Every addition to J&L Tweed’s product line feels special to us, because J&L Tweed is a labor of love for the craftsmanship and elegance of this beautiful Scottish textile. But the Gemma Handbag is extra special both because it so perfectly rounds out our family of bags, and because it has a fun tie to both owner Liz Warnock’s family and tweed’s history!
When you see it on our website, we hope you’ll notice that the Gemma Handbag is a versatile and classic handbag. Many of our bags—from the Chambers Weekender, to the Elizabeth Backpack, to the Carothers Angling Bag—lean into tweed’s illustrious history as the durable fabric of choice for hunters and fisherman throughout the Scottish Highlands, and would look perfectly suited to an outdoor adventure.
But if you’re going from the office, to high tea at the Ritz, to a night on the town? You want a bag like the Gemma that has the size to fit your day-to-day essentials, the style to suit any venue, and J&L Tweed’s signature soft and dependable tweed that can handle anything your day throws at it. With its removable and adjustable hand-crafted leather shoulder strap, you can choose whether to leave your hands free or show off your manicure and your newest purse at the same time!
Like every one of our tweed products—from the Blair Cross-Body Handbag to the Morgen Coin Purse—the Gemma Handbag is named for a real person, but this time with a twist! Liz originally named this stylish bag for her stylish mother, affectionately called “Gamma.” But during production, a typo changed the name of the bag from Gamma to Gemma. We kept the new name, partly because the typo parallels a famous story about the origin of tweed!
Tweed is in fact a type of twilled fabric. When the Scottish fabric first made its way to London in the 1800s, a merchant there reportedly misread the handwritten letter about “twill” or “tweel” as “tweed” and advertised it as such, feeling safe with the knowledge that the name could be a reference to Scotland’s River Tweed. Somehow, the name stuck through the years! (You can read more interesting facts about the history of tweed on our new blog.)
Names are powerful, and we love having the Gemma tied both to Liz’ family and a bit of Scottish history. In fact, not only are all our tweed products named for real people, but our tweed patterns are named in honor of real places Liz visited and loved in the Scottish Highlands. After you pick a favorite J&L Tweed, you can visit the place that inspired it, from the original Links House tweed, to the ever-popular Black Isle and Struie colorways.