The beauty, grace, and wonder of a genuine stone, found among Scotland’s beaches or mountains, cannot be matched. They are outstanding creations, etched with unique patterns and the wondrous designs of nature. Not only is the process for discovering these stones arduous, but the locations rare and the quality unprecedented. That is why Faodail lives out the old Galic proverb from which the name comes.
Faodail is an old Galic proverb, symbolising a lucky find. And living out that proverb is exactly what we do.
Whether scouring remote mountain tops or searching alongside windswept beaches, our country of Scotland offers only the best lucky finds.
At Faodail we take great pride in the fact that we have the honour of telling the story behind every stone located. Our potential clients can discover exactly how the stone they desire to purchase was found, all the way through the many various stages of cutting and polishing said stone. We then can lead them directly through the steps taken to forge precious metals and build the settings to properly display and highlight our country's worthy stones.
While every part of our work is unique, one of the aspects of our company that sets it apart is its location. We do not outsource any work, but instead, do everything in Scotland in our local workshop. Faodail also prides itself upon being zero waste. Our ecologically friendly systems only use completely ethically sourced gemstones and metals.
How the Stones are Sourced
“Measure twice, cut once.” That saying is one to live by, and it is also the sentiment by which we operate Faodail. Because of this, the very first step in our stone-sourcing process is research. Performing this research allows us to find our rough materials in a thorough manner.
This research comes from a few different methods. Geological data, antique mineralogical books, or information personally exchanged between fellow collectors are all sources for this research. Occasionally, we do purchase rough materials from collectors, however, finding these stones is truly a labour of love and we do so because we are passionate about it.
After a new (or old) collecting area has been located on a map, it will be studied for potential. Once we have narrowed down this area to a few smaller locations, we visit them in person to make a decision about what kind of potential the area might hold. When we find locations with great potential, we seek permission from the landowners to collect the stones.
Processing the Stones
Have you ever seen a freshly collected mineral specimen? It most likely did not look very beautiful or ready to be set into a piece of jewellery. It was probably dirty, a bit rough, and very raw. Part of our job at Faodail is to utilise the ancient art of lapidary to create a true gem from the rough materials we find in collection areas.
Lapidary is an extremely complicated process. To describe it in simple terms, it is an eight-step routine of cutting and trimming the stone with abrasive diamond powder. The grit slowly becomes increased to finer levels until the stone is beautifully polished into a true gem and ready to be treasured for a lifetime by its owner.
The Jewelry Process
After the stone has been ground and polished, it is taken to the jeweller's bench to find its forever home in a handmade precious metal setting. This process begins at the forging table in a crucible filled with precious metal. It is heated until it melts and then is poured into an ingot mould. Once the ingot is cooled and cleaned, we begin to create our base wires and sheets. From this base, we will build the intricate components of the rest of our piece.
Once the piece is made, it is polished, cleaned, and sent to Edinburgh assay office for hallmarking (one of the oldest and most historic assay offices in the world) the piece is then returned assayed and verified for purity with a unique set of hallmarks.
And voila! We now have a finished piece, ready to be cherished by its wearer.
The History of Lapidary
Lapidary is a rare process to find in the United Kingdom these days. However, this has not always been the case. During the Victorian times, Britain had a thriving lapidary trade, exporting Scottish gemstones all over the world.
London lapidaries would travel every summer to the prolific collecting areas of Scotland to either purchase materials from the locals or try to find their own.
The jewellery that came from this era was referred to as Scotch Pebble jewellery. This name was popularised by Queen Victoria who had an interest in gemstones that came from the British Isles and regularly collected them in different areas of Scotland. Scotch Pebble jewellery was sold all over the world and is very collectable today. There are many forgeries on the market, so be sure to keep an eye out for the small details which are the mark of a genuine piece of Scotch Pebble jewellery.
During the early part of the 1900s, many superior quality materials began to arrive from Africa and South America. These materials were created through extremely inexpensive manual labour, keeping prices low and eventually killing the lapidary industry. It has sadly never recovered.
As we began our journey into the word of lapidary, we discovered this tragic truth. Processing machines were nearly impossible to locate and purchase in Europe and would need to be imported from the United States or Australia.
Because of the extreme importation charges, we decided to take matters into our own hands. Building our own lapidary processing equipment with the help of a little engineering knowledge and a lot of research, six months later we had our very first lapidary processor. To this day, our original handmade machine is still in operation.
Here at Faodail, we truly believe in doing things from scratch. We hope it shines through in our work. We also genuinely desire that, in reading about our piece creation process, you are moved to celebrate this historical jewellery with us.