Updated: Feb 14
Shimara's work is, and always has been, inspired by nature and natural forms.
A childhood spent by the wild Atlantic ocean nurtured Shimara’s fascination for collecting shells, stones, mermaid’s purses, feathers and seed pods along the sea shore.
These found treasures provided her inspiration, and she now uses intricately textured silver and 18ct gold, gum nuts and precious stones to create beautiful, tactile jewellery and stunning silverware. We put a few questions to her, so we could gain a little glimpse of the person behind the rings.
In the words of Cilla…
What's your name and where do you come from?
Shimara Carlow, and I was born in a remote are of west Cork, in Ireland. After moving to Scotland as a child, where I lived for a number of years, I now live in Melbourne Australia, with my young family.
What is your favourite gemstone? And do you have a favourite tool you’d like to tell us about?
My favourite gemstone changes all the time! But currently it is Australian Parti Sapphire, but I also love sapphire, tourmaline and diamonds, in all their colours. My favourite tool is an old coal hammer I got from my dad’s parents house in Scotland, it is so rusted and textured, but it is amazing and provides all the texture in my jewellery!
You’re at cocktail party (we all wish), and someone asks you what do you do? What is your two-line response?
"I am a Jeweller, I work for myself, always have, because I have 3 kids, I have a home studio, which makes the whole thing possible. ."
Why and when did you start making?
I started making at about 10 or 11, my dad had a jewellery workshop where he made etched Celtic brass jewellery, I would work for him for pocket money, and then I would make my own pieces, we would go to craft fairs together to sell our wares!
Fun/little known fact about yourself?
I was born in a teepee on the side of a mountain in West Cork, Ireland ( my mum had made it herself!)
If you could go on holiday right now where would you go?
Home to the UK and Ireland to visit friends and family
What do you like to do when you’re not making jewellery?
I love to head to the beach or away camping, I also garden when I can, and I love a yoga or Pilates class to relax and zone out.
What is your favourite piece of jewellery you own?
What's your most treasured piece of art you own?
A Michael Lloyd beaker, he lives near my parents in Scotland, and his work is incredible, he is also a beautiful human.
Any dream commissions you’d love to be working on in the future?
I had the most amazing diamond stack before Christmas, with chunky bands and so many diamonds! I loved working on that piece, so anything like that would be amazing!
What have you been watching? Your favourite TV show you’ve been bingeing/watching this lockdown?
I don’t watch TV! I used to watch it all the time, but after the having twins ( 6 years ago now) I just found by the end of the day either they interrupted anything we were trying to watch, by tag teaming, or I just needed peace and quiet after all the over-stimulation and noise! We do the daily crossword with a cuppa and a biscuit instead!
Precious Stones and Gems
The lure of precious stones and gems is universal.
From the moment a sparkling mineral first caught the eye of the caveman, humans have been fascinated by the wonders of the earth beneath their feet, and have marvelled at the different ways that stones and crystals react with light, and the way in which they are transformed when cut and polished.
Shimara has used some amazing stones in her work so here's a little introduction to aquamarines and sapphires.
Aquamarines are from the Beryl family. Beryl provides some of nature's most beautiful gemstones. Although it is colourless in its pure form, it is perhaps best known for its coloured varieties, which include aquamarine and emerald- indeed, its name comes from the Greek beryllos, meaning "green stone". The colours in blue and green aquamarine, meaning "sea water" result from traces of iron.
Chemical Name /beryllium aluminium silicate Formula /Be3Al2Si6O18 Hardness /7.5-8
Both Sapphire and Ruby are gem varieties of the same mineral, corundum, an aluminium oxide that is next to diamond in hardness. Although commonly thought of as blue sapphires can also be colourless, green, yellow. orange, violet and pink, among other hues.
Chemical name /Aluminium Oxide Formula /AI2O3 Colour /most colours Hardness /9
Source: JEWEL: A Celebration of Earth's Treasure published by Dorling Kindersley 2016.
Our Sp-Ring 21 Exhibition
Our Sp-Ring 21 exhibition is in our window when the shop is manned - which is Tuesday-Friday at the moment so do have a peep if you're passing. And the other good news is that in Wales, we have been given a date to repoen! Opening April 12th We are uploading more and more items we have in the gallery to on to our online shop, but if you have any enquiries please do not hesitate to contact the gallery.
Whats coming up next ?
/We're going to be exploring in more detail all about our makers where they are from and what makes them tick
/Want to know a bit more about the stones that we use? We going to be including some little facts about what makes a diamond a diamond and a CZ not a diamond.
/We'll be styling it up with our very own stylist Rachel Thomas Davies. She'll be showing us ways to wear the jewellery we stock with some of her picks.
/And just because its been a long time - how about a little introduction to Anne and her business- how it all started.
/We got some great links to share with you all about jewellery - online exhibitions you can check out and what talks are coming up. If there's anything you'd like us to include in our newsletters then please get in touch.
One of our favourite things before lockdown was to visit our very own cinema on the Pier run by SnowCat Cinema. Ben's been keeping us going with emails about films that are on Freeview TV and we thought you'd like to see his recommendations. Pop along to his website and sign up for regular recommendations like those coming up this week.
Ben and the team not only have film recommendations but offer rentals too. Monday 15th March - Talking Pictures TV at 8:20pm The Quiller Memorandum Michael Anderson | 1966
A British Intelligence agent searches for a neo-Nazi group responsible for the deaths of his two predecessors in West Berlin.
Bond without the guns and gadgets.
Why you should see it: because it's a great 60's espionage thriller with a wonderful John Barry score.
Tuesday 16th March - ITV4 at 9pm
High Plains Drifter
Clint Eastwood | 1973
A mysterious drifter arrives in a small lakeside town and is hired by the townsfolk to defend them. He's not all that he seems though - an unusual story with a mystery at the heart of it. Warning - it's a tough watch with some very uncomfortable scenes.
Why you should see it: because it's a fascinating revisionist Western.
Wednesday 17th March - Film4 at 9pm
Rob Reiner | 1990
James Caan plays a famous author whose car goes off the road in the middle of nowhere. When he wakes he realises that his rescuer (Kathy Bates) is a crazed fan of his work, and she's not happy with the way the story is developing for her favourite character.
Why you should see it: because it's one of the best Stephen King adaptations
Thursday 18th March - BBC4 at 9pm
My Feral Heart
Jane Gull | 2016 | F-Rated
A wonderful central performance from Steven Brandon as a young, independent man with Down's syndrome who is taken into a care facility following the death of his mother. Institutional life does not suit him and he rails against it.
Why you should see it: because it's a small gem of a film.
Friday 19th March - 5Star at 9pm
James Cameron | 1984
A human freedom-fighter is sent back in time to protect the mother of a future leader from an unstoppable, inhuman killing machine.
An iconic role for Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Why you should see it: because it's an all-time great sci-fi horror
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