About Norman Grant

09/11/2017 9304 10 0

A Scottish silver jewellery designer whose work is much prized today is Norman Grant. He was born in Forres, Scotland in 1943 and at the age of 18 started training at Grays School of Art in Aberdeen. Initially he studied graphic design before later moving into silversmithing . Having lived near the coast much of his jewellery designs reflected the natural shapes and details seen in the environment.

Flower motifs, trees, seaweed, fish, wave and cloud motifs featured in his work, as well as microscopic plant cell structures.
In the late sixties Norman Grant began to produce pieces of jewellery in his own small garden shed.  His preferred medium was translucent enamel, which he combined with Sterling Silver. The low cost of materials enabled him to be experimental with this work, while keeping costs for the customer reasonably low. Knowing that if he was to be successful, he had to sell his work,

Norman visited local Scottish jewellers, and was amazed when all the jewellery pieces that he took with him sold in one morning. Right away Grant found himself working full time to complete orders and within a year the popularity of his work was clear. With colourful psychedelic colours and Pop art patterns, it reflected the art and fashion style ethos of the period.

Above: Example of Norman Grant vintage necklacefrom Modern Vintage Style vintage jewellery collection

Grants work began to be sought by London shops such as Liberty of London and Harrods, and was also picked up by Bonwit Teller and Marshall Field in America. At this point fashion boutiques generally stocked plastic jewellery with department store and jewellers dealing with precious stones and gold. Without intention Grant had broken new ground by providing well made and imaginative pieces that were relatively inexpensive without being gimmicky.

Norman Grant's jewellery quickly became synonymous with the psychedelic "Art Nouveau" floral revival style of the early 1970s, and its candy colour shapes and luminescent flowers provided ideal accessories for the fashion  of the moment from designers such Mary Quant and Biba. His jewellery designs soon quickly became "must-have" item that were favoured by many celebrities including Sandy Shaw and Mick Jagger, and later on Elton John and Billy Connelly.


Above: Norman Grant enamel necklaces, bracelets and vintage earrings.

By the mid 1970’s Norman Grants company called "Dust" Jewellery   was well established in its own workshops in Lundin Links on the Fife coast of Scotland and employing a small number of staff to keep up with the constant demand. He also ran a summer school programme at the workshop each July, which was popular with students who came from around the world.   
At this point  Grant also provided a mail order service where each piece could be ordered in a customer’s preferred choice of colour and delivered to anywhere around the world. The design of Grants work meant that it was as easily suited to use for cufflinks and rings as well as brooches and pendants. Multi colour options allowed customers to mix and match their jewellery with their outfits often ordering the same item in different colours.  Every year several pieces that had not been top seller were withdrawn and other new ones items introduced. Unfortunately no extensive archive records were kept and so it is impossible to say how many different designs and colour ways were ever produced.   

By the mid 1970's Norman decided to move in a new direction away, by introducing a range of art nouveau inspired work in Titanium and silver. These designs however had limited success and the company found that the original enamel and silver range still enjoyed a provided greater sales.  

Over time though the firm’s titanium range began to be more successful and eventually the organic, colourful pop art designs of the seventies were discontinued. By 1978 the very popular jewellery school had to be abandoned due to the disruption caused to the firm’s production.

In the 1980’s after many years of experience in the jewellery trade, Grant decided to work as a consultant with the De Beers Group .  He has left behind him an enduring and extensive legacy of colourful and imaginative pieces, which are still highly sought after today
Norman Grants work usually carries the "NG" Monogram inside a square, as well the Edinburgh Assay Marks. Later titanium jewellery pieces are often unmarked and can only be identified by style.
For some beautiful examples of Norman Grant jewellery see our  vintage jewellery  category.



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