I love jewelry. It's a passion of mine. Ever since I started wandering into my grandmother's massive collection of costume jewelry, trying on trinkets and gazing upon myself in her gold gilt mirrors, I have adored baubles and bangles. Jewelry is one of the only forms of self-expression that is decidedly sumptuous, whether it's couture or costume. Jewelry is also frequently a representation of heritage — think about delicate Chinese jade or resplendent Ankara rope necklaces. Coming up on St. Patrick's Day, it makes sense to celebrate Ireland's tradition of adornment with cute Irish jewelry to celebrate your heritage if you happen to hail from the Emerald Isle.
It would be easy to feature nothing but Irish jewelry that harkens back to the island's Celtic roots, but that's not all Ireland is. Ireland's jewelry-making history encompasses a wide variety of metals, designs, and jewels, and there is something to fit every taste and budget. The more traditional pieces, like Claddagh rings and Celtic knots, are still incredibly popular, but more nuanced and delicate approaches to these designs have been on the market for some time. I've chosen 10 pieces to feature, and they're a mix of the ancient and the modern, and they're all gorgeous.
1. Jewelry Crafted After An Irish Medieval Illumination
I am a history nut, and I've always been a bit obsessed with illuminated manuscripts from the medieval era. These were drawings that were frequently at the edge of texts, or they would make up the entirety of the page. Trinity University in Dublin has an astonishing collection, and these earrings celebrate Irish medieval artwork.
2. A Nod To The Blarney Stone
Both Celts and Picts have the double spiral imagery in their historical record, but none quite so delicate and lovely as this. For a tribe of warriors, this is pretty sweet, isn't it?
3. Hydrangea Leaf
How stunning is this necklace? It features the image of a skeleton of the hydrangea leaf set in beautiful eco resin. I picture wearing this long necklace over my camel-colored turtleneck sweater and a pencil skirt. Gorgeous.
4. Irish Thorn Twig Necklace
This looks like the best sort of a fairytale wedding necklace. It feels vintage, but has a decidedly modern flair upon closer inspection. Handcrafted, this piece will surely become an heirloom.
5. Threepence Bracelet
For a period of time in the 1940s, Ireland produced a "threepence" coin that featured a bunny on the front. This adorable bracelet has a mock-up of that coin.
6. History of Ireland Necklace
I never thought of having the history of a country all on one gold pendant, but apparently it really works. The gold makes the depictions of St. Patrick, Celtic spirals, and Viking ships really come alive.
7. Irish Blessing Necklace
The inscription reads, "May God grant you always a sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you." A sweet inscription on a sweet necklace.
8. A Twist On The Claddagh
This is the smallest Claddagh ring I have ever seen, and I love it. The tiny opal in the center is the perfect offset to the sterling silver of the ring. It's a modern twist on the tradition, and it just shines.
9. Shamrock Necklace
This is not your everyday shamrock. This is a super fancy clover, and it is everything you want in a necklace. It can be dressed up or down, and it won't turn your neck green, which may be the color of Ireland, but not a fun jewelry reaction.
10. Lace Pendant
This vintage Irish lace pendant is in soldered glass, giving it an ethereal quality. It feels like it could be a part of a veil or wedding dress, and now this is all that's left, a hint of a memory on the wind, trapped behind glass for the rest of its days.