Christmas is just around the corner and many of you will already be on the lookout for the perfect present.
If you’re searching for ideas and inspiration, Orkney’s incredible array of talented makers are sure to have something special in stock.
We’re going to be taking a regular look at the latest local products from our Creative Orkney and Taste of Orkney members over the coming months and we've timed our first blog to conveniently coincide with the festive season. Find out what you can pick up from Orkney for your loved ones this year.
If you’re planning to purchase a delicious gift from Orkney’s larder then The Island Smokery’s Orkney Smoked Cheddar Gift Boxes could be the ideal option. Featuring six different cheeses, including its traditional smoked cheddars and flavoured smoked cheddars, the boxes can be delivered anywhere in the UK.
This new contemporary collection from Orkney jewellery designer Sheila Fleet is a fusion of natural and geometric forms, creating a range of easy-to-wear, collectible, mixed-metal designs. The range includes silver, chain-linked necklaces; bold, hexagonal bangles adorned with 9ct gold bees; and stylish hexagonal-shaped rings. Some of the designs are set with citrine gemstones and hand-enamelled pieces. This year, Sheila has also teamed up with local fashion designer Kirsteen Stewart to create a new range of beautiful muslin scarves, based on some of Sheila’s most iconic jewellery collections.
The latest addition to Box’d! Orkney’s fabulous foodie range are gourmet Orkney Marshmallows, handmade and hand cut in the islands. New limited edition marshmallows have been launched this Christmas, inspired by the annual Kirkwall Ba’ game which is played in the streets of the town every Christmas and New Year’s Day. On offer are sea salt and caramel, and orange and passionfruit flavours. They are the perfect stocking filler!
Jane Glue has been capturing the local landscape for more than three decades and her watercolour, acrylic and mixed media works focus on Orkney’s nature, colours and light. Her new collection of embellished prints includes scenes of Kirkwall, Happy Valley and the Ring of Brodgar, with each hand-finished by Jane using the likes of inks, oil crayons, collage and gold or silver leaf. Each print is unique and signed by Jane, too.
Orkney Distillery - Limited edition Ba' bottles
Orkney Distilling have a limited number of some very special bottles of gin available this year. After the cancellation of the 2020/21 Kirkwall Ba' games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team created GATA - from the old Norse word for street - to mark the unprecedented year in the game's history. Two casks were filled with the signature Kirkjuvagr gin; one to symbolise the Uppies, a ruby port cask filled on Christmas Day 2020, and a Bourbon cask, filled on New Year's Day 2021, to symbolise the Doonies. Bespoke tickets for a small number of bottles are available to buy now from the distillery - an ideal gift for anyone interested in the Ba' or Orcadian heritage.
One year on from launching the first Outlander jewellery range, Aurora Jewellery has announced the arrival of the Jacobite Rose Coin Collection. The new range has been inspired by the little white rose, a beautiful plant that's native to Scotland. It was used as an emblem by the Jacobites, and as many Outlander fans know, Jamie Fraser was sympathetic to their cause. The pieces have been crafted in silver, using the emblematic rose as its central theme. The collection includes drop earrings with delicate rose embellishments, a neck wire with a Jacobite Rose Coin charm as well as stud earrings. There are two bracelets, one with a singular Jacobite Rose Coin charm and another that includes five interconnected rose coin charms. For men, there are thistle cufflinks in silver.
Orkney’s honesty boxes are renowned for the fantastic quality of products on offer. The family-run JP Orkney box in Birsay is one of the most popular, with an incredible selection of items, including tablet, cakes, jams and chutneys, all made with seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. The team have expanded into hampers and their Christmas boxes offer a real taste of Orkney for your loved ones further afield. Choose between sweet, savoury, and spirit boxes, or build your own from the entire range. There’s free delivery across the UK for orders over £15 too.
Stronsay is known as the island of bays thanks to its unique star-shaped landscape and stunning array of beaches. For local jewellery maker, Marion Miller, it has provided perfect inspiration for her latest collection of seashell pendants. Instead of simply casting shells, Marion has created each item from scratch, really capturing the feeling of searching Orkney’s sandy shores for shells.
Another of Orkney’s award-winning gin producers, the Orkney Gin Company has some fantastic festive hampers on offer this year. Featuring a bottle from the range as well as carefully selected mixers, sweets and some savoury snacks, they're an excellent gift idea as Christmas approaches. You can also pick a hamper with the new Aatta gin, a London Dry style gin which is slow distilled eight times with Orcadian rose hip, orange and vanilla.
Tucked away in Orkney’s west mainland you’ll find Aries Gallery. Owned and run by Alan and Norah Bowmer, it’s a real treasure trove of handmade goods, combining their passions for photography and machine embroidery. The latest addition to the range is a beautiful Orkney clock, featuring a photograph of the rose window at St Magnus Cathedral, embroidered with roman numerals, along with a clock mechanism and hands. Available in two sizes, the clocks would make a stunning addition to any home looking for a touch of Orkney.
Highland Park has added a new 15-year-old single malt whisky to its collection, just in time for Christmas. With flavours of scorched pineapple, cinnamon shards and vanilla sponge cake, Viking Heart is available now online, in Orkney and from specialist whisky retailers. It comes in a heavily embossed ceramic bottle, inspired by earthenware vessels whisky would have been stored in a century or two ago at the distillery.
Our local creative community has long been inspired by the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, and Ortak Jewellery’s Maeshowe collection really captures the special sense of this spiritual place. The range, featuring earrings, necklets, bangles, rings and more, is inspired by aspects of the ancient chambered cairn, including the alignment marker showing the sun’s pathway during the Winter Solstice, the Barnhouse Stone, and the ring engraved with 12 points to represent the months of the year. And, of course, the iconic Maeshowe dragon makes an appearance too.
Everyone loves a sweet treat at Christmas, and there is no better option than Orkney fudge from local favourites, Argos Bakery. The range includes vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, stem ginger fudge and more, all handmade here in Orkney. Festive fudge selection boxes are on offer too, with a special mulled wine flavour offering a real taste of the season.
If you’re still looking to add some spirits to someone’s stocking this Christmas then the Deerness Distillery has some lovely luxury hampers on offer. Featuring bottles from the award-winning range of gins, vodka and coffee liqueur, as well as tonics and garnish mixes, the hampers are an excellent way to start the festivities in style.