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Meet the Bradford Maker Creating Silver Clay Jewellery From Fingerprints

Meet the Bradford Maker Creating Silver Clay Jewellery From Fingerprints © Emma Shelton Photography
February 2024
Reading time 3 Minutes

Becca Macdonald's fingerprint jewellery crafting kits have been shortlisted for The Gift of the Year Awards

Living North meet Becca to find out more about her Bradford-based business and how her silver clay jewellery is something to be treasured for life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a self-taught jeweller whose work is material led and influenced by my background in textiles, ceramics and sculpture.

How did you get into jewellery making?
I have always had a real love for jewellery, for as long as I can remember! But it was Textile Design that I chose to study at Chelsea College of Arts, and following my degree I was employed in design studios creating immersive installations and bespoke sculptural artworks. I had the opportunity to work with a wide range of materials and processes and it was during this time that I first heard of silver clay. A material which behaves like clay but transforms into solid silver after firing sounded just like magic, and I couldn’t get it out of my head! While in London I also took up an evening class in jewellery making where I was shown the very basics. This influenced a change in direction and pushed me to explore the ideas that the discovery of silver clay had sparked.

© Becca Macdonald
© Emma Shelton Photography

© Emma Shelton Photography

How would you describe the jewellery you create?
Unique, tactile jewellery capturing human gesture. My work is centred around the power of memory and preserving a moment in time, whether that be the movement of a brushstroke, the creases left in fabric or the fingerprint of a loved one.

How do you make it? 
I predominately work with silver clay and really let the capability of the material guide my designing. An important quality to my work is that every piece captures an individual moment in time and the exact shapes and textures can never be recreated exactly the same again, meaning every piece of jewellery is beautifully unique to the wearer. Most notably I paint with silver. Each piece in my Brushstrokes collection is individually hand painted in silver clay. I then torch fire every piece, resulting in a pure silver brushstroke straight from my paintbrush.

What inspires you? 
I’ve always been drawn to fluid movement and organic forms and initially my design career was heading down a sculptural path. The concept of capturing the 'evidence of presence' has had me hooked for some time now. I want to grasp the intangible. I love the idea of freezing a fleeting moment and preserving the beauty in that movement. I look for visual evidence of human presence, of being.

Talk us through your current collections.
I have two growing collections, my Brushstrokes (wearable strokes of pure silver straight from my paintbrush) and my Gestures (simple, everyday pieces that capture a moment of movement, a crease, a pop or a smudge…). Then there is my capsule collection of Flower Fossils – one-of-a-kind, birth flower pendants, made with real flowers. These charming pendants are individually handcrafted with an organic edge and rustic appearance, a very special token to mark significant dates.

How does your fingerprint jewellery work?
My fingerprint jewellery is created in your hands and then finished in mine using The Personal Touch Jewellery Crafting Kits. Included in the kits is enough silver clay to capture up to two fingerprints from the comfort of home. Illustrated instructions and access to an online tutorial video means that anyone can create an utterly unique piece of jewellery. Your fingerprints are returned to me in the jewellery box and prepaid envelope provided, then I work my magic to transform your prints into precious jewellery.

No moulds are made and no casts are copied; the exact piece of silver that is touched becomes the jewellery that is treasured. I devised the kits during lockdown, when there was distance between us all, for what is more personal than a fingerprint to keep that special someone close? I am very proud that this year The Personal Touch Jewellery Crafting Kits have been shortlisted in The Gift of the Year Awards. 

What’s a typical day like for you?
I’m very lucky to have a beautiful riverside studio and this is where you’ll find me and my little Jack Russell. A typical day can be spent painting silver brushstrokes, firing and finishing fingerprint jewellery and often working on bespoke commissions.

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© Emma Shelton Photography

You also run workshops?
I host monthly Beginners Silver Clay Jewellery Making Workshops, where I introduce people to the magic of silver clay. Participants will design, sculpt and torch fire their very own silver jewellery in a single day, with no previous jewellery making experience needed!

What do you love most about what you do?
I get such a joy from designing and creating every day and as jewellery is so personal and often sentimental, it is a real privilege to craft pieces that will be truly treasured.  

What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on some larger scale pieces, linking back to my sculptural roots, I’ve been dreaming up some statement ring and necklace designs that I’m looking forward to bringing to life. I am also working on introducing gemstones into my designs.

How have you found running a business from Yorkshire?
Yorkshire, in particular Bradford where I am based, has such a wonderful and supportive creative community. I am lucky to live near Saltaire which, with Salts Mill at its heart, is such an inspiring place to be.

What does the future hold for you? 
Hopefully I will be continuing to create personal pieces of jewellery to be treasured and it would be wonderful to find The Personal Touch Jewellery Crafting Kits stocked in luxury gift shops around the country.

Find out more at

WIN! To be in with a chance of winning your own Personal Touch Jewellery Crafting Kit, worth £120, to make your choice of a necklace, bracelet or cufflinks, simply enter our competition here.

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