When 19th century novelist George Eliot wrote: “It is never too late to be what you might
have been,” she might well have been predicting the life path taken by Jewellery designer Beatrice Ullah.
Beatrice doesn’t just embody the spirit of reinvention, she proves you can excel in a totally new field. One of the most talented jewellery designers and makers on the Scottish scene and a recent entrant to the Scottish Design Exchange, Beatrice, now 62 years of age, is already attracting interest from across the world.
”I recently received an enthusiastic email enquiry from the midwestern US state of Iowa. It was about a Sterling Silver pendant I had created and for which I had drawn inspiration from the ancient standing stones of South Uist. It was out of the blue and a major boost to my confidence.“
- Beatrice Ullah
“It was also a thrill to see my own tribute pieces to International Bee Day recently feature in Scottish Design Exchange’s window display in Buchanan Galleries. Design and quality are very important to me, whether it’s the latest edition of a Midgie, the £2 laser cut beech pins or the Humble Bumble Collection. I hope they will get Glasgow buzzing.”
- Beatrice Ullah
Anyone who has known Beatrice at any stage of her multifarious life will not be in the least bit surprised by her newfound success. While, today she spends most of her week hard at work in her studio developing new designs and creating bespoke pieces for her growing list of clients, this follows on from a life fully worked, lived and celebrated. Scratch beneath the surface and you find a life rich in experience – from heartache to joy.
What her growing band of admirers may not know is that as a Burgess of the City, Beatrice is technically allowed to graze her livestock or hang her washing in Glasgow Green – an opportunity she has yet to take up. This award came when in 2016, while studying Jewellery Design & Manufacturing at Glasgow’s Kelvin College, she won 1st Prize in a design competition to create the 500th Anniversary ware for the oldest trade in Glasgow, The Honourable Trade of Skinners and Glovers. “That was a great honour for me. My task? To create a piece of commemorative silverware. I chose to design and produce a quaich with a modern twist. As a result of that, I was awarded Burgess of the City.” During the same year, Beatrice also won 2nd Prize from The Scottish Gemological Association in 2016.
Before she entered the world of jewellery, Beatrice worked for many years in Community
Education for the City of Glasgow Council where she managed the distribution of grants to community groups and was responsible for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. In 2009, after successful and rewarding career in Community Education, she took the bold move to leave the Council to embark on a wholly new adventure.
A new start
It all started with evening classes. “I enrolled in as many Jewellery courses as I could manage and worked in part-time jobs to support myself. Then after 18 months of part-time study, came the opportunity to enrol in a full-time three-year HND course in Jewellery Design and Manufacturing at Kelvin College. It was a chance I jumped at. At the same time, I decided to start a wee business selling my own designed jewellery. I would display at craft fairs. Now jewellery is my passion and my full-time business.”
It has been quite a journey for Beatrice. Amidst all of this she has been a carer for a family
member. Her appetite though for lifelong learning remains undiminished. “Stand still for too long and I would go stir crazy – life really is too short.” Beatrice’s jewellery, sold under the brand name BUjewellery, is exquisite and much loved by her growing band of regular customers. Their words speak volumes.
“Fantastic jewellery. No job too big or small. Beatrice is always smiling. Always delivers on time. I have bought lots of pieces over the years and they are always of a great quality."
“Beatrice did a fabulous job of remodelling two very special rings for me into a beautiful new one. I am delighted with the result. Beatrice is lovely - very patient and helpful!”
So, not only does Beatrice design and manufacture her own unique brand of jewellery which she describes as Scottish with a modern twist, she also takes heirlooms that have been passed down through the generation and reworks them.
If you haven’t yet, you must see Beatrice’s remarkable collection at BUJewellery online or on her Facebook Page, pop along to Merchant Square Craft and Design Fair any weekend in Glasgow. You can look at her latest work or a chat about a remodelling project or repair. You will always be greeted with a warm smile.
Or, of course come along to the Scottish Design Exchange store in Buchanan Galleries,