I mean the country is SO old compared to the USA. Alas, my desires didn’t quite materialize. But you know how they say quality over quantity? That, I did find to be true. I’ve already shared Joseph Bonnar in Edinburgh with you, and now I want to share my discovery in Inverness, William Morrison Jeweller.
I actually came across this this shop, founded in 1902 by a Jewish immigrant named Isaac Finkelstein, completely by accident. I had just gotten some cash out of the ATM, and the rain started up. So, I dashed into the nearest door, which was the entrance to the Inverness Victorian Market, a small arcade of shops and eateries.
Not only was this a nice respite from the rain, but when I spied the trays of antique jewelry in the window, I knew I had to investigate further. The shop is not large, yet very well organized and brimming with merchandise. I love how in Scotland the antique jewelry is called “second hand.”
Time flew by as I tried on different pieces and chatted with William, the owner. His father was friends with Isaac, which is how he ended up now owning the store. He delighted me with tales of the store being haunted — and how feathers often appear overnight in the shop, even though there are no openings to the outside. (Yes, I ate these stories up!) He showed me a photo of Isaac and even a receipt dating back over 100 years.
The shop basically hasn’t changed at all since its founding, and the original grandfather clock still marks the time.
While I spent quite a bit of time pouring over all the jewelry…
…I couldn’t resist leaving without this rose gold snake ring from 1914. William was kind enough to look up its hallmark, which hails from Chester. I wonder who it originally belonged to?
I’m so glad that fate (and the rain) brought me to this store, and I really enjoyed speaking with William.
I spent a few nights in Inverness, and one of the main reasons I wanted to visit was so I could see the Culloden battlefield and the standing stones at Clava Cairns. (Any other Outlander fans reading this??) Since I was traveling by train, I decided to hire a private guide for the first time in my life. Man, did I luck out. I found David Laidlaw, the owner of Scenic Routes, online. He was extremely responsive over e-mail before my trip (I had actually hired him for more than one day), and as soon as I met him in person, I knew I had made the perfect choice.
Not only did David take me to these places on my list, but being born and bred in Inverness, he had many other special places to show me as well. Oh, and when you get hungry, two restaurants I really enjoyed are Hootananny and Black Isle Bar, which has quite amazing pizza in addition to their beer selection.
There was a lot of buzz on the show floor about Adam Foster this year. It was the first time this St. Louis jewelry designer was showing at the Couture Show, and as soon as I saw the jewelry in his cases, I knew what the buzz was all about! As a graduate in metalsmithing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Adam started his business from scratch about 15 years ago. He began by making bespoke pieces for private clients. This bespoke collection is one of this three aesthetics in his line. (We’ll get to the other two in a bit.)
I was honestly blown away by the craftsmanship, the attention to detail, and the use of stones in his work. The first ring I want to show you is this one, featuring reverse carved mother of pearl. Have you ever seen anything like it? It’s simply mesmerizing.
The comment in my notebook about this 32 carat sugarloaf moonstone ring is, “Holy shit!” I think that about sums it up.
I felt like royalty when I put on this one…
Surely the person who dons this panther brooch crafted from hand carved obsidian and bedecked with white and black diamonds will be making a personal style statement!
Take note of the feather headdress the panther is wearing. Feathers are in fact the inspiration for “Plume,” another of Adam’s three aesthetics. Spending time in the country on weekends and going pheasant hunting in the winter inspired Adam to create very unique pieces with this motif. He was wearing a fab feather brooch when I met him at the show.
The feather detail on this ring, all hand crafted, takes the piece to a whole new level.
The third aesthetic in Adam’s line is “Constellation,” and it’s in this group that I found something I’d love to have in my personal jewelry collection. Inspired by the ceilings in Italy, Adam translates the celestial heavens into wearable art. I’m pretty obsessed with these Constellation bracelets.
This behind the scenes look at the making of a piece in this collection really gives you an appreciation of the meticulous work that goes into each piece. I think it’s awesome that everything from design to manufacturing all takes place at the same address.
This Constellation band would certainly add some pizazz to one’s jewelry collection. Would you wear it on its own or perhaps stack another band or two with it?
