Professional Jeweler Archive: Traditional Irish Jewelry

May 2001

Precious Metals & Bench/News

Traditional Irish Jewelry

The Irish and their ancestors have been making spectacular jewelry since 2000 B.C.

Irish metalsmiths have been crafting collars, torques and bangles in gold and silver since the Egyptians were building pyramids. The magnificent antique neckpiece shown here, the Gleninsheen Gorget, was made circa 700 B.C. from a solid sheet of pure gold.

Because of their traditions, the Irish have used hallmarks for gold and silver since the 17th century, according to the Federation of Jewellery Manufacturers of Ireland. By law, each piece of jewelry crafted in Ireland carries an assay office mark, a fineness mark and a mark indicating the date it was made.

Irish manufacturers are not only experts in gold and silver metalworking, they also now work in platinum and use modern methods such as CAD/CAM, says Eoin McDonnell, vice president of FJMI and owner of Jewel Art Co., the only Irish company granted ISO 9002 certification for its top-notch business and manufacturing practices.

McDonnell is also one of Ireland’s most ardent proponents of branded jewelry. Jewel Art’s Ring of Aran and Gallen collections, created by well-known designer Thomas Taaffe Brady, celebrate the mystical and ancient history of Ireland, as detailed on its fact-filled Web site.

• Federation of Jewellery Manufacturers of Ireland, Blackrock, County Dublin; (353-1) 283-1021, fax (353-1) 288-9483.

• Jewel Art, Dublin; (353-1) 872-7422, fax (353-1) 873-0028,

The Jewellery House

The company produces gold and silver collections, including The Children of Lir, a piece of which is shown here. In this Celtic myth, an evil queen casts a spell on the children of King Lir, transforming them into swans. But they keep their human voices, and people from all over Ireland come to hear them sing.

The Jewellery House Ltd., Dublin, Ireland; (353-1) 476-2112, fax (353-1) 476-2113,

Celtic & Heraldic Jewellery

This company is a rising star that won second prize in the 2001 Supplier of the Year contest sponsored by the North American Celtic Buyers Association. It features such innovations as the Moving Wedding Band Collection, in which white gold Celtic designs move around a yellow gold ring. It also specializes in Heraldic jewelry for Irish-Americans who want to mark their jewelry with family names.

Celtic & Heraldic Jewellery, Dublin, Ireland; (353-1) 677-7045, fax (353-1) 677-7048,


Solvar has twice won the Supplier of the Year award presented by the North American Celtic Buyers Association. Its collection of Celtic jewelry comes in 14 and 18k gold and silver. The company plans to introduce 40 new designs this year, says Shay Walsh, head of U.S. sales. Pictured here is a Claddagh ring, a traditional Irish symbol of love and friendship. The company exhibits at the JA Show and the JCK Show in Las Vegas.

Solvar Ltd., Dublin, Ireland; (353-1) 478-0799, fax (353-1) 478-0585,

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications