Orkney-based jewellery designer Sheila Fleet OBE has opened a gallery in the heart of St Andrews in eastern Scotland.
After over a year in development, the store will be Sheila Fleet’s fifth jewellery gallery.
Sheila Fleet, together with Interior Designer/Artist Marion Yorston, present and celebrate a fusion of their unique talents. This new retail experience promises to take you through time and space by the blending of elements.
Commenting on the project, Managing Director Martin Fleet said: “When we started to strip back the premises in early March 2020, I didn’t expect a four-month renovation to take over a year. The pandemic has brought delays, but also the ability to change the plan and adapt.
“It has always been an aspiration to open our own shop in St Andrews and the opportunity arose when Richard Henderson, from Matthew Hendersons Jewellers, gave us first refusal to rent the building after deciding to retire. We used to supply the former premises and we did very good business with them. So, this development has been a lot of years in the planning.
He adds, “Shops and the high street have had a tough time in recent years, and even more so due to closures brought on by the pandemic. This new shop is not just a jewellery gallery, but a ‘retail theatre’ and we hope visitors to St Andrews will enjoy the experience, which presents our jewellery beautifully in this new location.”
The shop fit has been undertaken by Alexander Oastler Ltd, with the lighting design, a key aspect throughout the shop, designed by Colin Begley of HUS Architecture. Ratho Byres Forge were commissioned to create the stunning seaweed sculpture that wraps around the exterior of the shop.
Interior designer Marion Yorston has created a space with a planetary feel. Halos of light draw the customer through the space, from a very white space in the entrance, representing daylight, down to a dark space at the rear of the shop, representing night.
Make sure to look up when browsing. The halos of light frame in the constellation dome at the entrance where the stars of the Northern Hemisphere have been plotted using 900 LED lights. These twinkle and slowly fade in and out.
Towards the rear of the shop Steven Gray, of Cosmos Planetarium, has installed a Planetarium featuring a choreographed film and soundtrack showing the story of the birth of the Universe and close-up shots of the elements here on Earth that inspire Sheila’s jewellery.
The spangle of light on water, the movement of the reeds in the dunes, and the movement of seaweed in the rockpools found along Orkney’s shores. As the video unfolds, the light played into the dome reflects off the glass surfaces, creating an immersive experience of being in Orkney, a truly unique jewellery shopping experience.
Marion Yorston, speaking on the design, said: “We are giving the customer an experience where all their senses are awakened by this unique interior and by Sheila’s extensive collection of jewellery. We hope our customers will be inspired and awakened by the beauty of the natural world, present in both the intricate detail in Sheila’s jewellery and in all the elements within the store itself.”
Alongside Sheila’s extensive range of collections and designer rings, the new shop will also showcase some rare pieces made in Scottish Gold. Sheila Fleet is currently one of the only jewellers authorised to make jewellery using 18ct Scottish Gold from the Cononish Gold mine, which is Scotland’s only commercial gold mine. If you’re looking for a special piece of jewellery—a piece mined, designed and made in Scotland—make sure to visit the gallery.
Sheila Fleet adds, “Over the last 28 years I have built a great team of skilled staff. Working together to get this new St Andrews shop open has kept us all positive and optimistic for the future of our designed-and-made-in-Orkney jewellery. I look forward to welcoming you to the new gallery so you can see for yourself how we’ve transformed a traditional jewellery shop into a contemporary magical space.”
Martin said “With its rich heritage, the home of golf, and the prestigious St Andrews University, plus a proven record of good sales, we feel long-term it will be a great addition to our other shops on mainland Scotland.