The Story Of The Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket

The Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket in Sterling Silver, Gold and Rose Gold vermeil

WHEN LILY BLANCHE designer Gillian Crawford wanted to create a really special family locket of heirloom quality, she drew on the past – both her degree in archaeology from Edinburgh University and her family heritage.

“Family Is Everything”

“Family is everything to me and as my children grew up and flew the nest, keeping them close to my heart in a really tangible way became incredibly important,” Gillian says. “In a fast-paced, throwaway culture, where people often don’t take time to cherish memories, we can forget how incredibly important a photograph can be in taking us back to that moment in time. Photographs are so ubiquitous now that we need a new way of making them special and cherished.

The Lily Blanche Memory Keeper opens to reveal 6 secret photographs

“We understood this better in the past, when lockets were both a reminder and a comfort – a way of treasuring precious memories.

“We Want Our Lockets To Surprise And Delight”

“With the exception of an engagement ring, a locket is the most romantic piece of jewellery. Because of this, lockets are my favourite pieces to create. We want our lockets to surprise and delight the women who wear them.”

At the Lily Blanche studio, there is rarely a single inspiration for a piece of jewellery. Ideas come together, often in unexpected ways. But running through all of the Lily Blanche collections are the themes of sentiment and meaning, of celebrating life and expressing love. The team loves designing and creating pieces with hidden secrets.

“At the heart of the Memory Keeper Locket is the idea of family, of keeping them close, and of treasuring precious memories,” Gillian says. “But I also wanted the Memory Keeper Locket to be something that is passed on from mother to daughter, aunt to niece or godmother to goddaughter. The quality and craftsmanship was really important to me.

The Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket in sterling silver opens to reveal six secret photos

“Jewellery Connects Us With The Past In An Intiate Way”

“Jewellery connects us with the past in such an individual and intimate way. Inheriting jewellery is such a humbling thing. A piece can be worn every day by women of different generations. It can take on the patina of the life of the wearer. It will be smoothed and worn to fit them. When it comes down the generations to you, it is already pre-loaded with sentiment and meaning. That was the emotion, I wanted to invoke with the Memory Keeper Locket”.

The Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Lockets are made in small batches and take weeks to complete. The Lockets are made of sterling silver and the gold and rose gold versions are combined with 18 carat gold in a traditional technique which dates back to 18th century France known as vermeil. You can read more about this on our website where you can also learn how to insert the photographs.

Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket in Gold

Each Memory Keeper Locket uses seven times as much solid silver as it takes to make a Tiffany Atlas silver pendant. After the Memory Keeper Lockets are given a final polish, they are sent to the Edinburgh Assay Office for hallmarking. A hallmark is a guarantee of the quality and authenticity of the piece. The Memory Keeper Locket is often bought to mark a special occasion – a birthday, anniversary, wedding or the arrival of a new member of the family.

” Judy Tweeted That The Memory Keeper Locket Was Her Favourite Piece”

“We were delighted when we discovered Judy Murray, the tennis coach and Strictly star had bought the Memory Keeper Locket and worn it to Wimbledon to watch her sons Andy & Jamie become champions,” says Gillian. “We were even more thrilled when Judy tweeted that the Memory Keeper Locket was her favourite piece of jewellery.

Judy Murray wers the Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket at Wimbledon

“Every customer is special. Our Memory Keeper Lockets are our bestsellers and we get to hear such amazing stories. Some are heart-breaking; others are joyful but all are really personal and precious. We feel humbled when a customer shares the story of their Memory Keeper and what it means to them.

The Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket in Gold

“They Are Precious Symbols of Life, Love and Memories”

“Our jewellery is not for everyone. We are not interested in mass-producing these lockets. We want them to remain special and we want people to feel special when they wear a Lily Blanche piece. They are precious symbols of love, life, and memories. As a result, we have built some lovely relationships with our customers, many of whom have become collectors of Lily Blanche”.

Rose Gold Memory Keeper Locket

We love it when people share photos of their Memory Keeper Lockets with us. You can see what our customers are saying about the Memory Keeper below and you can read over 100 five star reviews on Trustpilot and on our Facebook page where we would love to connect with you.

