Clare McNaught Discusses the College's Collaboration with Hamilton & Inches
1 September 2022
The College are delighted to have partnered with luxury jewellers Hamilton & Inches for a first-of-its-kind collaboration. The selection of luxury and handcrafted jewellery pieces, inspired by RCSEd’s crest, reflect the College’s history and make wonderful keepsakes for College Members. Incoming Vice-President and Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon Clare McNaught shares her thoughts on the range, and describes her visit to the Hamilton & Inches workshop.
As someone who has ‘worn many hats’ within the College, what does this jewellery range mean to you?
As a female surgeon, I always felt that the College’s range of gifts didn’t really appeal to the women who make up our membership. There were nice ties to choose from, hipflasks and such, but there was never much aimed at women apart from the occasional scarf. That definitely needed to be addressed.
Why a jewellery range?
When you have achieved a milestone in your career such as passing an examination or receiving your Membership, Fellowship or Diploma, it’s always nice to have a piece of jewellery to remind you of that. When I passed my MRCS Examination, my family got me a beautiful bracelet elsewhere because there wasn’t anything they could buy specifically from the College, so it’s now really nice that we have something to choose from that has relevance to the College. There’s also an item for everyone, and the range is reasonably priced with options for every budget.
Hamilton & Inches and the College have a shared history, were they an obvious choice for the collaboration?
Absolutely – for over 150 years we have been working together, and Hamilton & Inches have been producing the medals that we give out to our award recipients for many years. They also made the President’s badge of honour, so we’ve always had a very close association with them. They are experts in their field and have a reputation for producing jewellery of a high quality, and I think that reflects a lot of our values – as surgeons, we are also skilled workers who have a great attention to detail.
What was it like getting to go along to the Hamilton & Inches workshop to see the crafting process?
I had such a fun day – it was amazing to see how they actually work with these precious metals, and to get to appreciate the amount of time and effort that goes into creating each individual piece. In this modern world we expect everything to be mass-produced, but in fact that’s not the case with this range, as each piece is individually finished off by hand. I got the chance to solder chain links on some of the pieces of jewellery, which allowed me to experience first-hand how intricate the work really is. It was also incredible to see how highly trained the staff were, and how well they work with incredibly complex equipment to produce such fine work. Whilst working with these fine metals, they also collect the ‘dust’ particles at the end of the day – everything is very carefully recycled rather than thrown away.
What feedback have you heard about the pieces?
We’ve given some of the range as gifts to other surgical leaders across the globe who absolutely love them. The President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Dr Sally Langley, was given one of the bracelets. We also gave one of the pins to the President of The College of Surgeons of Malaysia, Professor Dr Lim Kean Ghee, who wore it the next day which was really nice to see. So, they are really nice to be able to give as gifts which I’ll be keeping in mind. One of my colleagues commented on how lovely my bracelet was so I’ll definitely be gifting one to her for Christmas!
Finally, what are your favourite pieces from the range?
It’s hard to choose, but I love the sun bracelet and also really like the earrings.
View the full range here.