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The Royal Highland Show, affectionately known as the ‘Highland’, celebrates the very best of Scotland’s food, farming, and rural life. In 2024, the flagship event of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) takes place from Thursday 20th June - Sunday 23rd June.

Given our century-old connection with this prestigious date in Scotland’s cultural calendar, we are delighted to once more be exhibiting at this year’s event.

Decades of dedication

The Show started in 1822 in the very spot where the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh now stands. Initially trophies were a rarity, with winners awarded prize money, a medal or plate silver. However from around 1900 onwards families, farmers, landowners and estates began to donate trophies, often for categories where they had been successful.

Our business also has its roots in Edinburgh. In 1866, James Hamilton and his nephew Robert Kirk Inches opened their jewellery and watchmaking company here. Business blossomed, including crafting silver trophies for the Show. In 1913 Hamilton & Inches were named as its official silversmiths, responsible for cleaning, engraving, delivering and displaying the trophies.

This commission remained unchanged for more than a century when trophy management was brought in-house by the RHASS in 2019. However the Hamilton & Inches connection continues as the man in charge is our former colleague Alain Wright. With us for 20 years, he carefully managed, administered and looked after The Royal Highland Show trophy collection, so was the perfect choice.

“It is a phenomenal display of silverware, and one of the best collections in the UK. Showcasing craftmanship and silversmithing, many were presented to the Society by past winners to reward future generations of competitors. These wonderful pieces honour their donators, the competitors, and the craftspeople who made them. To have them all shining and displayed every year at the Show is a source of immense pride.” - Alain Wright, House and Heritage Officer for the RHASS



Fife And Kinross 1

Perpetually compelling

One of the most ornate trophies is the Fife and Kinross Perpetual Challenge Cup, circulating between livestock breed champions. It was commissioned by the MP Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart to commemorate the staging of the Highland Show in Cupar in 1912.

Hamilton & Inches designed and created the 15 carat, 37 Troy ounce trophy. Made by hand from the inside out, there are intricate details of knot designs and Scottish thistles. Each handle has a cast knight on horseback, and the Kinross arms are embossed on the back of the trophy.


All trophies great and small


The RHASS collection of trophies, salvers, cups, bowls and quaichs range from plain wood to high-end gold. Find more about them here


My favourite is the The Earl & Countess of Kintore Perpetual Challenge Cup - it is small but mighty. In heavy gauge silver, standing 18.5cm (without plinth), it is a perfect example of a classic cup design. Expertly made with true proportions, quintessentially classic in every way.


Lists of the show categories awarded a trophy are available in the Trade & Competitions section of The Royal Highland Show website.


Maintaining the legacy


Hamilton & Inches remains the first port of call for new trophies to be presented,  adding to 40-plus trophies already in the RHASS collection. Our silversmiths also help maintain, restore, and even re-work a re-introduced trophy from the Royal Show’s archive.


For some of our craftspeople, the connection to The Royal Highland Show runs deep. Master silversmith David Ramsay began his Hamilton & Inches career polishing trophies for the 2007 Show when he was just 17 years old:


“The safe door creaked open and it was full to the brim with trophies and trinkets - all shapes and sizes; bull statues of solid silver, giant cups adorned with horses… I was in absolute awe.” - David Ramsay, Master Silversmith


Read more about his career in My H&I


Etching a name into history

Following the Show, our resident engravers perform the crucial task of adding the names of the winners to the historic trophies. With a keen eye and steady hand, these artists use specialist tools called ‘gravers’ such as burnishers, burrs and scorpers. Traditional supplies such as French chalk and oil of wintergreen help achieve our precision finish. 


Rhass Kinmonth 1

Tender loving care


Royal Highland Show exhibitors are allowed to take home their trophies once insurance has been put in place. However they need to commit to maintaining their prizes until the following year, which is no small task. On average, each trophy takes an hour for Alain to clean. Some of the larger ones take up to three hours.


“For the winners who choose to display their trophy at home, I recommend washing it occasionally with a soapy mix made using washing up liquid,” explains Alain. “The next steps are to clean with a silver polish, pat it dry and then buff to a shine. Brasso should be avoided at all costs. This is because it reacts with silver and the resulting tarnished residue is very hard to remove.”


If an exhibitor opts to leave their trophy with the RHASS, they are encouraged to visit the Trophy Hall and be photographed with their award.


Polished to perfection


If a piece needs specialist treatment our award-winning polishing department steps in. Located above our George Street showroom in Edinburgh, our experts have years of experience in polishing, sanding, plating, buffing and finishing. It is a delicate balancing act. Polish too little and tarnishes could remain; too much and a precious detail could be lost forever.


For new trophy design, our master polisher Colin Golder works in tandem with our silver and goldsmith specialists, advising on how best to assemble a piece so that it can be polished effectively in the future. Find out more about this


Visit us and the trophies at The Royal Highland Show 2024

During the Show in June, the Trophy Room will be open for visitors and competitors to enjoy.

We also warmly welcome visitors to our stand in the Home and Gifts area, and look forward to seeing you soon!