Gillian Crawford, Founder and Creative Director at Lily Blanche

“Fabulous lady, fabulous jewels #gillian” Judy Murray tennis coach and Strictly Come Dancing star

“I absolutely love it as do my family and friends. I’ve been singing your praises to anyone who will listen” Diane C.

“Love, love, love mine. It’s probably the best necklace I have,” Carole S.

“Excellent customer service, absolutely amazing delivery of a very special piece of jewellery and fantastic after care. Would definitely purchase again from Lily Blanche,”Emma L.

“I have the silver one for my birthday and absolutely love, love, love it,” Stephanie L.

“Amazing service and beautifully wrapped and packed. A joyful gift,” Lesley McP.

“I have bought for my 2 daughters and myself. Love them,” Pauline S.

Actress Hermione Norris in the television series Cold Feet

Wonderful Wimbledon and Why We Have Judy Murraymania

“I think Andy’s mum is wearing your Memory Keeper locket” said my son while watching the Wimbledon final in 2013. Sport daft, nuts about Andy Murray and eagle-eyed enough to be able to tell the difference between a toad and a frog at ten paces, my teenage son does not, however, take much  interest in jewellery so I assumed he must be mistaken.

Judy Murray had bought some Lily Blanche pieces online – in fact she was one of our first online customers – but she hadn’t bought the Memory Keeper Locket, which opens to reveal six secret photographs. As Andy came close to playing the winning shot the camera panned onto an emotional Judy in the Wimbledon crowd and it was clear that she was indeed wearing the Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket in sterling silver. I squealed with excitement and phoned my sister, with whom I set up the business. As a small, but growing, jewellery brand, it was thrilling to think that Judy Murray had chosen our locket for this historic occasion. It was doubly exciting as our studio is based in Stirling, not far from Dunblane where Andy and Jamie Murray grew up and we’d watched their progress over the years. Shop the Memory Keeper Collection here 

Later that week, one of our stockists told us that Judy had been in the shop and had bought several pieces of Lily Blanche, including the Memory Keeper Locket and the Birkin Handbag Locket. We wrote to Judy and thanked her for wearing the piece and congratulated her on a thrilling Wimbledon.

She was kind enough to write back and tell us how much she liked our jewellery. “It’s my absolute fave piece” she said. Since then, a number of our customers have noticed when she has worn the very distinctive designs and often message to tell us.Our paths have since crossed a couple of times and despite her growing profile, she has always been completely charming. It’s not always easy being a woman in the public eye, especially in such a male-dominated world as Judy’s autobiography Know The Score reveals.

Silver Memory Keeper Locket

It’s great to see some recognition of what she has achieved with her recent honour in the Queen’s Birthday list. Judy coached not just Jamie and Andy to tennis superstardom but a whole bunch of kids – including the late Elena Baltacha, Colin Fleming and Jamie Baker.

Judy Murray wears the Lily Blanche Birkin Handbag Locket

Despite her incredible success, Judy has stuck to her (grass)roots bringing her Miss Hits tennis programme and her Tennis On The Road to a new generation. Her values and ethos completely chime with everything we hold dear at Lily Blanche. So whatever happens on centre court this year, Judy Murray will always be our real champion. Shop the Memory Keeper Collection here


The LILY BLANCHE Memory Keeper Lockets were a hit

Leonardo DiCaprio, Judy Murray and Our Year Of Living Amazingly!

It’s already mid-way through January 2017 but it has been so busy in the Lily Blanche studio that I haven’t had time until now to reflect on the year that has just been. One thing is certain, however. It has been our most amazing and busiest year to date.

Thanks to Liberty for the opportunity!
Thanks to Liberty for the opportunity!

It started with a trip to Liberty London in January to pitch our designs to Julie Hassan, Liberty’s chief homeware buyer. You can read what happened on our blog. We managed to combine it with a fabulous stay at The Westbury Hotel, Mayfair – home from home for Jackie Onassis in the sixties and seventies – which boasts the best cocktail bar in London.

Flowers at Liberty London
Flowers at Liberty London

Our Liberty experience and the boost we got from it was just the start of a whirlwind year. We couldn’t have anticipated the huge success of the launch of our Memory Keeper Lockets in Gold and Rose Gold vermeil. These have been bestsellers in 2016.


Our Luminous gemstone cocktail rings were also a hit and prompted us to design earrings to match which will launch in a few weeks. Watch this space!


