The making of a Highland Cow brooch

The idea for our highland cows came when our designer, Avril Manderson, was asked to make an exhibition piece in August 2011.  Avril's sheep had started to develop a bit of a following, and the exhibition organisers were keen to see more of her work.

The exhibition brooch was made from oxidised fine silver wire and the horns were sterling silver.  Avril was drawn by the contrast between the rugged, textured coats of highland cattle, and their smooth, imposing horns. The cow brooch received rave reviews and so we started producing oxidised silver brooches in the same handmade way.

A Facebook follower asked why we didn't make the highland cow brooches in copper, the same colour as a highland cow...'what a great idea' we thought!  We experimented with different types and thicknesses of copper wire until we found one that was just right.  We sent a brooch to the lady who made the Facebook suggestion and she also gave the copper highland cow brooch her stamp of approval.

Each piece is made entirely by hand from beginning to end.  The horns are handcut from sterling silver sheet using a handsaw and the copper wire is formed by hand to create the texture of the highland cow.

We love that each piece of highland cow jewellery is slightly different to the next, each one an individual handmade character.

"Fresh Fleeces is a company specialising in handmade silver jewellery based on sheep and other countryside animals. Based in Northern Ireland, our team of talented silversmiths make the entire Fresh Fleeces range of jewellery by hand.  Our jewellery is the perfect sheep gift for someone special. We offer insured delivery as standard and ship orders worldwide.