Irish jewellery designers are dominating the creative space right now. It's quite a joy to see so many unique designers being supported in a small market-space like ours, isn't it? Christmas time is perhaps their busiest (apart from Valentine's, I'm guessing), but with so many different designers to choose from, gift buying can become a bigger ordeal than it needs to be. So, whether you're ready to pop the big question this Christmas, or want to mark the occasion with something your loved one will have forever, here are five fresh Irish jewellery designers worth trying this year.
Who: Sinead Murphy, Cosmic Boulevard
What: Sterling silver pieces inspired by the deep cosmos
Where: The Collective, Dublin
Top: left, "Juliet’s Moon" bracelet, €145. "Home Planet" pearl ring, €285. Bottom: left, "North Star" ring, €125. "Aladdin Sane" lightening pendant, €195.
Makeup artist-turned-goldsmith Sinead Murphy has just begun her quest as full-time jewellery designer under the guise of Cosmic Boulevard. Inspired by "things I see in the sky", Sinead's stunning body of work includes dainty, glistening sterling silver stars, gemstone UFO rings, delicate silver pendants, waning moons and statement pieces.
Having worked as a makeup artist for more than a decade, Sinead learned her craft from The School Of Jewellery Ireland, where she completed a degree in Metal and Jewellery Arts. Her unique selling point is her attention to detail and the care that goes into hand-crafting each piece in her Dublin studio.
Who: Aidan Smyth
What: Copper, brass, silver, gold, plastic and wood, with inspiration drawn from his interests in archaeology, science, history and sociology
Round Knot Pendant, €170 at aidan.ie
What happens when you combine a jewellery maker who's passionate about archaeology and science? The result is an incredibly interesting and original collection that is rich with skill and stunning to look at.
A Dublin native, Aidan's sterling silver and gold pieces are influenced by his interests in archaeology, science, history and sociology. He designs and hand-crafts his pieces using copper, brass, silver, gold, plastic and wood. His jewellery is sculptural in form and is really quite captivating. Aidan first began making jewellery at Grennan Mills, a multi-disciplinary craft college in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. From here he went on to gain a degree in Fine Art from Crawford College of Art and Design, Co.Cork. He now creates from his studio in Dublin.
Who: Angela O'Keefe
What: precious metals, resin and pigment
Where: The Designworks Studio, Cork
Venice Neckpiece (gold vermeil, resin, salt crystals, pigment), orange resin and salt crystal 'Florida' ring with 9ct gold
Angela's work is defined by its unique language using glass shards and crushed silicon carbide in combination with precious metals, resin and pigment. Scottish-born, but Irish through-and-through, her collections are contemporary and celebrate the simplicity of form, juxtaposing clean modern lines with hand-crushed silicon carbide. Naturally-occurring silicon carbide is extremely rare on earth but found in minute quantities in space; in certain meteorites and as a form of stardust, making Angela's pieces truly unique.
A graduate of the Crafts Council of Ireland Jewellery and Goldsmithing Course, Angela has a Diploma in Art Jewellery from Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence, Italy and an MA (Hons) from St. Andrew’s University.
Who: Emer Roberts
What: Geometric precious metals
Emer Roberts is an Irish visual artist and an award-winning designer. An avid mould maker, her honed creativity has enabled an organic transition from fine art to jewellery design. Her personal style, together with a love of wax sculpting, gave birth to her jewellery collection which is deconstructed in form and architecturally designed. Her pieces reflect her love of the Art Deco era but also have futuristic elements, giving her pieces a modern and elegant finish.
Who: Madeleine Blaine
What: Archetypal symbols in silver and gold plate
Where: The Collective, Dublin
Bee in honey dangle earrings, €45 at The Collective Dublin
Designer and entrepreneur Madeleine Blaine has been refining her craft for almost two decades. Inbetween creating her large collection of jewels, Madeleine has recently founded The Collective Dublin on Drury Street, which is a unique space for Irish jewellery designers to make and sell their designs in a city-centre location. The collective brings together a collection of unique and affordable jewellery while being able to showcase the incredible talent that we have here in Ireland.
Blaine's personal collection takes great inspiration from nature and she enjoys using a mixture of silver and gold metals; making them quite versatile to wear. Her designs range from large statement pieces to fine and delicate pieces and are suitable for all ages, making them a timeless heirloom to be passed down for generations.