The graduation of Colette, great grand-daughter of the original Lily Blanche, with a first class honours degree in History was a fantastic occasion and we marked it with the Lily Blanche Vintage Key Pendant, the perfect way to mark key moments in life. You can see the video below.


Summer saw us on a trip to Zambia, emerald capital of Africa, and a wonderful place to go on safari. The kids bungee-jumped off Victoria Falls and I stood at the very edge of the falls and looked down into them – an unforgettable experience. And then there was the safari in South Luwanga Valley. So much inspiration came from this trip. You will see it played out in the collections we launch this year.


The fantastic success of Andy and Jamie Murray this year put mum Judy, an amazing woman and fantastic advocate for tennis, into the spotlight. Many of our eagle-eyed customers noticed Judy was wearing her Lily Blanche Birkin Locket during the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Award and on the private plane with Andy when he became No 1 in the world. I was lucky enough to catch up with Judy at the fabulous Blytheswood Square Hotel in Glasgow for a quick interview which ran in the Sunday Times. (As many of you know I have a background in national newspapers and still write from time to time). Judy told me about the importance of parents in supporting their kids in sport. We’re big fans of her Miss Hits programme and Tennis On The Road. She’s a truly inspirational person and she has raised two sporting superstars with grace and modesty.


In October I was lucky enough to attend the Scottish Business Awards Dinner with Leonardo DiCaprio where I met up with Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill of Simple Minds. I first met Jim 10 years ago. It was great to hear their stories about family, friends and rock ‘n’ roll. They had the entire business community on their feet with a high-octane rendition of Don’t You (Forget About Me) during the dinner.

Jim Kerr and Simple Minds getting ready at the Scottish Buisness Awards
Jim Kerr and Simple Minds getting ready at the Scottish Buisness Awards

But the real highlight of the evening was catching up with Josh Littlejohn, founder of Social Bite – an incredible entrprise to help homeless people in Scotland. Josh and his girlfriend Alice not only allow people to pay ahead for coffee and sandwiches for people who need them at the cafes they run throughout Scotland, 20% of their staff are from the homeless community. Their latest venture is to build a village in Granton, Edinburgh to house people who have lost their homes. The Social Bite Village  is the Lily Blanche charity of the year and we have given a proportion of our profits to  the cause. We’re really grateful to all the customers who have made this possible.

Josh Littlejohn with Leonardo Dicaprio
Josh Littlejohn with Leonardo Dicaprio

As anyone running a thriving business knows – it’s not all fun and creativity. It can be lonely and exhausting and more evenings than I care to remember have seen me still in the studio, working at the bench or the computer, at 11pm. But in October I managed to grab a few days in New York.


We made the most of the time, staying on Park Avenue and enjoying shopping, the sights, the museums and the fabulous food in downtown Manhattan. I took my sketch book and found ispiration in the Faberge exhibit in the Met.


Did I mention the food? Here is Clementine, one of the orginal Lily Blanche’s great grand-daughters outside Nobu New York.

Clementine wearing the silver memory Keeper Lcket Nobu Manhatten.
Clementine wearing the silver Memory Keeper Locket, Nobu Manhattan.

Back in Scotland we were invited to collaborting with the avant garde fashion magazine Fated and Fabled for the Eternity Feature in their Alchemy issue. It’s one of our favourite publications for the sheer creativity of their styling and photography. We were delighted with how they showcased the Lily Blanche collections and wove them into a story. You can see some of the images on our Instagram and Facebook feeds.


The team continues to grow, with Eva and Robbie joining. Our web guys, Tom and Toms have been fantastic and we’ve loved everything that Carlie our graphic designer has done. Marsaili has taken fantastic photography for us. Emma has made some beautiful pieces and we’ve had vital strategic help from Colette, Clementine, Alexander and Colin. We’ve been working one-to-one with Google and Facebook this year to develop our digital marketing strategy which has been fantastically exciting and we’re developing new collections which we will launch soon. Later this year we are planning a new model shoot.

It’s been an amazing and exciting year with our best Christmas ever and we’ve got to know some incredible customers. Thanks for sharing your stories with us and for shopping with Lily Blanche. We realy appreciate every one of you and the support you’ve given our  business. I hope you continue to visit our website and social media pages in 2017.

Now all I have to do is ice the Christmas cake – just four weeks late!