I’m so excited to have met Adam and gotten a first-hand look at his unique line. Take note, readers, as this is a name that you’re going to be hearing more of — I just know it!
There’s something so exciting about the birth of a brand new jewelry line! stôn launched just this past June, and it’s making a splash in the world of jewelry. I was fortunate to connect with Latondra (Ton), the designer of this line, and explore some of the pieces in person.
Tell me a bit about the Pulley necklace. I just love the kinetic movement!
The pulleys were inspired by my three sisters. They’re busy mothers and career women who are always on the go but are rarely frazzled. I wanted to honor them with a design that moves freely but has discipline at the same time (and I have to admit that it also appeals to my engineering background). The four of us have these pulleys in sterling, and I used gemstones from some of our late mother’s fine jewelry. I guess we get that energy from her!
What is your background — have you always been in jewelry?
Jewelry is a relatively new passion for me; I’ve always played around with textiles, small household fixtures, painting and photography, but nothing captured me like jewelry has. I grew up in a large family of artisans — quilt-makers, furniture makers, home builders — so making things is in my blood!
How did you end up creating this line?
We officially launched stôn in June. Before that I made custom pieces for friends’ special occasions, like his and his wedding bands. That experience gave me the confidence to do more.
One of the pieces I had the pleasure of trying on is the Shield ring made from bronze and rose cut grey diamonds. Latondra said, “The Shield ring evolved from an idea, to a sketch, and is brought to life in a powerful, finished piece. Cast in bronze and set with rose cut, natural colored diamonds. You never know when inspiration will hit you. I was heading into a difficult meeting one day, and the idea of armor came to mind. I jotted this design on a scrap of paper. This ultimately became our Shield ring. I hope it empowers women to charge though difficult times with strength, grace and integrity.”
You have four women on your stôn team — what roles do you each play?
Evelyn is a highly talented jeweler. When I knew the demand would exceed my personal capacity, I wanted to find someone who could not only make beautiful things but help me develop my craft as well. Sarah manages our story telling platforms. She introduced me to Evelyn, and she also encouraged me to pursue this work when I had doubts about it. Melissa and Stacey keep the wheels on the operation. They are terrific planners and operations managers who allow me to focus on what I love — creating! All of us are sales ambassadors for stôn, and we have a shared value for quality and sustainability.
I love the way women work together. We uplift each other, juggle so many obligations, and still manage to have a great time.
How would you describe the aesthetic of your line?
My designs are inspired by women and nature — both are resilient. I want the patina, textures and heft of the pieces to provoke images of unearthing treasures. Antiquity meets modern.
I think this is perfect description of this line. Here is a diamond bracelet, called the ball+chain III. It’s crafted from oxidized silver and rose cut diamonds, cast in place. It definitely has the feel of something from long ago, yet modern in approach. I could easily see myself wearing this stacked with other bracelets in my jewelry box. (Take a look at yesterday’s Instagram post to see this in action!)
What sort of woman do you envision wearing your jewelry?
I fantasize about a tribe of women out there wearing stôn who are confident, kind and making a difference in their own ways. They don’t need to wear something shiny to know they’re wearing something special.
Do you have a “jewelry uniform” and wear the same pieces every day? Or do you mix it up? Do you ever mix your pieces with other designers?
I mix it up each day. Often, I’ll wear prototypes of new designs so that I can see how they wear over a period of time before fully committing to them. stôn mixes so well with different styles, and I especially enjoy wearing it with my vintage pieces. Layering is such a great way to transform an outfit.
What are your dreams in how the line will evolve and grow?
I’d love to evolve and grow over time, keeping it a bespoke line. Success for me is having the freedom to create when I want, meeting amazing people along the way, while appealing to that growing tribe of women who see the potential this world has. I’m not in a hurry — there’s so much to learn along the way.
Of course, as a stylist, when I see a jewelry collection I immediately start envisioning how I would style it, wondering what clothing lines I could see it effortlessly meshing with. In this case, I pictured an edgy look from Rick Owens.
How would you style the line to suit your own personal style? I want to thank Ton for her time and for letting me explore these pieces in person. I truly appreciate it, and I wish you and your team a very sparkly future!