In August 1842, Queen Victoria and Albert set off on a fortnight's regal tour through Scotland.
While Albert spent a lot of the time bagging the local fauna, and sampling the local dram, the Queen held receptions, danced at Highland balls, and went shopping, as the diary of their royal excursion reveals:
"Mr Sanderson, the lapidary, received an award to attend at Dalkeith palace this day, with specimens of Scottish stones, and jewellery of a national character.
"These were greatly admired by Her Majesty and the ladies of the Court; and after the Queen had selected several beautiful specimens of pebble brooches, the royal suite also made extensive purchases".
Scotland's famous pebble jewellery: colourful stones set in precious metal.
In its typical form, Scottish jewellery from the Victorian era is wrought in gold or sterling silver and coloured with attractive stone, usually agate or granite, and amber quartz (from The Cairngorms mountain range in the eastern Highlands of Scotland).
In the mid-1800s a large industry was spawned by the fashion for Scottish pebble jewellery, much of it based on traditional shapes and uses.
Ring or annular brooches were long used in Scotland to fasten a plaid at the shoulder. But the inventiveness of the craftsmen, and the desire of Victorians for decorative frivolities of all kind, soon saw the range expand beyond folk forms to include multicoloured brooches, bracelets, earrings, pins in the shape of dirks, and all manner of souvenir trinkets.
Rare skills were needed to produce jewels of distinction.
Production of this jewellery demanded a very high standard of workmanship, and precision in cutting the stone skilfully.
Whimsical designs were executed with disciplined techniques to produce distinctive jewellery, proudly claimed as "Scottish".
The emblems of Scotland often featured in the jewellery - clan crests, thistles, the St Andrew's cross, basket-hilted swords, shields and other classic weaponry.
Sentimental and romantic symbols were favourites with the Victorians.
Hearts, anchors, arrows, leaves, knotwork, horseshoes, shells and even the humble umbrella were faithfully reproduced to help express the distinctive mood of the giver or the wearer. An anchor, for example, was a traditional symbol of hope, while a horseshoe was for good luck.
Symbols of time and place retain their magic.
There is a magic about these delicate reminders of a bygone era which sets them apart from other jewellery. They are at once colourful, precious, decorative, identifiable and - above all else - evocative of the romantic love of a young queen for her handsome husband, and for a land filled with scenic wonders and possessing a rich cultural tradition.
Who could fail to be moved by these durable symbols of love, romance and chivalry - and yearn to possess and wear them proudly?
*Nerida Barnsley is the proprietor of A Little Piece of Scotland, formerly of Sutton Forest, now located in Mittagong's popular Antiques Centre, where a fine selection of Scottish pebble jewellery can be found.