Iona’s rare marble celebrates namesake cruise ship

Jeweller Adam McIntosh, who has worked with Iona marble for 15 years, found the rare stone for the commemorative bracelet by free diving in the icy Atlantic just off the island. Photo: Steven Scott Taylor / J P License

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Iona marble has been used to create a special gift celebrating the launch of a new cruise ship.

Jeweller Adam McIntosh, who has worked with Iona marble for 15 years, found the rare stone by free diving for it in the icy Atlantic just off the island.

He was tasked by P&O Cruises to make a bracelet with the marble in time for the naming of its newest ship, called Iona.

The bracelet was presented to Dame Irene Hays, head of the UK’s largest independent travel agency Hays Travel, who had the honour of naming the cruise liner.

The silver bracelet had 15 large lozenges of the vivid green marble in it.

The bracelet was presented to Dame Irene Hays, head of the UK’s largest independent travel agency Hays Travel, who had the honour of naming the cruiseliner Iona.
Picture by Christopher Ison.

Iona marble was formed more than 2,700 million years ago and is a unique combination of Serpentine and Limestone.  It has been used throughout history by Scottish clans as a lucky talisman and to this day island fishermen won’t leave port without their lucky gem.

When on dry land the Iona marble has to be graded. Only one kilo out of every 1,000 makes it to the jewellery grade before being polished by hand.

Adam had to fashion the silver by hand so he could fit the marble gems.