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Gallery Gemma at Alton Mill featuring new jewellery collection

October 20, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

“We felt it was time for me – it has been four or five years – to introduce my own jewellery that I made myself. It’s called the Providence Collection. Some of the gemstones are one of a kind,” said Anne-Marie Warburton, founder and owner of Gallery Gemma at the Alton Mill Arts Centre.

She made two jewellery-related business trips this year, one to the huge gemstone show featured annually in Tucson, Arizona in February and to the Society of North American Goldsmith Conference in the city of Providence, Rhode Island in June. 

Providence is home to the distinctive Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Ms. Warburton was full of praise for the work and talent of the students attending and graduating from the RISD and some of the interesting geometric shapes she saw in their creations came back to her later.

It was during the Goldsmith Conference that she found inspiration for her new collection, hence its name – Providence Collection.

“There were gold smithing tools of all different shapes that you could use to make different shaped jewellery. So, these pieces are a little bit chunky, the opposite of delicate but they have to feel light – because some of them are earrings,” said Ms. Warburton.

It is the geometry of the shapes that inspired her, commenting, “There is simplicity in geometry that has always appealed to me. Where numbers can seem complicated, shapes are clear and relatable. I purchased one of the tools and made my first chunky hexagon shape and from that, inspiration struck.”

Since that moment, the juxtaposition of hexagons and circles, squares and drops have enticed Ms. Warburton to create a whole collection of new designs.

She explained the details of her new creations, telling us that she hand hammered the sterling silver, some sterling silver in unique shapes, cultured pearls mixed into the shapes by long drops, round and square. 

While in Tucson, Ms. Warburton had discovered some sliced druzy, “natural and beautiful colours formed within quartz or minerals that have been exposed [for many years] to water.” The druzy gems that Ms. Warburton brought back are small and she has used them to make a necklace and likewise earrings. She also found lovely petrified wood and blue opals in Tucson.

The premises of Gallery Gemma is quite a different take on a jewellery store, situated as it is, within the stone walls of the historic Alton Mill. After so many years of restorative construction, improvements to the interior and many years of faithful artists and artisans as tenants, visitors and patrons, the Alton Mill has become well-known far and wide.

It may well be said that Gallery Gemma and the dedication of Ms. Warburton to promote her Gallery Gemma have truly contributed to that. As one of the longest-standing tenants in the building, she laughs when she recalls that there was still construction going on in those early days of her tenancy.

Over time, she has built a reputation for very high quality and unique collections of jewellery, displaying new and extraordinary pieces in glass cases. From time to time, she holds a private gem show in which expert cutters come from across the continent to showcase their beautiful gems for possible purchase on the spot. These are then made into custom pieces, many by Ms. Warburton herself. The last one was, she reassured us, “fabulous.”

The “soft launch” for the Providence Collection is this week and she hopes people will love and want to wear the bracelets, necklaces, earrings and maybe rings, the prices of which are quite reasonable. This is a wonderful addition to the gallery, she says.

“Cultured pearls are coming next month,” she told the Citizen. “An expert is coming from San Francisco to showcase the world’s most beautiful cultured pearls.”

She said, “It’s just wonderful to bring this kind of knowledgeable person here.”

As a long-time friend of Theatre Orangeville, Ms. Warburton has for several years created a piece or donated a unique feature from one of her guest collections to the theatre for its annual Christmas time Gala. This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Theatre Orangeville.

Albeit no such gala has been possible in person since 2019, the gala this year on Nov. 12, formerly titled the Victorian Christmas Gala is back as ‘Twas the Night Gala.’ Same great evening, still staged at the Best Western Orangeville Inn and Suites, with a new gala name.

Once again this year, Anne-Marie Warburton is making a fabulous set of jewellery and here is how she describes it: “There is a strand or necklace of black diamonds and a white gold star and a white diamond in it. I’m making the star removable to be taken out if desired.”

Best of all these days, Anne-Marie Warburton commented, “What a pleasure it is to be socializing again. So many people are coming out now. The Alton Mill is truly a destination place.”

To see pieces from her new Providence Collection and other delights at Gallery Gemma go to

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