One of the most important things I have found since I started my own business back in 2019 is that recommendations really work. And because of that I have made more of an effort than I ever did before to share recommendations of local Irish businesses, small independent businesses, and businesses that are run by lovely people trying their best and making beautiful things.
A lot of my friends have quickly gotten wise to this, and now write me when they're looking for something specific in regards to gifting or for themselves, as they know that I will give them some great recommendations. A few months ago a good friend of mine wrote to me and asked for some recommendations in regards to jewellery, as his wife's birthday was coming up. I think. It may have been an anniversary… Either way he wanted a really lovely gift from a jeweller that was independent, small, local to Ireland, and knowing her tastes, something a little different and unique.
This is a really funny thing to ask me, as if you know me at all, you know that I wear very little jewellery. I was known to wear the same necklace for over 15 years, and on occasion I will wear earrings, but that's about it. However I have been blessed and delighted to work alongside many amazing jewellers while attending different events, markets, networking events, and trade shows.
And these are jewellers that I have actually bought from in the past, either for myself, or for a gift. So I put together a list of ideas for my friend, his wife was delighted with the ones he chose, and then I thought wouldn't it be nice to actually share it with all of you.
So here it is:
Mad Jessie’s jewellery gift guide.
So Siobhan first of all is just such a lovely nice kind person, and it's always a pleasure to meet her at different events. One of the reasons I actually really love her jewellery (and even own my own earrings) is that her jewellery is incredibly light. So many people suffer from migraines or headaches when they wear jewellery because it's very heavy round the neck or the ears, and this is actually a complaint I've heard quite a lot in regards to jewellery, and it's actually one of the main reasons I don't wear a lot of jewellery. The thing with Siobhan's pieces, is once you wear them you quickly forget they are there at all because they're so light. They are funky, they're cool, the colours are amazing, and they are handmade by Siobhan out of beautiful leather, and she also does super incredible funky headpieces. So if you're in the market for something bright light and funky, look no further than Siobhan Daly designs.
Sally creates beautiful pieces of jewellery from Irish wood, using different Irish tree wood and their symbolic Celtic meanings to create some very special jewellery. She very much focuses on the special meanings behind different types of Irish wood, such as protection, love, and courage, and also has a birthwood collection where a particular tree was assigned by the Celts to each birth month. My favourite bit about Moonwood is that all of the wood is sustainable sourced, from storm fallen trees or trees that have been naturally pruned. I myself have a beautiful Hawthorne pendant that I actually keep hanging in my boat for good luck.
Now just because I don't have a lot of jewellery doesn't mean I don't enjoy buying a nice piece every now and again. A while back I wanted to buy myself a really nice pair of earrings, and I immediately knew where to go. I went online to Lulu and Levi and bought myself the most beautiful pair of black pearl earrings. Lulu and Levi is named after the jewellers children: Elaine Sarah is a goldsmith and creates the most beautiful items and all of them are about family. Her bespoke work includes beautiful button jewellery, and customised items that are perfect as a gift for a mum, a daughter, a grandmother or granddaughter, or a loved one. She also includes free engraving on any personalised piece bought.
Now Elaine Sarah has quite an incredible story, and one of the things she also sells on her site are Poppy's bracelets. Poppy is her daughter and has been ill for a very long time, and makes and sells these beautiful little bracelets from her mother's website in order to help raise awareness and money for her ongoing medical needs. My favourite is the one I bought which says fuck it, but there are many more options available which don’t include cursing!
Majella creates gorgeous enamel jewellery, and has an incredible knack with colours. She creates absolutely beautiful patterns, shapes, and wonderful ombre shades, playing with colours and how they relate to each other, and how they best show each other off. As I love all things colour, I really love her jewellery, and I'm always very impressed with how well and how perfectly she brings colours together that you might not have imagined. Her stuff is all handmade and very bespoke, I haven't really seen anything quite like what Majella does.
Run by Virginie, also known as Virg, On the Verge Online is a wonderful shop including many cool things apart from jewellery, such as these fab Kimono style tops (of which I own quite a few). Virg also has a gorgeous collection of jewellery, with quite a few different styles available, including art deco, porcelain ceramic, and metal and brass jewellery. One of the special things that Virg does, is when she sends you your purchase, she has hand-painted the packaging it comes in, which is also always just such a beautiful surprise to get in the post and really a lovely touch.
Phat Poly is the business of Kayleigh, a lovely woman and local from Waterford, and she makes this amazing maximalist jewellery that is loud bright funky and fun, and often made out of polymer clay. All of her items are handcrafted, and they are bold and beautiful, full of life and colour, and shiny, all wonderful things for statement pieces. She also adores my dog which gives her an enormous amount of brownie points, especially as they both share the same name! She also sells her work in CC Creatives in Waterford City on the Quay. This shop is one of my favourite places to go in Waterford city, as it is run by a group of creatives who all make and create and sell their items together in this wonderful group of supportive people.
I met Bog and Brass last year at Showcase in the RDS, a trade show for Irish businesses. They make beautiful items out of, you guessed it, brass and bog oak. This is actually somewhere I would go to buy gifts, especially for the menfolk in my life. One of my favourite pieces is the brass and bog pencil, but this is a jewellery gift guide so I should stay on topic! If you like the idea of a beautiful piece of jewellery made from the amazing material that is bog oak, these are the people to check out.
Oh my gosh I love this woman, and although I have never bought any of her jewellery (YET!), one of the items she makes which I think it's just a beautiful concept is fingerprint jewellery. So you could get a necklace for example including fingerprints of your children or your parents or your partner. I think this is a particularly beautiful gift especially for special occasions as it is totally unique and just a beautiful concept. Also the woman herself behind all of this is just absolutely fantastic and lovely and it's always a pleasure to meet her at events she puts a smile on everyone's face.
Di Fenza Jewellery is super cool. She works a lot with brass and textures which makes her pieces really stand out, and the composition is always quite beautiful and striking and a little bit different to what you might be used to. She loves to mix metals in her pieces, and honestly, peruse her site and I promise you, you will find something you like. One of my favourite things she does however, is she also has a whole line of jewellery created from old Irish coins. This is something I particularly love and I can definitely see myself getting a pair of earrings with the salmon of knowledge one day! Beautiful wonderful gift to give to family or friends, especially anyone who loves a little bit of Irish culture.
Okay this is the last one, (this is a short list,) but I love her jewellery, and also especially her online presence. She is absolutely hilarious and makes me laugh all of the time with her reels on Instagram. She is funky and cool, isn't afraid to have a laugh, and I love watching her work and seeing the pieces she creates. They are very special and beautifully made and each one is very much a one-of-a-kind. Again many of the pieces use mixed metal, and I specifically love the pieces to do with the sea and sea creatures, I mean check out those barnacle earrings above, aren't they amazing! To. Die. For.
Ahem, after writing this, it turns out actually I do have a soft spot for jewellery. I am compiling a Wish List as I type, and I'm actually very excited about slowly growing my collection. Who knew!
So yes even though this is a gift guide for others, if you're reading this and wondering what to get me, anything from any of these amazing people would always be appreciated, wink wink nudge nudge.
Oh and if you have any good recommendations of cool funky amazing local bespoke jewellery makers please leave them in the comments below! Thank you!