Celtic jewelry is an old age traditional craft and skill brought down through the centuries. It is a much loved accessory in Ireland and is popular worldwide. Here at Blarney Woollen Mills we have recently added new pieces to the Kieran Cunningham range on the website from his new collection, and we think it is his best work yet! Designing jewelry is an impressive skill, one would need great artistic flare and love for design for this type of job. Making the jewelry once the design has been finalized takes great expertise and patience.
Because we loved his new collection so much, we decided to check in with Kieran to ask him about his craft and take some photographs of his work in progress and the workshop he uses to create his beautiful jewelry.
The workshop in Blessington, Co.Wicklow, Ireland.
First in the process of making the jewelry the craftsman will sketch out some designs in his workshop. Kieran is influenced and inspired by ancient Celtic designs and traditions and his surrounding areas in Co.Wicklow, Ireland including the Blessington Lakes which he lives near.
Once the craftsman has finalized his new design he will begin making the template. The design will be carefully cut in to the metal using either tin snips or a piercing saw.
When this has been done the metal is then raised by hand using hammers, pitch hand tools and wires. Some pieces need silver soldering or metal pinching depending on the design and metal used. Kieran works with a variety of metals including Alpaca Silver, Copper, Brass, Sterling Silver and Yellow Gold. The jewelry has hand-chiselled scroll effects and shining hammered finishes which is inspired by the age-old tradition of Celtic jewelry design. This way of working and creating jewelry is sadly almost a thing of the past, but it is something that Kieran is interested in using in his work and modernizing it.
Once the piece of jewelry has been raised the craftsman then sands and polishes the piece for a smooth and shiny finish. Some pieces are sprayed with metal lacquer to prevent tarnishing.
Kieran’s designs embody and embrace classic Celtic art like the sun swirls, a simple yet elegant and traditional design loved by many. Kieran Cunningham’s new collection is available on the Blarney.com website. Go ahead, take a look for yourself, we guarantee you will fall in love just as we did with the range we have to offer.
Happy shopping from all of us here at Blarney Woollen Mills.